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Anxiety christian depression emotional healing ERP faith Mental Health Obsessive Compulsive OCD

When life sucks…my line in the sand.

I can no longer apologise for, or shrink away from, self-expression. Be it public or private. This is who I am. This is how I survive and this is how I connect to others. My life has been really hard – from the beginning.

Mostly, the battle has been mental and I spent years undiagnosed, misunderstood and untreated. Despite circumstances people would long to have, I was tormented inwardly and bullied outwardly. I didn’t know I had OCD and that these random, terrible thoughts were normal for this condition. I thought I was evil and spent a lot of time confessing and trying to atone. Religious ritual and OCD don’t necessarily go well together.


My period of breakthrough came from 14-17. I found confidence, I talked with God, I made so many friends and was chosen by the very ones who had hurt me to be Head Girl of Tauranga Girls’ College. Then came burnout, then came the virus, then came the post-viral syndrome that has carried on for 23 years. And with that came the disappointment of ‘failing’ in the eyes of myself and in the eyes of others.

After this last medicine contraindication, I was tested to the absolute maximum of my limits. Like Lauren Daigle sings, I whispered underneath my breath that I have nothing left. I have been left traumatised that this can happen to a person (again). Trapped in my head, nothing being real, disconnection, severe depression, severe anxiety, fatigue, total and utter despair. Yes, brain chemistry can do that. I have tried to paint my life light pink with a bow on, looking for every bit of good (and there have been good times). But underneath is a broken-down, rusty piece of machine just hanging in there. I’m so very bone weary.

And I’m not going to go ‘yes but this good thing happened so it’s all OK’. It’s not OK. And I realised that I don’t have to pretend that this piece of machinery will ever be beautiful. It sucks. I’m angry. I’m angry that I can’t catch a break. I’m grieving. I need to grieve what living that machine has done to me. Life can have ugly parts.

But I must say, I know the thing that allows me to keep on keeping on – everything that this machine went through made me who I am today; empathetic, compassionate, strong-willed, a lover of people, creative, a lover of Christ, myself. I am no longer the machine, I am the outcome and I am proud of the outcome for the most part.

I might have unfairly lost my health, my figure, my youth, my children, my scholarships and awards, my travel, my reputation for being fun but intelligent and stable. But I gained who I am. And I would never give that up. Andrew has been dragged through a lot of this secondhand. Yet he still stands and is also becoming himself. All the beautiful gifts that people fortunate enough to know him, receive. This is not a cry for help but a line in the sand – a life statement.

And God, he’ll send an army for me.

P.S. Below is my my representation of this situation (and please be assured it has nothing to do with the breast cancer survival ribbon!).

Categories
Anxiety christian depression ERP Exposure and Response Prevention faith Hope Mental Health Mid Life Obsessive Compulsive OCD

Who’s Under Your OCD?

Sometimes I think OCD is a very clever way of masking what really matters to us and who we really are.
It can be amazing to take the time to listen to the dialogue under the illness. It can be healing.
I hope you like what I wrote about it:

I’m scared to death
that this might be my
last breath
I am utterly and totally
exposed trying to transpose
my fear for faith.
The deconstruction
and gradual reconstruction
of my faith
has left me a waif
I shake like a leaf
on a windless night
clutching to the bough
with all my might
and after 40 long years
and too many tears
I finally know
I finally know
of what I’m afraid.
Myself.
Who I really am
What I really need
That child inside
crying out for my mum
to sooth the aches
and erase the pain
but I will never
ignore her again.
I didn’t give her a voice
nor did anyone else
I guess it’s time
to stand up for myself.
Let’s find out
who Anna really is.
I’m shaking like a leaf.

Anna Killick 20/06/20

Categories
Anxiety christian depression ERP Exposure and Response Prevention faith Hope Mental Health Mid Life Obsessive Compulsive OCD

Ideal Conditions for OCD

Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash

Like any parasite looking for a host, OCD will look for anything to latch onto. And you know the best thing to do? Let it. If you have done any ERP, you will know that fighting OCD requires special weapons. It requires a type of reverse psychology. Sometimes, when you’re on a roll, it’s hard to ever imagine a relapse.

Let me share my relapse for you and the steps I’m taking to recover.

I recently went through an extremely hard time – my Granddad passed away, my cat got eaten by a hawk and then person and after person around me started falling like flies and were wanting me to be there. I was too weak and too polite to decline to get involved and in one situation, it was a potentially life and death situation. So I have this constant stress and adrenaline surging through my body and mind. My thoughts are completely occupied by the struggles at hand. Then I realise that I feel compelled to help in these situations and neglect exercise and eating well. But overall, no blame OCD.

Finally, when the situations that weren’t ongoing, resolved – I collapsed.
I slept and slept and I let the stress trickle out of me. The next day, my husband said something to me about not feeding the good peaches to the (poor, starving) sheep and when I said how selfish he’d been and my OCD was just going for it, his voice changed tone – a trigger for me.
Blam! Fight or flight pounced. I felt helpless, hopeless, like running forever, tight-chested and full of blame for his change in tone. Now, I am not talking about shouting, I’m talking about a tone change. But it’s OCD, you can’t explain it.

Can you see how the conditions leading up to my ‘meltdown’ were perfect? I was coming down from a high-stress situation my guard was lowered and I didn’t have the energy to even shower.

I am still working through this one. But what did I do to help myself? I agreed with the OCD that Andrew was a meany and then I hung out with him as much as possible. I exposed myself to this ‘nasty’ (AKA incredibly lovely) guy and went for a walk along the beach with him, ate with him, talked with him and let him cook for me.

And I know I’ll win this battle. Because the truth always wins.

Anna x

Categories
Anxiety christian depression ERP Exposure and Response Prevention faith Hope Mental Health Mid Life Obsessive Compulsive OCD

Strange Additions to OCD

Hello Fellow Travellers!

I started noticing a few weird symptoms and sensations.  When I visited my neuropsychiatrist, I told him that sometimes I had voices in my head. Don’t get me wrong, these were not auditory hallucinations but I felt ‘compelled’ to do x, y and z and became very confused when I couldn’t stop them and thought I was having some kind of psychosis.
Apparently, these ‘thoughts’ are completely normal in one who has Obsessive Compulsive Order and the best thing to do is a little ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) and allow them to stay – welcome them even.
Very shortly afterwards, the feeling that I was going crazy subsided.
Especially when I am tired, I find that there are dialogues in my head – conversations that seem to take place without me.  Ridiculous? Apparently not.
Sometimes, all we need to know is that OCD is a very mixed bag that does not conform to a certain set of criteria (terrible for those of us who want to control it!).
By letting go of the fear and accepting the thoughts (and choosing to let them drift by if that helps), you ironically are more in charge of your head.

Have you noticed any unusual symptoms?  I bet we’ve all had them at some stage.

More power to you as you carry on!

 

Anna 🙂gift-habeshaw-Of8C-QHqagM-unsplash

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash