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Physical Illness and OCD

For the last week, I’ve had a nasty virus/cold-type thing. No, I don’t have Covid and for that I am truly grateful. Amazingly, here in New Zealand, there is virtually no current community transmission.
Being physically ill, apart from the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E., reminds me how much any extra toll on the body can exacerbate OCD symptoms. I felt, too, that the more tired I became, the more the invasive thoughts would push their way into my head.
The thing that helped me was to remember that I can’t make dinner let alone tackle OCD, so I’ve done my best to ‘shelve’ it. If it’s that important, it can wait until I am well. Chances are, as often is the case with delaying or practicing ERP, they may not be a problem anyway.

I really can not overstate the incredible difference ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) has had on me. Once upon a time, any extra stress would have been curtains for me.

If you have OCD and you have any extra money (even if you have to Crowfund), try your best to find a good ERP practitioner. Mine saved at least my quality of life.

Love to you in these mad times.

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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