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!