A History of Madness: Coming to Terms With Memories of Mental Illness

I have a new column up at Psychology Today.  It’s about something I’ve been wrestling with a whole lot recently – I wrote this while as a way to put my thoughts together, in a way that might help others who are dealing with the same stuff.  Here’s an excerpt:

…honestly, there are moments when it feels like I was a different person before my OCD diagnosis and treatment in 2007.  As a child and teenager, the OCD permeated every aspect of my life: every birthday and Christmas and graduation, every conversation, every kiss and argument and laugh.  Every decision I made, every thought that passed through my head, was tainted by it.  I can’t remember a period of time longer than a week when OCD did not find some way to hurt me.

And, even today, visiting my parent’s home, returning to the places where I spent my childhood, can sometimes be especially hard.  My years with OCD haunt me.  I’ll visit the wrong spot, I’ll see the wrong sign, I’ll overhear a snippet of conversation that will put me in a frame of mind that will bring back a vivid memory – and all of a sudden I’m there again, as a child or a young man, writhing in the grasp of my illness.

How do you live with that?

How do you live with a hurt so big it swallowed four-fifths of your life?

One Comment on “A History of Madness: Coming to Terms With Memories of Mental Illness”

  1. Niki Nash says:

    hey,, I’m reading your book right now and really enjoying it. ocd since 1988, I’ve often thought about writing a book or memoir but wouldn’t have the first idea of how to explain it. from what I’ve read, you’re doing a great job, dude! email me any time if you want to swap horror stories or just talk to someone that knows you aren’t crazy…I mean you are..but not ..y’know..CRAZY crazy :) best, niki

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