Confession:  this week’s episode of A&E’s Obsessed was a bit too much for me.  Seems that each episode goes a little further, a little bit deeper into the disease.  Each week has seen an increase in severity of symptoms.  It is not an understatement to say that this is one fucked-up disease.

I was deeply disturbed by Nidia’s obsessions and rituals.  When someone’s OCD is severe enough for hospitalization, that is severe.  Most people who have OCD don’t really get much IP treatment, because there’s really nothing that can be done inpatient that can’t be done with a good therapist.  But when you have to be hospitalized for medical reasons due to the severity of your rituals– that is extreme.  And heartbreaking.

I turned the show off after only 15 minutes; I’m hoping that Nidia got help.  I’m hoping that she was able to recover.  I’m hoping that her marriage was able to survive.  I just couldn’t keep watching.  However, some of the things that were said on the show got me to thinking about my own OCD.

OCD leaves a mark.  A permanent, unseen, secretive mark.  OCD marks a person on the inside, where no one else can see.  It hides from the world; we hide it from the world.  If I didn’t tell people that I meet, they would never know.  This was not always the case, however.  There was a time when it was painfully obvious that there was something wrong with me.  This is why Nidia’s story affected me so much:  her obsessions with bowel movements and being “clean” are in some ways similar to my own experience.  She is obsessed with food– and so am I.  Different reasons, and yet look at what an obsession can do to your life?

Food obsessions have ruled my life for nearly fifteen years.  I can’t make a decision about eating or buying food without my OCD having a say about it.  What a despot!  I don’t think others realize at times the total control that OCD can have over your mind, over your decisions.  It is the equivilent to having to ask another person for permission to make any decision.  Imagine how burdensome and horrible that would be.

I don’t know what kind of treatment Nidia received, but I’m hoping she got some CBT or exposure/response therapy.  I hope that she was able to overcome her obsessions before she did literal damage to her physical well being.  Thank goddess for modern psychology, thank goddess someone has figured out a treatment for this insanity.  Just fifty years ago, or possibly even more recently, things would have been so different.  I always think of Howard Hughes, living what others called an ‘eccentric’ life, but really suffering, obsessing.

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