Being one who constantly deals with OCD thoughts, I am pained when I hear people say in casual conversation that one can just snap out of mentally ill thoughts – as if the person enjoys drowning in their irrational thoughts and can just jump out of those thoughts immediately. Now, as much as I hate this kind of thinking, a response I can’t stand even more is from those suffering from mental illness who say that is just the way they are and it will never change. Then they don’t do a thing to try and get better!

When I was 21 I was living in England and I had two roommates, both of whom suffered from depression and anxiety. Neither one chose to be depressed and neither one wanted to be depressed, but the key difference between the two was that one actually worked on getting better while the other would sit inside and mope. The one sought help from a therapist, took medication, worked a full-time job and tried to live a normal life as best he could while recognizing he had problems. The other one refused to acknowledge his problems so he never acted to fix them.

When I first talked to my parents about my OCD my dad suggested that I go and see a therapist. I was shocked. I considered therapists to be the guys who only crazy people see. A therapist makes you lay on the couch and asks you the same question over and over: “So how does that make you feel?” The idea was far from appealing and even humiliating because I didn’t want my friends to know. However, after talking it over with my dad, he said I could either sit there and feel terrible or I could act and do my best to overcome the trials I was experiencing. Although I didn’t choose to be depressed, I could choose how I acted in spite of it. We always have a choice.

Our choices to act range far and few between. This can mean more exercise and spending more time outdoors. It can mean eating better, spending more time with people, taking medication, and seeing a therapist. No one should ever be ashamed of these steps, especially when these are the steps in the direction to being healed. So if this is you, don’t just sit there and hope that your depressive and anxious thoughts go away, but get up and do something. Fight them. Because the truth is unless you get help and fight them they will never go away.