Live your mental health with pride

This one if for all the fellow “sufferers” of mental health. “Sufferers”, because I don’t really like the word. Yes, it’s a challenge living with a mental health disorder or illness, but “suffering” reminds me of pity. Plus, there are many undiagnosed people out there that for their own reasons haven’t seek help yet, and this one is for them as well.

I’m all about talking about mental health and creating even the slightest awareness about it. And I talk quite openly about my experience with OCD as well. Recently, I broke up. It was a relationship with a person who was very supportive with the everyday issues created by my OCD, but in the end the reason he used (I say “used”, because there were a couple of issues regarding himself that led to his decision to break up, that I guess he didn’t want to express) for his decision was my OCD. So, he told me that my OCD would never get better and things would keep going from bad to worse and he wouldn’t be able to handle it. When I heard the words coming out of his mouth, for the first couple of minutes, I felt that my obsessive compulsive mind was right telling me for months that eventually he was going to leave me because of my mental health problems (my mind was telling me all these when in reality there was no indication of any of it). For those moments, my mind started telling me that it was right, that there would be no one to be able to handle my OCD in a relationship; ever.

And then I said to my mind “no!”. And I also said “no” to my now-ex-boyfriend as well. No, having OCD isn’t a sentence for life, my OCD taking a turn for the worse doesn’t mean that it will be like this forever. OCD is a part of who I am basically.

For the past couple of days now, I have been thinking how society and people around us perceive mental health and other people with mental health issues. And that’s when I knew I wanted to write a few words to all of you out there…. so I can also read them from time to time, when in doubt!

  • It’s not your fault.

We were either born this way, or either shaped this way from situations and people (or both). There is NO way our mental health issues are our fault, no way at all!

  • It can get difficult for family and friends to deal with your mental health, but always keep in mind that the person that has it the worst is you.

Living life with a brain that doesn’t cooperate, a brain that makes everyday activities harder, a brain that may even create a parallel reality, a brain that won’t shut the fuck up, a brain that’s strong and exists inside your head? Come on, we’re warriors living and battling our own brains basically. Let’s keep up the good and hard work!

  • Wear your mental health with pride.

You might not want to talk about it publicly in a blog, or on social media, but do you. Either way we must be proud in our everyday lives that we keep living our life with its ups and downs and fight (some days more, some days less, it’s ok).

  • Never forget, even when things are bleak and unbearable, that mental health has ups and downs. And that brighter days await for you in the future!

A mental health journey isn’t only black and white. There are many shades of gray and pinches of all the colors as well. Just hold tight because we’re experiencing that color prism while riding a roller coaster.

  • Love and take care of yourself, always.

It’s easy to have issues with yourself when you have mental health problems, but it all begins with loving yourself, your body and even that weird brain of yours that’s creating the problem. Feeling conformable in your skin is a good base getting better!

So, that’s all for now. Take care until the next one!

Angelina

Diary

After a break up, the hole that the person leaves in your life seems so big. And it becomes a little bigger before starting getting smaller again. I’m in the smaller phase now. Still one step at a time. It helps that I believe that the right people are going to stay in your life, I don’t believe in great loves that got away. If someone left, they weren’t your human or the great love of your life!

And there’s my 1-year-project, in which I’m trying to improve things I don’t like in my life. This is also going well. I’m improving my body, I finished my script, I keep making art and I do A LOT of  brainstorming about my next moves and goals in my plan/year/life.

The best news of all is that I’m back in medication for my OCD (I was planning this for months now, but there were some technicalities that were eventually solved). Things are going very well, I’m going to wait a little more and write about my second round of medication treatment on a seperate post. Until then, I can give you a hint: I’m writing this post being triggered and I’m not in any hurry to have a shower!

Take care until next time,

Angelina

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…!

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.

The trauma

For some time now I have been thinking how I should go on with balncing talking about mental health and sharing personal facts. And I decided that there is no way I can create even the slightest impact on mental health awareness, if I don’t talk from the heart. And sometimes the “heart things” have to get personal.

So…I always had the question “how my OCD was created?”. I always knew I started feeling extra anxious during my teenage years, especially after 17, but I could never pinpoint the precise root of my disorder. Until I did…!

Less than a year ago, I came to the conclusion/ realization that my OCD was created by the huge fights I had with my father from approximately 15 to 20 (years of my age). My father is very insecure, the type of insecure that drops all their shit to other people and are easily offended and stuff. During those years huge fights would start from the smallest things, something that my father didn’t like, or something I would say and my father would think of it as lacking respect for him. The fights would usually end up with me crying, and I still remember being 16, crying, and thinking I should get help because I hurt other people. Spoiler: I was a very calm teenager, didn’t rebel at all, all I wanted to do was stay in my room and make art. But, I happened to have a “emotional whore” for a father, and a mom that never even mentioned that all the mess was my father’s doing, coming from his issues. Additional to that, my father kept seeking attention all the time, always asking for something no matter if you were busy or not.

I realized that all the fighing was my fault around the age of 21. But, OCD had already shown me its true colors (I was opening doors with my foor by then, so I won’t touch somewhere that other people have touched). All the pressure and anxiety I have lived though damaged my psyche. After all I was already an anxious person and really feeling a lot.

I realized the true impact that period of fighting had in my mental health just a couple of months ago. It was totally liberating, but in the same time there is so much anger to process, so much! And many more feelings.

I have accepted that I have lived through trauma. And “trauma” is such a scary word, it seems like something coming from a thriller or drama. But my therapist helped me realize that thauma is an exprerience that had an impact (a really negative one) on someone. My family is the type that pretty much avoids the elephant in the room, so there haven’t been a lot of conversations about all these (one more interesting topic to talk about, being the only one in therapy in a family).

Accepting the emotional abuse (because all the above are basically emotional abuse) was kind of easier, because I have dealt with that my ex (of course the bad relationship I always had with my father has an impact on the way I treat men, and will also talk about it soon).

I want to analyze trauma and dealing with it in future post, after all it’s complicated and can’t be fully explained in a few sentences, but I wanted to create a base for the posts that will follow.

Take care until the next one!

The searching

The searching, a.k.a. the therapy.

I have been in therapy for the past four years. And it’s one of the best things I ever did for myself.

Being in therapy, talking, searching has helped me discover things of the past and aspects of my life and who I am.

I chose the “hard way”, I have chosen to reach pretty deep in the past and in my feelings. In therapy is the patient that basically chooses how much he/she’s going to share, and I believe in sharing all.

I feel like the deeper you go, the better base you create so you can recover and build again.

Currently I’m in the space in between: I have changed a lot since I began therapy, I have set new boundaries, realized a ton of things, and….I’m in the phase I have to accept the bad ones. And hopefully things are going to become much better at some point.

I have realized and accepted that my OCD was born inside the family. My family is a family of four, and I’m the oldest kid. And my trauma was created during my teenage years, from the really bad relationship I had with my father, and basically the way he was treating me.

I believe that the trauma deserves a seperate post, so see you in the next one!

Starting over; kind of

I haven’t been posting here a lot lately. And apart from being busy with new art projects and stuff, I admit I was kind of stuck with my mental health and how I should go on writing about it in here.

I have always been sharing pieces of my life here, always keeping the very private things a little more private, but since I started writing about my mental health it’s different; I say my story and it feels good, but in the same time I hope that maybe I could shed some light on how life with OCD is, even maybe inspire someone else to take care of their mental health.

But, while being in therapy I keep going deeper and deeper and I have made so many realizations for myself, my life, my family. And for the past couple of months I have been figuring things out and in the same time thinking about how I would like to continue sharing my journey with OCD.

So, in the following days I’m going to write some posts that will be some kind of “restart” for this section of the blog and then continue with the usual casual posts about mental health, OCD and anxiety.

Take care until the next one!

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!