This post is taking a more serious twist today.
I had other ideas for M but this one is weighing on me today.
I have been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder and OCD. I see a therapist once a week for these and have decided to just to dive right in and tell you how it's been going.
It's hard. Really, really hard. Much harder than I thought it was going to be at the beginning.
My anxiety is really high when I think about my one bad thought. It's usually just one. For me, it feels like life or death. I know this is not rational thinking. I know that most people can have this thought and push it away like it isn't serious. But for me, this thought consumes my life and how I live my life.
This one thought is the stomach flu hitting my home.
I know. Doesn't sound like life or death to you, does it?
For me, it's the one thought that can fill me with dread. It's the one thought that can send me to bed, shaking with an anxiety attack and a headache. This has happened since I was little. But it didn't really start taking over my life until I had kids of my own. This one thought has more power over my mind than I ever thought.
Since I've had children, it's a challenge for me to take them out of the house during the flu season. I can't risk it. In my head, the second we walk out that door, they will become infected. I Lysol my house constantly. We wash our hands all the time. I also wash bedding and clothing to make sure nothing is infected. I didn't really think there was a lot wrong with this before. But now I can see that these thoughts shouldn't be running my life for me.
Sounds completely irrational to you, doesn't it?
This is my life. I was diagnosed with the OCD because of my rituals and feelings that take over when the anxiety is at an all time high. I feel terrible for my husband.
Last night while driving, our turn off was going to be in the right lane. He was driving in the left lane, because we had miles to go before we needed to turn. It didn't matter in my head. My anxiety was so high, it was life or death if he didn't pull into that right lane now. It was a heavy weight, crushing down on my chest, swimming around in my head and I couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling that we needed to be in the right lane. I asked him to please switch lanes. "Please get into the right lane, we need to be in the right lane." I figured if I asked him nicely, he will do it without asking too many questions about what he can do to help. Or the dreaded, "Are you OK?" He knew that I was not having an easy time, so he did it. He was more than confused, but he is learning to deal with my anxiety in a different manner. It's going to be a difficult process for the both of us. Him, it will be learning to talk to me better when I'm feeling like the anxiety is taking over and for me, it will be learning to calm myself down so I don't let the anxiety win.
My rituals get more pronounced when I'm feeling anxious. If that one "thought" is making me feel anxious, the rituals are done more frequently. My rituals, in my head, are done to prevent sickness from coming to our home. If I do everything, the right way, in the right order, everyone will stay healthy.
I'm learning, slowly, when it's my anxiety taking over and how to calm myself down a little. It's so hard to overcome that part of my mind that tells me the second I "let go" of this, everyone will get sick. As if we will somehow be punished for my getting better.
Most days, I feel fine. But some days, it's all too much. Anytime I hear of someone coming down with the stomach flu or getting sick, the panic slowly starts to set in and I need to get home to safety and do my "rituals" to protect our home. Those are the days I can't seem to escape my own head. Those are also the days I'm very tired, almost like I'm coming down with something. I get headaches and lose whatever appetite I may have had.
It's also very hard being a christian woman. I pray everyday to God for help getting better. But it's hard to hear people tell you that you just need to "Trust in God, if your faith is stronger you can beat this." I beat myself up constantly because the reason I can't control this part of my head, must be because of a lack of faith in God, right?
I'm working on it and it can only get better from here. I know that what I'm thinking doesn't need to control my life and that, one day, I will have control over my own mind. It's just going to take me some time.
If you made it through this post, thanks for listening. There's a part of me that doesn't think I should share this, but the other part is telling me to share, because I might not be the only one living with this.
This was really hard to get down properly and it's going to be even harder to push the publish button.