Living with OCD (no.22)

Things that can stress you out/be a trigger when you have an anxiety disorder like OCD:

  • Getting out of the house (so many stressers probably waiting to happen).
  • Reading the news (a bunch of stressers).
  • Doing an everyday task like having a bath (there’s a ritual even for simple things, that eventually makes them not so simple).
  • Moving from one room of the house to another (yes, there can be triggers even inside your own house).
  • Getting on a bus/public transport (enough said).
  • Going to sleep (one more night of anxiety dreams and nightmares, wheee).
  • Not having a schedule (yes, last minute plans and not fixed appointments are….not preferable).
  • Watching/hearing something that’s straight related to your specific triggers/stressers.
  • Having too much sugar.
  • Having too much caffeine.
  • Being too tired (as I like to say, “don’t listen to your brain when you’re tired, it speaks nonsense”).
  • Do laundry (be clean yourself, touch the freshly washed clothes with super clean hands, etc, etc).
  • Other really anxious people (in reality people with anxiety try to keep their environment calm, because they’re mind is already messy).
  • Shouts, nerves and all these high energy behaviors of others that can make you more anxious.
  • Not being able to avoid a trigger.
  • The reminder of a trigger.
  • Having to make a call (if you’re someone who doesn’t like speaking on the phone).
  • Waking up (yes it’s exciting that a new day begins, but a list of rituals/compulsions/to dos begins as well).
  • Even the thought of some things/situations.
  • The constant question of whether an object is clear or not.
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A village & a person

I’m thinking about all these widely known people committing suicide the past couple of years.

Having been there (had suicidal ideations in the past), I have written before about my thoughts on the increasing number of suicides and of suicide in general.

Well, to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s an increase of suicides, or if it’s just the same as in the past, but nowadays the incidents see the light of day more frequently. It doesn’t matter that much.

For the past couple of days I was thinking that all these cases, they should work as a wake up call.

Mental health is here. It may be unseen sometimes, but we have to do something about it.

It takes a village to make progress. But it always starts with a person! Me, you, everyone. Each one of us should start doing something, talking, speaking out, sharing stories, opening a dialog about mental health, about what really is about, etc.

I have been someone with an untreated mental health disorder for about 8 years and I have friends who have a mental health issue and don’t continue their treatment (being in denial) guilty or not even starting a treatment in the first place (also a form of denial).

But denial doesn’t lead anywhere. And all the myths about what mental health disorders and issues are like continue going from mouth to mouth; and it would take the same energy to get to know mental health better, than creating a ton of misinformation around it!

It takes a village, but it starts from the person, you, and me, and everyone else.

The most important thing, and an idea to begin with is acceptance. Accepting that mental health exists, that it’s a real thing that can kill you if left untreated and inside a tornado of denial. Otherwise it’s treatable.

And then, after acceptance, come words, and expression, and the beginning of a dialog.

Sounds like an utopia? Maybe…

But, mental health is something that’s treatable, it’s about your brain, your body is there to support you; anything related to mental health has some kind of solution.

And even though you might think you’re alone, there are thousands (if not millions) of people out there that can relate to you.

So, why keeping yourself and your issue in the shadows?

Living with OCD (no.21)

This one is about rainbows. The ones associated with mental health.

So, having a mental health issue/disorder, among other things, means that there will be a lot of ups and downs (and ups again, and downs again, etc, etc). There are so many factors controlling these ups and downs.

But, let’s talk about rainbows.

After a hard period, there will be (probably) a calmer period. Shit will happen, but at some point, the clouds will move a bit and a rainbow will appear.

There is no on/off switch with the mind/feelings/mental health, so that rainbow won’t be one of the dreamy ones. But, still, it will be a rainbow; its color may be faint in the beginning, but eventually the colors will have their proper color!

Nothing lasts forever, and this goes for difficult periods as well!

Rainbows always appear, they help you take a break, relax a bit, see things from a more positive point of view!

Just don’t give up and be on the lookout for those colorful lines in the sky!

Living with OCD (no.20)

With anxiety, come sleep problems.

Since I was a little girl I have been gnashing (a.k.a. grinding my teeth during sleep). And this has continued in my adult life and through the last two years of being diagnosed with OCD, and life happening along with its problems.

Plus, there are nights that I sleep like I was the Cthulu; I can imagine myself turning around and flapping my hands and feet like they were tentacles; at least it seems like Cthulu was sleeping on my bed when I wake up, sheets crumbled, the pillows in a very different position than the one they were when I fell to sleep, and… the jaw ache and possible headache or migraine!

Yeah, when your sleep is filled with anxiety, you can feel it the next morning!

Your jaw hurts, and maybe your teeth as well. A headache or a migraine might have appeared, and there’s a mess in your mind from the anxiety dreams and nightmares. Perfect combo! And some days, you might wake up more tired than when you went to sleep…!

Well, the solutions I have found for all these are massaging my jaw and head basically, maybe take a painkiller before the headache becomes stronger, and trying to relax as soon as I wake up (having a slow morning if possible). And all these work most of the times!

Until, the next time….! When all happen all over again….!

Living with OCD (no.19)

This one is about setbacks.

So, having a mental health issue, an anxiety disorder, maybe OCD (like me) is always difficult. In the best case scenario you manage to have it under control and live with it in peace.

But an anxiety disorder goes hand in hand with life. And life can give you triggers (more than the “casual” ones of everyday). A tougher period of time maybe. Some challenges coming all together. Or maybe memories and anniversaries (or both combined, one hell of a combo that is!).

So, even if you have your anxiety disorder under control, there can be some setbacks!

It might be a compulsion that was gone for a long time. Or a more “messy/busy” mind. Or maybe it can get harder to overcome everyday triggers (because when you’re living with OCD you do have the triggers, actually lots of them, during the day, but you know how to get over/past them).

The basic thing you do in this is to stay cool. You and your mind are going to figure things out. And then, think about what causes the setback and the “new” triggers (you might need to talk to your therapist about them too, it would be a good idea). Oh, and remind yourself that this whole setback thing is only temporary, you have done so much work and there’s no way you’re going back.

Then, try not to pressure yourself too much. Do the most important things and don’t do too many during the day. Give yourself (and your mind basically) room to breathe…!

And keep tabs on how you’re doing.

As I said, it’s only temporary. The ups and down are like your heartbeat, and they mean you’re alive and living life!

Diary

On May the 2nd, of 2017 my mama was getting into the hospital and was going to have an operation the following days. She had stage 3 esophagus cancer.

On this day, exactly one year ago, she had the operation. A big one, of 14 hours. We knew it was gonna be long, but couldn’t imagine it would be that long. And May 3rd of 2017 was the longest day of my life (so far). There were moments that the seconds seemed to go backwards instead of forward.

Days like that, or the memories of days like that, isn’t easy to forget. Even if you want to act like is one more casual day, your brain knows!

Today is one more “anniversary”. The same day with the operation of my mother, as I was going to the hospital, I had a trigger, because the taxi wasn’t that clean. And this trigger, that occupied part of my mind for the whole day, was one of the greatest helpers with the main anxiety of the day.

This was the day I started thinking of my OCD as some kind of friend. I started figuring out ways to work with it so things can become better in my everyday life.

So, 3rd of May is a big day, one of those that you can’t forget.

And, even partially, you keep reliving for the rest of your life.

Favorite words

I have seen the movie twice so far.

And cried both times during this monologue.

It’s not part of Agatha Christie’s book, but one of the additions for the movie.

And it hits really close to home for someone who’s learning that there’s no black and white, that there’s always something you didn’t know about people, for someone that’s dealing with OCD (which loves order, and certainty) on a daily basis, that has opened her/his eyes to the world from a fresh point of view, for someone like me.