I truly believe that being an influencer is all about sharing your story and showing how you made it through your tough times.
To be an influencer you don’t have to have any fancy life experience, or have a degree.. you simply have to be willing to be honest and share YOU.
That’s why I want more of my blog posts to be about ME. About my life and how I have overcome some things that were easy and some things that were hard. I want to be relatable to my followers. I want to show you all that my life is no different than yours, I just chose a different life path.
A big part of my story is my mom’s mental illness. It was a major part of my childhood and it really shaped my life choices.
I have waited until now to share that part of me because it not only affects me, but my whole family. However, I feel like it is time to share a huge part of my life.
My mom has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Not the “I like my house neat so I have OCD” the actual, clinically diagnosed OCD. OCD is a mental illness that not only affects the person, but affects everyone else around them.
Whether they mean to or not, people with OCD impact other people’s lives.
I was Four when I became aware that my life was different than my friends’. They didn’t have to strip naked as soon as they came into their home. They didn’t have to immediately take a shower before even entering their bedroom. They could choose whether or not they wanted to shower before bed or not.
They could have people over.
That was a big one. My whole life I only ever had 3 people enter my room. I am not going to say it wasn’t hard. I often tried to compensate for that by coming up with elaborate plans for my friends outside my home. My mom always compensated by giving me the best birthday parties ever.
My life was really good, but it was definitely hard. I am not going to pretend that it wasn’t.
It was hard to see my mom wash her hands so many times that they were cracked and bleeding. It was hard to see her having to wipe down each and every piece of paper if I wanted to go into my room and do homework. Most of all it was hard to see how much my mom wanted to be different. I could see how much she over-compensated for the fact that I didn’t get to have friends over, or that I wasn’t allowed to just go in my bedroom when I came home from school. It was hard to see how much she loved me and my brother, how much she wanted to give us everything but couldn’t because of her mental illness.
Christmases were always different at my house. The first question when you opened a package was whether the gift was “dirty” or “clean”. If it was “dirty” it meant we would have to shower to go into our room. If it was “clean” then we didn’t.
Explaining my home life and my mom’s disorder to people is hard. People still do not understand how my mom can leave the house and have no symptoms but as soon as she enters the house she seems like a whole new person. It is hard to explain to people the concept of “dirty” and “clean” because I don’t even think my mom understands it.
It became harder when I was teenager.
I was able to see how other people’s homes worked, yet mine was so different. I was able to have sleepovers and not shower, but I never, ever got that option at home. I began to resent my mom for keeping our house so strict. I wanted to have my boyfriends over. Wanted my friends to see my room, but I couldn’t and it was hard.
I felt like I had no privacy.
Looking back now it was probably a good thing. The one place where I could go for privacy was the bathroom, which was still a central location. This didn’t allow me very much lenience when it came to conversations or depressive-episodes. Which probably saved my life. But at the time I resented her for it.
When I was in grade 12 I couldn’t wait to get out of the house.
I wanted my house with my own rules, where I could shower when I wanted and enter my room whenever. But I was also scared. I was scared that I was going to have the same thing as my mom once I moved out. I was terrified I was going to carry all of the rituals into my home.
Luckily.. that never happened.
It was hard adjusting. It was hard to break the habit that my bed was “clean”. It was hard to allow myself to eat in my room or eat on my bed. It was HARD, but I made it through.
My childhood was beautiful. I was an only child for seven years. I got everything. My parents are still together today. They always showed my brother and I love. They showed me what true love really looked like. But my childhood was also difficult to navigate at times. Ever since moving away to university I have never moved back in. I love my life and what my mother’s illness and her openness about it did for me. But it is a huge part of my story. It is why I am able to share my illness so openly.