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Anxiety christian Contamination OCD coronavirus covid ERP Exposure and Response Prevention faith Hope Obsessive Compulsive OCD Uncategorized

A Pandemic and OCD

***TRIGGER WARNING – Contamination OCD***

If you have OCD, right now COVID is your best friend and your worst friend.

The ‘good’ side for your OCD is that people are finally realising the benefits of good hygiene and social distancing. Those who experience contamination OCD will be relieved that they don’t have to look weird in a mask and with gloves and applying copious amount of sanitiser. In some cases, and in some places, the world is cleaner.

I think the ‘bad’ side of the OCD must be taking a terrible toll on some of us right now. It is our worst fear realised – a rampant, contagious disease that would scare the average Joe or Joelene into hiding. This is the disease we always imagined would never happen and it is the disease we have little ultimate control over. People do get sick, sadly some die.
Having had Contamination OCD myself, even now to a much lesser degree, saw me sanitise my delivered groceries and literally not leave the house for three and a half months.

I could see that I was quickly becoming a prisoner and losing the last of my freedoms. I decided to feel the horror and the terror and I began to accept it – little by little. Like many others, I got the best anti-microbial sanitiser there is, had a mask at the ready and practiced very small visits. At first I would go somewhere in nature (I think the beach was first). I touched nothing, I just walked. Little by little, I realised that my worst fears had come true, there was a global pandemic, and I could either choose to let that rule me or, as ERP recommends, agree that it is a catastrophic situation and sit with the discomfort.

I am happy to report that I can go most places now. Not only that but I have been sick twice with other illnesses so I feel I have been through the alarm of ‘what if?’.

It must be said that we here in New Zealand had a short spike of extended community transmission and took very serious measures to ensure the wellbeing of our people. But I think some of this can be applied to whoever you are, wherever you are.

My deepest empathy lies with those of you who are or have been affected by this horrible disease.

May we find the comfort of camaraderie in these extremely difficult times. And may those of us with OCD cut ourselves some slack for facing something we hoped would never happen.

Aroha mai.

P.S. Si vous voulez une explication en francais, dites-moi s’il vous plait.

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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

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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