11 October 2018

Living with OCD

I am not quiet when it comes to my battles with mental health but I haven’t really gone into the in’s and out’s of what happens to me on a daily basis.

I have OCD and this leads to anxiety and panic attacks that I have suffered since I was around 14 years old, I am still trying to work out what kick-started this but I am going to blame hormones until I actually know why(bloody hormones!)

OCD is used often to describe someone who is a bit of a clean freak and I think it’s overused and underestimated due to this.

Now I love cleaning and yes, I can obsessively clean my house but the question here is why do I do that? It doesn't become I like things a certain way (though I do) it’s because the routine and relaxation I get from cleaning helps relieve the constant whirl of thoughts in my mind.

Yip, OCD is many things and mine is intrusive obsessive thoughts.

An intrusive thought is a thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession idea, it’s upsetting or distressing and can feel difficult to manage or make go away. When such thoughts are paired with OCD, depression, body dysmorphic disorder, and sometimes ADHD, the thoughts may become paralyzing, anxiety-provoking, or persistent. Intrusive thoughts may also be associated with episodic memory, unwanted worries or memories from OCD, posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or psychosis. Intrusive thoughts, urges, and images are of inappropriate things at inappropriate times, and generally have aggressive, sexual, or blasphemous themes.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Now when I get a thought, it can be totally random. I may start to think about one of my family members becoming very ill (health is a big trigger for me) and my body may start to react like this thought is real. I may become upset, frozen in thought and panicked that this is happening then I use my cleaning as a way of “resetting” and the thought stops and normal service can resume, most of the time.

The thing is as the compulsions help, the urge to perform them regularly becomes stronger and then we get into a circle of constant on edge. If I do this, it won’t happen kinda thinking. I am a completely rational woman but what if I stop and I then prove that my routines worked...ok ok I also know this is not right but I can't stop.

Over time I have learned I have to let these thoughts in and past as trying to suppress them can result in an overload of emotion and an emotional breakdown. They are unwelcomed thought but I am taking control of them by letting them in and allowing them to past without too much fear and worry. This causes me less distress in the long run and decreases the discomfort of it all.

I had a long period without OCD but about 9 months after my second child, I had a relapse and this is not an uncommon situation.

PND can bring on obsessive thoughts as the arrival of a new child can cause many new mothers trying to gain back control of a situation that seems out of control, add in hormones, sleep deprivation and you can have a whole big mess.

I get massive triggers from watching others clean, I tried to jump on the #hitcharmy bandwagon as I too was drawn to the perfectly clean home pictured in the squares but I had to step back as I knew it would send me into a spiral of thinking I wasn’t doing enough to curb the thoughts. It's so easy for me to fall back into a pattern that I have to remind myself daily that my home is good enough for my family and that I wouldn’t kill them but not cleaning.

The idea of these thoughts would seem ridiculous to someone who doesn’t suffer from it but for me, at that moment it’s so real.

I start an OCD management class in September, this is a new thing for me as I have always just coped with it by cleaning, organising or staring into space while it all passes but the time has come to make a change. I will let you all know how it goes.

Please feel free to message me any questions you may have and I am always here to talk if you need it.

Written by Gail @mumforce



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