March 10, 2021

Anxiety And OCD Update

 

If someone were to ask what I write about here in this little space, I would reply that I write about my life. I write about home, family, puppies, food, coffee, and all things cozy. I also write about another part of my life from time to time because I feel it important to be as real here as possible. I never want to portray that my life is perfect or without struggle. Everyone has something, and my something is OCD. 

Since being diagnosed several years ago, I have worked very hard to understand, accept, and live with my OCD and Health Anxiety. And lest you think I am some kind of superhero or saint, let me assure you, I'm not. Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sucks. Health Anxiety sucks. Big time. I can go for long periods of time with no issues at all. I can be living my life as a wife, mom, homeschooler, and coffee drinker day by day, and suddenly, a thought pops into my head. I begin the vicious cycle of intrusive thoughts, anxiety, compulsions, and temporary relief. 

Let me give you an example. Recently I was in the shower, without a care in the world, when I felt a tiny little bump under my arm. As if on cue, my anxiety jumped right in and took over. My mind filled with "what if..." thoughts, and the fear set in. I got out of the shower and started examining my underarm. I looked, prodded, pinched, and measured. I went from mirror to mirror as the sense of doom came over me. My mind went straight to the worst possible outcome. That is what OCD and anxiety do. They lie. They trick you. They are ruthless. The minute Steve got home from work, I asked him to look at it. To reassure me that it was normal. And he did. And I was ok for five minutes. Then my OCD raised the bar. And started the whole cycle again. 

Steve patiently reminded me of the tools I have to work through my anxiety. I called my therapist. I read through my notes. I breathed. And eventually, the storm passed. I stopped obsessing about it. And the bump went away, if it were even there to begin with. Because. Anxiety. Does this always happen? No. I never really know when or why my anxiety will flare up, although I suspect it is when I am under stress, whether I realize it or not. 

A few weeks ago, I came across a video on YouTube on Health Anxiety. I decided to watch it, and I am so thankful I did! I have watched it over and over again, as well as Part Two, which I was just as thrilled to find. It was so reassuring and informative. And I am sharing it here for anyone who suffers from Health Anxiety or OCD because it is that good. One of the many things I took away from the webinar video was this: when I am in the middle of that vicious cycle, and anxiety is whispering in my ear taunting me, I need to do the opposite of what it is telling me to do. When anxiety tells me to run to the bathroom to check the size of the bump, I do the opposite. I tell it that I am going to live with the uncertainty and live my life. I use that tool all the time. And it works.

Why am I sharing this very personal part of my life here? Is it too personal? Perhaps. Do I risk changing someone's opinion of me? Maybe. But if this little blog post can help one person suffering from any type of anxiety, it is worth it. Also, I feel very strongly about doing my part to remove the stigma of mental illness. I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend. I love coffee, reading, throw blankets and autumn afternoons. I also have OCD and Health Anxiety. It's just my thing.



Thanks for visiting, my friends.
Have a cozy afternoon!

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. It's been a rough start to the week over here and it helped to hear about your struggle though I am sorry you had to deal with it. Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday so far!

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  2. I am so thankful that you are finding ways to overcome this and not let OCD and health anxiety have power over you. And thank you for sharing. While this issue isn't something I deal with, I do have my own struggles and it's always good to be reminded that what we see online is the highlight reel and not the whole picture.

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  3. On so many levels, thank you for sharing this post!!!

    It is good, to remind people, that no life is all perfect. We all should know this, but we can sometimes forget.

    I have had OCD, all my life. Not just now and then. Constant, at times. Began doctoring in my teens. Did all I was told to do. Prozac was a huge help. But not till 2000, did I give myself permission to question, the Catholic Religion I was brought up in. And which had "terrorized" my life. Guess my poor little brain, was too much of a sponge, or something. All my OCD, concerned sinning. -sigh- And there is a lot of Hell and Brimstone, in religion.

    I had always stomped down, my Questions of Faith. But in 2000, I gave myself Permission to really Ask Them. And after years of doing this, I came out the other side. And thus, helped _myself_, more than all the years of doctoring and counseling. -smile-

    Enough of my story... Just letting you know, there are others out here. -smile-

    Gentle hugs,
    🌸😊🌸




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  4. Thank you so much for your sharing your raw realness here Billie Jo! I have no doubt you help many. I went through PTSD after having my son Aaron - as I almost died and he was 7 weeks early. Plus, post partum depression. It was a very trying time and I had anxiety and panic attacks. I did much like you - I did the therapies and things that worked for me. I also did medicatin for a while and that helped too. I finally got to a point where I was so fed up when a panic attack would hit me out of the blue - and instead of feeding it with my worries and racing heart...I did just like you, the opposite. I didn't fight it. I invited it in and said to myself this is all lies go ahead and do your worst. And then as quickly as it escalated it would fade. I have used that technique whenever needed through the past 20 years. I hardly have any anymore, thankfully. But I understand what it is like to adapt your life and live with a condition like that. Blessings and again, thanks for sharing. πŸ™

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  5. You are a very special lady and talking about your problems has to help and personally I am glad to be here to listen and love you.

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  6. I am so glad that you have ways of helping you cope and I am very thankful to you for sharing these links. My daughter has diagnosed anxiety, but she obsesses over health issues and I have long wondered if there isn't something more going on. I've never heard of health anxiety. She does have some real issues, but she gets herself so worked up and my phone rings constantly with calls that begin with "Do you think I should call the doctor, go to the ER, etc." I hate what it's doing to her, but it's also affecting life for everyone around her. So, anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!

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  7. I am happy you've found a some solutions that work for you. I am so proud of you for sharing your mind and heart with us to destigmatize these things. Have a great day!

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  8. Hi Billie Jo - thanks for sharing your struggles with OCD and anxiety. As you know, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for many years, and I have good times and bad. It is just part of what I struggle with in life. You are a wonderfully brave woman, and please know that you are not alone. Hugs from UT.

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  9. Oh dear Billie Jo, you are not alone, my friend. I really appreciate you sharing the real you. Having had depression visit me from time to time, I know it's not easy to talk about our problems. I believe bringing our problems out of the darkness into the light helps us more than anything. Take care.

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  10. I wondered how you were doing with this during covid. Anxiety is also my friend. I like to watch the you tube channel Crappy Childhood fairy, she really helps me put some of my anxiety in perspective. Especially the guilt I feel when I am not working myself to death. Thanks for posting this, I think you are perfect just the way you are.

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  11. Thank you for sharing. I also have a anxiety disorder, panic attacks, OCD. Your blog is a peaceful place for me to come and read. The health anxiety is awful. I have a large pimple under my chin right now from mask wearing. Naturally I immediately imagined it was something much much worse. It's so nice to know we are not alone in this struggle.

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  12. I appreciate you taking a moment to share your vulnerability. So many struggle with a lot of different mental illnesses, and yet the stigma is still there. I have suffered with depression for most my life. I also have anxiety and social anxiety. I've learned to work through it but it's never an easy thing to go through and misunderstood by too many. It's always great to share what you are going through because you never know who will come to read this feeling they are alone in their own battles.

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  13. First, I'm so sorry you had to go through that, and what a blessing Steve was for being there for you. It's so thoughtful of you to share the information with us. It could help many people who may be dealing with the same thing. You are a special lady, Billie Jo, and so glad I found you in blog land.

    love to you this Easter season.

    ~Sheri

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  14. Dear Billie Jo, don't ever think that your blog buddies would think less of you for expressing your feelings to us on a vulnerable subject. The truth is we ALL have our crosses to bear. I come from a long line of depression and anxiety sufferers. My mother, who I take care of, is a nervous wreck and suffers horribly with anxiety as does my daughter. Medication doesn't help them. I have social anxiety with large gatherings(as does my oldest grandson) and am on medication for depression. On the whole I am a joyful person and have learned to accept this is ME, who I am. Thanks for sharing. Much love to you!πŸ’•

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing these videos with us all along with your real life. I'll definitely be watching them this weekend and know all to well what you go through. It's so nice to know we are not alone and that so many suffer from anxiety. Have a great weekend Billie Jo!

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  16. Oh girl.. We've had conversations about this before and I am right there with you. You are not alone. At least you are smart enough to talk about it and make dr visits. :)
    With 10 years between us, and me losing my parents at younger ages, I have always had this super stressful anxiety about Paul's health. Even when we were young.. I still stressed about becoming a widow. I can't handle being left again. He always says... worry about stuff you can control! but that is so much easier said than done. Love you friend!!!

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  17. My niece has OCD, she does many things to help her with it. I am going to watch the videos and I appreciate you sharing. Blogging is a place for us to share the REAL things going on in our lives, that's what I do. It isn't always perfect but neither is life. Enjoy your day, HUGS!

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  18. Sharing is ALWAYS a good idea. Just like in the videos you watched- it was reassuring. We all need to be reassured. I remember when I was first diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic disorder, I found a few books to read- I immediately felt better- just by reading that others suffered and that I wasn't the only one going through this. I'm so glad you have an understanding husband (I do too!), and that you've learned about some tools you can use to walk you back when you get into "trouble" with your OCD and anxiety. Keep talking about it- it helps you AND others, I assure you! :)

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Thanks so much for saying hello!

Billie Jo