Sometimes Goodbye is the Most Liberating Part

As someone living with OCD and BPD, saying goodbye and letting go of things is really, really difficult.

But luckily I have amazing music by my side. I’ll be sprinkling that in throughout this post.

This post is also for me, more than for the Reader, but I’ll include some things that have helped me as I navigate this new road, a side street I didn’t realize I’d ever be taking, in my recovery and in my life. It’s too important not to talk about. And I’m tired of being silenced. I have a voice. And that matters.

No more walking on eggshells.

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Featured song no. 1: “Second Chance” by Shinedown

This song popped into my mind when I readjusted the title for like the third time for this post. I was thinking of the “Sometimes Goodbye is…” and while I finished it differently, I had that lyric pop into my head and it took a moment to recognize what it was from (and honestly, Google did the rest) but yeah. It was helpful. For me, in this moment of my life, the Second Chance is not an actual second chance for how hurt I feel and why I feel that way. It’s more like, saying goodbye is a second chance…. Wait, that is the lyric right? Ooops. I guess, saying goodbye and putting something to rest is a second chance to just move forwards. I now know things I could have gone my life without knowing but it happened, it’s here. And now: what am I going to do about it? How am I going to curb my reaction to it and how am I going to heal and overcome this? I will also include some close hitting images of quotes I found online.

Honestly, finding other articles and blog posts and things (forums) where people have spoken about the hard things they’ve gone through (particularly with breakups, I’ll give you that) has really, really, really liberated me, validated me and made me feel seen. No one has the perfect recollection or experience similar to mine but maybe I just haven’t found it yet (instead of meaning no one out there has experienced it). And maybe I will one day. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe by that future date, it won’t even matter so much for me to have it or not. Not needing anything more than a goodbye–that’s liberating. It’s freedom. It’s peace. Is it always? Absolutely not. It won’t be. It’s painful. And life is that duality: life is beautiful and life is terrible. Even just finding this old thumb of mine, that I don’t remember making in ways, speaks to that side of me and speaks to the reality of the situation:

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“After a breakup realize that you had a life BEFORE them and you can still have a life AFTER them. You just have to find yourself again” — Sonya Parker

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A lot of what I’ve read on articles about breakups and forums and such talk about that: that the breakup happened, it’s there, it’s painful, it hurts, AND it’s the BEST time for you to grow, better yourself, overcome your faults and flaws (or at least have it be a work in progress), take the time to focus on you, practice self-care, put your needs first, give yourself self-compassion and self-forgiveness and self-love. You get the drift.

Another song:

No. 2 song selection (a true bop): “I Should Probably Go to Bed” by Dan + Shay

So, I naturally filmed a few videos today. If you haven’t seen any of mine lately, you may not know that I tested positive for COVID last week and was symptomatic. Luckily I’m doing a lot better but it was an experience for sure! I got VERY creative and was cranking out like 8 videos in one week. Ahahah I was VERY bored. So I filmed a few others today, especially surrounding what happened in my life, and three of those vids have NO CONTEXT whatsoever and are just me self-soothing to music on camera (filming myself when I’m unwell actually provides me a safe space to feel and cry and process out loud, and also, most importantly ensures my safety 100%) while poorly singing and just experiencing and letting go. So, this song popped into my head and it wasn’t in my CL;MA playlist but I added it so all is right in the world again lmao But for me, just the lyric “I should probably go to bed” and turn off my phone and just not engage is SOOOO, so accurate. It genuinely feels like a solid: I should quit while I’m ahead. I should probably be left alone. But I won’t call in the morning. I’ll say goodbye instead and move on.

There’s something nice about moving on, even when it’s really hard and doesn’t happen in NEAT little stages to check off the box each time it happens. Healing, it seems, isn’t linear. It’s a process. And I am healing. I’m back to square one, Ground Zero, but I’m healing. I have to remind myself:

It’s not March. It’s not snowing outside. I am safe. I am in control of my actions. I always have a choice. I am responsible for my own recovery. I can steer this ship safely back to shore–and also that that ship isn’t made to only be on shore, it’s meant to be out at sea, too. Which reminds me of the next song but, ultimately, I do have power here. I do have my feelings and my thoughts and my speech and being. And that is everything. I can wield (and arguably should wield) it more carefully, and I get to wield it. I get to get support for something that has wrecked me. Even if it’s a very complicated, unclear, creative and uncut way of getting support. It’s support. And creativity will be my saving grace. So although I can’t really say some things or everything, I just have to be okay with the story I do tell and be as truthful of where I am in that healing process and get help for it the best way I know how (and without dragging down or shooting out anyone else’s ship. I know that better now. It’s not worth it. I may not have intended for it, but it happened, and it’s way over my pay grade.)

Now, song 3:

Song No. 3: “Wrecked” by Imagine Dragons

I feel this song in about 40 different ways. Especially now. It’s a hard song but it holds so much beauty. So much pain. As life tends to do. I may not have lost something… yet I lost everything. At least, that’s how it felt. When everything happened in March, it was a crumbling. When everything that happened in July occurred, I genuinely felt like my world crashed down and crumbled all around me. There’s something ever so crushing about that–the world gets smaller and smaller and smaller. Until there’s nothing left. Nothing, at least, but darkness. And I don’t wish that on anyone.

I fucked up in some degrees, this is true. I don’t think, at least I’m baffled by it at the moment, that I deserved to be re-traumatized all over again and mentally placed back in Ground Zero after I had worked and put in the time and the effort to be okay. And it all got obliterated within a single moment and single action. And now it’s March to me and you can’t convince my brain otherwise–at least, I have the peripheral awareness that June DID happen and the more crises I had then happened so I really need to get to the roots of my DBT skills again. Move up appointments. Cope healthily. Cope … privately to then be able to cope publicly. There’s a lot of feelings there. A lot. Thanks, BPD. You’re great! πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄

The pain definitely does come in waves. Time will heal as well. How am I supposed to move on? That’s true. My mind is a place I can’t escape your ghost, absolutely. Especially how I couldn’t fall asleep last night until 4AM and that was even AFTER I re-edited a video I panicked in deleting (and maybe shouldn’t have).

Brink of the edge: I definitely utilized the concept or metaphor or analogy this morning that it felt like I was standing on one leg on the ledge of a 300 foot tall mountain. And I was losing balance and about to tumble down the other side into the large river… but in reality it’s a 3 foot curb and I’ll panic for a moment, feel like the classic “I just almost died” and continue on with my day regardless. It’s that awkward flailing in public and then, pick up your confidence and carry on like that totally didn’t just happen. And, in some ways, it having happened… doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything else beyond that point in time. You can still move on. You can still say goodbye. You can still cope and heal and overcome. It won’t be easy, and it is possible.

I really want to cover more on this subject in a future video: Ending relationships in recovery. Particularly what helped me, how things affected me, the feelings or thoughts that came up, the articles or videos or content that helped me specifically and ways to maybe question or navigate the process through and through. Anyone interested? It’ll take a while, of course. Naturally. Okay, next song.

Song No. 4: “Flowers” by Lauren Spencer Smith

This is a new song that I’ve recently found and have completely and utterly fallen in love with. I’ve listened to it a lot and I really, really enjoy it. It transcends above my current situation but it helps so much and I love Lauren’s voice and her storytelling and what she did creating this piece and processing it out loud, too. Her official music video for it is a MUST see too. My facial recognition is awful so I didn’t even realize it was the same girl in two different relationships (I was very confused) but I have it all figured out now! I also love that final line because it’s so true: If it’s hurting you (in whatever way that might be; things can be healthy and then be unhealthy, etc.) then you should leave and go and get some help. It’s larger than you and your experience and it’s okay and important for you to understand that trauma, heal and move on and go forwards. It’s a beautiful song. I’d also really recommend her song that precedes this, “Fingers Crossed.”

“Who are you to tell me I can’t be heartbroken? Babe, you had the chance, the door for you was open. If it’s what you need to tell yourself to sleep at night, pretend I haven’t found [someone else] who treats me right” >> I love and adore the power behind this. No one deserves to tell you how you can or can’t grieve (even me!). How you can or can’t cope. And especially not if they are saying one thing and then contradict that three seconds later. Everyone processes differently. Some people write songs, some people make videos, some people express their pain, some others bottle it up. Of course there are healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing those needs. If someone is hurt, like how I’m hurt, it blinds them a bit. I’ve been blinded by the pain of my loss and thus I have done some things that were hurtful. And I messed up on that front. A good part of that was my hurt, and I think, at least right now, that I should be able to express that and get some support around that. I’m not blasting names, I’m not blasting socials. It’s carefully construed. I’ve made a new narrative that the reality doesn’t mesh with, and it’s how I chose to speak about it. Could I have done better? Absolutely. I messed up in some parts. I’ll focus now more on my own stuff. It’s just complicated and hard and I haven’t been able to find ways or advice or articles about how to navigate such a particular situation, so it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong and what some people can or will or should know about it all and what is better left unsaid and who it’s and is NOT directed at as the audience involved. I’m tired of being on eggshells and being afraid. I’ll own my part and what I’ve done and find more creative ways of engaging with the material, so to speak. I can feel my pain and express my pain, I just need to find healthier ways of doing that. Focusing on what helps and talking about it and processing it is what I do. I don’t deserve or need to suffer in silence. I can be hurt and heartbroken and shifting into what I need moving forwards (think pro-recovery skills). Again, no names, no direct links. Just expression. And that will be happening in more stories of creativity (meaning original works of short stories and poems, in comments, in my fanfics etc).

“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together” — Unknown

Sometimes there is no closure. I had that with Luna, too. I had it with another friend that I fell off with. Actually, probably more than one. Sometimes certain relationships don’t have clear goodbyes. Whether it’s friends, family, strangers, online relationships, partners, viewers and readers, etc. Sometimes there’s not closure. And maybe not all closure is earned, either. Maybe it’s not even a requirement to fully process and move forwards. So, sometimes, just stop chasing it. It’s okay to not have it, too. If it hurts more than it ever did or did before or doesn’t help right now, drop it, don’t let that rip into you. Let it go. Move on. No contact. Take them out of your life. Do what you need to do to move forwards. Again, sometimes goodbye is goodbye. It can be the kindest, sweetest and most necessary thing to leave something that wasn’t healthy: say goodbye, let go and move on. You don’t owe anyone anything else. You don’t have to hear the closure. Sometimes no closure IS closure.

Sometimes you’re better off without it. Especially if it hurts.

One last song:

I lied, two more.

I lied again, one more.

Song No. 5: “Remember That Night” by Sara Kays

I’ve loved this song for ages. For a solid year or so. At least. It became something I leaned on when issues with Fai arose last Sep. It became something I leaned on when my first breakup happened. It became something so much more. I love the shared timeline and I can absolutely feel that and relate to it in a whole new level now. I listened to this all last night and it’s so true–I had made progress being 3 months no contact and then it was all obliterated–all that work, all that healing, all that more hopeful and promising emotions, the wanting again different things or to say positive things–just vanished suddenly and completely and I couldn’t do anything to get it back, to get back that healing, to not be in March in my mind all over again. It’s awful. And I am having to relearn again that it’s not March, it’s July; it’s a new setback, it’s a continued loss (or is it a fresh new loss too? Can it be both?); it’s an ending, a full on ending. It’s out of my hands. And soon, I hope, it will be out of my mind and then out of my soul. Again, this time to improve myself and work on my things will be crucial. I never got to month four and five to live my life and not think of them but I guess from this new starting point to that future date, it should help a bit.

So, that’s all the things I’m going to say tonight.

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There is one last quote I want to share and then one article that helped:

“I had a lot of reasons to give up on you. But I still chose to stay. You had a lot of reasons to stay. But you chose to give up” — Anonymous

Obviously there are many, many, many stories to tell or explanations or experiences.

But I won’t tell them. Only my parts. Only my feelings. It’s a one sided representation but this online social media is mine and only mine. It only makes sense and is more responsible of me to only share that happenings, those goings-ons. So no more speculation. Still cautious sharing; maybe that will get easier, too. I think I am still walking on eggshells. I hate that I am. But maybe that’s only for right now.

It’s complicated. And it’s over.

(In some ways and in other ways it continues on painfully until one day it’s just a faded scar and nothing more. I crave that day soon. I know I have to put in all the work first though. Sigh. You can’t rush healing!)Β 

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And now, now I think I can breathe again. With knowing that the war is over, the battle had its bloodshed, it wasn’t easy or nice or cute, but it’s over. The dawn is coming and the darkness will fade. This, too, shall pass. And there can be rebirth. Growth. Change. Health.

And maybe, that makes all the difference this time.

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I can cope. I can heal. I can overcome. I will overcome. I will take it one step at a time.

Until another post, friends. Take care of yourselves.

Also the article, I haven’t fully finished reading it but here it is: (and some things don’t apply but I just dismiss those parts of course) Is my ex looking for a reaction from me

πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”

PS Stay tuned for an honorable mention future post like this one again for “Unsung Hero (Smeagol’s Song)” by Tiffany Gray because that song legitimately SAVED ME so many times and I feel SO safe whenever I listen to it. πŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’š

Questioning: When Are Support Groups Helpful vs Harmful?

Let me just say this right from the get go:

I don’t have the answer to this question yet. I’m still trying to figure it out and it’s going kind of rough. A few of the pros and cons I have done over the course of time have been inconclusive: running into the problem of how to quantify and numerically decode when my cons are as long as my pros and whether I should be identifying percentages towards either of them. It’s…. complicated. So, I don’t know the answer yet myself. It’s tricky and difficult.

Secondly, here are some of my boundaries (as I’m finding and being taught that they will have to be more consistent in me reiterating them each and every time I can):

  1. I am not a crisis service, mental health professional or expert in mental health. I like to say I’m an “expert only in my own lived experiences” but I don’t have any licenses or degrees besides a BS in psychology. (I do have some trainings though but nothing like a master’s or PhD.) Basically, I’m not an appropriate person or place for others to reveal crisis information or to get direct professional help from. Of course, if you feel that you’re a danger to yourself and it’s between telling me or no one, I’d rather you tell me, because I will not keep safety information private and will instead link you towards local or national resources or call emergency services etc. So, if you come to me for help, I can get you to the appropriate resources, and you can get help in an indirect way, but either way I’ll point you to where you need to go and practice my own self-care to maintain my own health, wellness and stability.
  2. What can I offer? I can offer peer support in the sense of being non-judgmental, pro-recovery, positivity, hope, what’s helped me and worked for me, providing inspiration (I hope!), the skills or treatments that were most life-changing for me, “I” statements (sometimes I use “we” as well though, I try to limit the “you” statements as much as I can) and empathy, kindness, validation, healthy coping strategies, problem-solving and compassion. Again, if it’s an issue regarding safety, I will do everything in my power to get you the resources and help you need and deserve, and will NOT keep matters regarding safety confidential. I, of course, would prefer to not be in that situation, but if it happens, I know where I can go for help to help you, if that makes sense.
  3. Please do not discuss specific methods of suicidality or self-harm with me. In regards to eating disorders (EDs), please do not discuss specific numerical measurements like weights, calories, and unhealthy behaviors (like tools used for purging or things to that effect). For self-harm you can specify the type of self-harm, for instance I’ll say things like scratching or skin picking, but don’t go into what you use to hurt yourself, how to hurt one’s self, etc. That’s just unhelpful information and unnecessary. (As an example: If you want to say you were thinking about “standing on a ledge” that’s enough general information for me to picture what you mean. If you were to say “heights” that’s a little more specific and not helpful. And if you were to say “this specific building on 34th street at this time etc.” that’s WAY too specific and a more appropriate conversation with a crisis line, a mental health professional, etc. The less specific you can be the better. Think of the too specifics being unhealthy or inappropriate people and places for that information. Essentially, you’ll have to be a little more creative to abide by this boundary of mine.) I also as of July 2021 don’t wish for my space on the Internet to be a how to guide for hurting one’s self, because the Internet is already so much a place of that. This is to keep myself safe, keep you safe and keep others safe as well. So, please respect this as best as you can. If you mess up here and there, that’s okay, but continued misuse will result in me speaking to you directly or blocking you if need be or moderating comments, etc. Whatever is in my power, I will pursue. Thank youuuu for your cooperation!!
  4. I am unavailable for support/guidance between the hours of 10p EST and 9am EST. I am also unavailable the days that I work at Amaryllis which is currently Sat and Sun mornings.
  5. If you happen to have known me before 2018 or in 2018, I would rather you didn’t compare how “bad” things were for me in my life then COMPARED to how well things are for me now. The reasoning for this is because when people compare how “bad” things were for me, I know it’s supposed to make me feel proud of how far I’ve come, however, it has the opposite effect. Instead, my brain makes me think that it was “oh so great” back then and wants me to go back to those very dark times. So, it’s unhelpful. Thanks!!
  6. As for confidentiality, unless broken in the case of safety concerns, I won’t repeat back specific information regarding your identity or who you are with others. If anything, I’d make a pseudonym for you and discuss matters of our conversation, not verbatim, with people like my partner, my Mom, my therapist/psychiatrist, or change certain details of who you are and focus more on how I’m handling or struggling with the information you’ve shared with me. For instance, if I felt dysregulated, I’d discuss what led to that dysregulation but keep my focus on how I can problem solve it and work through it going forwards.
  7. As for what you can share about me with others, I’m okay with a changed name (pseudonym/pronouns) or keeping my name (Raquel) the same. Of course, please don’t doxx me but if you want to share my age, my first name, my experiences, etc. then that’s totally fine by me. I do use she/her pronouns just in case anyone was wondering that! Thanks!! πŸ€—πŸ™‚πŸ˜˜


Honestly, I think that’s about all I’ve got!

Which is definitely, definitely plenty it feels ahaha. For those wondering after all of that, regarding this post:

Trigger Warning: Discussion of self-harm, past suicidal ideation, BPD, depression and OCD.

So, what DID I want to talk about in this piece?

Honestly it’s been SUCH a long time since I’ve blogged. Like, far, far too long. And I wasn’t even necessarily going to do this post but it was definitely gnawing at me and I realized I had enough to say and think and do with this information (I’m between journals at the moment, my routine is severely off lately) than to just keep it to myself with no one else to know about it for weeks.

So, here I am!

Let’s regroup for a moment, shall we?

The question I have for creating this post:

When are Support Groups Helpful vs Harmful?

So let’s talk about some context first.

I started going to an OCD support group for the first time ever in fall 2015 when I spent 5 weeks at the OCD-Institute at Belmont MA. It was not a locked unit and it was actually pretty enjoyable for a treatment type of thing. I live, if you don’t know, with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions (not genuine intent; though I do also live with depression, BPD, trichotillomania (hair pulling), dermatillomania (skin picking) and essentially intrusive thoughts of hurting myself and genuine thoughts of hurting myself, though I’m much, much better as of now in 2021!!!). I was diagnosed with OCD by my university’s Counseling Center in fall 2014 for further context. I also had an OCD specialized therapist from about spring 2015 – winter 2016.

I’ve had lots of different treatments over the years since 2014: ERP, CBT, DBT, medications, individual therapy, hospitalizations, OCD-I, ECT, group therapy, short term and long term day programs, family therapy etc.

I’ve also been a prominent mental health advocate since spring 2016 to now, both online and offline. Advocacy is the central part of me and who I am, I think, though I’ve become more recovery based over the last three years, I’d say. To me, advocacy is sharing my story with lived experiences in the field of mental health conditions and sharing what’s helped me most and how I handle myself and my situations. For me, it’s overcoming adversity and getting a leg up over the bullshit my brain comes up with on a daily basis. I am VERY open about my struggles, or at least in the past I certainly was, probably a little too much let’s be honest but yeah, I am open and I talk about them and nowadays I like to focus more on what I can DO about them but overall talking and sharing my story has been an integral part of finding meaning and purpose in my life. (If you’ve been with me since the beginning or if you ever plow through some of my Archived posts, you’ll also see I was an advocate while at university as well, sharing my recovery and my journey through it via newspaper articles, something I’m finding in the last year with this pandemic that I miss and wish I could get back into in some way, even if it’s differently.)

I’ve only ever been to OCD support groups over the course of my treatment. I’ve never been to a DBSA group or a NAMI based group either (NAMI being the National Alliance on Mental Illness where I do my advocacy work from).

I started going pretty regularly to the Belmont support group while I was at the OCD-I until about fall of 2017, if I had to guess.

In 2018 I don’t think I really went at all, maybe once or twice over the course of the year?

2019, I think I went a couple of times. I was at my long term day program Passages which was giving me PLENTY of mental health topics and surroundings that I didn’t need something like a support group to go to (same as well for the blogosphere.)

2020, the pandemic hit and by June I was definitely starting to return to more of them. Naturally, all the support groups went virtual on Zoom and I started to attend ones like Cambridge and eventually Worcester alongside the Belmont here and there.

Now is when we get to the meat of this post (or, with the gif added above, the slicing of the cake portion of things). I’ve been going to support groups decently regularly over the last year and I’m no closer to answering this big, big question I’ve surrounded this blog post about. Which is super frustrating–and exactly the emotion I feel when I’m at a support group.

It’s so frustrating.

I honestly don’t know what I live with mental health conditions-wise anymore. I mean, for YEARS, I’ve blamed it on OCD but the more I’m at these support groups, the more I realize what I’m “defining” as OCD may NOT be that at all. And then of course, though, me trying to figure out if it IS OCD, is OCD itself. Trying to find that certainty and conclusion and all.

Personally, I definitely view knowledge as power. And I know that the purpose of diagnostics is to guide treatment and for insurance purposes. So it frustrates me to no end that I can’t pinpoint or understand if what I am feeling and dealing with is even this big bad OCD monster I’ve always said it is but may not actually be all along. Then of course, WHAT AM I dealing with if it’s NOT OCD? Oooof.

To me, I blame these things on OCD, what I’ve identified as OCD and what’s consistent up until today:

And if you don’t know anything about OCD and have somehow found this post, OCD obsessions are the persistent and intrusive thoughts regarding whatever topic that gives the survivor distress. It questions and is often called the doubting disease because it makes a person wonder and question if they’re truly wanting to act on a thought or that they might lose control just by having the thought even if they do not want to act on it, etc. So, there’s all sorts of OCD topics out there, as long as it gives the survivor distress, it will cling to it tightly. For instance, moral questioning like if you’re a good person; harm OCD if you have thoughts of hurting others or yourself; contamination; having to count or check things (mentally or physically); did I just run over someone while I was driving? etc.

Compulsions are the behavioral or mental things a survivor does to cancel out, however momentary and temporary the relief is, the distress or anxiety that they are feeling. So, if it was a contamination thing, maybe one compulsion could be hand washing; or if it was a car thing, going back to check to see if there was any evidence for having run someone or something over; or for harm OCD to others, checking that all the eating utensils are still there or checking memories for any indication you’d want that person harmed etc.

Here’s what I’ve always blamed OCD on that might not even BE OCD but that I can’t find is anything else either (and the act of trying to figure it out is OCD in disguise, as it were, so I’m kinda fucked lmao πŸ˜‚πŸ˜…πŸ™„πŸ˜Ά) ((I’ll start with the classics from years ago and go more into later years/current struggles))

  • Intrusive comments/loop tapes; for me in the beginning it was hearing my brain say “Kill Yourself” or “You should just kill yourself” on repeat for hours at a time.
  • More currently, and I haven’t had a new phrase in over 4+ years, but now it’s “Just do it” in terms of acting on an intrusive image of harm, so, gee, thanks OCD! Ugh. ((I will say it’s a little alarming that in the last month the OCD has come up with and attached itself to a brand new phrase, and so maybe that is some of the anxiety? I don’t know.))
  • Memory checking for any intention to act on the thoughts (way back in the beginning).
  • Now it’s more of the thought action fusion involved so like when I have an intrusive image of harm it’s increasingly more difficult, whenever I am struggling (which isn’t as often, let’s be clear) for me to separate the fact that what is happening inside my HEAD is NOT happening truly in reality. It’s probably as close to hallucinating as I can get. It’s just so hard to center myself and remember that it’s not actually happening
  • Also, trauma memories. I’ve only experienced trauma at the hands of my mental health conditions and what feels like a crisis where there’s a lot of trauma memories in truth is really just OCD and intrusive images of things that I’ve NEVER truly acted on. Trauma memories definitely come up the most often in support groups I find. I went to one last night and there was talk of police officers and all my encounters with them in the past was something I got sidetracked by
  • Avoidance: and this is a behavioral pattern I am STILL struggling with today and have for years and years. In terms of OCD I’ll avoid things like certain places with ledges or certain drives home etc. I’ll avoid my feelings most often by over-distracting with content etc. I’ll avoid, potentially, with support groups. I’m rarely ever in the actual moment, I’m usually doing other things like playing with thinking putty or having music going etc. I honestly don’t know the difference between when is it avoiding and when is it self-soothing. Because when I’m spoken about self-soothing in therapy, my therapist thinks it’s actually avoidance. So, I have no idea on this tactic that’s for sure
  • I don’t, this isn’t really OCD but it kind of is, like to admit when I’m anxious. Anxiety is just an emotion for me that I HATE to admit when I am, so instead of noticing my bodily cues, I just plow forwards until I’m behaviorally acting on the anxiety so like hair pulling or skin picking. It’s something I really have to continue working on. Gwah For skin picking itself it’s definitely an inconsistency feeling on the skin that gets me to start going at it. Bleh
  • Reassurance seeking: A BIG one, from the beginning to now, I’ll wonder if these ‘thought commands’ (Just do it) is really OCD or if it’s something else like psychosis and then I’m researching it and uncovering, AHA it’s OCD in disguise!! So yeah, even reassurance seeking with validation from others and such. Ooof.
  • Rumination: fixating on the OCD, talking about the OCD, thinking about the OCD etc. Wanting to think of old memories, old habits, old behaviors, old stuff. Spending hours and hours doing so (luckily I stop this a lot better now over the last 3 years)
  • Glorification of harm and death. This is the biggest one. My brain likes to be like “Oh hey, you know this [suicide] plan? That would be awessssssome. We should totally go do that. It’ll be so relieving and so much fun. It’ll be great. Let’s go do that.” etc. It’s like this “oh so magical and sparkly thing will be so great and wonderful, you’re missing out on experiencing it by not doing it, etc.” It’s also like this “it would be so ironic/poetic/symbolic thing” or “it’s your destiny to die this way”.
  • Alongside this is the glorification of near death experiences in particular. There’s something so tantalizing to me about a near death experience. Or actual death then coming back to life. And definitely the case if there are NO ill physical effects from it. I remember someone at Passages said there IS a name for this that people with substance use disorders can relate to but I can’t remember or they also couldn’t remember what the word was so I’ve never known
  • Fixation continued: thinking of the OCD and harm, taking up more and more of my time etc. Again, hasn’t happened in ages luckily. If it came out in artwork that was also a compulsion too. I think I’m better at this but honestly I’m not sure.
  • Little things that might become problems: rereading a book, is this OCD or is this me genuinely not paying attention while I read? etc. And the stubbornness that arises when I refuse to let my brain win over me not reading a book etc (I love books so much). Doing certain things in matters of three, so like three heart emoticons etc. Keeping things like price tags for a bit or lots of hand sanitizers, is it hoarding? Eh. Maybe not.
  • Distress: I really can only relate to the distress that these OCD or “OCD” things cause. If it is anxiety, and I’m sure some of it is, I refuse to acknowledge it. But so many more people have the anxiety as the prime and only emotion involved and I just can’t relate.

So, I mean, I hope that all makes sense.

The big thing I’m uncovering in these OCD Support groups I have been returning to is they are immensely triggering for me. And I wonder, is this a trigger that’s healthy (like an ERP opportunity) or is it risking my stability unnecessarily? A question to which I STILL cannot begin to answer, aggravatingly enough.

The biggest thing I’ve been trying on my own, without an OCD specialized therapist (and with little indication I’ll get one any time soon) is that I’m taking some charge in some ERPs myself, I’ve started a new video series on my Youtube channel called “Trudging Through Trauma” where I’ll use an ERP exposure during the filming process and another in the video editing process. I’d like to talk about some of my trauma experiences and name them and think them over and then do the opposite of them, so with the OCD I’d want to fixate and be consumed by them, when in reality I’ll just go self soothe or do something else for a bit etc. I don’t know, it could be self-exploitative I suppose but yeah, and I obviously wouldn’t go into unnecessary detail but for my own head it’d be there, I just wouldn’t vocalize it officially.

My Mom was also suggesting we do ERPs together too. Having someone be there could be safety ensuring and all. So I have that to mull over.

But overall, why I wanted to make this post is for this reason:

When is it helpful and when is it harmful? When is focusing on it vs distracting from it an exposure or just unhealthy?

Another thing, there’s no professional support or, as far as I know, guidance or trainings involved and that makes me wonder two things:

When is peer support bordering on playing therapist? and

What qualifications, if any, are expected in these group settings?

Now, specifically, I have my friend Gretchen (naturally not their true identity of course πŸ’œ). I’ve known Gretchen for, well, since the beginning of my support groups history. Gretchen has some … good and kind intentions but none of the boundaries in place to achieve them. Gretchen tends to bite off far more than she can chew.

And I never really mention in support groups my history with mental health advocacy (something I’ve decided to change actually going forwards, if for however long I may still attend them) but something that really bothered me in yesterday’s support group was this ongoing pressure or resistance to talking openly about the struggles with OCD with non-OCD individuals.

Personally, this just rubbed me in all the wrong ways. Like, is it supposed to be shameful? Should we really be encouraging the beginning types of co-dependency? Should it really be US vs THEM?

Also, what do we do about the pissing contests of whose experiences are worse? And what about how draining and depressing they can be on top of that? It just makes me wonder–at what point is ‘teaching’ skills or ‘experimenting with ideas’ playing therapist and overstepping what peer support is about? Should there be someone, a professional, around to navigate the waters of these groups better? Because it makes me wonder for sure….

Also sometimes they end on such depressing or retraumatizing states that it’s bewildering.

The other thing I struggle with is the line between reigniting my old behavioral pathways (getting attention for unhealthy purposes; i.e. holding a crisis session) and focusing on who I am today and getting help in the most helpful and healthy way today than/as opposed to how I once received it. Which means I’m really just a lot more guarded now and less likely to open up and be honest upfront. It’s very confusing.

(My apologies for how direct of an attack there is on Gretchen down below; she really does mean well. She has the best intentions in mind. Her boundaries and adhering to them is just troublesome.)

Overall, there’s just some things that Gretchen has done or said that makes me feel super uncomfortable, mainly breaking my boundaries, not intentionally but pretty often as is. I wonder if it’s possible to get a professional to sit in on a support group or two and see what their assessment is of the matter. Maybe that’s something worth exploring. I feel like Gretchen needs to (as horrible as this phrasing is) get her shit together to figure out what she can reasonably offer and when she’s overstepping. Like, Gretchen, you’re awesome, you’re great, a little less pissing contest would be best though. I get it was to be empathetic and ‘I’ve been there too’ but a minute of that would have sufficed, not fifteen. (And of course I’m going to be bringing this up to Gretchen herself too, because she’s the only person who can change these behaviors or be aware of them and adjust from there. I’m really not mad at her, I guess I just feel frustrated in general with where I sit on support groups and I REALLY want to be done with this blog post, it’s been sooo long)

My partner did suggest that maybe I’ve outgrown support groups as well. Which, could be very valid and true. They asked if there were different groups for OCD support for different stages of recovery, which I’m not sure exists, but is definitely worth looking into.

Well, I’m done complaining and typing and talking now. My wrists hurt, my words are being misspelled and I’m tired. I’ve been at this for almost two hours. That’s… exhausting.

So what do you think? After all this has been said, what do you think? Do my thoughts and experiences sound like maybe I should take a break from the support groups for a while and do some extra soul searching or could they be okay for me to attend and experiment more with in the future?

I’d love to know what you guys think. If you have the time and willingness to offer it to me. πŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ€πŸ˜πŸ˜™

Now I just have to go back and reread this post, edit and then upload. Maybe add another gif or two.

Thank you soooo much for reading. I hope something out of all of this was helpful or interesting or captivating if possible. I feel a strange crux between relief and unfinished. But, I’m going to go eat lunch and get ready to visit a phone store today, hopeful that I can get upgraded soon. So yeah. Maybe I’ll actually try to read that book of mine too. I was going to before I decided to do this post ahaha. Any who, more to come soon.

Let me know if you got this far with a cookie emoticon.

Thanks so much. xxx

Stay safe everybody!!!

πŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸŒˆπŸŒžπŸŒŠβ˜”

The Night Before #TrueMentalHealthAdvocate Releases

Hi!

So, I STILL wanted to do that post I was originally going to do yesterday but as it’s turning out we’re not going to be doing that again either today. D: What we WILL do here is talk about my thoughts pre-release of my video scheduled for noon EST tomorrow and my thoughts and ideas and challenges and worries all about that and regarding that. And, assuming that work goes well and I’m in a good, upbeat mood, I will do the post originally destined for Thursday on Sat instead. AND if, for some reason work does NOT go well or it’s a tough day or I’m just too tired, I will try and do something like an award tag like Liebster and such from way back in the day and just do something light and fun or talk about shopping hauls or whatever it happens to be exactly. So, let’s jump in…

Trigger Warning: Allegations of grooming, mentions of suicidality/homicidality

With the situation:

A man by the name of Eric B. Zink back in 2019 (at the time Dr1ven Industries) became very popular on TikTok for his mental health awareness videos where he shared tips and tricks and ways to control anxiety and talking about his lived experiences with mental health conditions and his story with addiction. He had lost two individuals close to him from suicide himself and he made a YouTube channel where he continued to produce similar types of videos like from his TikTok.

I do remember him claiming, at the time, that he was saying he was a mental health advocate and he was giving out his personal phone number onto TikTok for people to reach out to HIM instead of the long wait line of the national suicide prevention lifelines as he was beginning to do research into creating his OWN nonprofit organization in regards to suicide prevention efforts.

He reached 1 million followers on TikTok and had a decent amount, I want to say like 100,000 subs on YouTube as well.

Personally, I didn’t ever see his TikToks on the app because I don’t have that on my devices but I followed his Youtube channel and I followed him on Twitter and I actually did reach out to him and we shared phone numbers and texted a little bit over the Mar. 2019 time period. He started to make more videos specifically about substance use addiction and certain types of substances and his experiences with them which I found to personally be off-putting so I stopped interacting with his content as much. I had even done a collaboration with him, that I believe is still up on both of our channels (my channel has some out-takes and bloopers of it, his has the full on collab, ironically because I didn’t like him right away which aged gracefully) and I had promoted him on my own socials and things too and offered him as a resource while also making it clear to him that I didn’t think it was the wisest of decisions to release such personal information (like a phone number etc.)

Well, he faded into the background by the end of 2019 for me and everything was fine until about Sep. 2020.

I checked on him a couple times here and there when I thought of him but again we just drifted in different directions and I’d lost some interest. He began to become a face for the mental health community as his popularity grew and he became more prevalent as issues from people like the Rewired Soul were taking place.

And Eric was definitely not without criticism being met his way–there were other people within the mental health community that were offering their ideas, their thoughts and their criticisms to some of the things he was saying or doing (and still are). I’d also like to point out that some of the things he did, said or shared about his journey or the suicide prevention type stuff weren’t always what the guidelines suggested to do (so like, don’t share suicide notes from those who’ve passed on which he has violated in a few videos, even just putting triggering images in his thumbnails like depicting substance use/substances and cutting marks).

I obviously have no idea whether he was engaging with the people who were reaching out to him by getting other law enforcement and the proper authorities involved. And I don’t know what content or the depth of their messaging between each other was. Regardless of not knowing this, in Sep. 2020 I decided to see what he was up to, which he had rebranded himself to his name and I found his original videos of him admitting to being inappropriate with minors who were reaching out to him in suicidal crises. He showed text messages between himself and a child and how he had asked them if they had showered and if they smelled and if their butt smelled and other similarly odd statements and remarks. He admitted in his video that that was wrong of him and that he shouldn’t have been talking to a minor like that. (He’s deleted this video since.) I suggest, if you happen to want to learn more about the situation than what I’ve summarized here, there are plenty of videos about it on Youtube.

So.

Where do I come into play?

Honestly, I had seen some of the videos from reproachful content creators who had, like myself, believed him to be a good guy and a good thing for the mental health community until it became glaringly obvious that his ego had gotten the best of him and he’d engaged in some inappropriate and just distasteful behaviors, words and actions. At the time, I watched and engaged with these videos, and felt that I didn’t have much else I could add to the conversation so I let it go.

And I was letting it go until about this past… yeah, yesterday. When I came across a video, someone, Person A, who had called out Eric before on their channel and they had engaged with each other back and forth, I think he deleted this video too, I’m not sure, but it was just kinda sticky, gooey and messy. Well, in that video Person A in question rehashed the situation and admitted that Eric had doxxed them with their full name online in his response video and he had recently said, and admitted, that while he didn’t say he would beat the shit out of them, he said that “I did make a mention of a truck and running somebody over if I saw them” That’s a direct quote from his TikTok video that was included within the video that this main person, Person A, was talking about and updating their followers on the situation.

Cue me….

I was so frustrated, offended, triggered, anxious and fearful when I watched Person A’s video. I could NOT believe that this man, who had claimed to be and genuinely became the face towards some part of the mental health community, had abused that power and abused his place and fucked around with something so, so serious that isn’t often taken seriously (homicidal/suicidal remarks) and made it into this belittled, indirect jab. He made a threat, a physical threat, to someone else who was just calling him out on his bullshit and the fact that he had committed acts heinous and inappropriate. The hypocrisy, the ‘Rules for Thee and Not Me’ and just the fact that he so single-handedly dismantled the mental health advocates out there who are TRUE advocates that don’t say this type of shit, it’s just… and not only that, but it’s providing fuel for people to think of those with conditions as “dangerous” or “crazy” or any other stigmatizing crap that’s out there.

It’s just so anxiety provoking and triggering and offensive, for me. If Eric isn’t the person I thought he was, then who is he? That’s horrifying.

But my point is, in this whole sticky situation, and maybe I talked too much about him and what was going on before I spoke enough about my side of things–and maybe I’m just taking a break from having already said all my pieces in my video, but the video I am releasing tomorrow will go up at noon EST.

I’m quite terrified. My catastrophizing is in full force, I’m thinking I’ll either get ten views or I’ll get a hundred. And I’m afraid people are going to belittle the boundaries I have set or purposefully tell me to kill myself, mention specific ways in which to do so, throw hate at me, have valid criticisms, say nothing, say everything, defend Eric or be Eric himself or who knows what. I’m freaked out but I’m trying to remain calm.

I spoke my truth (sorry, I’ve gotten that new phrase from Demi Lovato I swear lol) and where I feel about the situation. I talked about my own lived experiences dealing with suicidality and gave reasons and examples (and there are trigger warnings in the video itself, too) as to why it is not okay to joke or make light of things like homicide and suicide. From how Person A took the comment, they were upset and they are valid in feeling that way. They should not have to get doxxed and threatened of their life. There’s only a select few that are the drudges of humanity that that should be reserved to. But Person A? Not at all. Not for speaking out publicly about something that happened online.

Jessie Paege is amazing and you should totally check her out. While this post isn’t about THAT kind of coming out, I do feel like I’m coming out from the shadows about something I had ties to, so, yes.

But, that’s where I’m at with things. I am not going to be reading any emails to any potential comments, if I even get them to be honest, about the video until Mon. 5/17/2021. I am also, if I do happen to get a lot of comments about it, if it doesn’t just fall into The Void and disappear, then I will call a hotline and look through the comments while I’m on the phone with them. Because again, I’m afraid and I don’t know what people will or won’t say and I can just seriously picture people trolling with things and such, and it might be too hard hitting to go through alone.

Also, I want to thank so many of you for showing love and support on my last post, yesterday!! I’m so grateful for you guys and if you happen to have any words of wisdom or grounding techniques, feel free to leave it down below in a comment!

My video is definitely only conveying my viewpoint on things and I do welcome other inputs and other ideas too. Maybe there are ways I’m looking at this that are problematic and so if you see that and you’re so kind enough to leave me your thoughts, I’d appreciate it! I will still be on my blog Sat and Sun so that should be fine here. I also will probably work on some fan fiction stuff, read a book, watch a movie and do some adult coloring. I am going to try and see if there are some people online who can support me with this transition from not knowing how things, if anything, will react to my video so, that’s … that’s okay.

I know that I’ll be okay.

And I am safe!! I am. So that is also good. I think any support you guys can lend would be amazing. Again, even just coping strategies or techniques to grounding.

Well, I have to go to sleep now but I’ll see you guys tomorrow once more. I apologize if I spent too much time talking about him rather than myself and such. I’ll try and work on this in the future, not that I intend to do this type of thing again, but yeah, I’ll have to work on this, it’s probably the OCD coming out to be honest haha. But yessss, thank you so much for reading and I will see you all soon.

Stay safe, my friends. πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ€

This piece was written and begun around 7:30p on May 14th 2021, and then completed between 8:45p to 9:45p. EST