I’m a mother of three children who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was diagnosed with OCD in college, and not because I couldn’t stand to have my notebooks unorganized, but because I was paralyzed by irrational fears that were taking over my thought space, my time, and my self-confidence. I’m no counselor, but after suffering with OCD for over 20 years, I can assure you, the phrase, “I’m so OCD,” is used with all the wrong information. 

Most people who say this phrase think the disorder is characterized by wanting picture frames straight on the wall or needing a house that’s always kept neat. There are people who do suffer from OCD who also want things to be kept constantly organized, but usually, that desire is rooted in a fear that something bad will happen if they don’t follow the what-if based instructions they are getting from inside their minds.

It’s not just a preference. It’s a compulsion.

If you aren’t tortured by your brain because of your thoughts, then you likely don’t have OCD.

OCD is called “the doubting disease” because the brain becomes obsessed with figuring out the uncertainties that often can never be figured out. There are slews of specific fear categories that present themselves, appearing as bizarre thought bombs or ideas that horrify the thinker and are based solely on the what-if.

RELATED: We’re Living in a Perfect Storm For My OCD

What if I want to murder my newborn baby? What if I didn’t see a person on the road and hit them without knowing it? What if I touch this door handle and get a disease that will kill me? What if I think this angry phrase and my whole family gets killed because of my single thought? What if I don’t check my baby sleeping and she dies because I was too selfish to get up out of bed? What if I contaminated my whole grocery cart by putting raw meat next to other things?

Add to these random thoughts unwanted images and feelings, and you get the recipe for a sweat-filled panic attack.

Sure, everyone thinks extreme things sometimes. We all have brains that create strange scenarios or weird thoughts, but most people can quickly dispose of them. When OCD is in the picture, these intrusive, scary, and radically unsound thoughts (obsessions) get stuck on a loop, causing a person like myself to perform actions (compulsions) to offset the anxiety.

Unfortunately, over time these compulsions become the only way to relieve the anxiety, but the relief is temporary at best. The cycles continue as new outrageous thoughts take root in the soil of reasonable thinking. Eventually, all that’s left is a mind full of possible scary truths that never fully go away, no matter how obedient one is to the demand for corrective action.

It’s a mental prison and uncertainty is the warden.

As a mom, it can be hard to know what’s my mom intuition and what’s my OCD causing me to be afraid and alarmed. It is often a guessing game for me, and I must listen to those around me even when I feel certain my fears are legitimate because they always feel legitimate.

OCD is far more serious a condition than people often think, and it’s important to know how the condition looks from the outside. Sadly, OCD is not just about being Type A but is a mental struggle that comes in all shapes and sizes, each case unique. 

RELATED: The Day I Planned to End it All: My Struggle With Postpartum OCD

The types of fears people with OCD experience aren’t openly shared because these fears aren’t the prettiest or tidiest. These fears are all too often soaked in shame and aren’t worn proudly, but there is hope.

OCD isn’t trendy in the way many think it is, but a treatable disease worth having a chat about.

Many suffer silently, performing compulsions until their lives become an ocean of required behaviors provoked by fear alone. Keep your eyes peeled and be a willing participant in a conversation where maybe you tell someone or yourself, that there is much hope, even when OCD says there isn’t.

OCD isn’t an adjective. It’s not a cool personality trait or hopeless label.

It’s a disordered way of thinking because of a brain that’s wired differently.

Most importantly, it can be conquered. There is help.

If you love someone who struggles with anxious thoughts like these or if you are dealing with these sorts of fears yourself, know that there are counselors who know how to direct change for these horrid cycles and can recommend medications. You are not alone in your struggle! There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a God who loves you dearly. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Meghan Newkirk

Meghan Newkirk was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder while in college and has learned how to combat it with counseling and medication. Meghan released the fiction book about OCD called Loving Naomi in May of 2021. You can read more of her blogs at www.meghannewkirkwrites.com or follow her on Instagram @meghannewkirkwrites

I Have Anxiety and Depression—and I’m a Good Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
I Have Anxiety and Depression—and I'm a Good Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

My name is Lauren. I have depression. And I’m a good mom.   It took me a few months to be able to tell what it was. I was withdrawn. Sad. Uninterested. Joy stripped. Resentful. It took everything I had in me to get out of bed in the morning, let alone take care of the kids. I was alone in my sorrow, and drowning in my shame. I knew that something needed to change. My name is Lauren. I have depression. I take my antidepressant. And because of it, I’m a better mom It took me a few months...

Keep Reading

When the Worrying Never Takes a Break

In: Baby, Motherhood
Laundry basket and scattered things in hallway, color photo

I was sitting in the hallway, leaning against the stair railing, and staring down the hall towards my kids’ rooms. Dirty laundry and abandoned toys were scattered across the floor. All it took was one tiny human bringing a virus home from school to bring housekeeping to an immediate halt. The cleanup routine was traded for cuddling and 24/7 care. With everyone asleep, I could have had the mess cleaned up in five minutes or less. But that would have gotten in the way of my worrying. This was before COVID-19, a simpler time in the world as far as...

Keep Reading

My Name is Anxiety and I Want All of You

In: Living
Woman anxious on couch

My name is Anxiety, and I am thrilled to meet you. I’m sure we’re going to be quite close, you and I. Your deepest fears, your wildest dreams, your difficult feelings, and your most shameful secrets will soon be mine to know.  You’ve heard of me before, and we’ve met in passing a time or two. You know me as an acquaintance, but I know you much better than that. You think you understand me, and I don’t blame you for feeling confident in that. You’ll discover soon enough, however, that you don’t understand me at all, that you had...

Keep Reading