This textual piece is a letter that I wrote to myself earlier this month. Every May (Mental Health Awareness month) I write a letter to myself detailing my previous struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I how I was able to overcome it. This tradition blossomed out of a letter that I wrote to myself when I was battling the disorder detailing my feelings and reasons for my compulsions. This process was helpful in overcoming my compulsion. I decide to include this in portfolio because I think it encompasses the power of the language and words. Writing out my reasons of stress and a conversation with my father was one of the main reasons I was overcome my OCD. People with mental disorders aren’t able to express their issues for fear of being labeled weird, abnormal, or a freak. These societal pressure often prevent people with mental disorder from reaching out for help. This is especially relevant during the current pandemic isolation. With people being subjected to abnormal separation from other humans and increased stress, more and more people are falling victim to Mental disorders. With all that being said this is my letter to myself.
During a period in your life, OCD threatened to take over your life. Ever since an early age, you had been playing soccer and you were determined to become a pro soccer player. As you grew older, the pressure you put on yourself to succeed to attain this goal increased. You started to develop nerves before every practice, every game, every scrimmage, and eventually every time you touched the ball. These nerves led to unhealthy habits to begin to form in your everyday life. These unhealthy habits were compulsion or things that you felt you had to do in order to have a good practice or good game performance. At first, you didn’t notice that these compulsions started to appear because it started with harmless activities. For example, you would wear the same shirt everyday to practice or wear the same pajamas to bed the night before any soccer related activity. However, your nerves were never calmed by these habits and of course they had no real impact on your performance. Your unsatisfied nerves led to development of more and more compulsions. Before, you knew it you had to eat the same thing the night before, sit in the exact spot in the cafeteria, not speak on the car rides up to games, grab the door handle a certain number of times before you could open it and worst of all not brush your teeth on the day of games among many other compulsions. These compulsions as separate events were not terribly detrimental to your life but however if you add them all up, they made each day exhausting to keep up with every ritual you had to perform. Not to mention if you forgot one or someone got in my way of completing one of these compulsions, you would be convinced you were going to perform poorly later that day or the next day. All these compulsions led to a very unhealthy lifestyle for over a year during your 8-9th grades. At this point you knew you had all the symptoms of clinical OCD. You knew what severe cases of this psychological disorder looked like and knew if you continued to ignore your parent’s concerns, you might never escape these compulsions. The next day you had a conversation with your dad. Admitting these details that were very embarrassing to your father was one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done in your life. However, his response was not one of shame towards you but support. He told you he would support you no matter what to help you get through this difficult period of your life. Hearing his unconditional support made you feel better and less afraid of what was going on in your head. One action at a time, you encouraged yourself to stop doing some of the compulsions. Some days were more difficult and you would revert back to doing all of the compulsive actions, however, little by little you began to realize that these compulsions had nothing to do with your performance both in soccer and life.I am writing this letter to you today is to remind you that yes you battled mental health issues earlier in your life but to realize how long you have come since then. You did one of the most difficult things people in your situation face, admitting your problem. Not many people can do that. I want you to remember this story every May and be proud of the fact that you were able to overcome this disorder .
This is the true power of language.