When I was a little girl, I used to daydream that I had fantastic, magical powers. I would imagine myself standing in my front yard, waving my hands in the air, making amazing things happen. I would see my friends’ faces as they stood around me, surprised, delighted, and impressed.  I would think how wonderful that would be, how much everyone would like and respect me and my abilities. Frozen

I created these dreams because I knew the opposite was true. From the time I was a little girl, I knew that I had terrible powers. That I could hurt people with my thoughts. That bad things happened because of me. That I had to do special things to keep everyone I loved safe.

I understood that if anyone knew about my terrible powers, I would be shunned.  Banished from society.  So I kept my capabilities and the special things I did to protect people a secret, even from my parents and my best friends, because that’s how I kept them safe.  I had to pretend like everything was OK and act perfectly all the time, so that no one would know, because that’s how I kept myself safe.

I just didn’t know that my terrible powers were called OCD.

Imagine my surprise at hearing Elsa, who was born with the power to freeze everything and everyone around her in the Disney movie Frozen, sing about what it’s like for her to hide her terrible powers from everyone:

“Don’t let them in.  Don’t let them see.  Be the good girl you always have to be.  Conceal, don’t feel, put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know.”

She was talking about me as a little girl! That’s what I did! What’s even more amazing to me is that the theme song from the movie, Let It Go, could not have been written any more perfectly to describe my triumph over my own terrible powers and a wonderful approach in general for beating OCD, which I’d like to share below.  (Song lyrics are on the left).

Let It Go

and how it relates to triumphing over OCD

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back. The past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway.

Elsa describes how isolating and
alone having “terrible powers” can be
as well as how hard it is to keep these
powers hidden.  How exhausting,
demoralizing, and impossible
it is to bear this heavy secret.

This was my mantra for years, until
I decided that my OCD was becoming
more powerful because of my secrecy.
So I started telling people I had OCD. 

Then, through ERP therpy, I started
letting my terrible powers out, by
letting the obsessions play in my mind 
instead of pushing them away.  I didn’t 
do the compulsions I used to do to 
protect people.  I learned I could 
handle uncertainty, and that OCD 
didn’t have the power to hurt any-
one but me, if I let it rule my life.  

I kept doing more ERP…
and more….
and more….
and I kept feeling better and better.

I learned that although I have OCD,
it doesn’t have to have me.  

There’s no cure for OCD, but I keep  
myself virtually OCD-free by doing
maintenance ERP, so I can keep OCD
in my past.

OCD thrives off perfection, so I have
dropped the “perfect” persona I used
to use to protect myself from others
and protect others from me.

I decided to put my knowledge of the
terrible powers of OCD to good use,
by helping others who also have OCD.

ERP, along with mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude, is how I keep my terrible powers in my past.  It’s how, like Elsa, I stay free. 

Disclaimer:  Aha! Moments are my own personal experience of OCD and are not meant to be a replacement for therapy.