FU to my OCD: From Struggle to a Song that’s Inspired People Everywhere
You’ll often hear people say, “I’m so OCD”. You may have jokingly said it yourself. We all like to keep things neat and tidy. Perhaps, “We’re all a little OCD,” right? Wrong.
OCD is one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions. Media portrayals have led most people to believe that sufferers of OCD are eccentric perfectionists who love cleaning. A notion especially damaging to the undiagnosed. At least, that’s how it was for me.
I’m David, a 28-year-old recording artist and songwriter, born and raised in New York City; Professionally I’m known as Small Boss. At just 7 years old, I was diagnosed with ADHD, and the rollercoaster ride began - failed medications, daunting side effects, and frustrating outbursts. It all culminated in my expulsion from a private school in third grade, as they deemed themselves ill-equipped to handle my needs. It was a tough time, but soon after, I found my footing in a public school with the right support.
The first friend I made invited me over to his house after school. I had never seen MTV before, had never seen TRL before. When he turned on the TV, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson dropped down from the ceiling in the video for his hit single “In Da Club” off his debut album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”. From that moment on, I wanted to write songs; I wanted to Rap! Hip Hop quickly became my identity!
At 16, I had been recording myself for 2 years and had formed my own record label from my mom’s basement; “Black Tie Records”. By my 18th birthday, I had self-released five mixtapes and officially incorporated Black Tie!
Then came March 2020, I was 25. With ten self-released projects under my belt and a debut studio album in the works, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, locking down the world. Anxiety took hold of me like never before. I was scared to leave my house, obsessively washing my hands until they bled. The constant rumination had me wondering, "Am I going crazy?". Chaos reigned in my life, and I turned to the one constant I'd always known – my music.
My friend, Slamtype, a renowned Portuguese Producer/DJ, sent me some productions to work on during the lockdown. What started as an escape from my anxiety quickly became a 3-song EP. A lifeline amidst the chaos. That EP led to an introduction with a senior executive at Sony Music’s "The Orchard." A few weeks later, Black Tie Records signed a multi-year distribution deal with Sony Music and The Orchard!
You'd think that with my dreams on the verge of becoming reality, my anxiety would dissipate. To my surprise, it intensified. The pressure to succeed weighed on me, and my anxiety worsened.
My mind became a battlefield, a constant war of thoughts countering thoughts. I avoided things I once loved because they triggered my anxiety. Seeking reassurance from friends and family became a daily ritual. I could no longer suffer in silence.
I'd been in therapy since I was 7, starting with my ADHD diagnosis. After years, of keeping my inner turmoil a secret, I finally confided in my therapist. To my relief, she assured me I wasn't crazy. She connected me with a psychologist who diagnosed me with OCD.
It was a revelation. I no longer felt alone. My therapist explained how common it was for people with OCD to hide their symptoms out of fear of being labeled as "crazy”. My symptoms were more common than I had imagined, yet the stereotypical portrayal of OCD in mainstream media had prevented me from even considering that it might be what I was grappling with!
My therapist explained my journey was only beginning and introduced me to the OCD Workbook by Bruce M. Hyman PHD LCSW and Sherlene Pedric RN.
Together we embarked on this self-teaching journey. Due to my fear of judgment and the associated stigma of OCD, I kept my diagnosis a secret, continuing to battle in silence. Over the next year, I diligently worked through the workbook, gradually gaining a better understanding of my OCD and learning to define and address intrusive thoughts in healthier ways. However, as I would later discover, OCD often evolves, finding new avenues to attach itself to.
As I worked on my second studio album, OCD started targeting the very thing I cherished the most. Intrusive thoughts plagued every recording session, but I refused to let them win.
Our final session for the album was a collaboration with friends of ours from a band called Enrose. Sprits were high with everyone on their musical A-Game. Meanwhile, there I was grappling with intrusive thoughts once more. However, this time, I fought back with newfound resilience. I thought to myself, “Not today OCD, Today is ‘Gonna Be A Good Day!’”.
Those words became the chorus of our song, "Good Day.” That song, born from my battle with OCD, changed my life forever. It garnered attention from industry executives. "Good Day" became an anthem, and my journey continued.
I traveled across the country promoting “Good Day”, all while I continued to silently battle with my OCD. It was mid-August 2022 when I reached Los Angeles for the first time. Scheduled for a week of recording sessions that would again change my life forever. I began working with Theron “Neff-U” Feemster, a producer behind multiple hits from 50 Cent’s album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, the album that sparked my love for hip-hop all those years ago!
He asked me a pivotal question: "If you could say one thing, what would it be?" I knew it was time to share my journey, my struggle with OCD, and the hope that came from fighting back.
Together, Theron and I wrote “Therapy” a song about overcoming mental health struggles and finding the strength to keep going. With lyrics like “FU to my OCD, I let go of my Anxiety, My mind’s playing tricks on me, Brush It off like 1 2 3..”. The song quickly resonated with the OCD and mental health community, especially with kids!
When I was deep in my battle with OCD I searched far and wide for a song that I could relate to and did not find what I was looking for! You can Pre-Save Therapy on your favorite music platform, ahead of its upcoming release date, and you can watch the official lyric video right now on YouTube!
I'm sharing my story with ADAA to let anyone struggling with OCD or any other mental health condition know that seeking help can be the start of an incredible journey!
Small Boss is a Recording Artist and Songwriter. His latest single Therapy is available to Pre-Save on all streaming platforms and the official lyric video can be viewed right now on YouTube. To learn more about his advocacy you can follow @SmallBossMC on all social media platforms or join his online Discord Community.
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