Battles with compulsions

Struggling with mental illnesses has been a harsh reality for me for several years. And that’s okay, But in battling and fighting against my inner demons I forgot to treat one particular mental illness: OCD. By not giving it attention and thought it didn’t affect me as greatly, I now have a hard time with controlling and managing it.

To be honest I never knew what to do with my OCD, because for a long period of time, I didn’t believe I had it. That I truly had it and that it was just part of my bipolar disorder. After a while it turned out that this wasn’t the case for me and I panicked a bit. How should I go about my OCD and what did my OCD entail. I freaked out a bit, because I had no idea where to start and why it manifested itself in a harder way at this point in time.

What is OCD?
According to Mind UK, you can describe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as follows: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

  • Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety).
  • Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.

OCD can manifest itself in different forms and ways, which varies from person to person. It’s a very serious condition and can be life disrupting, debilitating and vile.

My OCD
I was diagnosed with checking OCD wherein I have the compulsion to check everything all the time, to put my anxiety at ease. To check is the compulsion but for me personally it’s to ease my mind for certain worries. If I don’t do the checking, horrible things will happen to my friends and family, a fire will start somewhere or someone will get hurt. I tend to check the locks, the time, letters and I will vividly re-read texts I have received or written. And I constantly check some of the valuable possessions I have with me like my phone, my wallet and my keys.

Next to that I was also diagnosed with intrusive thoughts, which is a rudimentary part of OCD as well. It’s a bit of hard one to explain, because everyone has intrusive thoughts. But in my case, the intrusive thoughts are horrible, horrific and quite frankly drive me mad sometimes. It let’s me picture scenes of horrible pain and misery, which make me very anxious and can’t get them out of my head. The most horrible thing about them, is that they are repetitive.

Suppressing it
The things with having several mental illnesses is – in my experience – that one is more present than the other, and therefore receives more attention. I have been quite unstable with my bipolar disorder that I needed al my effort to get everything in the right order. Now I feel like I”m a bit more stable, it seems like the checking and the intrusive thoughts are getting worse. I think this is the consequence of me not giving it attention or trying to suppress it, but I always had something worse to focus on. And now I havent and that’s why it feels like I’m having a hard time. In fact, I’m really struggling.

And now?
It’s hard to put into words what is next. I’m struggling, but managing right now, but I also know that I shouldn’t treat my OCD like that anymore. I should pay full attention to my overall health, both physical and mental . That’s good first step for me, to stop neglecting or avoiding my inner demons. I’m also seeing a therapists in a couple of weeks, and hopefully we can work together to make life a bit more bearable with my OCD. I’m confident I will succeed!

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