I work a full time job, it's a profession which is quite demanding sometimes and there's a fair amount of uncertainty which OCD loves!! I'm very grateful I have a good job and am able to work, I know what it's like when OCD takes that away from you, it's happened to me a few times.
I'm taking a more active approach to getting rid of my OCD at the moment which means I'm anxious a lot and my sleep is suffering but the challenge of doing this whilst meeting deadlines, dealing with clients and doing a job that is good enough (but not perfect) is really tough. The line between living a functional working life whilst tackling OCD or not sometimes feels very fine. I try to be self compassionate when I don't meet my often high expectations and I guess that is an opportunity to learn and grow in itself.
I think the 9-5 working culture for everyone needs to change for one, it's Victorian, but that's something for later. Back to work!!
We like September, with often-clear blue skies and mellow sun.
And it has been a busy, mostly enjoyable month for us.
Some ongoing medical issues: but we made progress on lots of fronts - and are now seeking someone to lay some paving and a base for, then erect, a new shed in the garden.
Our last surviving aunt is 94 and we visited her, my father's sister, last Wednesday in my hometown of Rugby. She is very frail, but her mind is still sharp and clear and she told me some information I had not known, which was interesting.
My hairdresser lives in Loughborough and she told me to check out the retail park in Rugby. It's called Elliott's Fields and it was great ; M& S, Debenhams, Next, River Island, Clarks to name but a few retailers.
We bought some clothes for winter, and enjoyed a late lunch in the M & S cafe.
OCD-wise things are still good with me. Some friends mentioned potential voluntary work, but as a happy retiree with lots to do around the home, and lots for us to visit around our new hometown of Northampton - including the gorgeous local villages - I won't be following that up any time soon.
A little work on the forums helping others is all I want to do on a voluntary basis right now.
Wow this weather is amazing.
It's been a challenge working in the garden but I have chosen times carefully, and made lots of progress.
Julie my wife is really into her nesting in our new home, and I am pretty familmm iar now with the local area.
OCD-wise all is well, hasn't bothered me since last July, when it seems - from a topic I posted then, and provided a link to help a sufferer this week - that I had a blip.
I am more than ever convinced that, whilst a standard CBT approach will help many people, some of us need more consideration to get to grips with what is holding us back - sometimes a different therapy tool is required, sometimes other thinking distortions also need tackling, or - as in my own case with constantly -repeating intrusive thoughts - a separate approach outside of CBT may also be required.
So, for me, the therapist who only wants to play, in football speak, a standard 4-4-2 formation, needs to consider that some sufferers may need 4-3-3- or 3-5-2, or the "diamond" formation instead ⚽ For me, in OCD, one size just doesn't fit all.
Here at home we have got the bungalow nearly sorted, and planning just several jobs this year where we need to bring people in.
And we hope to restore a little socialising, and get to the garden centre, and out for a meal or two.
I think maybe visiting country houses may need to wait - but there are loads around here. And many other beautiful villages beside the one where we now live.
Spring is on the way, and the roads in our lovely village are lined with daffodils and decorative trees and shrubs in bloom.
In the garden of our bungalow, a squirrel is competing with the birds on our peanut feeder, and the wet weather is still preventing me from erecting my second UPVC garden store. The grass length is also demanding attention.
Inside the bungalow more homemaking is scheduled this week, with the erection of two wardrobes.
Julie will likely still need a higher dose of Thyroxine, the drug for her Hypothyroidism, as she still has little energy - but we are obeying doctor's orders to be patient, and another blood test to assess levels is due shortly.
I have met all our immediate neighbours and told them our story. They all seem very nice, and the road is nice and quiet.
Behind the bungalows opposite is a high tree line, separation between the built up area and a field.It will look wonderful with the trees in leaf. And close by are allotments.
My OCD has remained in the background, not bothering me, and long may it continue.
Still sorting and downsizing and nesting, but I have discovered that I quite like that.
We are both so glad we escaped from London whilst we still could, and discovered a location and town that suit us.
Wow what a last 10 months it has been!
As soon as I was able to close down my last episode of OCD - thanks to brilliant help from other members - we threw ourselves into the necessary remedial works to bring our house up to a sufficient standard to sell it.
It involved various disciplines, and quite a few different people - but the renovated house was put up for sale by our agents in early October there was a mad scramble of viewings and it sold within a day.
Then several days later I found what looked like the retirement property of our dreams online - perfect specs in a perfect location with excellent infrastructure and good bus services.
We are now about to go into the penultimate phase - the move itself - before a final phase of fixing some issues we need to do at the new premises - to stamp our mark on it and ease into community life.
Still doing ok on the OCD front, which is pleasing, and I have managed to keep my stress levels down, though sadly my wife has been getting stressed.
Hopefully she will focus now on move logistics, homemaking and nesting
Well it's been quite a while since my last blog regarding my cbt and erp journey. So I thought id do another update on my progress and how far I've come.
Im learning new things all the time, lots of new methods and new things to try with different approaches regarding my cbt, from changing the way i percieve and think about my thoughts and also my behaviour towards them. Learning how to stop myself ruminating and also detachment from my thoughts. Another hopeful step I will be taking shortly to help me on my journey to recovery will be doing a mindfulness course too.
I'm really hoping by sharing my journey so far that it will give some hope and inspiration to others that change and recovery is possible and achieveable, if I can do it I believe anyone can.
For years now I've become highly dependant on my family and close friends for everything from a day to day basis including personal care, cleaning, cooking, making drinks ,not being on my own, going out etc far too many things to list, it eventually consumed my whole life completely because with each year thats passed by the more obsessions and compulsions have accumulated, making it impossible for me to feel able to cope alone. I've spent basically the last ten years whilst at its worst with someone by my side constantly unable to look after myself and my daughter alone not being able to cook, clean, make drinks, go out etc alone.
What finally became more apparent to me that I really needed some serious help was when not only was I doubting myself I'd began to doubt others too, which inevitably made my OCD even worse. I'd lost every thing all my self respect and self pride too, to be honest I no longer cared in my self preservation or my appearance. I'd even began to avoid some compulsions because they overwhelmed me so much because of the fear I associated with them, it was easier for me to avoid doing these things and going these places. To be honest I'd become just this empty shell of myself just so lost in thought and behaviours. As the years went by and as my OCD became worse,the more depressed and withdrawn I became this heavy burden lay on my shoulders and dragged me down, i felt I couldn't breath there was no fresh air. Ocd had taken everything from me, it stole so many things from my life and now I had no self pride, Id lost all my confidence and all I felt was self pity, there was nothing left of me, it had taken my all. My life was just thick black clouds and awful thoughts that consumed me 24/7. Over the years I'd got lost in me.
It's been a year now Since starting my cbt and what a journey it's been. The first thing I needed to do was get some knowledge regarding OCD it might sound strange but I didn't know what was the obsessions, rituals, ruminating, compulsions etc all I knew was I had these strange awful thoughts and acts I needed to perform. When my therapist first started saying these things I didn't know what he was talking about and needed to google and read up exactly what was what before I could understand how to start attempting cbt and what my obsessions were. There as been lots of ups and downs along the way, two steps forward and one step back but this has learnt me different coping strategies. I've started to regain my confidence, self respect and care about my appearance again too becoming really proud of myself and what Ive achieved so far and how far I've come, for the first time in years I have happy moments and even a real smile so that's an achievement in itself. I've become a lot less dependant on others and can even spend time alone without being afraid and going into Sheer dread and panic which makes me feel proud in myself, this in turn lifts my spirits and in return some self respect reappears. It's amazing how different i am from the person that use to smile as though everything was ok and yet behind that smile deep inside it was killing me. I could be in the same room as a dozen people and yet feel so terribly alone it was like I wasn't really there trapped inside a bubble, the sound of muffled voices and blurred visions.
The black clouds are slowly lifting and I can see more clearly now and for once I can see the light through the darkness, I'm beginning to feel good about me and who I am and don't feel so lost in me anymore. Not only am I gaining some of my life back but so are my family and friends also because not only had OCD impacted on my life it had on theirs too.
When i initially started my cbt im not going to lie i was so scared and so afraid of change but I think this is probably pretty normal starting it for the first time? I had spent so many years living my life this way that i was scared of change, some how afraid that I'd no longer be in control. I believed that all these things I had been doing for years was actually keeping me and my family safe so why would I want to change this? But I knew things needed to change I wasn't leading a normal healthy happy life and it was badly affecting my daughter and everyone around me.
I remind myself constantly that I've lived with anxiety everyday all these years doing so many compulsions to help reduce my anxiety and that is the only difference. Yet now here I am doing things to cause myself anxiety which is going to be scary at first. Ive learnt a valuable lesson that working through my heirachy from the least to the worst anxiety provoking compulsions that if i keep repeating avoiding them then the anxiety does eventually subside and each time I do it the length of time reduces also. I've also learnt to stop ruminating which is a big factor in my OCD i would constantly replay things over and over again in my mind back tracking my each and every movement word and action all day over and over again reinacting every thing but never getting the answers or reassurance I was seeking. So why was I putting myself through hours of torment and pain trying to figure things out in my mind, this needed to stop. Learning how to Detach myself from my thoughts as also been really helpful I've learnt how looking at it from an outsider looking in and how they would react to these thoughts. It's crazy I've spent all these years believing that all these strange things I was doing was some how actually protecting my loved ones from harm.
The more attention I pay to my OCD thoughts the worse they become then sheer panic, dread etc sets in, which then produces high anxiety. This is because my mind was way to busy too many thoughts whirling round inside going over and over again, it is so obvious to me now that there is no wonder I couldn't think straight, way to much activity going on in my mind causing me so much confusion, it's really difficult to explain. Now I get some calm time either relaxing or talking to friends and actually listening and being there instead of being lost in thought. I also watch tv from time to time and I'm not sat ruminating over all the past events of the day. It's strange how things can change so much now for once if I'm in that crowded room I can hear and see so much more clearly and often find myself at times joining into the conversation too.I can't be sure how far I will get through my heirachy list but I'm up towards the latter end now and it's so much better than it's ever been a little bit of piece of mind and it feels so good. I'd like to think that I could work through even my hardest ones one day and hopefully break free from OCD altogether and eventually be in recovery.
I think it's important during cbt that you be kind to yourself when you've done well no matter how small praise yourself, if you have a setback don't beat yourself up this lowers your mood which makes it harder to refocus again. Remember tomorrow is another day, what you can't manage to achieve today you can try again tomorrow. It's not a race it doesn't matter how long it takes if it takes two years to get better it's better than spending the next two years getting worse and spending the next fourty years suffering more. It is scary and it takes determination and motivation and you have to work at it, but believe me it's well worth it. You need to be prepared for setbacks and downfalls along the way it's not plain sailing but you learn from it and start to understand how you could maybe approach it differently it's just a part of the learning process and it actually makes you stronger.
Its impossible to begin to list all the terrible thoughts and compulsions I'd accumulated over the fourty years all the tears and turmoil but im sure you can probably imagine how much it had affected and consumed my life and just how difficult this journey as been for me. I believe that if I can do it you can too and believe me it really is worth the work you put into it. My ambition is to reach my end goal and be free from OCD or in recovery at least because for once I feel I can breath and that heavy burden is lifting.
My journey as been a long bumpy winding road, with lots of twists, turns, humps and bumps along the way, ive hit the bumps the twists and the turns but eventually the road is evening out and it's becoming more of a smooth straight road as my journey continues.
Its never to late for change, this could be you too.
I wish to thank my forum friends, but especially Snowbear and Caramoole for their specific vital insight, as I am feeling a lot better.
The stomach issues have eased away as too the tension in my muscles and the anxiety ; and as a result the Citalopram SSRI has kicked in again and I am feeling much happier.
We've had some fun together in the chatroom and it's been awash with love and kindness. And when snowy has dropped in my comic muse seems to take off!
We are moving on with the house renovations - next job is to find the bathroom design and fitting service we like - having already eliminated one of the local ones.
And I am ready to go for a day's fishing when weather and the right timing comes - hopefully not far off now.
Plus 3 days of heavy work by the gardening and tree contractors has left us with manageable projects to work on ourselves.
Thanks for reading
Well a combination of being really busy, better weather, and getting out and about has been helpful.
The bed project continues - we have a new double bed and mattress, plus a new mattress on our spare double bed.
This means overhauling the bedding scrapping old stuff, buying new.
And has started a new project of sorting and clearing what was dumped under the old bed.
The garden renovation project has re-opened, with tree surgery work on Friday and power-washing scheduled for Tuesday.
And we continue to sort through chuck or give to charity the possessions we have amassed, as we will be downsizing.
Plus around the corner lies the project to upgrade the bathroom.
All this activity has helped me mentally and physically ; still fragile but eating well taking my supplements and sleeping well.
Managed to get mindful a few times and am studying some easy ways to slip into mindfulness.
And it was nice to get out in the car play some music and buy a new anorak and some fishing supplies.
Friday night in the chat room here was fun - thank you to my lovely forum friends for sharing that time with me.
One of the many joys of this community is that age has no relevance and that is so wonderful.
Keeping busy and knowing things will get busier soon. We had a meeting with a neighbour today, and filled in a form together. I got out to the pub for a burger pint and a coffee, and i measured up ready to go and order a new bed.
I am still making negative interpretations of things - very negative bias. So , as I simply look to not respond to intrusions, do some happy emotion things each day, I am also very gently looking for the positive in situations and observations - very very subtly and not as a neutralising mechanism.
I am hoping this may work on the plasticity in the brain and encourage it to seek out the more positive emotional things and lay down down positive experiences and associations in my mental checkbox.
Am getting into other things and moving away from too much activity here, especially in the main support forum . Too much time thinking about the disorder hinders recovery I do agree with Caramoole. Also my negative bias has been throwing up other negative connections.
So am getting ready for more home improvements, and hobbies.
Am not planning to join other forums or social media, because they become commitments - i have plenty of local friends we can activate as wanted. Meanwhile maybe we can learn more about meditating practices from our animal friends below. This lemur seems to be in the zone.
Am awaiting a new internet hub as current one is faulty. Planning some gardening shortly and more work in the gym.
Am steering away as I said from too much activity here, and upping other activities and looking to lay down some happiness neural pathways to keep plugging back into and strengthening. .
Not been a great time for me over the last few weeks, as the disorder has been dragging me down mentally and physically.
But with help in particular from my OCD-UK member friends Snowbear and Caramoole, and support from friends and wife, we have a better understanding and a sensible strategy I am now working.
I hope to make some more Autumn photo entries to the gallery, if the weather is favourable this coming week - and also plan to do a little work on my music and writing activities, which please me and are nicely mindful and distracting.
My good friends here and my wife have got me up and about and doing, rather than wallowing in negativity and being ill - I have badly been suffering from mental and physical symptoms, but they rightly tell me not to allow anger and resentment to run riot, and to "get on with the ironing" and listening to the radio In practice, Mrs Roy won't let me loose on the washing or the ironing, but there are plenty of things for me to focus on, and I am focusing into my mindfulness with a little help from CDs and great little mindfulness books and calming enjoyable novels.
Well it's been 3 months since i posted my first blog, so I thought it was about time to write a little update on my progress and a reminder to why i am doing this. I have suffered with OCD for over 40 years basically most of my life in many different forms. It took over my life completely till I became dependant on others to look after me, I could never be alone. It consumed my every moment and affects me in so many different ways, from going out, cleaning, cooking, writing, personal care etc it took over me completely, it is such a debilitating illness that affected not only my life but all our lives in so many different ways, which also causes a lot of upset for all of us. For the first time in all these years i am moving forward because of cbt and the help of a great pschologist.
When things get tough i have to remind myself why I am doing this. Over the years the OCD accumulates and things get worse and worse and more obsessions, compulsions and rumination just keep adding on and spirals out of control from one thing to another till eventually all my time is consumed by doing compulsions and ruminating etc, so each day is filled with tears, anxiety, depression and so on. Not doing cbt these problems would escalate even more I know that, not that they could get any worse.
Before starting cbt i had even considered moving back in with my parents because i felt i could no longer cope, but my daughter didn't want to she wanted to stay at home, which was only natural. It was a heartbreaking time but she said stay at home I will help you get through this and she has been a star. So we stayed at home together. I needed to think what was best for her, I didn't want to break her like I'd broke me.
Cbt is really hard and upsetting at times and you need to work at it, but it's only natural it's going to be difficult facing upto our worst fears imaginable without doing any compulsions and just going against it. But i have learnt to realise that when I wasn't doing cbt, i was always anxious any way, tearful, depressed etc, but just controlling my anxiety by all my compulsions that I had to do, so actually doing cbt isn't actually any worse really, just sometimes the anxiety feels more intense because we are going against what we believe will happen if we don't do the compulsions. So it's better to be anxious doing cbt and aiming to fight my OCD, than being anxious and just living my life of fear.
I know i have a long way to go and so many compulsions to tackle, but start small and work big as they say. Rome wasn't built in a day. I'm probably not even half way there yet but I'm fighting all the way and I'm not going to give in to horrendous disorder any more. P
My daughter, family, partner, friends and psychologist have been incredibly supportive and couldn't have come this far without their love and support throughout, they may be small steps but it's all towards my end goal.
I have come to realise i don't want to just exist in life from day to day and rely on others to be there for me, i want to live my life to the fullest, do the things I'd love to do and go the places i would love to go. I want to be me, who i am, not the person that got lost somehow in all this nightmare. I want to be be happy, laugh, smile and be the real me, who i am and not lostinme any more.
Achieving all this would not only stop my torment, tears and heartache but also that of those I love too, because they have been on this journey with me.
It has been a busy year to date, but a beneficial one.
Lots of family liaison, with some falling outs and then reconciliation, plenty of travel and - thanks to the good weather - plenty of gardening and sitting outside.
Those family issues damage me - I tend to do well at the problem- solving then, when things are resolving, the aftermath of the stress hits me and my mental equilibrium gets challenged and I experience intense, upsetting, vivid dreams, and loose stools and headaches.
But this time of the year we like. Should get cooler shortly, I want to get the wood staining done on the summerhouse, we want to buy a new bed, I need to shed some weight.
We are hoping those family incidents will fall away and we can all retreat back into our individual family units.
I have been driving a lot more this year - which is nice, and kind of justifies the high expense of running a car.
And we are gradually clearing away the excess stuff brought back from mother-in-law's flat.
Busy tends to be good for me, and we've certainly been that - and those times I have earned my exeats for fishing, personal shopping and birdwatching have been really enjoyable.
Re the forums, I am proud of the part I have played in sharing my knowledge, picked up along the way and in therapy, about the disorder in a way I hope is helpful to others.
Autumn is around the corner, but after a good summer I will be ready for it.
It's the first time I have joined any sort of social media and it took me a long time to write something on the forum. However I finally did pluck up the courage and I am so pleased I did. I was feeling really low and felt useless that I had failed trying to conquer my fears doing my cbt work. The more I did them the more worked up I became and the more I failed. I had got myself so worked up over the fact I was not seeing my psychologist for a few weeks that I felt I couldn't do it without them and felt so alone. It has made all the difference to have some one to turn to in a time of need and some one happy to help and give advice. Even after Finding out it would be even longer before I would be seeing my psychologist again I didn't feel so afraid and alone. So hopefully this is a good sign and things can only get better.
Well the garden is blooming and we have been incredibly busy, leading to some stress in the last week,and me having to temporarily defer further ERP on a high hierarchy, the news, as I am not in a strong enough mental and emotional state.
But I have been making progress, and I have been keeping busy. I have lots of new roles to carry out, plus sufficient time for my hobbies which is nice; I am currently at my leisure club, and the bluebells wood is next door, so I will pop in for a walk.
I don't usually engage in too much "man talk" nowadays - but did just enjoy a chat about our respective football teams in the club (generally I find chatting to the ladies leads to a wider more interesting range of subjects!).
So, a dumb down on the ERP until my resilience is stronger - and time to pitch into some gardening at home :original:
It's been over a month since therapy ended, although it feels like it's been about three.
I found it difficult at first knowing I wouldn't have anyone to talk to about the difficulties I face. But I think those feelings were a result of therapy ending. Towards the end I had little to report in terms of ocd hardships. Just having someone explain "this is ocd. This is how you deal with it. It's going to be okay." Was such a relief and has been the most helpful thing. I wish I had got therapy sooner!
I was silly to get upset about not having anyone to talk to. I have this forum. My friends hadn't asked how therapy was. Or anything about my recovery. They didn't even ask if I was feeling better I think they were scared to talk about such a 'taboo' subject - I hate the stigma! But the support and encouragement I've found on here is phenomenal. Plus no matter how much you try to explain ocd no-one I confided in could understand (even if they tried) I didn't understand before I was diagnosed, it's unrealistic to expect someone to truly understand if they haven't experienced it.
This forum and all the wonderful members who have helped along my recovery have really helped me to see how ocd works for me. I have weeks at a time where I am unaffected by it. Then a stressful family situation or uni deadline will give me a flare up. But because of the support you have provided I can move on quicker than before. I know external stresses make ocd flare. It's an anxiety disorder. That's it.
I now know when I can expect a flare up, When I am fragile or weak to this illness. But because I now know I can combat it. I can do things that make me happy and reduce stress. I used to get extremely frustrated when I suddenly felt worse, which in turn fed this crappy illness, but now i can take care of it.
Thank you for all your help and support. This community is so important and you are all so brave and much stronger than you think.
Do not feed your negativity!!!! It doesn't deserve it and you deserve better. Nurture and care for the positive thoughts and feed them so they are bigger, better and stronger than the nagging little bully ocd is.
Basically thanks for all your help. I'm feeling better
I'm not really sure why it's been so long since I last posted - or, indeed, why I have posted today.
The "place" has changed so much since I was here last. It amazes me how much work has been accomplished and how huge this organisation has become.
There are people here who have dedicated their lives to helping others - I'm one of the others - and I can't tell you how much OCD-UK has meant to me over the years. (I mis-typed that and wrote "tears" - which is also pretty accurate!)
To them I want to say thank you. I still have some rough days (I still have some fricking hideous days too) - but thanks to these forums and the amazing people who keep it going (day and night) I'm doing pretty well.
I remember so clearly the first time I found the courage to post - I can picture myself sitting at my desk - trembling - as I wrote it. I was so unsure about the responses I might get and so nervous about the journey I was about to embark on. The only thing I regret about that post is not having done in nine years earlier when the nightmare began. But once I posted that question, the light at the end of the tunnel became visible. Everyone was so supportive and so friendly. It felt as though I'd know these people for years.
I log on from time to time, and dip in and out of the forums. I don't recognise many of the people anymore - but there are old friends here - and it is comforting just to see the names popping up. There is a feeling of constancy and stability here.
To the people who helped me get my life back on track, who pointed me in the right direction and then stood behind me every step of the way: thank you. You are amazing.
Well it is now officially Spring, though it is freezing cold and snow is threatened
But you can't have everything.
I am a focal point for communication between our families so, in a short several day period of a lull in those proceedings, i bought myself a new pay as you go modest-priced smartphone.Having done some research, I decided on the Sony Xperia E4 - it is not 4g capable, but i don't need that, and I have been chipping away at setting up the phone just how I like it - it has been stressful but fun .I think I may just have resolved the last little snag, hopefully.
Anyway, as you can imagine, that exercise has kept me pretty beneficailly distracted. And a 3-day trip with my wife up to her Mum's flat in the MIdlands, where we are having workmen in to fix some faults, enabled the phone to show me just how it can perform as a family comminications centre for telephone, text and e-mail.
At the moment I am doing quite well mentally; working my therapy as fine-tuned following some great insight from the forum; I am carrying out my required ERP, and keeping my days nicely - but flexibly - organised, but also with plenty of time for rest, relaxation and recuperation.
So quite a good report at the moment.
As some of you know I had my last session of CBT this week.
Today when watching TV I had an exposure (I suppose). For the past few weeks I haven't felt anxiety around the thoughts, but I haven't been exposed to them. If I've thought them, it's been of my own accord, as homework. After the exposure today I got a rush of anxiety, my heart sped up and I felt very aware of my thoughts and feelings. I have not ruminated. I am sitting with the anxiety. These thoughts have no meaning, they are a result of OCD. By letting the anxiety settle I am not feeding OCD. I am dealing with the response in a normal, healthy way.
This is the first challenge I have had in a while. And even more so as I know I have finished my sessions with my therapist. I am taking this opportunity to see my progress. I am doing well and I do not feel the same exhaustion and emotions as when it first hit. This is the first time I have had a 'surprise' exposure - And it will be okay. I don't need to attach any meaning.
I must refer back to my blueprint. I have anxiety. I do not need to put meaning to my thoughts. I am allowed to react in this way - but I will not try to reduce the anxiety.
I've had a really good week in terms of my OCD, for me this has meant little to no intrusive thoughts. No ruminating. No behavioural changes/avoidance. And most importantly no anxiety.
I spoke to my therapist a few weeks ago, about how the anxiety the thoughts gave me had gone. And how that in itself caused more anxiety; if I'm not anxious does that mean I like the thoughts? Does it make them true? No it means I'm recovering and the less time and attention I pay the thoughts the less anxious I become, the less power they get and the less frequently they target and effect me. But anxiety wants something to hold onto. It starts to pick on your recovery. I qlso found the theme of my OCD change in the past couple of weeks. Horrible when it happened. But I guess it just highlights how I have Ocd and gives less meaning and belief to the thoughts it creates.
Through the recovery process I have become less anxious by the thoughts. They still occur at times. Which does upset me, will I always have them? Do I always have to deal with them? Who knows. I hope therapy and my techniques will ease them so they are eventually dormant and only pick up when I'm stressed.
For now though I find laughing at past thoughts helpful. These thoughts felt so real and frightening at the time. My mum started laughing at something I said this week. I said
"a heart attack is the only thing I don't think I've ever thought i've had.....the stroke was a low point though" Laughing at the fact I once thought I was having a stroke may seem ridiculous but it's making my health anxiety less powerful. It's diminishing it's harmful and crippling nature. To see how ridiculous my past thoughts gives me hope I'll see the more current ones in the same way some day.
For now though, I will continue to try my best not to pay the silly thoughts any attention, attach no meaning or belief and get on with my life. Ocd and anxietyhave already used up too much of my time.
Yesterday I had my second session of CBT I guess the first session was just to get to know the issues I have faced and get a diagnosis.
So what have I learnt and what do I need to put into practice:
-The behaviours and anxieties I have are based around the same fear -The behaviours I have adopted are supposed to ease the anxiety but this doesn't work. -Intrusive thoughts as background noise are what I should be aiming for- this background noise will eventually go -Getting anxious about not being anxious by intrusive thoughts is an extension of the original fear, trying to latch back on -The anxiety at the thought of an 'exposure' is way worse than the anxiety I get through ERT -My needle phobia is actually a natural response by my body. Called Vasovagal response. -When I stop being effected by OCD I can expect for it to pop up when stressed or anxious about real life events. -If I let OCD stop me from doing normal things, the anxiety will worsen as I will be letting OCD win. This increases the fear for next time.
Homework Continue to accept intrusive thoughts, accept intrusive thoughts as background noise Never ruminate on OCD dragging up memories. Do things which I would normally have done before OCD and live with the resulting anxiety.
The ups and downs of this condition have been absolutely exhausting.
It's Christmas Eve and I am in bed with a hot chocolate reviewing the past few months. I can't help but feel proud of myself; Despite my impatience, when I think about the state my body and mind was in a few months ago, I have made progress and my recovery is well under way. Anxiety and OCD is no longer stopping me from leaving the sofa. I have moments of entertaining intrusive thoughts, but they are just that, moments. Gone are entire days spent ruminating, shaking, crying, not being able to eat and being stuck on the sofa. Even if I spend my time waiting for a train crying in panic, I can now get on that train, I have to. Stopping my life for OCD will not help ease the anxiety. It will only cause more frustration and anger.
I have a long way to go to beat this illness, but it can, and it will be beaten. Now I need to focus on those close to me. Through the worry that I will lose those close to me, I have isolated myself, changed the dynamic of my relationships. I am not a burden, but I have certainly not made anyone's life any easier. I need to work on being kind to myself, and those around me, having fun and not feeding and listening to the negativity this condition has caused.
From now on I will pay more attention to those moments of happiness and joy, moments of clarity when I feel on top of the world. Unburdened. The mere minutes intrusive thoughts spend in my mind are not failure, they are not going to get me down. The less I fret the closer I am to beating this thing.
Thank you for all your kind and wise advice and support. The support and encouragement I have received on this forum, from people who understand and have dealt with this condition has been immensely valuable. You are all an inspiration to me, and way braver and stronger than anyone else will ever know.