I’m so excited, you guys, GWAH! Gosh, this blog is so very me, already, ahaha.
Any who, I have found a mental health issues/mental illness tag from (oh god, how do I link things again? *sobs*) Becca’s mental illness tag Sweet!
Okay, I’m gonna reign in my mood, now. Focus self, focus. Let’s go!
- What mental illness do you have? I live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions and I also live with secondary depression….That came off the OCD, those damn neighbors!
- When were you diagnosed? If you wind up following my blog, you’ll be reading this information a LOT in the time that I’m active. *nods* I was diagnosed by my counseling center at university fall of 2014 with OCD. I was diagnosed officially with secondary depression at my first hospitalization at the end of January 2015, but it was definitely there for a good month, into the end of December even, before then.
- Who knows about it? Who doesn’t would be a better question, ahaha. Genuinely though, I’ve become very open and honest about it. There are some people who don’t know like within extended family, but I’ve been open to many friends, even professors, the UMB community (writing about it in the paper for instance), the DA community and already on here as well. Leaving a trail of me everywhere…with pixie dust in particular. That’d be fancy!
4. Do you receive treatment for it? I do, indeed! Don’t know where I’d be without it, actually I’ve gone down to seeing my therapist once a week (although my recent lapse offered twice a week appointments but I’m doing well again now so I’m still just doing once a week). I also take 200mg of Zoloft and 6mg of Abilify. Treatment like exposure and response prevention (ERP) and DBT and mindfulness have been very, very helpful for me. =]
5. Has your mental illness stopped you from doing anything? Yes. That’s the shortest answer. During 2015 it stopped me from enjoying life and wanting to live. It caused me to override my values and act on thoughts about hurting myself and acting out in ways that I only ever feared before. It stopped me from attending classes in the spring of 2015, from studying and getting academic work done. It really ate up my life in one big gulp, but I put the OCD back in its place, punching it in the face repeatedly until IT was the one breaking down and bleeding. It’s actually a little graphic, but it feels sooooo soooo good. Some days are still difficult, and it may take a little more from me, but I know more now that if it gets anywhere near that dark point again, to pack my bags and head into the hospital. There is nothing wrong with getting help. It’s arguably the most logical thing to do in this illogical swirl of madness. Okay, I’ll stop on this question. ^^;
6. Is there anything in particular that has helped you? Dear god, yes. Art has been a huge part of my recovery. I started drawing again in February 2015 and that has led me to painting in the fall of 2015 and now watercoloring in 2016. Painting and watercoloring in particular require a great deal of attention and focus for me and that helps exponentially when I need to cognitively refocus my attention away from the OCD’s stupidity to something I actually care about. Reading has also been wonderful to do again, too. I have a bunch of books out from the library as we speak and reading on here is certainly a thing as well! DBT or dialectical behavior therapy taught me many things about positive coping strategies and better emotional regulation. I learned a lot from mindfulness techniques and grounding techniques. Again, I could talk about this for ages.
7. Can you describe what it feels like to have your mental illness? Well, that’s a little tricky. But I’ll do my best for a short stint of time, which will be quite a bit of an exposure. For instance, you see, when I was identifying as the OCD, the depression and the suicidality, I was often talking, writing or making art about them…until I found out that doing so is actually a compulsion of mine. So then I was meant and told to focus on glorifying life and recovery and talking about that rather than the nitty gritty details. But I think this is a good opportunity to show the different sides of OCD, so I will take up this challenge briefly.
Because I only really developed the OCD when I was 21, I had years of prior lack of OCD experience. I had to get used to getting stuck on thoughts, like, we all have thoughts and sometimes thoughts are unicorns shitting rainbows. But OCD is when it’s like: unicorns shitting rainbows unicorns shitting rainbows unicorns shitting rainbows unic- unic- unic. It’s this constant repetitive cycle with thoughts dipped in like Oh, are you sure? Do you need to check? Maybe we should check? There may be frequent doubt and second guessing going on.
In my case, with the self-harm and suicide obsessions I had a lot of thoughts like ‘Kill yourself. You should just kill yourself. Nobody would know. Just think how much better you’ll feel when you’re slowly suffocating? Jump off ____. You were meant to die by suicide. It’s your calling. Just do it. Why can’t you do it? What the hell is wrong with you? You’re so pathetic, so weak. You don’t have the ___ to do it. What if I want to kill myself and I’m just pretending that I don’t? What if I’m already dead? I’m not, am I? I mean, I don’t think I am…or am I? Crap.’
Unfortunately the OCD has led to a lot of glorification of the acts of suicide and self-harm. Which can make it more difficult for me when I’m dealing with more of the OCD, but especially so when I also start feeling depressed. Not a good combo that’s for sure.
8. What is a common misconception about your mental illness?
“Oh, so you’re a hand washer? Are you really organized? Oh yeah, I’m like that too, I can’t stand it when my M&M’s are in the wrong order. Gosh, I am like soooo OCD.”
“Yeah, I have that too, but it’s no big deal. These balloons are so OCD.”
“Oh, so you’re suicidal? I’ve felt like that too….”
*excuse me while I spontaneously combust in anger*
9. What do you find the most difficult to deal with? The relentless cruelty of the OCD when I’m having a bad day or a difficult time. It feels like living 2015’s dark times all over again. And I don’t know if I’ll make it out alive. =(
10. Do you have anything else you’d like to say? Well, I hope I answered these sufficiently and without getting too sidetracked. :3 I also want to say that Recovery IS possible, that it does get better, that you can get through this difficult time and I know that you can. I believe in you, even if you may be struggling right this very minute. The fact that you are reading this right now is a sign that some part of you inside wants to get better. Allow that part to flourish, water it, take care of it, and one day, too, you may be on this side of recovery where you’re sharing your story and inspiring others with what you’ve gone through (if that’s what you want to do). Stay safe. ❤
I hope this post helps someone out there, if at all!! I hope I don’t sound too cranky anywhere, hehe, I got a little bold in a few places ^^; I wish you all a good day and to feel well again, soon. ❤ Take care!!