OCD – Letting Things Slip

Recently I seem to have let things get on top of me a bit, life has been so busy and I caught a few bugs over the winter period which have set me back a bit.

OCD recovery is a very delicate balance, it is really important not to take your eye off the ball but if you do it can start to slip before you really notice.

So the results of not feeling great and having less time have been that I’ve:

  • Eaten more junk food
  • Exercised less
  • Not worked on my mindfulness
  • Not given myself any time

All of this has resulted in my anxiety levels rising and my motivation to get out and do things falling.

So now I’ve noticed that this is happening (yes, I didn’t notice straight away) what can I do to get myself back on track?

  • Well the first thing I’am doing is writing this blog post, hopefully this will really help me pay attention and take action.
  • I am going to make a conscious effort not to reach for the snack food first and up my fruit, veg and general healthy food intake.
  • Get out at least once a day in the fresh air and try and do it mindfully.
  • I am going to try and carve out some time for myself, this one is hard when you have a family but I really do think it is important, after all if you’re not on top form how can you give the rest of your family 100%.

One really important thing to remember not to do (and which I am currently telling myself) is beat yourself up for slipping.  It happens to us all, recovery is not a straight line, the important thing is to notice and get yourself back on track asap.

So a bit of a post for me this week, hopefully it might help someone else too, perhaps I can add writing more inspirational blog posts to my targets too!

For now please bear with me you wonderful people and as always,

Stay Strong xxx


Mindfulness in Practice – Part 1

So a couple of posts ago I said I was going to start looking a bit deeper into mindfulness.  It’s something I’ve only really dabbled in previously but I have found that it seems to work, so wanted to see what else I could find out.  I haven’t made huge progress so far – having a one year old doesn’t give you much spare time – however I did read something today which I managed to use quite successfully, so I thought I would, as promised, ‘pay it forward’ so to speak.

I am currently reading: Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world at the start of this book there is a section about how your posture, movement, facial expressions etc can affect your mood and the moods of others.  So for example if you smile – even if you don’t feel like smiling – you will feel happier, other people will see you and smile back.  The same goes for more depressed postures, if you are slouched with your head hanging low you are more likely to feel low and pass this on to others around you.  Obviously the book goes into it in much more detail but you get the general gist.

So today I drove to a roadshow – I think that’s the right term?  Basically an event where, lots of businesses come together to sell you things.  For me something like this is filled with anxieties: driving somewhere I’ve never been before, actually finding the place, parking, talking to lost of strangers, crowds (man I hate crowds), I could go on and on and to add to all the pressures, I had my one year old with me as well, nothing like putting yourself out there.

So I’ve been making big strides forward with my recovery and I know to get over a lot of mental issues you have to face them head on – that’s what I keep preaching on here right?  So when I tried to think of a reason not to go today, there really wasn’t an easily justifiable one.

Anyway I digress.

To be honest it mostly went well, I got lost once on the way but found it eventually and even found a double parking space, yippee!  When my little boy started to run around the presentation and wanted to get up on stage, I coped and everyone seemed to find it funny rather than irritating but eventually it all got a bit much for him and he really started to play up.  I can’t really blame him, it’s not the most exciting place for a one year old.

The challenge however really came when I got back to the car, he’d definitely had enough by this point and flatly refused to get back into his car seat.  I could feel the stress which I’d managed to keep in check up until this point starting to rise, could feel myself getting hotter, how was I going to get him back in his seat, everyone’s watching, argh!

Then I remembered what I had read in the mindfulness book, if I’m getting stressed my little boy will feel stressed, if I’m getting angry, my little boy will just get angrier too and so, I laughed, I looked up at the sky, took a long deep breath and started to laugh and do you know what happened?

My little boy started laughing too, all of the anger and tears of frustration which he had been displaying just seconds earlier just disappeared – well for long enough for me to get him strapped in anyway.  I’m not gonna lie I did have to sing nursery rhymes all the way home.

I know in that moment I was so happy I had read that chapter this morning.

Well that turned into a bit of an essay so I hope it all made sense.  Mindfulness really is incredible and by just being aware of how you are projecting yourself you can completely change a situation for the better, what a powerful tool to have.

Stay Strong xxx

OCD – Driving

So this has been a huge one for me over the years and it still affects me today.  I guess with OCD there’s an element of wanting to control as much of your surroundings as possible and when it comes to driving, even though you have control over the car itself, you have no control over anyone else on the road, pavement, carpark etc etc and so my OCD is able to go a bit crazy.

Checking mirrors multiple times, not driving to certain places because I don’t like the road or car park, avoiding driving at night and driving back to check roads where I’m sure that a pot hole was me driving over a person/animal.  I’ve done it all through the years and at times I’ve felt like giving up driving completely  – luckily I am a bit stubborn.

I do think there are lots of crossovers with this one.  I definitely know people who also get quite anxious and worried about driving in general, who don’t have OCD but the difference is when they get to their destination, they can switch off and know they arrived safely.

For me I find I’m calmer in the car but once I’m done and get out, that’s when the OCD thoughts start to kick in.  Obviously I can’t remember every single step of the journey therefore how can I know that I didn’t hit anyone/thing etc etc.  For me this has been one of the most limiting parts of my OCD, its stopped me going places, seeing friends, it’s trapped me in the house for days at a time, while I wait for the police to come and arrest me, so they can tell me what I’ve actually done.  Gosh writing it down sounds crazy but when you’re going through it, it feels so real.

However on a brighter note I do believe I’ve made progress when it comes to driving this past year.  I’ve had to push myself to go to places I would of previously avoided, which has pushed me to face my fears.  Sadly as with most of the things that cause us stress, facing them head on is normally the solution.

Talking to my husband about the thing that’s stressing me out has also helped, particularly if he’s in the car at the time, as he will know whether it’s happened or not – this one should be used with caution, as obviously there won’t always be someone else in the car and you need to be able to overcome your fears on your own but sometimes just saying it out load can diminish the thoughts power over you.

Trusting yourself is another solution, this one can be really hard but knowing that you are a good driver and will be able to react to changing situations if you come upon them is essential for confident driving.

Knowing that it’s actually more dangerous to be continually checking your mirrors and not concentrating on the road ahead properly.

One of the things that makes driving particularly tricky to master is that it’s a constantly changing situation, every time you go out in the car the circumstances will be different.  You have to learn to trust yourself and your reactions.

As with most of the things I blog about, I am still wading my way through them myself, so I hope the above has been helpful.  As I find new ways of coping with driving, I will share them on here to try and help others.  Please feel free to share any tips you have for overcoming driving with OCD in the comments below.

Stay Strong xxx


OCD – Looking on the Bright Side

OCD can feel very oppressive at times, so I realise the thought of looking on the bright side could be laughable at times.  However the further I travel along my OCD journey the more I see that there are aspects of OCD which you could look on positively.

Here are some of the brighter aspects of my OCD:

I feel like I appreciate things more

It’s very easy day to day to forget about how lucky we are.  A lot of the time OCD intrusive thoughts are born out of the fear of loosing what we have, whether that’s your lifestyle, freedom, the people you love, your health, the list goes on.  I think my OCD makes me appreciate what I have much more than I otherwise would. 

I care about others more

I feel like I have more compassion for others and a bit more insight when trying to understand peoples actions.  As we are all well aware, you don’t always know whats going on in someones mind.  

I am more active

Anyone recovering from mental illness should know the benefits of exercising.  There’s no better motivator then the possibility of feeling better. 

I am more social 

For me being in the house, on my own, for long periods of time, is very detrimental and so my OCD has pushed me to take part in activities, interact with people more and get out as much as I can.  It definitely stops me being lazy and as a result I do more and have more friendships and fun.  

I am becoming calmer (slowly!)

OCD recovery is a slow process and it’s not normally all in one direction unfortunately but every time I fall back, I also come back a little bit stronger and I know one day I will get there.  OCD has taught me patience, it’s making me calmer and more peaceful.  It’s taught me mindfulness and allowed me to understand myself better.

Yes, I still battle daily and it’s worth it because all the good things that have come out of my OCD have all come from the recovery I’m currently wading through.  So if you’ve happened upon this blog and you’ve just been diagnosed or you’re having a bad day and finding your recovery hard, I urge you to write down all the good things you’ve discovered about yourself as a result of your OCD.  Know that when you come out the other side you will be stronger, happier and more at peace.

I hope this has helped to throw some light onto what can so often be a very dark place.

OCD after all is all about thinking about things differently, is it not?

Stay strong xxx

Mental Health Crossovers

One of the most interesting things for me when I finally got myself into some counselling was the realisation that what I was suffering from wasn’t just OCD but actually also anxiety and worry.  I had always just blanketed all of my thoughts and feelings under the OCD umbrella and it was enlightening to break it down and understand it all on another level.

I sometimes find it really difficult to differentiate between worry and OCD.  I will try now with a couple of examples:

A worry:  

‘I have to drive to the supermarket to do my shopping, what if I crash the car on the way or hit someone in the car park?  ‘  

An OCD thought after visiting the supermarket:

‘There was a pothole in the car park that I went over when leaving the supermarket, what if that was actually a child and I didn’t see them?  ‘  

Once you start to break the thoughts down, you can start to look at how to overcome them.  To be honest a lot of the methods work for both worry and OCD but there are some separate tools which could be useful.

For worry there is a tool called ‘The Worry Tree’, best shown by an illustration here.  I have personally found the worry tree very useful in helping to dismiss worrying thoughts when they come along.

Worry and OCD are also incredibly closely linked to GAD (General anxiety disorder) and the intolerance of uncertainty.

I’ve recently found the APPLE acronym  (Acknowledge, Pause, Pull Back, Let Go and Explore) which can be used to help combat GAD.  I’m going to be giving it a go (More information in link above page 2).

As always I hope this helps, Stay strong xx