Guest column: An OCD sufferer finds that managing his demon is a lot like managing the dark side of The Force.
A few months ago I told you about my friend and former co-worker Steve Repsys and how, as two undiagnosed OCD sufferers, our working relationship was often the stuff of comedy. What follows is Steve in his own words, explaining how helpful it can be to open up about the disorder and “give in to the dark side.”
“You don’t know the power of the dark side.” Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker
For those of us suffering from OCD, this mental condition is our “dark side.” Often times we ignore or minimize this “dark side” because we are so embarrassed by it. When I don’t acknowledge this part of me, I find myself running into problems, like Luke Skywalker in the cantina. But when you “embrace the dark side,” there is a subtle but noticeable change.
I learned this the other day when I shared with my co-worker Kate that I suffer from OCD. Kate is one of the nicest people I work with and is extremely approachable. Somehow in one of our recent conversations, I felt confident enough in our friendship to divulge this “bombshell.”
When I described what I’ve experienced over the last few months – anger, frustration and humiliation – that large part of me that I’ve often kept hidden from others grew a bit smaller. I was surprised how easy it was for me to talk about it. I was like C-3PO – you couldn’t get me to stop talking about it.
Conversing with Kate, she was attentive and asked questions so she could better comprehend what it is like to live with OCD.
It amazed me – like when Luke found out that Han wasn’t in it for the money – that she was so touched and flattered that I shared this important piece of personal information with her.
I don’t have to worry about her thinking of me any different. Instead, I gained her admiration because I had the courage to admit there is this “demon” inside of me that I can control.
Now I can add a new weapon – talking about it openly and freely to people I trust – to my arsenal of weapons to keep my OCD at bay (not Docking Bay 93).
As Ben told Luke when introducing him to the force, “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.”