Can people ‘overcome’ OCD?
I’ve been working on a book about my experience over 40 years with the beast that is OCD. I’m getting quite close to finishing the book but a problem has presented itself that has left me in a bit of a quandary.
First a little background of my story. I suffered from OCD for about 40 years. I finally sought help. I took a relaxation course, was put on two different medications and attended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy classes. I worked hard to beat the beast. I responded very well to medications, which got rid of about 80% of my obsessions. The rest I dealt with what I learned from CBT. Today I no longer consider myself a sufferer. I no longer suffer from OCD. I am a very calm individual. I occasionally get intrusive thoughts but I easily ignore them and no longer perform compulsions.
Throughout my book I stated that I had ‘overcome’ my OCD. It seemed to be a fitting term, since I no longer suffered from the disorder. It had no power over me. But my editor questioned the term ‘overcome’.
Overcome means to conquer, defeat, beat. To put to an end something. But have I really conquered OCD? My editor has pointed out that overcome brings with it the idea that no further work is required to fight the condition. The problem is that I am still on medications and I, nearly every day, have to put into effect what I learned from CBT. That means that I am still actively engaged in fighting OCD.
Have I overcome OCD or have I just tamed it? If you think of OCD as an analogy to a dragon, I did not slay the dragon; I did not kill it so it could never breathe again. I forced OCD, through medications and CBT, back into a cave where, as long as I’m on guard, the dragon cannot come out to wreak havoc again.
So the question is, have I overcome OCD or have I done something else? Does anyone truly overcome OCD as a disorder or do they mask it with drugs and tame it with the tools learned in CBT?
I’d love some thoughts on this. You can leave a comment below. I’ll be very interested to see what other people think about the word ‘overcome’.