Guest blogger @DaveJPosti has kindly written another very helpful post about opening up to people about your OCD. In this post he talks about the benefits of opening up to friends and family (it doesn’t cover romantic relationships as that requires another blog post…) Here’s what he has to say on the issue…..
Who knows about your OCD? Who do you wish knew about it? Everyone? No one? I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot recently. In fact, doing as well as thinking. Telling people close to me about my OCD/anxiety. Close friends. Not so close friends. The desire to be open overcoming the shame of my own mind.
You already carry the weight of the world and more around with you every second of the day. Releasing some of that weight becomes vital, life affirming. A reconnection with who you really are. But who to tell? How much to tell? A glossy coating of ‘stress’ and ‘some strange thoughts’, or the unvarnished truth of the excruciating torture of your OCD? Would your friends/family understand the depth of the mental maze you’re lost in? Would they even need to, so long as they accept and listen without judgement?
If you’re thinking of confiding in friends about your OCD, then I would say, go ahead. Those that mind don’t matter, those who matter could never mind. Of course it may feel hurtful if someone doesn’t understand (something which will hopefully be dealt with in another blog post) but the people you want in your life are the ones who listen without judgement and ask questions with compassion. Don’t sugarcoat your experiences. You’ve been hurt. Painfully so at times. But fundamentally, you’re still the same person with the same capabilities as before. You may have forgotten that but it’s true. Don’t understate this. But I don’t think you would experience negative reactions. More likely is the lighter feeling and freedom of casting a burden aside. And the potential for an even closer relationship with friends/family. You’ve swept aside the superficial stuff and made yourself vulnerable. In a way, this is when you’re strongest. You’ve done the thing most people run away from. You may well find that your friends/family deeply respect this and value you even more.
And then confide in you about their own struggles.
So by confronting your fears in this way you’re actually shining a light onto the path for others to confront their own demons too. Worth doing I’d say.