Sienna Rose Scully has always loved to write, now she’s sharing her very personal story of living and thriving with OCD

Sienna Rose Scully is the youngest of four children. She is an Integrated Marketing Communications graduate who grew up in Noongar Whadjuk Boodja (Fremantle), Western Australia. Sienna has dealt with OCD since childhood and is passionate about bringing awareness to what this disorder entails and to help other OCD sufferers. She is a contributor to the book Try Not To Think of a Pink Elephant: Stories about OCD.

Why I wrote my piece

I have always loved to write, pen to paper, fingertips to keyboards, it was something that just came so effortlessly and made sense to and for me. Expressing through writing allowed me to say things that sometimes my verbal words could not. It allowed time, it allowed attention, and it allowed the action of being taken in. My words could not be misconstrued or applied with other meanings if I was there writing them out explaining thoughts and processes of the like. It allowed creativity and alternative expression. When it came to my piece, called ‘Anxiety’s Misunderstood Best Friend’, it was something that was inevitably going to be written. Years of thoughts swirling around my head (along with the intrusive ones) trying to figure out what this terrible disorder is and how to explain it to those lucky enough not to suffer from it. Writing to my younger self was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. Thought-provoking and messy, filled with crying and healing, but an act that was so inevitable because I didn’t want anyone else to have to feel as afraid, alone and clueless as I did through all those years. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thrives in the dark and I aimed to set the brightest flame possible to shine a light for all those struggling around the world, hoping my words could be the match, they just need to be read to be set alight.

What I hope carers will learn from my piece

When reading my piece I hope that carers will learn just how truly difficult and heavy and all-consuming this disorder is. That there is no easy fix and no easy ‘advance to go – collect your perfect mental health’. That even if they can’t truly understand it, that they still can hold out their hand and do as much as they can to just support the one that is suffering. Whether that’s an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, or a mouth to whisper gentle reminders that it might just be the OCD talking. I hope carers can learn to team up with their loved one going through this. To team up and tackle the OCD together no matter how new or strange this concept might be to them. To understand that this is 100 times scarier for the sufferer of OCD, and that they don’t have the luxury to walk away or take breaks from the issue as they live with it in. their. mind.

What I learned about my OCD and my capabilities by moving to the other side of the world at 18 years old

At 18, I was still unsure of all the ins and outs of OCD and how many people faced this dreadful disorder, and I didn’t yet understand or know what parts of my mental health challenges fell under the OCD umbrella. But I would eventually learn. By moving across the world to go play soccer and get my degree, I learned that no matter what deep hole you might find yourself in mentally, you can always fight your way out. You might be digging down deeper for a while, desperate to get out of where you are, frantic and not knowing which way is which, but eventually you will look up and see that tiny bit of light. It might take you clawing and scratching with tooth and nail to climb yourself out of that hole, but once you reach the top, your true self extends her hand to pull you out. You realise you were there cheering yourself on this whole time, waiting for the part of you that is scared, anxious, scarred and wounded to find her way out so you could turn her around and show her how far down she was and how far she came. I learned that to battle a mental disorder is so brave, and to never forget how far you’ve come because even if you find yourself in that hole again, the ledges that you previously made are there to help you get out – you just need to remember where to look.

Sienna Rose Scully will be one of the writers at this year’s Great Big Book Launch at Fremantle Arts Centre. Entry is free but places are limited. Get your tickets from Eventbrite.

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