When you’re young and you start experiencing obsessions you don’t realize the delusional depth of what’s happening to you.
You naturally assume that the reason you keep uncontrollably thinking of a certain boy is because you’re falling in love with him, not because you have an intrusive image generator mounted inside your brain which has been programmed to stutter on a motif. The particular motif of a nice kid who smiled at your vulnerable teenage heart in the hallway resonated strongly, and as OCD does so well, it latched onto that strong experience and spit out recollection after recollection. But recalling the same smile in a hallway gets duller with each replay, so you have to improvise, and you start imagining perfect scenarios, eventually conjuring up a delusional perception of a person you idealized, not who that person really was in reality… and a whole bunch of kids look at you as “that psycho girl”.
You not only delude your idea of other people, but yourself as well. You cognitively isolate yourself, thinking you understand reality on a deeper level than most people because your cycling mind has convinced you, through the illusory power of repetition, that your perceptions of particular experiences were more meaningful or intense than they really were. And, of course, you are a young teenager and “nobody understands” you.
It has taken me a good eight years of hindsight, since my “outburst” of obsessive compulsive symptoms, to realize that a lot of my more confusing and painful experiences were not based on reality, but were side effects of an OCD I had not yet gotten the diagnosis for. I would be lying if I said I had zero level of resentment whatsoever over how things played out during the teenage years of my life (which are already inherently difficult for everybody), but I am not lying when I say that I have zero level of resentment towards myself for not initially realizing how delusional my perceptions of reality was. I wasn’t getting treated for OCD at the time, and I was keeping it to myself. So obviously I was bound to construct some pretty delusional heuristics for perceiving the world.
It is perfectly okay not to realize, until hindsight, that you did not see a situation or yourself in a realistic sense. Nobody questions the validity of their own thoughts without some kind of third party intervention. This is why keeping your pain to yourself is so detrimental. You are bound to be deluded by pain seen through no perspective but your own (and I’d advocate that this goes for people in general, with or without mental illness). Viewing your perceptions of a situation or yourself from an outside perspective- whether that means physically addressing somebody else for their opinion, taking a step back and trying to see your situation in the big picture, or simply talking out loud about your situation to another human being- can eliminate any potential delusions that might contribute to a whole lot of unreasonable pain which will have to be decoded eventually.
– Valerie Parente (6-2-16)