On Monday October 29th 2018, I circled the upcoming Friday in my calendar as the day I was going to take my life. I had half written suicide notes saved on my laptop, waiting to be completed. I was barely two weeks into an intensive treatment program, but it didn’t seem like my symptoms were going to get better. Despite the medication, therapy, family support, and prayers, I felt like all four walls were closing in on me and nothing could help me at this point. Some nights I only slept 20 minutes. In those late- night hours, I felt profoundly alone. The loneliness felt as though I was trapped behind a two-way mirror, but I was the one who could see what everyone else was doing, and no one could see me. I saw the world passing by, people having fun, posting on social media, living every day as though tomorrow’s existence was guaranteed, while I struggled each day with a life or death decision hanging over my head. It was a strange place of mental isolation to exist in.
Despite these feelings, I clung onto a penny-sized amount of hope that I carried in my pocket everywhere. Something inside of me still wanted to keep fighting, still wanted to see the next day. While everyone wanted me to go to the hospital, my psychologist wanted me to stay in treatment. She believed that therapy could work, and that I could get better. That was the hardest week of my life. By that Friday, I was still alive, and I lived to see a day I never thought I would: Saturday. Since then, treatment has worked miracles and I have come out of that difficult time stronger than I could ever have imagined. I am no longer scared of death, and no longer scared of life. I am just happy to be alive.
I have dealt with OCD since I was thirteen years old. My symptoms started to get worse as I worked my way through high school, but I didn’t understand what was happening. I started dating someone who I really cared about at the age of 23. He was someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It’s when you care the most about something or someone that OCD decides to strike. In this relationship, my symptoms grew exponentially worse. I finally saw a therapist and was formally diagnosed with OCD after 10 years of living in the dark. In the fall of 2018, my first experience with depression overcame me like a thief in the night. The co-morbid disorders of anxiety and depression treacherously conspired against me and instigated suicidal OCD – a type of OCD involving obsessions of self-harm. I was hospitalized for 10 days at the end of September, and started a 10-week intensive residential treatment program for OCD, anxiety, and depression. Spoiler alert, I completed the program! I now stand before you today, renewed, re-energized, and ready to make a difference in the mental health world.
People with OCD are ten times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. (A Very Well Mind). I hope to use my experience and knowledge to help others who are in similar situations. There is an endless amount of people suffering from this heartbreaking disorder, and I hope through this documentary that we can touch the lives of people out there struggling with OCD.
–Rachel Immaraj, Director/Producer of OverComing the Dark