Life with OCD

I think I need something fresh.

I have written so much about my OCD and mental health, but I feel the need of making some changes, refreshing a bit.

My OCD is evolving as fast as life does after all. My belief that each one of us should tell his/her personal story is stil here. One step at a time more awareness can be created.

Here I am; I have spent 13 years with it (unofficially), with only 3 years out of them being officially diagnosed. I live with it, I have created patterns, tricks, some kind of program so I can be functional. But one great truth is that living with OCD is never easy. In my case, an outsider might look at someone who’s figuring things out just fine, when in reality it takes so much energy to keep up with life sometimes.

Yes, I know that so many people, even without OCD have to deal with life. But imagine having to deal with it all and add to this a mind that’s constantly thinking, that constantly needs reassurance, that has to do certain things a certain way (always) and gets irritated and super uncomfortable if things don’t go as planned. It can get absolutely exhausting.

Well, this one is going pretty melodramatic already, so let me continue with some more positive stuff.

I never gave up, I never accepted my OCD and just sat down and waited for the next order from my brain. Yes, things have changed since my diagnosis, there are always ups and downs, but one very important thing is that I never gave up!

In this phase of my life my goal is to have a more relaxed and maybe OCD-free life in the future (long story short), a goal that has many many aspects.

So, I’m going to continue my “Living with OCD” and “Living with-out OCD” series of posts, but with a fresh attitude!

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Stories of objects: the vase & the fuchsia candle

This was a candle container.

I fell in love with it in the store.

The glass was clear and the candle an amazing fuchsia shade. I kept it without burning it for a while, but I believe that we should use pretty things in everyday life.

Eventually I burned the whole thing and kept the vase so I can refill it (I recycle pieces of wax and make new candles). But when I got to make the new candle and reuse it as a container it broke in two places. I cleaned it as much as I could and was using it for keeping tea lights for some time.

Now it’s time for it to go. I will always love its pattern and that fuchsia shade.

Diary

Summer of 2019 started with my need for rest and relaxation. So, I decided to spend a big part of it with my family, in the house where I grew up.

Well, let me tell you that didn’t go as I have planned. I realized a couple of important things about my family (and the way certain things have eventually effected me), my OCD and I did a lot of work with my art. Hadn’t planned any of it. But things came that way. And in the end I think that in reality I was in the right place at the right time.

So, I have many things to deal with, the project of “living with/out OCD” still in progress, a lot of new artwork done and inspiration to help me create even more.

Tomorrow, I will be back home. And the first thing I’m going to do is a super decluttering! I live in a small flat that’s both home and art studio. I’m definitely a maximalist, and I have many corners/objects that are considered a trigger for my OCD and I keep avoiding cleaning them. And now it feel like such a good timing to do so.

A super decluttering is on the way!

And a new beginnings already happening!

Reinventing happiness: Mac & cheese

For the past few years I have been through some difficult times (disease in the family, mental health issues, etc, etc). All these eventually left me lacking happiness.

It’s not only hard for me to feel happy nowadays, it’s almost impossible. No, I don’t have depression (but I do have OCD). I feel something like happiness, but it isn’t it!

After a lot of thought with myself and conversations with my therapist, I decided what my next step would be.

Reprogramming my brain so it can feel happiness, in some way reinventing it.

Paying attention to small things I like, looking in the past and in the present, giving myself tasks, trying new things.

I’m going to document all these here, starting from something quite simple: a dish (ok, I had 1.5 dishes) of mac and cheese!

And here’s a selfie after having a very good mac and cheese….

Happy!

Living with/out OCD (no.13)

To be honest, the title of this series of posts feels a little bit off lately. I started working towards a life without OCD a few months before I stopped my medication (details about it in previous posts). Since the period I stopped my sertaline things have been… difficult. But lately, I have been feeling much better.

The only “leftover” is the increased anxiety levels. For almost three years my brain was used to getting its daily dose of sertaline and I had managed to create a balance in order to be functional.

And now, I’m in the process of reorganizing that balance, with a meds-free brain. I’m researching for ideas to decrease my anxiety.

The process, and all the tons of anxiety I’m going through lately, remind me of a dream I used to have since I was a kid. It was one of those that are closer to a nightmare than a dream.

I was in a car, I was driving (even though I didn’t know how to), I had to find the right way to go and then I couldn’t stop the car.

Now, I see my anxiety as that car. I have to learn how to handle it under the current circumstances and manage to go forward.

Living with/out OCD (no.12)

Going of antidepressants, after almost three years of taking them, while still having OCD and being in therapy.

It’s for the better, but the fact doesn’t make it any easier. I wrote a few posts about the procedure and all the things that I felt. This one is about the time that things got better.

It’s been 5 months since I stopped taking my meds (after a period of tapering tge dose and always under my doctor’s instructions). And, I won’t lie, it was one of the most difficult periods of my life (until now).

The uncomfortable feelings, the massive amounts of crying, the demons and memories awakened.

During all the above, that are totally normal by the way when you stop giving your mind the extra sertaline that it really liked, there was one thing that I realized: how much tired my body and mind were. So, after trying many things in order to feel better until the storm was over, I decided to press pause for many things in my life, take time for myself, learn to do nothing and relax. A couple of weeks after putting my idea in action….magic!

One afternoon I finally felt better. And calmer. The calm I was feeling with the antidepressants. And the storm was quite over. Yes, there are moments that things get weird and tough, but I deal with them pretty good!

In the past months, the progress I had already made with my self-awareness helped a lot, and the therapy was there to help at hard times, but I believe that what was really crucial was the fact that I knew it was just a really difficult period that would eventually end, during which I was willing to feel it all and look for ways to feel better.

And that combo of patience and fighting the darkness paid off in the end.

Maybe now it’s time to continue with my “Living with/out OCD” project!