After reading a book called “Taking Control of OCD: Inspirational Stories of Hope and Recovery”, I was inspired by one of the chapters for this week’s blog post. The author of this chapter lists ways they cope with OCD which made me both laugh and cry; I agreed with every single one. So, I am going to write my very own individualised list to remind myself of the ways I cope, manage and live with OCD:
1. Talk to people. Talk talk talk talk. I can’t remind you enough to do that. People can’t read minds, they don’t know what’s going on up there!
2. You CAN manage and live alongside your OCD, even when it doesn’t feel like it on the toughest days.
3. Things will get on top of you. When life is stressful, OCD will most likely become aggravated and it will be difficult. But just know that it’s happened before and things got better. Things can always get better.
4. It’s ok to laugh at OCD, especially some of the bizarre things that it can make pop into your head. Humour is important and laughing at yourself is crucial!
5. Look up at the sky from time to time, particularly at night when the stars are out, and remind yourself of how small you are in this huge world. Remember you are the main character in your own life but not in everybody else’s.
6. The anxiety passes. When an intrusive thought pops into your head, it makes you feel so horrible. The urge to do something about that through a ritual is almost overpowering. But when you do hold back from doing this and sit with the anxiety, notice how it soon passes. The importance to carry out that ritual diminishes and you forget it was ever there at all.
7. On that same note, sometimes the anxiety may be overpowering and you can’t shake it or maybe you’re having a bad day and can’t reason with OCD as much as usual. Be kind to yourself about that. Let the ritual happen and don’t feel bad for doing that. Not everyone is on top form all the time.
8. Spend time with people that calm that anxiety and make you forget OCD exists.
9. Enjoy the little things and find beauty in everything, even if that just means a good cup of tea or a butterfly flying past.
10. Remember that exercise does help. I know how much effort it is and how lying on the sofa watching American Horror Story is so much more appealing but when you’re actually outside, strolling or running in the fresh air, it really helps to clear that foggy brain.
11. Be open to other people’s opinions, beliefs and experiences. Everybody deals with OCD (and other mental health illnesses at that) in different ways and you can learn so much from taking that in, even if it means challenging your own way of thinking.
12. You can be so unnecessarily hard on yourself. You’re not making a fuss. If you need to explain to someone how you’re feeling or talk a worry through, then do it. You are judging yourself more than other people are, believe me.
13. You are SO much stronger than you think you are. Going through depression in your last year of university didn’t make you weak. Coping with OCD whilst dealing with whatever shit life throws at you isn’t weak. If someone else shared those achievements with you, you’d be blown away by their strength. Give yourself some credit for God’s sake!
14. Be proud of yourself always. Don’t hide who you are just because it might make someone else feel uncomfortable. What’s important is that you’re happy and free to be exactly who you’re meant to be.
15. You wouldn’t be you without your OCD. Look at how much it has helped you in life and where you’re at now. That is an amazing thing.