A letter to my OCD
Drawing by Ola Abulshalashel, a young artist in Cairo who struggled with mental health and is no longer with us.

Dear Captor,

I don’t really have to ask how you’ve been, I know you’ve been thriving lately.

I’ve been hearing you walking around the corners of my mind and obliterating everything in your path. You keep getting louder and louder each day, just like the first time we met.

It’s been over a year since that encounter, but I realize that in all the months since you’ve engulfed my life with your voraciously poisonous presence, I didn’t once get the chance to really talk to you. And since you’ve now decided to step up your game, I think it’s about time.

So let’s have a chat, shall we?

Let’s start with how you disenfranchised me from my own self. You gobbled up my desires and you swallowed my dreams, so that all I had to think about was you.

It was hard to plan for a future when the suffering you caused consistently froze my existence in the present. You made me forget how to dream, and in doing that, you deprived me of the right to be me.

You rendered me a failure, unable to cope with the simplest demands of life, let alone able to stand up for myself and fight against you. That’s how you stripped me of my strength, my most prized possession. I’ve always took pride in that. If I was anything, I was strong, until you came along.

Come to think of it, you did add to my life too. You did, after all, invite your best friend, depression. And then you stood there and watched him rip the light right out of my eyes. With his gentle brand of toxicity and your caustic blend of panic and horror, I didn’t stand a chance, did I?

It’s funny thinking about all the time we’ve spent together. We’ve been inseparable, you and I.

Remember that time you stabbed my mind so hard I collapsed on the floor with my hands cupped over my tear-drenched mouth? I had to scream a thousand silent screams just so that no one could hear you break me.

Remember that time you crammed panic down my throat so fast I couldn’t breathe? And remember that time you drained my brain so much you damaged my nerves? I do.

You tortured me into submission, so I can comply with your rules and regulations. Let’s be honest though, they are merely glorified one-way tickets to horrific trials and tribulations.

How many times did I beg you to stop piercing spikes through my brain? And when I tried to leave you, how many times did you punish me for it?

But worst of all, you made me powerless. What power do I have when I have no control over my own mind? When you can just storm in and attack whenever you please?

What power do I have when you can imprison me in my own mind and steal the key? What power do I have when with just one thought you can paralyze me?

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to splatter pain all over the page, but I’m afraid you’ve left me no other choice. I have to be honest with you. It’s what makes long-term relationships work, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. I need to be able to tell you how I feel.

You see, you and I are far from over.

Till next time,

Your Emancipated Captive


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