Déjà vu, literally “already seen,” is the strong sensation that a current event has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.
When my OCD, anxiety and depression were at their worst, I used to constantly have bad thoughts. It usually involved people close to me dying. I forgot about it until it started happening again recently.
My mind used to spin so fast with worry that I would barely recognize the wonderful things in front of me, including my kids.
In fact, I was often looking at the miracle in front of me and, instead of enjoying it, would work myself into an anxiety attack. Because there was always the chance I could lose it all.
As the dark thoughts whirled around, I’d start to worry about the possibility that something bad would happen and that when it did, it would come at me as a déjà vu. My mind would start flashing images of accidents and disease involving my kids, and I would repeatedly beg God to not let it become a déjà vu.
The absurd thing about fear and anxiety is that you get thoughts that have no basis in reality. Yet when the images come, it feels as real as the ground beneath you. For the victim of OCD, it becomes a living beast of flesh, bone, teeth and overall terror.
Last week, after several nights of poor sleep and a particularly stressful afternoon, I had one of those moments — the first in several years. I saw it for what it was this time, and the fear dissipated pretty quickly.
But it served as an important reminder: You can learn to manage your demons, but you’re never fully free of them. You always have to be on guard.
That’s not a terrible thing. It’s a simple fact of life really, and I’m grateful that today I can put those moments in the proper perspective.