Small news first
So sometime roughly a week ago, I lost the little bottle of hand sanitizer I keep in my purse. My first thought upon discovering it missing was something along the lines of “Whatever, no big deal.” My second thought was “Wait, no big deal? That’s a first.” I have a backup in my cabinet in my bathroom, but I decided to just go without. I haven’t carried hand sanitizer in a week, and it’s been fine. Like weirdly fine. I was already using it less but still did some since it was there. Not having any is awesome. I keep wanting to use some but am forced to deal with being without. I’m quickly adjusting and just not even reaching for it.
A month ago, I was on 60 mg of Prozac a day. I’d been on that dosage for more than 2 years. I didn’t intend to be on medication that long, but things got a whole lot worse before they got better. 60 mg was the minimum that I needed to get by, so I stopped there. I always wanted to depend on medication as little as possible.
A month ago, I decided to go off medication. With Prozac, you can pretty much just stop taking it without tapering off because the half life is so long that it takes awhile to leave your system. BUT I decided to taper off anyway. I’ve had really bad experiences in the past with getting off meds too quickly (Wellbutrin cold turkey—not my best judgment, but I was 17), and I didn’t want to mess anything up this time.
Starting this week, I’m down to 10 mg a day, and if all goes well, I’ll be totally off in the next couple of weeks. Again, it’ll take awhile before it’s totally out of my system.
So far it’s going really really well. I’ve had no withdrawal symptoms. Until this past week, nothing with OCD changed either. This past week, though, OCD started getting a little bit louder. Stuff I’ve been brushing off without a problem started giving me pause again. OCD finally figured out what I’m doing and tried to get a foothold again.
There have been a couple of instances where I really wanted to ask someone to wash their hands, a couple of instance where I really wanted some hand sanitizer, a couple of instances where I wanted to check something. But I resisted each time, even though it was a struggle.
I met and started dating someone a couple of weeks ago. I let him read nonfiction piece I wrote about my OCD. His response was that I didn’t seem like someone who had OCD, that my OCD wasn’t immediately obvious. The me I presented in my essay seemed significantly different than the me he was getting to know.
At first, this really surprised me. For years, I’ve been that girl with OCD. I gave up trying to hide it a long time ago. Since then, it has always been very visible, very apparent to anyone who spends much time with me.
I realized that I really have come a long way, maybe farther than I thought, if my OCD wasn’t immediately just a given to him. And that’s really exciting. It’s not that I want to go back to hiding that part of my life because it will ALWAYS be a part of my life. But it’s exciting that maybe, for however long this reprieve lasts, OCD won’t have to be part of my the first impression I make on people. Maybe for a little while, OCD won’t define me.
This is beyond exciting, and I hope those of you who are also struggling with OCD get to experience this sooner than later. I feel so empowered and so free. I feel like even when OCD gets bad again somewhere down the road, I’ll always have this feeling, and that’s a huge comfort.