We have all heard this warning before from people who love us. I don’t think they mean to do anything other than try to empower those they say it too, but dang it bothers me.
The stigma around “being a victim” comes down to that despite what happened, a victim is definitely something you never want to be. At it’s best, it’s about motivating someone to rise above the trauma, and take responsibility. But, there’s a fine line between responsibility and blame. Victim is a dirty word…”get your act together and don’t be a victim”. Or, one of my personal favs, “she has victim mentality”.
Sometimes in discussing how difficult OCD is, I have been told these phrases. Does that mean don’t complain? Or maybe I need to try harder to figure out what part of having OCD is my fault?
Being accused of victim mentality can discourage people for telling their story, for fear of being considered a weak whiner. And you all know how healing I believe sharing your story is. It’s so important we feel safe enough to share our story with someone.
I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes we are victims and that’s ok. And of course there are times when the trauma leaves scars and life gets too hard and we need to get some extra help. And that’s ok too.
Compassion always ❤
Listen to my interview here with the o so awesome Kevin Pecca, functional chiropractor on the East Coast. We dive into my story with OCD and struggle with benzos. I share about the types of medicine I practice now for mental health and addiction.
Click here to listen on apple podcasts
And do I really want it to?
It took me a really long time to find the courage to go to therapy. I was hopeless that it could help, nervous about how hard and embarrassing it would be, and uncertain I wanted to lose such a huge part of my identity.
These thoughts reaffirmed what I had known all along, that I was not worth it. So, when I finally sat in that ever so slightly therapist’s chair, I felt pretty desperate. My goal which took awhile to cement was to learn enough tools to function in the really world and maybe even be a little happy.
That was 10 years ago. I think long enough for me to answer this question and the answer is more than a “yes” or “no”
I have learned that my OCD is not a mysterious syndrome or infection, that just attacked me and then got cleared. Rather, it was a predisposition. I was always an anxious kid, nervous by nature. OCD was always a risk and it expresses itself when the conditions allowed. The conditions of my body do not currently allow for it. This means that I’m better able to tolerate stress, I continue to work on my self esteem, eat well, sleep well and do all the things I need to support what I’m also predisposed to….peace.
My OCD could come back if conditions change; that’s a possibility. That idea really scared me the first 3 years following my symptoms ceasing, but now because I can see how far I’ve come and the beautiful and powerful person I have become. Power is different from control; control is about holding on to fear and power is about letting go.
So, regarding OCD and wether or not it can be cured? I don’t really look at it that way. I think what matters is believing that your life can be different and you are worth it.
Stay strong my friends.
“The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things”….
I have been thinking so much about Covid because it’s part of my job and well, who isn’t, right? The concern for me was about all the encouraged hand washing and OCD. Would that scratch that OCD itch in my brain? I got tired real quick about singing ‘happy birthday’ while washing my hands and it became clear to me that this is like life in that we can’t be perfect and striving to perfectly eliminate all risk is just not gonna happen, and increase anxiety.
It’s normal right now to have some low grade anxiety. I mean, it’s my first global pandemic and things change every day so the lack of reassurance is enough for anyone to feel a little more anxious. I have been reading more “Louise Hay” and came across this affirmation that I am loving right now: “I embrace the now”. I literally just sighed as I typed that. And I started thinking that this quarantine could last longer than we think so it’s important to do a few things that make us feel better because otherwise we could be white-knuckling it for a long time.
- If you have a psychologist or healthcare practitioner, see if they can offer telemedicine appointments right now.
- Exercise! There are some awesome 10-20 minute workouts on youtube. Exercise may be the single most beneficial thing for depression and helps get out some of that pent up energy.
- Light candles at night to relax
- Get dressed. I know it’s tempting to stay in jimmies all day, but get up and put on anything you want to wear!
- Puzzles. Im seriously digging this Disney puzzle. It’s Minnie and Mickey on the red carpet and it’s a really calming thing for my brain. I bet coloring and card games like Solitaire would also be calming.
- Journal. Here is a video I made about journaling https://myocddiary.com/2014/01/18/ocd-journaling/
- Seek Connection
If you live alone and are naturally an introvert, you still need connection. One thing I like to do is FaceTime my family and friends for company. We don’t call to talk, we just turn on a movie at the same time on Netflix and watch it together. We also turn on FaceTime for working out. We pick a workout on youtube and start it at the same time and it’s a lot of fun. I know it can be hard to pick up the phone, but trust me, your friends will be glad to get a call. We are all in this together. Like always, one day at a time.
Stay well and stay strong!
I don’t have one and I’ll tell you why! It’s all about germ theory vs terrain theory.
They seem to go together, don’t they? I wonder if perhaps one makes the other worse. I remember when my OCD started to seriously improve, but my self esteem didn’t. A lot of the anxiety, stress and busy schedule got better, but I still saw myself as a pretty messed up person. I knew OCD was not my fault and I felt proud of the therapy I had worked on, so why did I still feel so worthless? I think its understandable though, I mean I was doing rituals that I was embarrassed by, felt so angry at myself for not getting far enough along in therapy, and compared myself to all the “normies”.
Im sure everyone has their own opinion on self esteem, but for me it looks like this…
A person with high self esteem carries beliefs like “I am worthy”, they trust in their own judgment, do not excessively worry, and they consider themselves equal.
A person with low self esteem might experience heavy self criticism, chronic indecision, eagerness to please others, perfectionism, neurotic guilt, pessimism and envy.
I think you can see why people with OCD struggle with low self esteem…. So the question is, can we raise it while still dealing with the struggles of OCD that resemble it, such as perfectionism and indecision?
This is no simple topic and one that I believe can be best worked on in steps. Firstly, try not to beat yourself up. This is a hard one because we have such high standards, but it’s a great place to start. What I used to say all the time was “I’m just bat-shit; who in their right mind wouldn’t run for the hills once they get to know me?” What I could say instead is something like “I’m not crazy, I just have OCD. I do have friends that love me, though I am scared of how others might view me and that makes not nervous to let knew people get to know me. Im lovable.”
What I like about that is its not completely something I would write off, and it still acknowledges my anxieties and concerns, but without being so judgey and mean to myself.
So, I have been practicing being kinder to myself for quite some time now and somedays it’s easy and other times not so much. I had OCD for years so I know it could take a bit of time and work to raise my self esteem into a more stable state. But, its one day at a time. And no matter if you were recently diagnosed, deep in the thick of it, struggling in therapy, or finding out who you are on the outside of OCD, there is always room to show kindness to yourself.