Meet Ben - by Laura
This member of our Character Community has been kindly provided by Laura. An honest piece, full of hope.
I think this one is going to be especially helpful for parents who have children living with OCD.
I've had OCD as long as I can remember. I guess you could call me a "lifer"... some of my first memories are related to OCD worries. However, it wasn't until I was 10 years old that I first sought treatment.
For some reason in 4th grade, my OCD struck hard. I was constantly washing my hands, and I had intrusive thoughts and fears about being suicidal, bulimic, or anorexic. When I went to see the therapist, she had me start a journal about my OCD, which I then apparently spelled "obseseve compolseve disorder" (Hey, I was only 10).
In my first entry in October of 1999, I introduced my OCD and named him "Ben." I then drew his picture on the bottom of my journal. How he got his name is forever lost to time, but almost 18 years later I still remember that little drawing.
I wrote down the way my psychiatrist framed my fight against OCD. Misspellings and all, the idea was that "My Family is supposed to be my cheerleaders, my phyciatrist is my coach, me the player, and 'Ben' the apposing team." I love that framing of it even now... my OCD may be a part of me, but it is something separate that I can fight against. I have great support and I can emerge victorious.
By December of 1999, I had announced to my journal: "The OCD, don't worry, I'm pretty much cured." At the time, I had been put on Zoloft and the medication had worked quickly and miraculously well.
But, Ben wasn't done with me for life. The fight wasn't over, and OCD came back with a vengeance right before college. It was the hardest time in my life, but I survived. With the right therapy and medication, I improved and was able to move on with my life.
Whatever you name OCD, and however you visualize it... whether it's a little furry monster like Ben, a creature like Olivia, or like Melanie's "faceless stranger".... know that you are bigger than it. In the years since college, I've gone back and forth in battles with OCD, but what's important to remember is that I always come out on the other side. For all of those fighting out there - I know that you can too.
Thank you so much again for sharing Ben, Laura!