Relapse and Recovery

So, I’ve been away for a while and I’m sorry about that but the title of this post might give you a little insight into why that’s been the case. 

I’ve had OCD for a long time now and I thought I was pretty resilient and to be honest I think I probably was but starting in November last year I went through a series of events which I did not see coming and in May this year that led me to a mental state which was scarily close to suicidal.  Even writing that world has given me chills and I still can’t quite believe it but there you have it.  I’m still on my road to recovery at the moment and some days are better then others but I am definitely not where I was six weeks ago and that is very good news. 

Now I’ve learnt a lot over the last few months and I am planning to share the good bits that could help you guys too but it’s going to take me some time as I have to protect my mental health and writing this blog, even though cathartic at times can be emotionally draining. 

So enough about me, how is everyone?  I think the world is such a tough place mentally at the moment and it’s very easy to feel quite down about things, especially if you have OCD, as we are generally more prone to seeing the worst-case scenario and looking for problems which confirm our negative thinking patterns.

I’ve been doing my best to notice and override these thinking patterns, so I thought I’d share some of the things which have helped me along the way:

  • Sitting at the end of each day and writing down the things which have made me smile.  Even if I’ve had a pretty miserable day there’s always been something and focusing on these is a great way to go to bed thinking more positively, it gives you a great list to look back on when you’re feeling low too. 
  • Gratitude can also help, I tend to do this first thing in the morning, I lie in bed after I wake up, take a big breath into my lungs and I am thankful that I am alive, that I can breath and feel my body move with my breath, I wiggle my toes and feel grateful that I can and then I open my eyes and feel grateful that I can, I give myself a hug and tell myself that I am proud of myself, that I love myself and that I am a good person.  All this takes about 60 seconds so don’t tell me you can’t do it to!  Connecting with your body and thanking it for working for you is so important.   
  • Being out in nature, for me this is a massive one, there’s something so nice about being away from all the hustle and bustle of daily life and just grounding yourself, it can make your worries feel very small and insignificant and can remind you that you are part of something a lot bigger then yourself. 
  • I would normally say exercise at this point and this has always worked for me BUT what happens when you can’t exercise?  This has also happened to me recently and it has taught me that you can’t be reliant on one strategy for your mental wellness, you have to have a bag full of resources to fall back on, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket!   
  • Breathwork, this has been something I’ve always rolled my eyes at in the past but I’ve started to integrate some breathwork into parts of my life, especially round situations where I get very anxious and it is amazing how you can change your whole state of being through breathing.  If you get quite anxious it is worth learning one or two breathing exercises which you can use when the situation calls for it.
  • Eating well, now this can seem a massive effort when you’re feeling at your lowest but start easy and build it up.  For instance, you can add an extra piece of fruit in instead of a sugary snack, you can still have a sugary snack but if you’ve already had two biscuits maybe substitute the third for an orange?  Yesterday I made myself a second coffee at 3pm, I knew this was a bad idea and even though my brain was saying ‘yes you want it’, I ultimately knew what would follow would be a jittery rest of the day, then not being able to get to sleep at bedtime and so yesterday I poured it down the sink and made myself a decaf instead but don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of days when I’ve drunk it and suffered the consequences when I’ve felt less resilient or thought I would be OK, you learn as you go and you should never beat yourself up for these decisions once they’ve been made, accept them and move on, ALWAYS!!!!
  • Social interaction, this is so important and I couldn’t recommend it enough.  OCD has this nasty way of making you think you’re alone and you’re the only one suffering but it couldn’t be less true, the more I speak to people the more I realise that everyone has something going on, no one is acing life, despite what their Instagram feed may look like and you are definitely 100% not alone.
  • Get help, if you are really suffering don’t wait, I’m back in therapy now and that’s exactly where I need to be.

I have so much to share from the last few months and I promise to only share the good stuff in the hope it will help you too, no one needs more misery in their lives.  I really hope you’re all good and as always,

Stay Strong xxx

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