A girl with too many thoughts...

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Depression & Me

In my experience, feeling down is something that is very common with mental health disorders. When my OCD was really severe, I was constantly low. It was like I had become a completely different person, my personality was nothing like it used to be.

I went from being a very family-orientated person, who would sit downstairs every night around the dinner table and talk with my parents, to somebody who didn't want to speak to anybody at all. I would shut myself up in my room every day, all day, barely even getting out of bed (to me, there was no point in getting up and doing anything).

I was angry all of the time, cried often and very easily, snapped at everybody and didn't bother to stay in contact with friends. I really didn't care about anything - things I used to enjoy doing became boring and I made no effort to maintain my appearance. I feel awful when I look back at how I acted, especially towards those close to me like my Mum, but I have to remind myself that i really wasn't myself.

Something that really bothered me during this time, is that I felt like my low mood wasn't being taken seriously by my therapist. He referred to it as 'situational depression' or 'co-morbid' (basically that the low mood was just a result of the OCD, rather than a problem in itself). This frustrated me because to me, it felt like more than that, and I thought he was implying that it wasn't as serious because it was just 'a result of the OCD, that would eventually lift'. 

When I look back now, I can understand that it didn't mean my low mood was any less severe, but just that it wasn't possible to treat it separately because all of my mental health disorders were inter-linked. There was no point in isolating one aspect and trying to treat that alone, without addressing the problem as a whole. 

For the most part, my mood has improved a great deal. I still get down quite often, especially during stressful times or sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Whenever I'm having a week or two where I am feeling particularly happy or motivated, I am always waiting for the eventual crash where I will end up feeling just as low as before. I think now though, it's better because I know it will be followed by a good week again (hopefully).
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Anxiety & OCD: My Personal Experience

I thought I would make a post detailing a little more about my personal experience with anxiety, in particular, OCD. This condition has certainly dominated my life the most, especially more recently within the last few years where my symptoms seemed to intensify and became pretty severe. I'll try to keep this short and sweet, so to speak, because I think if I tried to explain all of my symptoms I'd be here all day!

So where do I start... at the age of 16 whilst I was studying for my AS levels in sixth form, my OCD ended up worse than it has ever been. I can't particularly pin-point a specific moment in my life when I realised it was getting bad (but that's the thing about mental health conditions, they have the tendency to creep up on you like that).

At this point, my main fear was around contamination and basically anything I might ingest that would be harmful and result in death (for me, everything revolved around a fear of death). This caused copious amounts of obsessions and compulsions that would basically take up my whole day, I don't think there was a part of my day where I wasn't being affected by my OCD in some way. It was extremely repetitive and I was exhausted. Being totally controlled by terrifying thoughts is not fun and it completely consumed me for many months.

Preparing food became impossible, my mum had to prepare all of my meals for me (she was the only person I trusted to do this) and I couldn't watch her do it, otherwise I'd always find a problem with the food. My diet became limited to a few specific foods. I was scared that eating anything else would cause a severe allergic reaction. As far as I know, I don't have any food allergies, but that's just OCD logic for you! (i.e. there is no logic to it)

I also followed daily rituals. When I got home from school, I would shower straight away. After that, I couldn't sit down stairs on the sofa because I was now 'clean' - so I would go to bed where I felt somewhat comfortable. The clothes that I wore had to be washed every day (especially since I could easily get through 10 pairs of socks in one evening.) I would wash my hands more times than I could count, leading to dry, cracked hands that would bleed all of the time.

Going outside proved difficult also, so I spent most of my time when I wasn't at school in the house. I remember summer being absolutely awful. The fear of contamination from bugs, plant pollen and basically everything that you associate with summer, was overwhelming. It meant that if I did go outside, I would feel the need to shower as soon as I got in. Because I didn't want to shower dozens of times a day, I just avoided this by not going out much. Even though a lot of these fears have eased now, I still associate summer with a feeling of dread and depression...

So hopefully that just gives you an idea of my experience with anxiety. For now (and hopefully forever) my OCD symptoms have calmed down a lot, I am much more in control with it all (thank goodness for CBT and medication!) I still experience many of these symptoms but just a lot less severely. My symptoms definitely get worse in times of stress (mental health conditions seem to feed off stress) but I am generally a lot better at dealing with everything!

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear about your own experiences!
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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Hello!

Hi and welcome to my new blog! I thought I would start off by explaining why I started this blog in the first place...

If you have read my 'more about me' page, you will know I have been diagnosed with both OCD and social anxiety disorder. Something I found really helpful when I was struggling pretty bad with these disorders was reading about other people's experiences. Sometimes, I think it is reassuring to know that other people are experiencing similar things to you, and it is nice to be able to relate to what they are saying.

So that is basically why I started this blog - to share my thoughts and feelings about all things anxiety-related, in the hope that you may be able to relate, or at least find some of what I write about partially interesting, who knows?

I hope you enjoy reading, and please be patient with me whilst I work out how the hell to work this thing, as I currently have no clue what I am doing (as per usual). I would also like to apologise in advance for my extremely sarcastic tone, which will probably become apparent in much of what I write.

I'd love to know what kind of posts you enjoy reading most or what you would like me to write about (I need inspiration!)

Thanks for reading!
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