From a young age, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder taught me how to deal with feelings- hide them. Fear them. Control them at all costs.
I never realized how much this would affect me in a relationship until I was in one.
Every step was a new twist that terrified me, plagued me, and haunted me. Every step forward in my relationship brought on anxiety attacks and OCD flair ups. Every step forward was a new struggle, and the staircase was so foreign to me that every new attack against my mind that traversing the staircase brought on was unanticipated.
Yet- somehow, warmth, acceptance, and love entered too.
I don’t know what it is like to date someone with OCD. The more affection I received the more fear materialized. At every moment I had to fight myself to allow myself to trust, and to feel loved.
For me, every sweet moment was grotesquely bittersweet, because of the wars erupting in my head alongside it.
OCD is like a tumor in the brain- sapping, plaguing, feeding, and destroying.
There is a part of my mind that is a monster who wishes to wreak havoc on my soul, and there is a part of my mind that is simply a young woman with all the complications that an emotional young woman’s mind entails. Matters are further complicated when the young woman side of your brain is connected to a deteriorating, physically diseased body. Between the two, a world of feelings and emotions can swell and move about and cement themselves before one ever has a chance to grab hold of solid ground and figure out what the hell is going on.
I’m not sure what to say about it, other than that I never realized how truly comforting, and truly painful a relationship could be until I had been in one and out of one again.
This is a series of self-portraits I created as a way to try to process my feelings a couple months after my first break-up.