It is not something I begin to share easily but the more I talk about it, the more other people have shared their stories. A little less than two years ago, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Oh god, my hands are shaking just writing this out.
What does this mean? For each person who suffers from OCD, it is a little different. It is less about the compulsive side of it (for me) and more about the obsessive part of it. The most significant part of my OCD is what is referred to as automatic negative thoughts (ANTs for short). When I am introduced to a stressful situation or something causes an emotional response, these ANTs jump to the worst possible conclusion. I then, obsess on these thoughts, much like a record skips. This is the most harmful part of my OCD because it causes my anxiety to skyrocket. As someone who already suffers from anxiety, the ANTs do not help.
For the past six months, I have been working with my primary care physician to learn about what medication I can take. Also for the past two years, I have been working with a counselor to suggest what habits I can change in order to help me cope with this. I'm heading towards a good place now. It has been rather dark and dim lately though, but I am getting better. I recently switched up my medications and have seen a dynamic decrease in my "obsessive" area. I don't have to sit and watch five episodes of television show in one sitting and I don't talk incessantly about the most random stuff that only I find interesting... Just so strange how things manifest themselves.
So, remember how I said that there is a voice in my head that says "You have let all of your readers down"? That's an ANT. The compulsion part of my OCD is definitely in the way that I react to these ANTs, mostly in anger. And to be honest, I am still trying to figure that part out. I think once I am able to pinpoint my compulsions I will be able to understand what environmental factors are triggers.
Can I just say, it was such a relief to be told that I had OCD? Really! I have always felt strange, weird and just different from other people. I would watch other people react to things and think about how I would react... and it just wasn't normal. Being able to label something gives it less power over you.
Part of managing the ANTs is to remind yourself of truth. My counselor said, "Thoughts are just thoughts, they are not facts." Anytime one of those ANTs pipes up and says something negative, I get to think about what is true, "I am loved. I am strong. I am awesome."
If you have any questions about OCD, or if you have OCD, or suffer from any kind of depression or anxiety and need someone to talk to, feel free to e-mail me or leave me a comment down below. It can be pretty lonely out there, and everyone needs someone. If you think you are suffering from a mentall illness but have not been diagnosed, I highly encourage you to talk to your doctor. They will help you come up with a plan and also be able to conduct the right kinds of tests to properly diagnose you.