Living with OCD (no.7)

This one is “just” a photo. I was relaxing at home, listening to music, waking around when at some point, while I was standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom I thought “I should sit down on the floor”.

I ended up sitting with my back on the bathtub. Yes, the next thing I was going to do after my music session was to have a bath (I would have anyway). But sitting there for a couple of songs, pretty calm, next to the toilet was a big step.

Living with OCD and working on more freedom!

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Living with OCD (no.6)

The first signs of my obsessive compulsive actions started when I was 17 years old. I started obsessing about my personal hygiene. I couldn’t go to bed at night if I haven’t had a shower. It sounds normal but it’s only one example and there’s this phrase “must do” that its crucial about ocd.

So, I practically suffer from ocd since then. I have been suffering from ocd my whole adult life ( I’ll be 29 on February).
I don’t like the word “suffering” or “sufferer”, because I have reached a point where I’m in control of my anxiety. But it wasn’t always like this. I have been through years of cleaning, of stuck thoughts inside my mind, of panic attacks, of moments (when I had a trigger) frozen in time. Ocd is like a cage, or a transparent box, your mind keeps you there. Until one day… it can’t take it anymore. Too much anxiety. Too many “must dos”. Too many thoughts. Too many “dangers”. I’ve had that day.
And recently I had the day opposite to that one.
I have been living in peace with my disorder for more than a year, making progress all the time. My goal is to be able to control it forever, not getting over it. One of these days I sat on a taxi seat with stains, it was clean, but the fabric had stains. This one is a HUGE trigger for me. The magic happened when my mind was totally cool about it. I wasn’t fully stressed, just a little bit. I was very cautious after that, being careful of where I will sit, what I’ll touch, I was looking forward for my shower time. BUT, there was this new feeling of some kind of freedom. I had a huge trigger and I wasn’t falling apart, my mind was working it out calmly.
It was a moment of revelation, a sneak peak of the freedom that “normal” people, that don’t suffer from ocd, have! And it was overwhelming, I was close to tears of joy, because I don’t really know how it’s life without ocd. But, I’m getting a bit of its taste now; I’m getting to know life without  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder controlling  my existence! 

Living with OCD (no.5)

ocd

Since the first session I had with my therapist, she noticed that apart from the problems that were created by my OCD, it also helped me in my life, to have a system, to create. In the past, before going into therapy, I had similar thoughts. 

Back then I only believed I might have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Having all the compulsions in my daily life, sometimes I was thinking “what I would do if they would go away at some point, I was used to them, living with them”.

So, my therapist was right. And, from the start, the plan of my therapy was to keep a part of my compulsions. I ended up cooperating with my disorder, and this really helps me. 

I’ve found an ideal place of cooperation with my OCD, while trying (daily) to overcome, little by little, my obsessions and compulsions. 

At this point I’ve managed to have two or three mini-victories over my anxiety, daily. I have started feeling “normal” (having an OCD-free daily life), a feeling that I basically never knew, since I I’ve had OCD my whole adult life. 
Living with OCD, but by having it under control… and cooperation is the key. 

Too close to home

These past months two musicians have committed suicide, due to mental health problems. The news hit too close to home both times, so I decided that it was time to write about it. 

Well, I have been there, not too long ago. About one year ago, after years of untreated OCD, my mind got really tired and started giving me suicidal thoughts. They were coming when I was really stressed, or even out of the blue. Believe me, when your mind tells you even the way you could try and kill yourself is one of the weirdest moments of your life. 

The one thing you MUST do when these thoughts come, is ask for help from a psychologist/psychiatrist! With the help of an expert you see things how they really are. Suicidal thoughts is your mind talking nonsense, your mind being tired of certain problems, your mind trying to cope with untreated mental health issues. Killing yourself is never the answer! 

Many people may say that “you cannot do this to your family”, but I say that YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. In life, hard times always appear and (mental) health isssues appear as well, but there are doctors and experts for it, to help you cope and get healthy, fight, survive and move on from bad times. 

Each individual has hers/his burden/past/memories, but there’s nothing you cannot deal with eventually. It just takes help, time and willpower. But it’s all worth it. Because you cannot lose life, all the happy times that are going to come, all the love, the people, the nice things, the moments, the everyday things, everything, because your mind told you so at some point. 

Suicidal thoughts are about problems with your mental health, and though it’s still some kind of taboo (in 2017), mental health is still HEALTH. When you get psychically sick you go to the doctor, it’s the same thing with mental health, your mind gets sick and you need to go to the doctor. After all, your body works because of your mind/brain! 

So, don’t ever give up, if you have suicidal thoughts it might seem logical to turn them into action. But it’s not! In the end of the tunnel you’re into there is light, there is life, there are good things you can’t even imagine right now. Difficult times definitely come in life, but definitely go as well. And you must be breathing to meet them! 

Trust me, because I’m a suicidal thoughts survivor! 

Livind with OCD (no. 4)

The photo (by Sylvia Duckworth) above sums up the daily life with obsessive compulsive disorder. For me at least. 

I have been asked by others if ocd is something you can get over completely and what you have to do to get better. I, too, had these questions in the past. Well, psychiatry and psychology don’t have de facto answers for these questions (yet). But after conversations with my doctors, a lot of thought and quite some experience with mental health, I reached to the conclusion that the most important thing that helps coping with mental illness (and in my case ocd) is the honest desire to get better. 

This desire is the one that brings you to the door of a specialist. This desire is the one that starts the procedure of therapy. This desire is the one that keeps you on taking your medication. This desire is the one that makes you get outside your comfort zone when needed, so you won’t fall in the same circles that your mind tells you to. 

And most important of all, this desire of getting better is the one that keeps you fighting each-single-day. Because not all days are good. And if you don’t try as much as you have to one day, is enough to get you back to previous stages. 

So, this is the conclusion I have reached. With mental health there’s no black and white. You have to accept the problem(s), go with the flow and work together with things, which eventually  will lead to real change. 

One step at a time, many steps each day.

Try. Work. Fight. 

The asnwers and the results will come in time.  

Living with OCD (no.3)

OCD is about anxiety. OCD makes you feel uncomfortable, almost all the time. 
But there comes a time, or at least it came for me, that you have to make peace with it.  It’s always better living with a friend than with an enemy.  

That time came for me after a trigger. At that point I decided to work together with my OCD.  In a kind of collaboration.  

The trigger that was followed  by this idea was a taxi that didn’t pass my “OCD test” (well,  you can’t  live in a totally clean big city after all…!). Instead of freaking out, I managed to stay calm (my pills help a lot in this),  not having a anxiety attack. Then I decided to open my sketchbook and start drawing trigger-inspired pieces,  with shapes that reminded me of stains. By the way I hate stains, even as a word. 

The experiment worked really nice and I’m  still working with it. It helps me get more comfortable with dirt,  stains and triggers, and prove to myself  that I can create some kind of friendship with my anxiety disorder. 

Living with OCD (no.2)

For me (because for everyone is quite a different thing), OCD is….

….the damaged skin of my hands, caused by excessive washing,

….all the spots in my home that I avoid,  because they are triggers,

….all the years that I had OCD,  but didn’t have a name for it,

….all the panic attacks caused by triggers, 

….the fuz inside my mind, that sometimes is like a million voices talking all together in the same time,

….the way sometimes even small, every day things, seem so difficult to do,

….all the unpleasant thoughts and images in my mind,

….that feeling of losing control,

….the number 4.