I wake up and start thinking about the best order in which to do my morning tasks, eventually concluding that changing the order is too risky. I go through my morning routine, checking particular items are in my bag several times.
I leave, pull the front door four times, then walk to college wondering if I really do have everything and what if the door isn’t shut? Those thoughts continue until I need to start getting ready for my first class.
As always, I’m preparing before everyone else, as the chaos and rushing makes me worry I will do something embarrassing like go up with only half my clothes on or something. Once I’m ready I go to the studio and warm up.
The day, filled with classes, holds many opportunities for contact with a germs. My hands feel “right” or “wrong” and I feel the compulsion to clean my hands to fix the latter. *because of therapy I can often avoid doing so now*
Other random thoughts will provoke anxiety. Simple things like not receiving a reply to a message can cause me a lot of worry, which I will try to fix by a. Reassurance seeking or b. Doing something to make myself feel ok (like mentally thinking through if what I did was ok, cleaning my hands, organising something etc)
Everything has the potential to cause me worry. I like to ensure I’ve always done things right, and it can be hard to trust my own mind, so I ask others or mentally recall my day. I just don’t feel comfortable when I can’t fix a situation, or if I can’t be “good”.
Daily I doubt that I even have OCD.
Where do I start?
Firstly by saying that this post is just me venting the triggers, rather than being about judging them.
My brothers seem to be the ones who escaped the food trap. They both have no issues whatsoever with food and actually really enjoy it with freedom while maintaining healthy bodies.
My parents on the other hand are where the problems lie. For as long as I can recall my mum has been on and off diets. Sometimes she has sustained weight loss for a decent time, while other attempts were short lived. I remember watching her read the information on food packets when I was a child, and recall people always praising her when she had been “good” on her diet. Fast forward to this afternoon, and we are in the shop. I commented on some dried snacks and she told me how sugary they are. You might as well eat chocolate if you’re going to have them. While her statements are always aimed at the generic you as opposed to me personally, it makes me feel that anything I select will be judged. I support her trying to lose weight, and on countless occasions have given her (sensible, healthy) advice, but I cannot stand hearing all this food talk. It’s one sided, because I couldn’t tell her my food thoughts without a. Feeling uncomfortable or b. Getting told I was wrong.
My dad is very different. He has been thin my whole life. As a child I remember him as a normal eater, but in the latter half of my life he has developed weird habits. My observations tell me he does a version of intermittent fasting. He is currently losing weight, despite being very low body fat and already healthy, in preparation for something, and frankly it is a bit obsessional. Neither of them have habits I would recommend to a friend, as food plays a bigger part than I feel it should in their lives.
*i love mine to pieces, but my ed is very trigger sensitive and competitive so these things are just too much for me.
Share a scar:
I have some physical scars on my arm and my side. Those scars represent times when everything felt too much. Self harm is a way of showing the internal pain when it feels like nobody else is seeing it. I feel stupid at times for doing this to my own skin, but in the moment it seems like the only option.
Something that’s just for you:
This one was hard to answer. I guess that on a regular basis, having a bath is something that’s just for me. Being physically in the bath sorta forces me to slow down a bit. I like having the water really hot, and lots of lovely bubble bath. I suppose things that are just for me are anything I can do for self care- which is often a 15 minute walk by myself.
For me it’s about learning to be comfortable with treating myself without guilt. Easier said than done.
I’ve come back from a weekend with 2 of my very best friends. We’ve been friends for 10 whole years (almost half our lifetimes!) and time together is such a treat in amongst our busy lives.
We don’t live nearby, or have much free time usually, so a phone call r message just can’t compare with face to face girly time.
I know that no matter what, these two will always support me. They don’t judge me for being ill, and they do their best to help me when I’m anxious, sad, or struggling to understand my own mind.
A hug off your best friends is always pretty fab, isn’t it? Well I got several this weekend! We actually relaxed. You know, that thing where you stop panicking and trying to do too many things at once, that thing that I hardly ever do. We laughed. We talked. We laughed a lot more. We shopped, got our nails done, and took some photos. We did things without the need to rush or get ready for the next day or next week. I love you. It was perfect xxx
A letter to future you
Dear future me,
Don’t dwell on the past. Enjoy the things you have that are important to you. Make time for people who matter; accept that quality over quantity is the rule for friends.
As a present me, I can say that what if thoughts are like a prison. OCD makes everything feel like it needs fixing, but thoughts aren’t always there to be changed. Let things go.
Look after your mind and your body. As time passes know that your body has handled a lot, and it needs looking after a bit more carefully than others’.
Do positive things. Draw, sing, read… Be brave about your mental illnesses in terms of honesty and sharing, but try to define yourself less by your medical labels than you have in the past.
Most importantly, don’t give up. Be the best you can be.
So I had therapy on Thursday. It was hard. I’ve seen this therapist since around May/June time, and I have never ever had a relationship like it. I’ve had more than my fair share of horrendous therapy experiences (I’m talking therapist not turning up to the session, telling me I didn’t have an ed when it was blatantly obvious, being discharged because of refusal to take medication, being told I cause my own problems… The list is endless) and that was about 6 years ago. Since then I have seen a host of different people. Some have been really good, but the nhs didn’t allow me enough time to get to know them, or they couldn’t handle me etc etc.
Finally, 6 years after first seeking help I have found someone who I trust. I have shown her things that no other human being has ever seen. When she mentioned that there is a cap on session numbers (nhs rules) I burst into tears.
We also spoke about my ocd which has gone unnoticed for far too long. We’ve worked a lot on it together and her knowledge has helped me understand how my illnesses intertwine and have come to be what they are. I cried again.
Even when I was suicidal and she sent me to the hospital I wasn’t crying. But this was different. It felt like I’ve never had such a vulnerable, honest conversation.
I finally understand what therapy is supposed to be. Thank you.