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who am i without ocd?

I am worried that without my OCD, I have no identity.

I was diagnosed a few years ago back in college with severe OCD. I was limited in so many ways and finally when I felt my options were all but gone, I decided to try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which ended up helping a lot. I also saw a naturopath who diagnosed me with some food allergies and a hormonal imbalance. After I got all that sorted out, my OCD seemed to almost vanish.

Here is where the problem comes in. Things that would normally trigger my OCD now just cause me a little anxiety and make me irritated. I have never felt this way before. I am used to feeling panic, not irritation. I am used to following what my obsessive mind says, but now I don't have to. I feel like a stranger in my own body. The way my mind works is so different and the emotional response to things that upset me is so different. I feel depressed, but without the panic, I almost feel numb. Did I lose my sensitivity with my OCD? Am I destined to be unhappy?

Hi Mememe, That is

Hi Mememe,

That is interesting that treating food allergies and a hormonal imbalance significantly reduced your OCD symptoms, but very glad for you that it did!

As for losing your identity now that the OCD symptoms are no longer prominent. In my experience, many people who have a serious, chronic disorder (whether medical or psychiatric) come to let that disorder define them. They think and talk about themselves in terms of "my OCD", "my cancer", "my borderline personality disorder" - you name it. It definitely does become a significant part of their identity.

When something changes and the disorder is no longer a significant part of their life, or is cured, it can be quite an adjustment. It feels awkward because now they are facing life without that - it's as if they lost a huge part of themselves. It's a positive thing, but it can certainly feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable - and it sounds like that is what you are experiencing.

You probably have lost your "sensitivity" in some regards, because your mind is working diffferently now so you react and perceive things differently (I hope that makes sense). It doesn't mean you are incapable of being sensitive - you are just no longer abnormally sensitive to the things that used to trigger your OCD.

As for being destined to be unhappy - I'm not quite sure how to respond to that because I'm not sure if you are now battling depression (which can be chronic) or if it's just this numbness and irritability that you are referring to.

It may benefit you to work with a therapist for a short time to deal with these new feelings and adjust to what is essentially a new way of life for you.

You could also focus on finding things (hobbies, work, volunteer work, a new career, etc) about which you can feel passionate and excited - in other words, new ways to use your time to give your life a strong sense of purpose. When people have a strong sense of purpose, that is often a big part of their identity.

I hope some of this makes sense. You certainly aren't destined to be unhappy. Your whole world has undergone a significant shift - it's as if you have "divorced" your OCD and now you have to adjust to your new life just as a newly single person would.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best!

Dr. Lane

Dr. Lane, Thank you so much

Dr. Lane,

Thank you so much for your reply. It does make sense and from I have gathered, the best thing for me to do would be see a therapist, which I will look into. I notice that I feel better each day, but then out of nowhere I crash for a day or so, then I feel a bit back on track again. I am trying to find a balance between waiting out the adjustment period and analyzing the new me.

Thanks again

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