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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!).

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Sometimes the battle just goes away

I have had a few specific OCD incidents that were so deeply ingrained, I honestly felt that they could never be dealt with. Every time I checked my mind, there they were haunting me. Whenever I’d have a moment of peace, it would be interrupted with ‘but you’ve always got this hanging over your head…’.

After the gift of doing ERP therapy and after much work and angst, one day it just didn’t matter anymore. I can not explain it other than it ceased to be an issue. It has tried to flare up but has never had the power over me it used to. It used to bring me to my knees – literally.

I actually agreed with the thought and went ‘yeah, this might ruin my life’ and allowed it just to be. After a while, it lost its grip because I had finally got to the stage where I did not care. Wow, it sounds huge saying that. Huge. And it’s not everybody’s experience.

I hope and pray you end up giving OCD the big finger and see it for the kitty cat (not the ravenous lion), it really is. Don’t get me wrong, OCD in general can still sometimes be a lion. But I have a victory and I’ll sing it from the rooftops.

What is your victory?

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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