Henry’s Story

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I am a lifer. 45 years of the disease. A ruined life (or should I say a severely compromised life). How good it could have been, if only. . .

I function in society, run a business, but feel pain and anguish most of the time. I won’t even try to go through the evolution of my OCD, as I have had probably every conceivable configuration and iteration of the disease, since age 13. Medicine and cognitive therapy have provided occasional relief, but it cycles in and out, affixing itself to my most difficult times in life, as my constant companion. It knows how to maneuver in such a way as to attach itself, as a leach attaches to the skin on your body and sucks your blood. Instead it attaches to and sucks your brain. It sucks out the rationality and intelligence of reason and composure. It works its way into your deepest desires and potential triumphs, and preys upon your fears so as to overcome and counteract the joys that you may have. That is the goal of this insidious disease, and it can succeed if allowed to flourish on its own. OCD is a villain, a rapist, a murderer, a molester, a monster of the worst kind. It selects innocent people and distorts their sense of intellectual well-being, causing doubt and uncertainty to pervade one’s mind, until there is nothing more than doubt and pain. It competes with good thoughts and normal feelings to sabotage one’s intellect and sense of being alive; it is a fierce enemy.

I know you well, OCD. I feel your constant efforts to create havoc with my mind. As a youth, you played with my immature brain and attempted to destroy it, just as I was trying to create a sense of self-value. In my most formative stages, you attacked. As an adult, you convinced me that I was dying and didn’t have a basis to be comfortable with each day of my life. You eroded my sense of self, my enjoyment of life. You deprecated and depreciated the good things that I had, by forcing a behavioral pattern of fear and defeat. There were not even drugs or therapy for OCD for the first twenty years of my disease, so I was left to work through it on my own, too embarrassed to tell anyone in the world what my mind was doing to me, all the while attempting to fight this enemy by myself.

As a mature male, I fear everything, I distort the reality of what I have, I find faults and constant defects in myself and those near and dear to me, and I obsess about all of these things constantly. After ruining my marriage, now in separation, I fear having contracted HIV from heterosexual safe sex partners, and even from kissing women, attractive, healthy women. The fears are overwhelming. Thanks OCD for so cleverly working your way into every crevasse of my life, so as to make it as unbearable, even the parts that are supposed to be good. And the sad part is that my life could be pretty good, were I to lose this miserable partner – my OCD companion.

I will continue to fight, saddened by the length of time that this killer has engaged me. I will attempt to be strong and beat this thing, and I will not give up. Even on the worst of mornings when I do not want to get out of bed, and when I want to check myself into a hospital, I will endure the agony and I will survive; no I will conquer, for the alternative is to allow this miserable disease to have triumphed over me, to gloat and wallow in its defeat of good and well-meaning people. None of us should let that happen. Fight for
your life!


Henry’s Story — 4 Comments

  1. Hi,
    My name is Carla, and I am brazilian. I was very surprised when i read Henry’s letter..His OCD symptons are so much like mine, and i will feel the same way henry does, when it comes to dealing with this thing that OCD is…like Henry , I just won’t feel the need or a reason to get out of bed every morning myself…I too distort reality, and some of the time OCD will try to get me to believe in things that definitely aren’t there, and I’ll start thinking I am losing my mind…right now this deep depression is getting to me. I have no friends to turn to, my family won’t nderstand how this OCD thing will interfere with mylife, i have no social life at all, haven’t had engaged in a realtionship in several years now; i am a loner myself , dealing with this monster that OCD has become in my life. To make things worse, I am unemployed, and will barely have any money to live on myself. I just want henry to know that he is not alone on this battle field, I mean, i am the same, I mean his OCD symptons are very much alike mine, and when i read his letter on here it felt as though I had written it myself instead.

  2. I am 24 years of age. OCD can only take over only if you allow it yo. I know you are thinking she must not have OCD as bad as mine. Trust me I do. I am not going to get into how OCD has tried to destroy me because I believe to write about it is to obsess about it and anybody that has OCD knows that talking about OCD will not do you one bit of good. I believe we are special people that are highly intelligent. The only problem is we have used are obsessions for the worse, to torment us but you can turn OCD around so that it benefits you. Trust me God knows our pain. Don’t you ever wonder why as bad as things get, thru the panick attacks when your pulse is tachying away at 160 bpm, and you have cried so much that you can not cry another tear, we always make it thru some how. That is nothing but God carrying us. Thru all the handwashing, toilet flushing, numbers counting, disease obsessing, heavy hearted guilt eating, Jesus has our backs. One thing that has helped me is quotes that I say thru all the hard times. let me share with you my two favorite, I have three but my OCD says that is a bad #number. I am sure some people with OCD can relate!(lol)

    “Sometimes the only sense you can make out of life is a sense of humor”

    “Do not go by your feelings go by your knowledge. For the truth shall set you free from OCD!”

    Hang in there my fellow OCDians, you will make it thru. God’s mercy kept me and it can do the same thing for you!

    May God Bless each and every one on you

    And remember feeling sorry for yourself gets old, channel that energy to find coping mechanisms so you may enjoy life once again!

    PEACE AND HAPPINESS 2 Each and every 1 of u

  3. Wow, I really like your story along with the comments. It’s almost critical in suffering with OCD to treat your OCD as a whole other being, making sure to say “My OCD” etc, or you can seemingly get so lost up in it that it devours your whole life, as it seems we all have experienced. I’m 24 as well, and have had OCD for a very long time. It is a mind rapist, it convinces your own mind to destroy your life and happiness. We have to fight against it, learn to hate it. Which isn’t something I usually would preach, but it’s almost essential to treat it as so. Never forget who you are, and what is in your heart. My doctor once said that if he were given the decision on what one characteristic to pick to go along with a random human that he were to put his trust and innermost secrets in, he would pick a human with OCD, because we are top of the line, good, genuine people.

  4. I stumbled across this site at work looking for someone who has even the slightest, remotest similarities as myself and wow, Henry’s story is as close as i have found. Im 28, i have suffered with loads and loads of different OCD symptoms myself since i was about 13. Starting off with the classic of something stuck in my mind – a bit like when you know you have to wash tohe dishes – but there was nothing i needed to do. until i was about 16 this destroyed me having a constant “thing” on my mind which woyuld be there for hours and hours. As i grew up this horrible illness would manifest into me convincing myself i was every kind of sick son of a bitch going – just so i knew that if anyone knew what i was thinking they would never speak to me. I would however make myself tell the people closest to me of these sick depraved thoughts or they would never go away. Recently – and most painfully – it has got to the point where i put myself off my own girlfriend. Everything was going well for a few months and now i pick fault at stupid little things in my mind. I make myself convinced i dont love her and find it difficult to be close to her when all of this was no problem at all a few weeks ago. This is not the first time my mind has sabotaged a relationship but as every day passes it makes me feel further gone and scares me i wont be able to get back to how i was. I have my first therapy session booked for sept 11th and am hoping that whoever i see can do something to help me. The tablets i have been prescribed (fluvoxetine) are doing very little. I have faith that with hard work and commitment myself and others can put this stupid illness behind us and finally get on and enjoy life. I genuinely believe as much as we make ourselves think otherwise or act otherwise, OCD sufferers are very honest, trustworthy people.