Frankly, friends, it’s been a brutal week.
I’ve felt like I’m living at the bottom of (my) barrel in many ways, exhausted and running on low or empty in most areas of my life. Do you ever feel like that? Like you are “done” and just need to press reset? We can do that with technology when it’s sluggish or not working properly, right? We can unplug it, shut it down, give it a bit of a rest and then restart. Sometimes I wish humans were like that.
As is often the case, when the rundown begins, the OCD rubs his hands together and gets very excited. It’s almost like how, when your immune system isn’t at its peak, illness can sneak in that much easier. I think mental health and mental illnesses work in a similar way. When you are at the “bottom of your game,” they like to come in and take up residence.
That’s how the last week or so has been. The OCD has invited itself back to stay, increasing my anxiety, making me hyperaware of things (saliva, bodily waste or other “contaminated” bathroom related things (ie toilet paper), sickness, etc.), and encouraging/forcing me to think that doing compulsions is not bad but, in fact, necessary.
It’s also super annoying to me that, when OCD levels are high, weird things happen. For instance, my son randomly will hop out of the car and step on dog poop on the grass. For real? Yes. It’s terrible. It seems that things like this happen when my OCD ramps up, making it even worse. Sure, I could use these “lifestyle” exposures to my benefit and fight back but, when the anxiety is significant, sometimes it’s nearly impossible to do that. Sometimes you just go into survival mode and have to make it through and try again a different day.
Luckily, I now know what this anxiety stems from (OCD). I have identified my problem. And when it comes down to it, I know what I need to do to get better. I took some time this weekend and wrote down what OCD habits are most restricting me currently and tried to brainstorm (with my husband, for accountability’s sake) different exposures or things I could do to “fight back” against those things. I am giving myself reading homework. It’s when I slack off and put off doing the work that things get bad.
But still, it’s so hard to fight against your own mind. It’s awful to not be able to trust your own thoughts. It’s horrible to feel ashamed of yourself when you give into the OCD. Fighting a mental illness doesn’t exactly increase your self esteem when you’re in the trenches. But when you are able to climb back out and see your progress? That makes it worth it. Of course, you’ll probably fall back down in again. And again. And you’ll have to fight and claw your way out again. It’s the lot of your life when you have a mental illness in tow. So don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are weak. This takes courage. It takes determination. It takes willpower to fight and climb and fight over and over again. But you are doing it. You are strong.