It’s not always an easy journey 

Having obsessive-compulsive disorder is an ever changing facet of my identity. The uncertainty of how it will manifest or impact my life often causes road bumps in the recovery journey. I might experience a new symptom or feel anxious about a big change in my life. In the past, I often found myself feeling guilt or shame if I felt off track with my OCD recovery. But now I look at those “off track” moments in life as a way to use radical acceptance. 

The role peer groups had in radical acceptance 

Every week when I would attend a peer group through OCDPeers, I learned to love a little more of myself. I felt comfortable discussing deeper parts of my identity. In many cases, I learned new versions of my identity while connecting with others who had obsessive-compulsive disorder. I didn’t feel alone knowing I had a community to talk through difficult times in my life. 

Ways I created radical acceptance in my life 

Outside of resources like peer support, I discovered other ways to bring radical acceptance into my life; I knew it needed to become a daily practice. 

  • Movement – With activities like walking, dancing, and even shaking, I spend time releasing energy through my body 
  • Breath – I learned to cultivate better awareness of myself by working through my breath 
  • Sharing – By writing about my experiences and sharing with others I learned to accept all facets of my OCD journey 
  • Journaling – I use journaling as a tool to work through specific thoughts or behaviors without judgement 

Growing my compassion 

I learned how to be more compassionate with the critical part of my brain. When I heard myself making judgment of something or ruminating, I wanted to learn how to accept those thoughts as thoughts without acting out on a mental compulsion. I accepted the days where I had challenged or felt like I was falling backwards. I accepted and celebrated the days I felt like I was making great progress. I didn’t want perfectionism to drive my progress in recovery. I embraced the fluidity in my journey. 

As always, I learn to embrace uncertainty 

Fluidity is like embracing uncertainty – The way I express different parts of my identity. The same goes with the uncertainty of OCD. There are days that feel all consuming and difficult. There are days that feel joyful and productive. In many ways, embracing the gray in my life turned into the big beautiful spectrum of unpredictability. Turns out, uncertainty became a rainbow in my life.