OCD & Living Without False HopeWhen one has a breakthrough in therapy or in life, one experiences a feeling of aliveness. As a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these moments have been few and far between over the course of my 33 years.

It is natural for human beings to want to give other human beings hope. I am not trashing exposure therapy and the therapeutic process. These things work for a lot of people with OCD.

You’ve probably heard that people with OCD get intrusive thoughts. A simple question is: How many intrusive thoughts go away with exposure therapy?

Joseph Heller’s classic book Catch-22 tells the story of a wartime bombardier. His superior officers keep increasing his missions so that he can’t go home, citing a ubiquitious, mysterious, and transfixing rule (Catch-22). He is stuck in an absurd and insane situation.

At the end of the novel, the main character, Yossarian, who is trying to escape the situation, has a discussion with his commanding officer about how best to survive his predicament. The officer is not necessarily on Yossarian’s side.

They discuss how another pilot deliberately crashed his plane to escape from the war. They discuss hope, even though the officer probably doesn’t care about this issue. He is just trying to do a job.

Yossarian barely escapes the situation with his life. The army will probably try to track him down and do whatever they want with him.

I admit I have some problems with my life, but there are people out there with much worse situations. I have said that it is natural to want to give someone hope.

However, giving someone false hope instead of a realistic appraisal of a situation can be one of the worst things to do.