This post is guest written by Tabby Podger (@ocd.is.not.me on instagram)
Mental illnesses are such a difficult thing to understand because it is all inside your head. With OCD it can often be hard to remember a time when you didn't think the way you do now. Because of this it is so easy to believe that maybe this is all just you. OCD is a horrible monster and can often convince you that you are the horrible monster too. There are many lies that OCD tells me every single day. After so long of always hearing these lies you can't help but believe them. These are some of the lies that OCD has told me for years that I haven't had the courage to talk about because the doubts of if they were true or not were too strong. I hope that in writing these down and sharing them it will be a big step towards accepting them and learning to ignore them and hopefully help some other people realise that these are not you and they are your OCD's lies. 1. You fake your thoughts for attention. Pretty much any OCD thought I get, no matter if it is an extremely distressing thought of injuring someone else or myself or a smaller doubt of whether I washed my hands correctly, my OCD will tell me that I faked that thought. I tell myself that I put the thought there on purpose so that I could get attention from other people. I tell myself that I must be such a horrible person to choose to have these thoughts as they can be extremely distressing. However I now know that these thoughts are not my choice and were put there by the OCD and not for attention. Even though I know this there are lots of days where OCD seems more powerful and I can't push the thought that I am definitely faking this whole illness. This one is probably the hardest to write about. I have been reading through and checking through what I have just written so many times and each time the doubt gets stronger and stronger. However I am not going to let the possibility that people will read this and side with my OCD that I am faking this then hate me, stop me from posting this because I really need to do this. 2. You don't actually have OCD. You are actually a bad person. This one is closely tied into the last one but I feel I should still talk about it. My OCD tells me that I don't actually have OCD and that I actually am the bad person OCD convinces me of. OCD is just an excuse for being the way I am, which is a horrible, attention seeking, psychopathic and mean person. Sometimes I can push through the immediate obsession but this is the lie that makes me do the compulsion any way. For example, I might think that I didn't wash my hands for long enough or properly so therefor I am still dirty and have contaminated everything I have touched since then. Occasionally I can say that my hands were clean and there is no need to wash my hands again but then OCD tells me that if I don't then that proves that I definitely don't have OCD and I am just a terrible person and the anxiety that that creates makes me feel like I have to wash my hands again because I can't accept that that is true. These doubts give me intense anxiety until I talk to someone else either online or emailing my therapist for reassurance. The relief that the reassurance gives me does not last long and the doubts flood back again. I must keep repeating this act of seeking reassurance more and more frequently to get the same amount of relief. However this too is just another of OCD's lies. 3. I have to know things exactly or something bad will happen or may have already happened OCD can appear in many different forms but the thing that is common to everyone with this illness is the dreaded "what if..." You feel like if you are not 100% sure about something then you must be wrong. If I'm not 100% sure that I didn't do something really bad then that means that I did do it. This obsession means I have to perform a lot of checking compulsions and seeking reassurance. 4. I should be able to control my thoughts I think that I should be able to stop thinking a bad thing and just turn off all of my bad OCD thoughts. This is not true at all and the only way to make the thoughts cease or appear less is to just accept them and not think that you should never think them because everyone does! 5. I shouldn't talk about my thoughts I was in therapy for a while (pre diagnosis) because of the sadness (I wasn't diagnosed with depression so I can't call it that but that is the sort of sadness I mean) and self harm that came with my OCD. I was too afraid to tell my therapist the truth about my thoughts because at first my OCD was all internal. OCD told me that I shouldn't tell anyone because then everyone would find out how much of a bad person I was. Often when OCD tells me not to tell my therapist something I try to anyway but it doesn't work. I can be saying the words in my head but either nothing will come out or it will just be sounds and not actually words. I have found that writing is much easier than talking so when there is something important that I think I should tell my therapist but OCD has told me not to I have ended up writing it down which normally works. 6. I should never think anything bad OCD tells me that thinking something bad makes me a bad person. It tells me that until I get rid of these thoughts I will always be a bad person. It also tries to tell me that no one gets these thoughts but now I know that they are really normal for everyone even those without OCD and they do not make you a bad person at all. It is your actions that make you good or bad because you can not control your thoughts. 7. This feeling will never end When you are in a severe state of anxiety or feeling very low it is easy for OCD to tell you that this is what it's going to be like forever. When I do exposure I don't usually feel anxiety exactly. At first I am very anxious but after about 20 mins the anxiety turns to a very low mood. While I am in these low moods every negative emotion is heightened and OCD tells me that unless I perform the compulsion this feeling will be here forever and I will never be happy again and never be able to get out of bed again. I know this is not true and that these moods only last about 3 days max but in the moment it is easy to forget that. 8. You deserve to continue suffering like this forever This one is sadly all too true. Whenever I think about getting better or making improvements OCD tells me that I deserve to feel this pain forever because I am a terrible person. These thoughts stop me from even trying to test my OCD lots of the time because I think it is not worth it and I was made this way for a reason, because I am terrible. These thoughts have been big factors towards self harm and suicidal thoughts. 9. If you make improvements it means you never had OCD It is very hard for me to write about this one because for all of the other points I have discussed them with another sufferer so know for sure that they are just lies but this one I have not talked to anyone about. However I am just going to accept that this may just be me being terrible and write it anyway. OCD tells me that if I ever achieve something then that must mean that I never actually had OCD to begin with. In my mind the only acceptable way of having OCD is if you are at rock bottom, only ever getting worse and never having good days. OCD tells me that it is probably just better to not achieve anything because then you will know for sure that this is true. 10. You will never get better This last one is something that I'm sure anyone with any mental illness has struggled with at some point in their recovery. You take a step forward only to fall again. My OCD tells me that there is too much getting in the way of recovery, too many thoughts and obsessions to ever make recovery an option. OCD tells me that there is no point in even trying to fight because I may seem better for a bit then I will always keep falling again. However I will not listen to this lie any longer and I will (attempt to) stop listening to these other lies too. It is going to be tough but I am determined to beat this horrible, deceiving illness.