OCD and Me #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

OCD and Me #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and if there’s a time to talk about mental health issues, the time is now. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I’ve never really spoken about it because I find it hard to explain to people and I’m a little embarrassed. Do I consider it a disease or an illness no, and I don’t like to say it affects my life, but it does. It’s something I struggle with most moments of the day and I’m so used to it now that it’s like that annoying family member who came to stay at your house but never left.

ocd obsessive compulsive disorder

You probably hear about OCD a lot, with people jokingly proclaiming “oh I’m so OCD” or “oh I’m OCD about so and so”. To be honest I wish OCD worked like that, like it was a feeling that was fleeting or something that is only temporary – but it’s not, it doesn’t work like that. OCD is an anxiety disorder which involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Obsessions can include unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. I’m not the best at explaining things so read about it in more detail if you’ d like.

The illness affects as many as 12 in every 1000 people (1.2% of the population) from young children to adults, regardless of gender or social or cultural background.

ocd obsessive compulsive disorder

My OCD is to do with contamination. Things that I consider dirty or capable of “contaminating” me will trigger obsessive thoughts and compulsions. My obsessive fears tend to be along the lines that a contaminated thing may cause illness, and ultimately death, to a loved one or myself. Something as little as pushing a “dirty” trolley in a supermarket can trigger these thoughts. A bit extreme. A lot annoying. Read more about the different types here.  I used to think I just had weird tendencies or that everyone thought exactly like me when faced with things that could possibly contaminate them. People would laugh at things I would do and the extremes that I would go to in order to avoid contamination. I would laugh to. Of course I was just being silly and my behaviour was illogical. When I came to university – an entire change of scenery and environment, my OCD got more intense and exhausting and I knew that I had to speak to a doctor and check if I was okay. I mean I didn’t have the flu,  my brain was just going into overdrive. At times I would be left with crippling anxiety unable to get out of bed for the fear of being contaminated in some way, shape or form. I would feel helpless, depressed and completely stupid. At this point I had no idea what was wrong and once I went to the doctor I was diagnosed with OCD. Initially, I tried individual therapy and then group therapy. However, for me they were ineffective (sadly) and only reinforced more strongly the illogical thought processes I would go through daily. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the most common form of therapy provided and a lot of it is exposure to your issue and learning to deal with it. For me that was a no no. Trying to navigate university, deal with exam stress and deal with exposure to triggers was not an option for me. After, unsuccessfully trying individual and group therapy, I tried medication. This was the closest to dealing with my OCD but after a bad experience with medication, I completely stopped any form of treatment.

At the moment I just deal with the OCD; when it is manageable and when it is not. I’ve become very savvy at working at when things can trigger it and avoiding those situations; and when those situations are unavoidable I have my own ways of trying to deal with it – coping strategies. I’ve come to accept that I probably won’t be “cured” and I can accept that it’s just a part of me and who I am. I may do things a little differently and I may be a bit weird but I am dealing and coping well so I’m proud of myself. High five me! If you know me IRL, chances are you won’t have even known I have OCD, I’ve probably had a panic attack and you won’t have noticed (unless of course you know and you noticed haha).

ocd obsessive compulsive disorder
In my family mental health issues weren’t really a thing and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to talk about my OCD with my mum. The problem is that it is entirely illogical in nature and so trying to make someone else understand is almost an impossible task. How do you explain something that you don’t really understand yourself. But speaking about it and making an effort to explain has helped my friends and family to support me and has definitely lifted a burden off my shoulders. I don’t feel so much like a weirdo and the more I can understand myself the more I can deal with it and navigate life.

I feel like I haven’t really said a lot but yeah OCD is not just a penchant for neat and organized things. It’s not just you liking to be a neat freak. If I had a pound for the amount of times I roll my eyes when OCD is used as a joke or an adjective, I’d be living in the Bahamas haha. It’s actually really exhausting, draining and affects simple day-to-day tasks. It’s definitely not a cute little quirk – it’s bloody annoying lol. But yeah I’m ending the blog here. I will probably write more about OCD because that was very therapeutic.

Do you know anyone with OCD or have you heard about it before? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. Feel free to ask me any questions! x

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35 Comments

  1. May 12, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    I’m loving all of the positivity being spread this week. I done a webinar at work and I’ve read lots of similar posts helping to raise awareness
    Chelsea Elizabeth recently posted…Big Day PrintMy Profile

    • wjames0505
      May 12, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      Yeah I think it’s great, helps clear misconception and raises support for all different issues x

  2. May 12, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    What an honest post, thank you for sharing with us, and you have nothing to be embarrassed about, there is a lot of awareness being raised this month and it is only a good thing x
    StressedMum recently posted…ME Awareness Day 2017My Profile

    • wjames0505
      May 12, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      Thanks, yeah I feel much better speaking about it and articulating x

  3. May 12, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Mental Health Awareness Week is something very dear to my heart, so thank you for sharing this post x

    • wjames0505
      May 12, 2017 / 6:17 pm

      No worries, thanks for reading x

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Thanks for reading 😊

  4. abi
    May 12, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    I’m glad that people are raising more awareness for mental health , love this post!

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Thanks for reading ✨😊

  5. May 12, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    I hear a lot about OCD, but as far as I’m aware I’ve never experienced it. I think your post will raise so much awareness about it.

    Louise x
    Louise recently posted…The Wedding Singer UK TourMy Profile

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      Thanks for reading!

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      It really is great, awareness is important 😊

  6. May 13, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    I think most of us make light of OCD and just say oh I am OCD about this and that and as you said the not a switch you can flip on and off. Glad you got the diagnosis and dealing with it
    Anosa recently posted…Highlights of Berlin, Germany 🇩🇪 My Profile

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Thanks for reading! Yeah so guess people just say that because it’s misunderstood 😊

  7. May 13, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    I love your honesty. OCD seems to come and go with me…if that makes sense. When I am particularly stressed out, the symptoms seem to be worse than when I am relaxed. I’m 41 now too…and it has also gotten better with time. In my 20’s, I was worried about EVERYTHING contaminating me or my home. I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

    • wjames0505
      May 13, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      that makes sense, stress definitely aggravates it a lot. Hopefully as the year’s go on with treatment or not I can learn to cope better with it 😊😊 Thanks for reading!

  8. May 13, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    I have a friend with a very similar OCD to you and I can see how it affects her daily. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, it’s so debilitating.
    The London Mum recently posted…Mersea Island| EssexMy Profile

  9. May 13, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    Suffering with OCD must be exhausting and so difficult. It’s so wrong that people make comments that downplay it.
    My friend has it and I regularly get in to her car to find her electrical things in there with her (taking her straighteners/iron etc with her is her way of not having to repeatedly go home and check they’re turned off)
    This is such an honest post and I’m so pleased you’re finding your own way of managing it.
    Helen recently posted…Take That Wonderland tourMy Profile

  10. May 13, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    This post is great and very eye opening! So many people do say things like ‘oh I am so OCD about that’ when I suppose they have NO idea what it’s really like.
    Well done to you for sharing this and dealing with your own mental health issue. You should be proud of yourself! And of the fact that this post is helping others!

    X

  11. May 14, 2017 / 9:34 am

    My mummy used to think she had weird tendencies as she would count and double check that she turned off taps, locked the door or turned off the gas – it was usually when she was really stressed. Thankfully its stopped now, maybe that was some form of OCD- thanks for sharing your experiences and helping to raise awareness of Mental Health issues xx
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Silent Sunday 14.05.17My Profile

  12. May 14, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, it must be such a tough thing to think about. I don’t know amyone with OCD but I’ve read a lot about people who have got it x

  13. May 14, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    A lot of people don’t understand what it is like to have OCD and throw the phrase about a lot. It isn’t always an easy thing to live with and it’s good to find coping mechanisms to get you through things.
    MELANIE EDJOURIAN recently posted…Paw Patrol Tumbling Towers GameMy Profile

  14. May 14, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    I know there are so many ways that OCD is manifesting, sometimes to a degree that affects your life so much. It must be hard and exhausting living with it. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    Joanna recently posted…The sweet taste of springMy Profile

  15. May 14, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    Thank you for finding the courage to talk about your OCD. As someone who has suffered with Mental Health issues for 20 years I know how difficult it can be to talk about it.
    I am sure you must find it totally exhausting dealing with your condition, especially when people throw the term around loosely and without thought.
    You made me understand that there is more to OCD than just one or two triggers, so your post has certainly educated me xx

  16. May 15, 2017 / 12:18 am

    I do dear a lot of people lightly talk about how OCD they are. I am glad to know about it from your perspective, very insightful.

  17. VeggiesByCandlelight
    May 15, 2017 / 12:19 am

    Thank-you so much for continuing the conversation about mental health and sharing part of your story. I have a friend that has suffered with OCD off and on over the years. My goodness, it can sure be debilitating. The good news is they are always coming out with new treatments that seem to be effective .

  18. May 15, 2017 / 2:17 am

    Thank you for giving me an honest look into what it’s like to suffer from OCD. I really support how more people are openly talking about and raising awareness about mental health. It’s so important to take stigmas away, and let people know that you aren’t alone. I hope we all keep the conversation going!

  19. Francesca
    May 15, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    Oh god your OCD sounds like it must be very difficult for you to deal with I couldn’t possibly know but thank you for all the i dormation shared, obviously you hear people from time to time mention ocd from time to time but I feel like I know much more now!!

  20. May 17, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I don’t have OCD but I do have mental illness, so on some level I can understand how consuming and debilitating it can be.

  21. May 18, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Dealing with any mental illness is so hard and can be overwhelming to a lot of families. Thank you for sharing your story. That can be the hardest part for a lot of people. I am so glad that we can continue to bring awareness to mental health issues.

  22. June 6, 2017 / 11:21 am

    OCD is jut dreadful. I have had OCD all my life and a couple of years ago, I had CBT to try and get it all under control. The exercises I was made to do every week really really helped, one step at a time… Thanks a lot for sharing. It’s such an invisible condition, isn’t it? You could easily hide it from people, so the more people talk about it, the more others will be aware of it.

  23. July 1, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Very insightful to understand how OCD affects real people x

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