When life gives you shit, do something about it

The (exact) half of 2020 is over. Saying it’s been an interesting year so far is an understatement.

For me it started with big problems with my grandmother and her husband, who happen to live right next to me. They’re 86 and 87 now, she’s in the first stages of dementia and in the beginning of the year he fell to bed and has been in bed ever since. Not a good combo when you have OCD and in the same time you’re the first responder to a situation like that!

Then, the quarantine came, and I decided to spend it with my parents. Living under the same roof for three months wasn’t easy at all. You know when you’re in therapy you start seeing things differently….

Then the quarantine ended and it was finally time to return home. By the way, my home needs a lot of work, because there are many triggers in it and I want to work on them.

Plus, as you may understand from all the above, I’m not really happy with my life for the past months. And there are a couple more things, for example I’m very pleased with my art, but I would like it to sell more. My OCD isn’t at its best, I’m going to start medication once more (but my doctor can’t return from Sweden for now, how fun!) and I want to improve many things in general.

The number one thing that’s going well is that I have found a good man, that accepts me for who I am and also accepts my OCD. We’re even going to live together in autumn! So, even if things are kind of a mess, this keeps me going. I was planning on writing about love, relationships and mental health for some time now.

But I won’t. Because this also went sideways. A few days ago, out of the blue, my boyfriend told me that he wanted us to break up. I didn’t see it coming, because there was no indication of it coming. After all I might write about how mental health affects relationships, but from a whole other point of view than the one I was planing.

So, here I am, I’m basically unhappy with almost everything in my life right now, plus a broken heart.

The good thing is that my character helps in these situations: I’m what you call a “fighter”. And the more low I go the more I get determined to get up.

Here I’m going to document my journey with getting over my break up and putting my life back in order. And I will continue writing about mental health, OCD and my art.

See you later!

What’s happening?

If you open the TV, or scroll through Facebook, you see a lot of news (international and national).

A nurse, who as I read was working overtime during the pick of the pandemic, being dragged by her hair by the police because she protested for a raise. A black man being killed by the police, in cold blood basically, only for using a fake 20-dollar-bill. People who try to find refuge in another country, because theirs is in war and they try to keep themselves and their families alive, being treated in the worst possible way by governments. Women being abused by their boyfriends/husbands and when they eventually find the courage to ask for help, the police isn’t willing to help them.

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. And I won’t even get started on the violence against animals and kids.

So much violence, so much hate, so much corruption.

Why?

How did we get here?

How humans became… not human?

The lives of others

Living with OCD is not an easy task. Actually, it can become really difficult sometimes!

There are moments when I want to do something different than what my OCD tells me to do, but I do what it tells me anyway. And there are so many routines and rules that I have to follow. Even for the smallest everyday tasks!

Which brings me to the point where after almost 14 years of living with obsessive compulsive disorder, there are many times when I’m jealous of other people’s lives. Not in a bad way; I just find it amazing to be able to live your life casually and being more “normal” and relaxed, instead of living in a world of triggers with constant anxiety and stress!

It’s the small things that count: being able to move freely in your own space instead of being careful about where you brush up against or what you touch. Being able to go out without getting prepared for a trigger. Being able to use objects without checking with your memory/brain first, to see if they’re triggered or not.

For the past couple of years things have been everything but ideal for me and my mental health hasn’t been at its best. But for the past year I have trying over and over again to make some progress with living a little more “normal”. There have been ups and downs with this project, and lately I’m on it again.

Always having as my motivation the thought of a more relaxed everyday life!

Progress loading…!

What’s left behind to come back

I turned 31 on February. It felt kind of a milestone. Last year, 30 was “oh, I’m getting into a new decade”, “oh, my, 30!”. But this year that decade started moving a bit faster.

I did a lot of thinking about where my life is now, and focused a lot in my art and professional projects. Until then I had created a brand with colorful boho jewelry (named Daily Art by Angelina), one with horror/psychobilly jewelry (Psycho Trinkets), was making my original artwork as Drawing Tales and my art photography and my digital collages as Angelina Mavrogianni Photography. For everyone who has a small business or who’s an artist is very well known that there are many struggles, especially if you don’t have a lot of money and if you don’t know many people. So, things weren’t so great for all these projects, or at least they weren’t as great as I would like them to be. And back in the beginning of the year it felt so right to make changes. So I did.

I stopped creating jewelry for Daily Art by Angelina and decided to create my original artwork, my art photography and my collages (plus a new kind of art jewelry) under my own name. And kept my Psycho Trinkets brand as well.

Apart from these changes I brainstormed about letting back into my life things I have let behind; basically cinema and music (the two things I have studied).

Have you ever had something in your life, an activity, an interest, that you stopped working on for some (or many reasons) and then came a point where you were missing it?

I stopped writing scripts and working on short film projects, because of a very bad experience I had directing a play. It was a big mistake to even start that project, was only 19, hadn’t even finished film school, but I was pressured by my father to find work as a director, even after health problems I had that year. I ended up stepping out of that project and leaving directing for ever. Plus, after that I realized the importance of timing, each person has their own timing for doing things and that timing is very important.

The other thing that I have left behind is music, singing. After I finished school for singing (and teaching singing) I was in a band that didn’t go so well and then things started happening in my personal life, my mental breakdown, my mother’s cancer and I basically never got back to it.

I miss both cinema and music terrible. I miss creating a story, a movie, I miss singing, writing songs.

And that’s why I decided that this year was the time that I would get them back in my life!

I started writing a horror comedy, but I paused that script and currently working on a horror short. Hopefully it will become a movie until 2021.

And I’m thinking of maybe starting a YouTube channel with covers of my favorite songs, but I’m still working on that idea.

The important thing is the evolution of one’s self. It feels good to change, and change again, and maybe once more, but have some things that work as a base for this change. Some things that are parts of you.

The daily life with OCD

My OCD is oriented towards contamination. To be exact I hate stains and bodily fluids. Plus, my OCD is pretty severe. Currently my day is full of patterns that go according to my obsessions, but in the same time help me being functional.

I want to be able to function properly and do things, so many times I have to push myself. But, of course, going out in the city or doing errands is like Russian roulette: chances are I’m going to have a trigger.

There are periods that things are better and other that things are pretty tough, like the past couple of months. But there are always the good, better, days!

The rage

I’m a fighter. I’m the kind of human that will get mad if I come across something that’s not fair. And I’m pretty vocal about my opinion.

But I never had anger issues. Until I did.

For the past couple of months, along with my therapy realizations, the anger showed up. The suppressed anger that was building for years surfaced, I let it surface. And it’s been one hell of a ride!

I never lose control, when I get angry I never let words come out of my mouth without thinking about them first. I know very well how to keep my cool and I do so even in the most intense moments. But with the anger levels I’m going through lately it’s been a little bit harder to stay “calm and collected”. It helps that I have practiced keeping quite calm, but creating also helps a lot.

Being an artist I have learned to put my thoughts and feelings into my art. And with anger it’s super super useful. Making something helps me keeping it under control and in the same time externalize what I’m feeling in a very healthy way.

It feels great that I’m not letting myself go and that I don’t let the heat of the moment get the better of me. And it’s jind if weird thinking what I would have done without art, where all this baggage would go…

I believe that this period it’s a phase that I have to go through, until I fully accept my new discoveries and become my more, normal, calmer self.

Those teen movies

Today “According to Greta” was on TV, a 2009 teen romantic drama. I have watched it before back then, but it was fun watching it again.

It reminded me of all the the similar movies I was watching during my teenage and early adulthood years; all the romantic comedies and dramas.

The heroines were close to my age, there might have been problems in their lives, but everything around was colorful and with pinches of romantism.

Usually the girl was an artist or at least she had artistic. She was looking for her way, a new beginning, a solution to something, and in the meantime she was discovering herself. Of course there was always a cute guy who was falling for the girl, for who she really was.

In those movies there was a lot of positive thinking and will power. But they were leaving you (me) with a sweet sense. That’s the sense I was reminded today….

OCD & the pandemic

What it’s like to live with OCD through a pandemic?

Well, it’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone basically. It’s like that for everyone I think, but if you have OCD it’s one of the hardcore episodes, the ones that the world as the hero/heroine knew it is coming upside down.

It’s weird seeing everyone doing what you usually do because of a mental condition; doing routines and actions that you have mastered through the years of (unwilling) practice.

Now everyone washes their hands regularly; I wash mine countless times daily, for years now.

Now everyone keeps their distance from others; I try to keep my distance from others all the time, I basically hate it when strangers come too close (aka approximately 1 meter).

Now people use antibacterial tissues, which are basically one of the top 3 essentials I always bye from the grocery store and I use them even inside my own house (and, yeah, now I can’t seem to find any).

Now some people clean their phones, their cash, the groceries, all these things that I always clean.

Now some people throw their clothes to the laundry basket straight after they enter their house; well I have been doing this for years (only wear something once and after I wash it).

Now people pay attention to where and what they touch; this is a constant thing for me.

Normally I’m the odd one out of the norm and, now, my “abnormality” is the new norm.

I have been living with obsessive compulsive disorder for years now. You know that fear you feel nowadays, that you’re going to get sick, that something bad is going to happen if you’re not careful enough? I feel like this each single day; I create through this, doing everyday chores through this, live through this. And it’s not easy at all.

Now, during this weird and hard period we’re all going through, I am cool about it, because this is life for me, I do what I always do, keeping the pieces of balance I have managed to create for myself over the years. And because it’s all these repercussions are second nature to me, I’m quite sure I do my best so I and the people around me won’t get sick.

Think about it, how you feel with the coronavirus pandemic. Imagine having all this pressure and paranoia 24/7 inside your head. This is exactly how OCD feels like.

The madness of this epidemic is like being inside the mind of an OCD patient. And the virus is like every fear and obsessive idea that someone with OCD has. It might not always be so real as this virus, but it’s 1000% real for the brain and the body of the patient.

Maybe all these words are food for thought… something to think about if you’re in quarantine and you have so much free time in your hands.

Take good care of yourself and we’re all going to be just fine in the end!