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  1. Apologies Hal for taking so long to reply. I have been meaning to sit down and do it, but it seems I have been distracted with one thing or another lately. Thanks for sharing how you have felt in the past and still do. I appreciate that we will all struggle with different things here and there at different times. It is impossible to never feel anxious at all. I hope you have managed to stick with some of the running. I think sometimes we have to change how we think about why we are doing things and what is important about it. When I was swimming a few weeks ago I got chatting to someone in my lane, just having a laugh about taking a breather in between lengths. He was a bit embarrassed about having to rest and I just said to him that doing some exercise is better than nothing. I also read somewhere that it is common to an individual to choose to do nothing at all than do something not at their usual level. The theory is the same. Is it better to do nothing at all or to do even one session a week. It might not match what we expect of ourselves, but by engaging with something will help. I decided to do something completely bonkers this week. So there is a local half-marathon coming up soon. I ran it the first year it started and every year since I have felt jealous of seeing people running each year. I was always reminded if not doing something that makes me feel good. So with my current running I have adopted a different thinking. Now I am slowing the pace down do increase the distance. I am not focusing on how quick I can do my run. I want to run for the health benefits. During a run I realised with this tactic I can attempt to do the half-marathon. I know I can increase my distance at a rate of 1 mile per week in time for the day of the run. I want to do it for the experience and to get back to what I was able to do going back. I haven't told anyone, I am going to quietly go about my weeks and then just go ahead with it. How would you feel if you set yourself a goal to work towards that may give you a purpose? I have three volunteer roles in motion. Two I have to do training and the third I am waiting for a start date. They involve visiting those who are socially isolated in the community. In total it would be 4 hours max a week volunteering. I have some plans for progressing, but will need therapy to hopefully help it more achievable. Future career options will require me to work in an environment where I will be around the things that I fear most. I am exposing myself here and there with things that I would usually avoid. I am reading books on subjects that also cause fear and anxiety. I have noticed that the more I am engaging with these things the less anxiety there is. I am trying to take on board what you have mentioned about riding things out. I am so not used to be in this position and it scares me. I was so shocked this morning. So for the last I don't know how many years the first thing I have to do when I wake up is drink a bottle of water. So this morning I get and as far as I know did what I normally would. I had breakfast, went for a run, came home and had a bottle of water. Then when I was eating lunch I noticed next to my bed was my bottle of water that I would have normally had first thing. It took me almost 5 hours to realise. I was so shocked that I had not even realised. I just hope I can just keep up with the progress.
  2. Hi Hal, Thanks for your message. Apologies for not responding sooner. I know it makes sense to ease off a bit. I think I am just very fearful of letting myself not keeping a positive outlook. I am not constantly forcing myself to do things. I am just trying to make sure I do things a little differently. I think the anxiety will always be there to some degree, I just need to work out how to manage it without letting it take over. I managed to attend the event I planned to go to. I decided before going that I wouldn't stay the whole time, that I would leave a little earlier than when it finished so I wouldn't get too worried about getting home. It wasn't too bad, I was distracted a little, but more so because I couldn't quite believe I was there. I went by myself and spent a lot of time thinking about it all. I have been feeling a bit swept up in emotion at times, mostly when I find myself doing something that I would normally avoid. When I went swimming earlier in the week I made a step in taking the long sleeves off and just went bare armed. It felt so much better swimming like that. Hopefully I can keep that up. I know people might look, but I would rather feel comfortable whilst swimming. So now I am just focusing on trying to get involved in some volunteer work. It does cause moments of anxiety where I question my ability to do things and I notice at times I get this low mood that seems to just appear. I try to focus on the fact that I am not where I was a few months ago and I am trying to challenge the anxiety. Hopefully I get the funding for treatment and this can help with the areas I still struggle with. How are you anyway? Have you managed to fit any running in? It would have been nice when the weather was mild, seems to have got cold these past few days. I hope things have settled down for you since you last posted.
  3. No need to apologise, I hope things settle soon for you and you are well otherwise. I think I came down with a virus or something, was pretty unwell for about a week. I wasn't functioning very well, so didn't even attempt to exercise, got to bed early and just tried to take it easy. Once I felt better I started up the exercise again. I haven't head anything with regards to treatment. Hopefully I will have an update soon. OCD wise I don't know whether I am coming or going. I feel like I am trying to make some more steps, but this past week have notice that my mood feels like it is starting to dip. Have been thinking about my past coping mechanisms like self-harm. I have been free from it for 9 months now and don't really need to do it, but it has just been in my mind a lot. I have been trying to wash my hands less often. So am trying to stay with the anxiety about what I may have touched. I was in the library the other day and the person next to me needed help on their computer and I just went straight in and used the computer they had been using to help them find what they needed. I know in the moment I was having thoughts about not wanting to touch it, but they needed help so I just went ahead with it. When I am swimming I have tried to repeat the numbers in my head that I would normally avoid through fear of something bad happening. I even read a book about a topic that fills me with fear (I didn't realise what it was fully about when I bought it). I actually think reading that book had an affect on my mood. I think it was because there was a constant flow of reminders of my fear. I still finished the book and just decided that there shouldn't be any harm in reading it. I just feel like the more steps I make to challenge things the more anxious I feel. It isn't so much the anxiety around bad things happening. It is almost like an anxiety around continuing with the steps. I have decided to go to a few different events, that will test me in so many different ways. Travelling, the time of the event, being around others etc. I need to do them, I want to do them. It just feels like I am getting stressed about trying to keep momentum going. I mean it feels great to not spend all day obsessively thinking about all that could go wrong and my head feels very clear at times. Sometimes I find I am not even thinking about anything. I have never experienced being in a place like that. I am just a little scared off not being able to move forward how I would like. I still feel I need some help (hopefully therapy) to get to a point where I am functioning how I would like.
  4. Hi Hal, Apologies for not responding sooner. How are you? Have you managed to do some running? Glad to hear your liver has recovered to a normal level after the damage caused by the celiac disease. I completely understand that damage can be done. It is quite funny that you mentioned it, because I have been gluten free for 9 years now. It took me over 6 months from the change in diet to regain any weight that I had lost. The dietician I saw was adamant that if I continued to eat gluten there would be even more damage. I am still waiting for the scan at the moment. I really haven't been feeling well at all and I don't know how to keep functioning. I am still sticking to the exercise, but like this morning, went for a run and by 9am I was exhausted. I constantly feel cold. More cold than a few months back. I am just trying to keep going with my motivation to stick to my goals that I am working towards. Just a little unsettling because of how much I am struggling physically. I can only do my best, get enough sleep, do some exercise, eat healthy and have regular contact with others. Anyway I hope you are keeping well.
  5. Thank you for your reply, apologies for not getting back sooner. It has been a bit up and down since I last posted. So there have been some good points. I had a really nice time the other day. I spent a few hours with my neighbour and her baby. I even managed to have a cup of tea with her. The baby was sick a few times and I didn't react at all. I held the baby a lot and held her hands. It was just such a change from my normal routine. I felt so grateful for my neighbour being so welcoming and letting me spend time with her baby. Later that night there was some anxiety about having held the baby's hands and being sick, but I just had to accept that I had already been in contact. I have still managed to stick with staying up later and doing the swimming/running. I have applied for some volunteer roles, so will just wait to hear back. I am going to try and focus on what I want to do or what I would feel comfortable doing rather worry about others. So the bad has been that I have physically felt really unwell and as time has gone on I am a little concerned that I may have some damage from the overdose before Christmas. Last week I felt really bad and had a blood test taken. Within a few days I found I had very low vitamin d levels and that I needed to take a loading dose followed by supplements permanently. On top of that I am having pain in my liver area. I had this same pain after the overdose. I am struggling physically. In the end I requested another appointment and now have to have an ultrasound on my liver. I have been told the vitamin d can take 3 months before getting back to normal. I am just trying to keep active and eat healthy. I went for a run this morning and by 9 am I was exhausted. I am just going to try and do a little bit here and there. It is just difficult because if I have done some damage I have to accept it is through my own doing. I have family who constantly remind me that over the years I have probably caused problems. I know they are right, because that wasn't the first time I had done what I had did. Maybe this last one was one step too far. For now it is a waiting game until I have the ultrasound. Anyway I hope you are keeping well? Did you manage to do any small runs?
  6. Thanks for your message Hal, it has been a bit of a struggle these past few days. I have managed to stick with the changes of routine, not always going to the café, staying up later and still sticking with the swimming. I have just noticed a bit of some anxiety creeping in. Resulting in some small areas where I was engaging in certain rituals, but I know it won't be permanent. I am aware of it being there and know I need to continue with challenging it. On top of the anxiety is a dip in mood. I think I had a rush of feeling good after making some big steps. Being more open, trying to spend time around others and just being more active. Now I realise how much more I need to do to try and continue forward. I am currently going swimming three times a week, then hopefully add a few runs in. Other than that I am not doing much else. Well except from a lot of reading. I am not searching for things online or trying to get a definite answer to what is going on. I don't stay online long compared to before. I literally read the news online, check my email and search for volunteer roles. So all in all I am not occupying my time as much as I would like and for me to be able to maintain a healthy mindset. With regards to the volunteering I have used the website you mentioned before. At the moment I have enquired with one role, waiting for one to start (possibly after April) and applied for another. The problem is I have zero confidence in being able to do any role. It is so extreme that I could be given any role and I wouldn't feel able to do it. It isn't just volunteering it is also studying or employment. So now the mood has dipped and the anxiety is kicked in. I just feel like my ultimate goal is to be in employment and if I cannot even volunteer for a few hours how am I going to be able to go further. It doesn't help that I have no confidence and have then been given minimal support. In the sense that certain people around me like to make comments about me as a person. If I have mentioned working/volunteering with children I am told I don't have the patience to do that. If I have thought about something else I have been told "that isn't you" or asked how a role would affect me because of my mental health and the things I do to myself when I am at home. When I mentioned that when I am around children I feel alive and at ease with myself. To which I was told that this is only because I am in control, that if I was put with people my own age I wouldn't feel that. I just don't get a lot of positive feedback. I know I should stop even having the conversations with this person. To have some boundary between us (complicated). So now I just don't know where to go from here. Last night I just felt like there was no point in life anymore. I know I shouldn't focus on feeling that being employed would show that I am better. That because I don't work I am a failure. It is just very hard. I just struggle to see where I have gone wrong and why I cannot function in a way I would like. I feel guilt everyday that I am not working. I just wish things hadn't gone this way.
  7. That sounds promising. I think it would be a good way of getting back in to it gently. I am sure if you go once you will get that feeling great again and who knows you may find it becomes regular. Yes it is strange to even think about being anxiety free. I have found myself in moments being surprised that I wasn't even thinking/worrying about what I normally would be. I had a great time with my nephew. We spent about 2 hours playing football. At first it was just the two of us until some other children wanted to play a game. I just thought to go with the flow. The kids were older than my nephew, but I thought it would just be good for his confidence to interact with different people. The whole day was just so nice. I couldn't sleep that night I got home because I was feeling so happy. It was also quite funny because when we went to the park I got my trainers out and a dog came over and ran off with one of my trainers in its mouth. I didn't even react, just stood there in surprise. Thankfully I got the trainer back albeit a bit wet. Looking back there were many parts of the day where I didn't obsess about things I normally would. All in all it went really well. I also went for a run at the weekend. This is the first run I have done in about a year. I didn't go for a distance, just aimed for 20 mins and took it easy. Now I am just trying to figure out how to get involved in some volunteer work. I am not sure what area I want to go in to and it is also bringing up a lot of anxiety. I know I have made some big steps and feel so happy about it, but it is now this step that is pulling me down a bit. I feel that doing some volunteer work will be beneficial, but struggling to work it all out.
  8. Yes it definitely feels like spring will be here in no time. The change in seasons can often make a big difference to how one feels. Maybe if aren't busy you can start out with doing a parkrun on a Saturday morning just to gently ease in. Maybe doing that will get some motivation going to get back in to the running. Yes I am trying, I have noticed a big difference lately. My moods are the main problem and I can easily get overwhelmed. The anxiety has eased a great deal and I can assume that is because I am not engaging in ways I was before. There is part of me that wonders if I get the CBT, whether that will be what I need to just get to grips with all the bits that hang around. Obviously it isn't as straight forward as everything completely going, but I would be happy if it was just enough so that I can continue to make changes. I guess the are different areas that need working on and slowly I hope things will fall in to place. I have managed to go swimming twice this week and I must admit I was so happy with myself the first time I went. I couldn't actually quite believe I was swimming. It also meant that because I went swimming I then didn't go to the café in the morning or read the newspaper. So for a number of years now, I have always followed that routine and it is a big change to skip that. I guess it works well because to cover my swimming costs I cannot do that and the café/newspaper. So it makes more sense to go swimming. I have made arrangements to visit my nephew soon. I haven't seen him in over 7 months, but feel it is about time I spent some time with him. There is anxiety there (travelling out of my local area/having to engage in conversations), but I just have to remind myself that he won't understand why I haven't been to see him and he is looking forward to me coming. So I don't want to let him down. So right now it is just about trying to get a bit of a balance. I hope your week has been ok so far?
  9. Hi Hal, Thank you for your message and support. I hope you are keeping well and enjoying this nice weather (that is if it is nice where you are). It has been a pretty tough week all in all. Not so much OCD related, more of the emotional stuff and thinking a lot about different things. I was glad I had reached out to my CPN, but it was tough allowing myself to be a bit more vulnerable. When I feel things too much, the emotional pain and it is hard for me to feel like I can cope any longer. Which leads to thoughts about engaging in unhealthy acts. However I have done my best to fight through it. This week I was able to meet with my support worker and discuss why I had wanted to stop support. We discussed and decided to work as we go along. That they appreciate nothing goes in one straight line. There are ups and downs. They were pleased that I agreed to meet to explain what I had been thinking. I was also due to see my CPN and knew that I had to do something I hadn't done before. (mostly the things about getting attached and some other difficult subjects). So I wrote everything down and when I saw them gave it to them to read. It was anxiety provoking, but I think I felt now was the time to just bite the bullet as they say. I feel some relief now. That I have allowed myself to share some deeply held thoughts and beliefs. These are things I have carried with me for many years unable to tell anyone. I have also had my assessment to check my knee and have been referred to physiotherapy. There isn't anything serious wrong, but there is three different issues that could be making the knee pain when they are combined together. So I am free to try and start getting more active. I don't think I will go straight in to running, perhaps build myself up with something like swimming. I have also made contact with someone I previously did some work experience with and hope to try and get back involved. There will be things that need working on, but hope that this won't be too much of an issue. So even though I have been in some very difficult places and have felt like I couldn't take no more I have tried to just get through it. This is going to take some work. Hopefully by being more open with others can help me start to move forward little by little. I know if I don't continue to challenge myself the outcome could be very different. Thanks again for being there to support me, it really does mean a lot. Just knowing that someone is listening.
  10. Thanks for the reply. Feeling a bit guilty about you taking time to read and respond to my post. I can appreciate that I need to try and think differently about myself, things I do or don't do. Things are really not great and it has got to a point where I feel I have only one option left. I have managed to reach out to my CPN and we spoke at great length. Was very difficult to do and at times felt at breaking point. I find it very hard to fully express the distress, but have tried my best to be open and speak up. It has been a little difficult since being aware that I may have let some of the walls down. I have plans to meet a friend, but it won't be for a while. So until then will try and keep myself occupied. Hopefully I can try and do some exercise to try and help with my mood.
  11. I think you make a valid point about not putting a time frame on recovery and the benefit of setting goals. I know I can often get depressed at the length of time I have just been existing rather than living and then the struggle of knowing I am not getting any younger. I have seemed to have hit a real difficult patch. So since I last posted I haven't been engaging in reading information/watching videos or anything that would stimulate more anxiety. I have found myself still getting the thoughts, but am again trying to not engage with them. Made me realise how much time I had spent doing such things. The problem is my mood is quite low and when this happens I lean towards really unhealthy thoughts. I had met with my support worker and we discussed me trying to attend a community fitness class and that I would follow this up by letting them know if I attended or not. I wasn't able to go and this impacted badly on me. I contacted my support worker and told them I wouldn't be seeing them anymore because I cannot expect anyone to help me if I cannot help myself. I hate myself so much and cannot understand why I just have no motivation to do anything. I just have no hope that I can change right now and I feel like I am just pulling away from everything. I don't even want to be around anyone right now. Sorry just feeling very negative about everything lately, including how I feel about myself.
  12. Thanks for the suggestion....more complicated than can imagine. It would involve taking the bed apart and putting it back together. I also would struggle to sleep in the room. Basically the whole block has mice and my bedroom is my safe place. Due to location they move between the bathroom, kitchen and living room. I cannot stand them, it is bad enough hearing them running in between the walls at night. Not something I like to think about at all. I think I will be able to manage ok. Once I am in my bedroom I don't feel the cold. I think I can accept that my OCD has latched on to my mental health and looking back I can see that this has been going on for years. I have struggled with anxiety around physical health and researching/visiting the GP, but have managed to get away from that. Sometimes it rears its head, but I can recognise it for what it is. Perhaps now I have do to the same with the anxiety around having to know for certain what is going on. I can recognise that I am now still searching for 100% and that is not possible. Thanks for your thoughts. I would definitely agree that it feels like complete doubt. It is like I have a question I need to have an answer to. So I would see a person and a thought would pop in my mind and I will then question what my thought means. Using the example of the hairstyle. Questioning whether it is attraction or desire. Just thought I would add that it is the opposite, so my thoughts are whether I want a male body, dress like a man. I think you make a good point about that people who do have gender dysphoria have always felt in the wrong body. I say this because my hair style is short and I have on occasions been told by other women I am in the wrong toilets. On one such occasion I lost it and shouted at the woman. I said something of the effect that women don't have to have long hair, that women have short hair too. I guess my anger came out because I felt judged for my choice of hairstyle. I have also been embarrassed when women have walked in, seen me washing my hands and walked back out thinking they had walked in to the men's toilets. Since then I have let my hair grow a little longer because I couldn't deal with it. I guess my point is that if I really wanted to be male then I would have been pleased to be viewed as a male. I have had more situations that I have found awkward. In terms of the questioning the same happens with relationships. I will question whether I am actually attracted to said person or not. Analyse every thought I have and testing whether that points to an answer. I guess what I am saying is there is a lot that goes on my head, but I am never quite aware of the difficulty it brings. I have a constant flow of questions about my thoughts and why I have them, what it means about me, what would people think if they knew so on. Am I attracted to men or women or both. That one I have accepted and can move on from. I don't know who I could talk to about it really. I have my CPN and I do trust them, but I am aware that not everyone understands the nature of OCD and that there are many themes. The gender issue I struggle talking to others about. Especially because of 3 years ago when I really told people about it. Something I now regret. Other than that I am just waiting for funding for the CBT. So until then I will have to do my best to try and not engage with the thoughts. I actually wondered if it would be a good idea to try and write down what goes through my head for 1 day to see where I am analysing, questioning, where I am researching, talking to others so on to see how much it is taking up my time. I strongly feel that I am spending too much time in my head and I am making things worse. I am just in a position where I am not liking myself very much, which in turn leads me to want to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. I don't want to go there at all.
  13. Sorry to post again. I just seem to be struggling a lot at the moment. I don't really know what to do with everything. I am getting moments where I feel like I can't fight no more. I am now starting to wonder if I am doing compulsions that I am not actually aware I am doing. I understand the process of how being triggered, anxiety rises and then performing a compulsion to reduce the anxiety. This only helps in short term and in long term the intrusive thoughts return. What I don't quite get is what compulsions I am doing. I suspect there is more going on and I haven't really considered it as a compulsion. I am struggling with a few things and it might not come out right, but I wonder if I am making things more difficult. So I have this need to know exactly what I am struggling with because I constantly worry things are being missed and that I won't get the right help. This has been made worse recently due to having a lot of conversations with different people. I have had many different diagnosis over the years and this has just confused things for me. I seem to be reading books, articles online, watching youtube vidoes, all in the hope that I can understand what is going on. This also gives me anxiety because I then fear I am wanting to have a certain diagnosis. That I want attention. This has been an ongoing problem for years (10+), but I have never seen it as an obsessive thought. Looking at it now, perhaps I can see I am looking for something that I cannot get. I find myself talking to others about different things I struggle with. I mean is that a compulsion? Am I having this conversations to try and confirm what might be going on. I just have this need to know exactly what I am dealing with. That I need to understand how everything works. It is driving me insane. I just feel I am probably doing more things that are making this more difficult. The second issue that I am struggling with is to do with gender identity. Around 3-4 years ago I came to a conclusion that I must want to be the other sex. If I saw the opposite sex I would look at their hair and wonder if I wanted the same style. I would look at their physique and wonder if I wanted to look the same. I didn't know whether I was attracted to them or wanted to be like them. I started buying clothes that the opposite sex would wear. I would wear them. I felt the need to tell people this was who I truly was. However it wasn't something I actually felt certain of. I read things online, read books, watched documentaries. I was never sure of what I truly felt. This went on for a while, but then I never thought about it again. I just carried on as I was prior. I know I don't exactly fit the stereotype for my born gender. I have no issues with people with regards to their sex or gender. It doesn't cause any problems for me. A big problem is that I have a number of siblings of the opposite sex to me and I was the youngest. I was the child that was longed for. For a very long time I have felt a let down for not meeting those expectations. It has caused serious problems where I feel a failure and that I am not accepted as I am due that. Someone once mentioned that this sounded like OCD and I never really considered it. So fast forward to now, I had a conversation with someone about my failure as not matching up to my born gender. It has just snowballed from there. Now I am going round in circles questioning everything, trying to look for signs that I may not want to be who I am or if I am in the wrong body. Not knowing if I am attracted to people of the opposite sex or it is that I want to look like them. I guess the major affect of this is that I feel like I am not ok as I am, that I am not the child that had been hoped for and I will never be able to fix that. I don't know if that is where my anxiety is. My fear that I will never be accepted. Obviously more to this in the sense that there is some truth to it. That I have been judged on what I wear from close family. So that just drives the problem more. I don't know how to deal with this. I know that all that is going to happen is I will research or start looking for signs or look at different clothes styles. I know too that there is an issue that I am searching for a 100% answer. I cannot cope with not knowing anything for sure. For 3 years I hadn't even thought about it, just carried on as normal, embarrassed by the fact that I told people I wanted to change sex. I am still embarrassed now by it. Now it has popped right back in and I am questioning it all again. I mean I cannot even understand if this is anxiety, because I actually don't have an issue with the idea of someone feeling like they want to change gender or be recognised as a different gender than born with. I just don't know if my anxiety is the fear of not being the person that was wanted. Even though I am an adult I still carry this with me and cannot get past it. Apologies for this. I am just starting to possibly see that I am getting stuck on both of the above. I keep thinking I must be fine because to see me in person it wouldn't be obvious things are going on. It is easier to spot some compulsions that are more obvious. I am just going crazy. I don't want to be in my head anymore. I need some kind of outlet and release. I just want to cry, but can't. I just don't know who I am and if I am being genuine. How do I know when I am carrying out a compulsion?
  14. I can appreciate how you have explained just experiencing the thoughts and not labelling them. I cannot agree more about sentence you added from Fred Penzel. There is a large part of me that is putting meaning to my thoughts and that because I am having them it must mean something. Hopefully with some more work I can accept them as they happen and know they are just thoughts and that is it. I guess there is a lot going on at the moment and I am struggling to get my head around things. I have realised that I am not managing as much as I thought I was. Thanks for your words on the heating situation. I haven't made a decision on it yet, but am going more towards not being able to get it sorted now. There is too much anxiety around it all. I cannot even express it to my support worker. I feel like my reasons will sound stupid to anyone else, but to me they aren't. I do have an electric heater, but don't use it often. Again it isn't straight forward. So my TV only works in the bedroom and I can't use the heater in there because of the size of the room (instructions from the product manual). So if I was to use the heater it will only heat the living room (biggest room for ventilation), where I don't spend so much time. So to manage that I tend to stay in the bedroom in bed because it is the warmest place, I can watch TV or read. Also there is the cost of using the electric. Yeah so I know ideally getting the heating fixed is the best choice, but right now I don't feel I can manage what needs to be done. It has impacted on me more than I thought it would. I find it hard to accept that for now I cannot manage it.
  15. Thanks for the reply. I know I just have to hang in there for the moment and take things as they come. The difficulty is not reading in to my thoughts and labelling them as making me a bad person. Yesterday I just felt really low about everything. The situation with the heating hasn't turned out as hoped and I am literally not in a good place about it. My support worker told me that the course of action would mean that I would have to stay away from my home whilst the work is being carried out. That all my flooring would need to come up. The whole thing feels too much and I would rather have no heat than have to deal with all that. There are so many reasons I feel I cannot do it. The anxiety of it all made me feel like I wanted to cry. That has also affected my mood. Feeling stupid that I cannot even consider doing what needs to be done. I just don't think I can do it.
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