A long introduction

How does one start a blog? It’s not exactly like a verbal conversation. You don’t start with a cheesy one liner which grabs the attention of the person you wish to speak to. Or a general comment spoken out loud which anyone can comment on; not even like an exclamation of excitement about something you have an interest in! Although someone once told me that it’s never good to compare – the grass is greener on the other side and you should spend time trying to perfect your own instead of comparing and envying.

So let’s get to the basics: Hello, my name is Paula and I’m writing this blog, mostly for my own self-expression. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but a book requires motivation I don’t have at the moment. Maybe one day, if I can perfect my English and my grammar, but not currently. Which means, dear readers, if you notice any grammatical issues or the misuse of anything, please don’t hesitate to message me to help me learn.

Now that I have broken the barrier, I would like to be honest. I struggle. A lot. What would be the cause of this struggle? The taboo subject: Mental Health. When I was younger, I saw the movies, heard the stigmas, watched the TV shows. In film and TV (in the past), mental health issues had been put on show as people who stared at walls and rocked back while humming or screaming. In these media features, this was a constant state, and frankly, as a young child when I saw this, I was terrified. The doctors would drug their patients and give them electroconvulsive therapy which would leave the patients in a state of absence- their self-awareness would be gone. It was due to these stigmas, verbal stigmas and visual, that I became too terrified of mental health issues to realise that I was suffering from one.

Obsessive compulsive disorder. Many of you will think about Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners when this is mentioned, and if not that show, then many would think about having the pens neat on a desk, having your pages folded exact and also being ‘So OCD’ and ‘quirky’. I’m going to be honest, some sufferers might have the obsessions and compulsions over pens and page folding, but it is with horror and terror that they do it. Not because it’s a ‘quirk’ or ‘cute’. There is nothing cute about OCD, or any mental health issue; whether it be addiction or depression or any other issue someone might be suffering from. If you believe in this misconception, then I will label you as the hole of a person’s bottom. Or at the very least, uneducated in the matter, and I mean no offence by that.

In this case, I will educate you on OCD from my own education, I’m not an expert, so should you wish for in depth knowledge and information, I suggest finding a professional on the matter, or a book. ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for dummies’ is an excellent read and has a lot of information on the matter. For now, let’s start with the basics with the help of the NHS definition:

‘’Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive activity. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters a person’s mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.’’ [1]

Compulsions are a little harder to explain, but from my experience, I will explain a compulsion as such: when the obsession becomes too distressing, or when it appears at all, you need an outlet to help you cope with the obsession – a compulsion becomes this, or you do the compulsion because of the obsession – another way to look at it. The compulsion can also be distressing, as well as relieving, it’s different for everyone. For example, if one obsesses about germs, the compulsion might be to keep the room sparkling clean – better standards than anyone has ever had in cleaning, or one might have the compulsion to wash their hands repeatedly. If one has an obsession with numbers and patterns, as I do, everything becomes repetitive as a compulsion. You will read that previous sentence, or this, once, but unknown to you, I had written those statements at least four times because of my obsessions – my feelings of discomfort and distress also. Another compulsion for numbers would be tapping an object several times – to the safe number. My first safe number was 2. Then it escalated to 4, then 8, then 10, then 12, then 48, then 104, then 148. Then it became out of control and went into 200’s, 300’s. This was because humans do not normally live to such a high age, which meant when I stopped on a number, by my irrational side of thought, I was not shortening my lifespan, or anyone else’s because stopping in the hundreds meant I had extended it beyond a normal human life span. This would include entering a room 300 times, turning the lights on and off, switches, touching anything at all: pens, phones, keyboards, typing anything.

Just did it again, erased a space four times to help with a spike in anxiety. As you can imagine, even as I’m trying to recover, I spend a lot of time giving into my compulsions– even though I am trying not to, should my brain doctor ever read this. Less time is spent now than I had before. A slow, but progressive, recovery. Instead of wasting my own time, for example, four hours of lingering in doorways, counting, backwards and forth, or making excuses to leave a room and enter again, my brain doctor is helping me realize that I could be wasting my time on more important things – things I like: movies, books, playing with my youngest sibling, chasing the cat to get her to exercise, or painting. Why dedicate time to stress and terror, when I could dedicate it to good things? It’s easier to type and say than implement, but I am trying to stay in that frame of mind.

Anyway, now that I have given some form of a definition of OCD, let’s get something out there: my personality is not my illness, no more than a broken arm is another’s personality, or the flu. I am usually quite a rational person. It’s when my OCD takes effect; I can’t be myself. I can’t think like I would usually do, it’s like there are two halves of my mind; rational and irrational. The only issue is, I don’t know if my OCD is entirely the irrational, or if I am naturally rational, with a dollop of irrationality. It’s disorientating in that way. Which is truth? Also, since I’ve had OCD since as long as I can remember, who am I? Who am I and how do I naturally think? Would I have been more successful in life if I didn’t waste it on OCD? What are my talents? Am I as bad as I think? Who am I?

Sadly, I don’t know, but I will one day. At least, since I’m optimistic today, I think I will. I will find myself, and I will get better. I’m already putting one foot in front of the other, and with some support, I will make it.

For now, I have to get back to doing some work. Talk soon, and I hope to answer any questions. Thank you for reading. God bless.

References:

[1] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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