For Shannon Purser, Barb from the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, the scariest thing in her life isn’t the Upside Down, but her lifelong battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Recently, Purser, who now has a role on Riverdale, wrote a piece for Teen Vogue about coping with OCD and suicide ideation.
Purser’s struggle culminated she had a mental breakdown while trying to finish a biology final. She was silently battling her issues in her head and felt she was unable to talk to anyone about it. She said that she struggled to accept these feelings since everything was fine in her personal life.
However, things weren’t fine as she battled her obtrusive thoughts. “For example, one obsessive thought I frequently had when reading was that I somehow wasn’t absorbing everything I read. I developed a compulsion to re-read almost every sentence over and over again, until I was completely convinced that I’d absorbed the material,” she said. “I love books, and I’m normally a pretty fast reader, but at that time, it took me hours to read small amounts, making schoolwork increasingly difficult.”
And from there, terrible thoughts about herself began to sprout. “I grew to believe that I was evil, disgusting, and perverted. My disorder not only caused me to fixate on certain thoughts or images, but also curated ones that were specifically disturbing to me and bombarded me with them,” she said. “I was convinced that I was an unstable predator. It was nightmarish. I felt dangerous. I thought I deserved to die, and I felt utterly alone.”
Eventually, Shannon took a very scary step and came to her mother for help after reading about OCD. “I talked to my mom about what I’d discovered, and we were fortunate enough to find a wonderful therapist that I still see to this day. I was diagnosed with OCD and depression, and that was a huge relief, because now my struggles had a name and could be reckoned with,” Purser said. “With a combination of therapy and medication, I got better. I learned to love life again. My problems didn’t go away, but they became much easier to face.”
If there is one thing Shannon Purser wants someone else that’s battling OCD and Depression to know, it’s that she wished that she reached out for help sooner, as she now knows how to deal with compulsions, calm herself down properly, and open up to her therapist when necessary.
“Despite all my struggles, past and present, I am alive, and, now, I want to be.” – Shannon Purser
To read the full Teen Vogue Essay, Click Here.
If you or a loved one you know is showing signs of a Mental Health Disorder, whether it be Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Scizophrenia, Addiction, Body Dysmorphia etc., or maybe you just need someone to talk to, please do get the help you need. If you feel like you need to talk to someone right now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.
Photo Credit: Netflix