As you all are aware, I’ve had many struggles with anxiety. I’ve talked about my anxiety a lot, but what you may not know is on top of the anxiety, I also struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Anxiety is all mental, but adding the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into the mix, makes the anxiety even harder to deal with. For the longest time, I thought this is just who I am. This couldn’t be further from the truth. My anxiety and OCD do NOT define me as a person. This took me nearly 29 years to figure out. It’s a mental illness, and it’s something I’m going to deal with for the rest of my life. However, this doesn’t mean I have to deal with it alone, or suffer in silence. I have been through multiple counselors, but was unaware and unwilling to accept what I was going through. I have now started intense cognitive therapy where I am open and willing to accept the help. I’ve learned it’s okay to need help, and I truly believe anyone could benefit from some sort of therapy if they are willing. It’s good for the soul to know you are not alone in your journey.
“Everything in your head is weather”
I’ve been reading a book by Mark Freeman called, You Are Not A Rock. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with anxiety, OCD, or any other form of a generalized anxiety disorder. While reading this book I found myself bursting out into tears in certain sections from pure relatability. Realizing I’m not the only one with these crazy obsessive thoughts and compulsions that are out of my control is comforting.
“Mental health is the practice of being yourself.”
OCD is actually another form of an anxiety disorder. It is a reoccurring cycle of obsessions, followed by compulsions to relieve obsession. OCD may seem common to some, but other forms can become very extreme and take over daily life. Here are just a few examples of what an obsession and a compulsion could look like:
Obsession—intrusive, unwanted thoughts
- May be irrational
- Reoccurring thoughts
- Continually preoccupying the mind with a certain thought or idea
Compulsion— reoccurring actions
- Counting steps
- Spelling out words in your head
- Double, triple, quadruple checking
Freeman and his book gave me the inspiration and courage to write this post. He has many great tactics for tackling anxiety and OCD head on. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not an easy process. This takes work, and a lot of willpower to really relieve the mental illness.
One tactic he wrote about that really stood out to me is called the ACT Method. This simply means to:
Accept your reactions, and be present
Choose a valued direction
“Don’t mistake relief from the pain of the monster’s bite for escape from the monster’s attack.”
Dealing with anxiety and OCD is a hard pill to swallow. We using coping mechanisms such as checking and controlling to make the anxiety go away, but in reality, it’s just giving into the vicious cycle.
In order to defeat these negative feelings, thoughts, or actions and to solve our underlying issues we have to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness just means to be present – to put all of the negativity and mindlessness away and simply be present. Stop all of the coping, checking, and controlling, and really focus on what you are doing at that specific time.
Coping—replacing feelings or thoughts you don’t like
Controlling—preventing experiences you don’t like
By eliminating these coping mechanics, you are taking yourself out of your head and being your true self!
“At any moment you can return to the practice of being yourself.”
One of the reasons I suffer from anxiety so badly is purely based off of fear. I live in constant fear that the worst will and always is going to happen. If you take away the fear, the anxiety no longer has any hold on you. That’s in YOUR control! Trust in yourself, and take gratitude in your life. Not every day is going to be as good or bad as the last. Life is hard, and learning to ride the waves is a part of life. Take peace in knowing that you are here for a reason, and there’s a plan for your life.
“Practice gratitude with the same dedication you practiced fear.”
Just because you suffer from a mental illness, does not mean it has to take over your life. Besides medication and therapy, there are other ways to deal with your mental illness and any other struggles you may have in life. The mind is a powerful tool, so use it in a positive light.
“Don’t make illness the prerequisite for health.”
How do you deal?
Source & Quotes From: “You Are Not A Rock” by Mark Freeman