Sandra Gissi, volunteer at AMI-Quebec shares her heartfelt experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder

I have suffered from severe OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) since 2009. I considered myself an unlucky twenty-one year old at the time.

Today, I cannot say that I feel blessed to have this mental illness. I can only try my best to live, laugh, and love as much as possible.

We all fear being different in big or small ways.
 I do not want to be known as the “OCD girl”, yet I want to be proactive.

I need to get used to the fact that not everyone will be willing to lend an ear, yet there are plenty of compassionate people out there that constantly surprise me with open minds and open arms.

I hate being a germaphobe – 
it is exhausting.
 I do not have a choice in the matter of having OCD, yet I can choose the way I live with it.

I can give up or push the boundaries.
 Cognitive behavioral therapy is painful, but it works. 
Taking medication is dreadful, yet it is necessary in my case. 
Being positive about my future, and not wasting all my time crying is simply the only option.

I see that progress is slow. I see this every day.
 I feel extremely depressed about the poor state of my OCD.

I am a fighter, sometimes a winner, but mostly a whiner at the moment.

However, I still refuse to raise a white flag.

It is time for me to defy gravity. 
Fight, fight, fight every impulse to give up.
 Yesterday gives me power. Today adds to my clarity and tomorrow is not as scary and fierce as I make it.
 Life is never easy, no one said it would be. 
I am just grateful that I am alive and kicking. 
I am grateful for my support system.
 I will face tomorrow and shine.

Do not call any of us “crazy”–our minds are merely injured the way one has a broken or severed limb.
 Hope is mine, it is yours, and it needs no introduction.
 Even if hope is a whisper, treasure the potential of recovering.