Whilst my OCD has dominated almost half my life, causing so much distress and affliction, it has also played a huge role in teaching me many things about myself. I wouldn’t be who I am today without having battled OCD. Struggles shape us in many different ways, and I feel like I am somewhat of a stronger person than what I would’ve been without my struggles with mental illness. With 2016 fast approaching, I’ve spent quite a while looking back and reflecting on previous years. I turn 17 in 3 days and I started this blog back when I was 14. It does scare me how fast time slips by and the big milestones approaching that have to be met in the coming few years. However, the passing of time is something I don’t have control over. Time will proceed no matter what, and I have to learn to be comfortable with that. So as a result of what’s happened over the past few months, I’ve realised I really need to take some time to see the positives behind the things in which I’ve struggled with because it’s very easy to slip into a really negative outlook when your life feels dominated with mental illness. So…what has my OCD has taught me?
1) It’s Okay to Ask For Help
I know this isn’t specifically about myself, but it’s something I’ve learnt to do. Initially, I sort of stumbled into getting help, I was sceptical and nervous about reaching out to someone. Would they understand? However as years have gone by, I’ve seriously come to learn how crucial and important my support system is to me. I couldn’t be more grateful to those who look after and support me week to week, through some really awful times. It’s also taught me that you need a team to fight OCD. By blocking people out and hiding away, I was only making things tougher for myself. There’s only so much you can withstand alone.
2) CBT and Mindfulness Skills
CBT is the main form of treatment for those with OCD and I’ve probably done my fair share of it over the past few years, however, it has allowed me to gain skills in which I will use for life. I think CBT, or really any type of therapy, can be mistakenly perceived to only be useful when in session. Or only for the period of time that you’re in therapy, which couldn’t be more false. The skills you learn will stay with you for life. Throughout my therapy, I’ve learnt so many skills for coping with anxiety, stress, low mood etc, that I put into practice even when I’m not specifically tackling an aspect of my mental illnesses. For example, we all get anxiety before exams and it can be easy to freak out. However, I find that I almost subconsciously use the skills I learnt when coping with anxiety after an exposure, in this situation to calm myself down and rationalise before exams. Which is something I’m so grateful to be the able to do. Without my OCD, I wouldn’t have acquired these skills.
3) My Passion For Writing
Now I’m unable to say whether I would’ve started a blog on another topic if I hadn’t of struggled with OCD, but as many of you know, this blog was initiated because of my struggle with OCD. If I could help just one person, then it would make me complete. I wanted to take a horrific disorder and turn what I’ve learnt into a resource for others in similar circumstances. As a result of my blog, I have really awoken my love for writing and it lovely to know that others like what I write too. Without having struggled with OCD, I don’t know if I would’ve discovered my passion for writing and I wouldn’t have had the privilege to experience what I have because of my blog.
4) I Have Quite a Stockpile of Perseverance
OCD or any mental illness can be relentless. There’re no days off when you have a battle within your own mind. You wake up to it, you fall asleep to it and it can be seriously draining, but it’s something that many of us live with and have to persevere through, 365 days of the year. However, I’m still here. I’m still trudging along. I haven’t given up yet. So, I guess I have a pretty good amount of perseverance? It’s not until you get through a rough patch that it truly comes into perspective what a hellish period it was. To persevere when your mind feels like it’s against you is tough, it’s really tough, but it proves how strong you are to battle through with it. Life can throw some curveballs at you regardless, so tackling a mental illness on top of that only adds fuel to the fire. So you are seriously strong and awesome for having to deal with that. I’m proud of you, even if you don’t feel proud of yourself. You rock okay. 🙂
These past few months for me have been really hard and I’m so sorry for my lack of activity on here as of late. I know this blog is mainly focused on my fight with OCD, but it’s not the only thing I struggle with. There are several other diagnosis’ that have really knocked me down recently and it’s making things seriously difficult. Consequently, I’ve been unable to write anything coherently or be in the correct mindset to write and it really does chew me up that I’m letting you all down. This blog means the world to me and I want to have it be as useful as possible, but I guess when I’m not that useful at being a human being, I can’t really fake being useful on my blog. So just know that I’m not giving this up, I just need some time to get better again. I would like to try and get to a place in 2016 where I can post roughly once a week, but I can’t promise anything at the moment, but I honestly really will try.
I wish you all a very happy new year and know that 2016 could be the year for something amazing. Don’t underestimate yourself before it has even arrived, anything can happen.