I always love reading posts about how to love people and have wanted to write my own for a long time…write now I am feeling so drained that I do not have the energy to make this the awesome post I had planned, but I wanted to start with this picture that really sums up the most important part.
Simply offer a place of safety, love, and grace. I may be OCD, but I am also a person just like anyone else. I might react differently to things, but really I ultimately just want to love life every day. You don’t have to understand everything about my OCD, you just have to understand that I really do want to have meaningful relationships and get through the day.
So what does that look like?
Well, this is the part that I am feeling too drained to really do justice too…helpful, right? Haha, but a few basics…
I really appreciate when you take my struggles into consideration. It is really nice of you to offer assistance when you see I am having a hard time. It makes me feel so blessed when you go out of your way to make things easier for me.
Don’t tiptoe around me. I am not fragile. I am not going to break. I understand that the world does not revolve around me and other people do not live the way I do. Obviously intentionally triggering me just for the sake of doing it is not nice, but just because I refuse to get a drink from the drinking fountain doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If what you are doing is too much for me to handle I will find a way to accommodate myself. I might excuse myself to just take a break or let you know I am feeling overwhelmed, but it is not your fault. OCD has control of my life, but I don’t want it to control yours.
Don’t sell me short! I might have trouble with some things, but I also want to be independent. There are some things I might need help with, and I might appreciate you doing things for me occasionally, but I want a chance to try for myself sometimes before you jump in to do it for me, and I don’t want you to write me off and tell me what I can’t do. If I think I can do it please give me a chance. If I have gotten in over my head and am obviously failing by all means feel free to try to rescue me, but sometimes I am ready to challenge myself, and other times I need to try it for myself to accept that I wasn’t ready to handle that.
Feel free to challenge me. Unless you are my counselor it is not your job to challenge me, so you don’t need to do it, but if you want to then go for it. I might not be ready for what you are asking, and might refuse, but I love that you are trying to help me. Similarly, if you choose to challenge me, be willing to back down. I really want to be able to make you happy and do whatever you have challenged me to do, but when the tide of panic starts rising please let go and let me bail, don’t force me to drown in it.
It is okay to ask me questions. I know I am different. I know my behavior may seem crazy at times. If you want to understand, I would love to give you a glimpse into my world. I know it might not make sense. It doesn’t make sense to me either sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less real.
Please let me know if my rituals are impinging on your life. I really do not want to pull you into my world. It is not fun, and I wouldn’t even wish it on the people who annoy me to no end. I can’t promise I will be able to completely stop the behavior, but I am very willing to work with you to figure out how I can accommodate your needs without sacrificing my sanity.
Finally, please be aware that my progress might not be linear. Things can change on a daily, hourly, minute-ly, or maybe even a second-ly basis, and what I could do with ease yesterday might be nearly impossible today. I know it is baffling and I know it is frustrating; I feel it too, but it would mean the world to me if you would be willing to continue to stand beside me and walk with me as I battle for my life. That is what I really need: someone who can be a constant in my life, loving me despite my flaws, and not being scared away by my bad days. Thankfully I have been blessed with people in my life who are willing to be flexible to work around what I can and can’t do, and have been supportive through my many trials. My heart is so happy for these people God has placed in my life.