OCD – Unexpected Events

So these are always fun.  You’ve been coping nicely with your OCD and you think you have everything under control and then bam, out of nowhere, something unexpected happens.

This happened to me this week, it snowed and we got loads of the stuff.  Normally this would be an event for celebration as it would mean, time off work, lots of fun to be had, perfect bliss but when you have a 1 year old who has only just learnt to walk and isn’t terribly keen on walking in 6 plus inches of snow and you can’t get your car off the drive then you are faced with a potentially stressful situation.

Most people who have suffered from some sort of mental health issue will know that getting out, even if it’s just for a walk is very important.  Being stuck in with only 4 walls as your friends can be unwise and so I’ve got to say the last 5 days have really tested me.

My normal routine (something that helps keep me grounded) was thrown out of the window.  My food shopping delivery was cancelled twice and so I’ve had to improvise there as well, working on limited supplies and having to adapt to new food brands and shops (as anyone with OCD will know familiar things bring calmness).

You know what though, I have survived and I have been able to adapt and so what I should draw from the last 5 days is that I am more adaptable now then I have ever been.  Even by writing that statement I am now looking back more positively on the last 5 days.  My perspective has been changed and so maybe this is the lesson I should pull from this experience.

Everything we go through teaches us something.   If we can look back on past events and try and find a positive lesson from the experience rather then a negative one, then maybe our memories will be more positive and we will look back happily instead of negatively.  I personally don’t have many good memories, most of them are tainted by OCD but perhaps I can now reflect back and see if I can put a positive slant on them?

Hopefully this can help you too, try and see the positive lesson from a bad OCD experience/memory.

Stay Strong xxx

OCD – Setting yourself up to fail

So once you’ve had OCD for a while you start to know what your ‘triggers’ are.  These ‘triggers’ can then start to control your behaviour.  For me, public toilets, driving at night and drinking are just three of the things I can think of that can cause me anxiety, even before an event occurs.  Most of this anxiety is triggered I guess, from past experiences.

If I go into a public toilet and there’s something on the seat, this will cause anxiety, intrusive thoughts etc but I’m going to take a punt and say not many people would like to sit on something unknown on a toilet seat?

Unfortunately for me that’s just where it begins, if there is a mark on the toilet paper dispenser or on the toilet roll itself – here’s betting most people don’t even look at the toilet roll – these can immediately trigger intrusive thoughts which can stay with me for at least the rest of the day.  I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that I always rip off the first piece of toilet roll wherever I am through fear of contamination.  If someone has placed the toilet roll on top of the sanitary bin or on the floor then that can be game over, I just turn around and walk back out.

I’ve already blogged about driving and some of the anxiety it causes me but at night I would say everything is multiplied and it’s much harder to dismiss, potholes, bumps in the road, noises from the car etc.  I would say every time I drive somewhere at night I get back home and there’s some sort of intrusive thought on my mind which I just can’t budge, so frustrating.

So if you start to get anxious before you even get to your ‘trigger’ situation you are completely setting yourself up to fail.  Your mind is already putting the thoughts into your head before you’ve even tried and so it creates a viscous cycle, which causes reluctance to do things and go places and so starts to create behavioural changes.

I’m not sure I will ever completely free myself of some of my OCD intrusive thoughts and thinking patterns, some of them are so ingrained in me after so many years.  I do still make myself face them day in and day out but who knows if I will ever completely win.  I guess the fact that I’m not letting them stop me doing things nowadays is a win in itself.  To live life without the thoughts at all is the battle.

So the point of this post was to try and find a way of avoiding the preemptive anxiety, somehow trying not to fail before you’ve even tried.  It’s such a tricky one because as soon as you start thinking about the situation you’ll probably start feeling anxious about it, another one of those ‘don’t think about the pink elephant in the room’ situations.

I would say the best way to try to combat the preemptive anxiety would be mindfulness.  If you are living in the moment then you shouldn’t be worrying about whats happening later.  If you know you have one of your triggers coming up, then do everything you can not to think ahead to it until you have to, this should help to stop the anxiety kicking in too early.

Every time you face one of your fears and succeed make a mental note of how amazing you are for beating the OCD and anxiety.  We never give ourselves enough credit when we do well and we always beat ourselves up when we are weak – human nature I guess. Make a list of every win and refer back to it every time you are struggling.

Stay Strong xxx




So I’ve been writing this blog for 6 months now.  This for me is a massive achievement as I find it incredibly hard to concentrate on anything for a sustained period of time.  I get terribly excited about the idea of things but when I realise I’m going to have to apply myself and my mind fully, often I find myself unable to.  Focusing my mind on something, really concentrating, has always been difficult for me, my mind is quite often off, distracted, somewhere else.

There have been many reasons for this over the years, at times my OCD would apply fears/thoughts to actions.  I can remember practising my piano when I was younger and having to keep playing the same piece until I’d managed to get through the whole thing without a bad thought entering my head.  Sometimes I would have to play the piece four times because that’s how many members of my family there were at the time and if I didn’t then something bad would happen to one of them.

I like baking but if I am making a cake and I see a little mark in one of the eggs or perhaps a crumb gets into the mixture then the whole activity can become hugely stressful.  I don’t know how many cake mixes I’ve thrown away over the years through fear of them being contaminated.

The list goes on and on, I find it so hard to get my head into an activity and apply myself  without having to deal with some sort of OCD thought along the way.  I am guessing this is quite common for people with OCD?

OCD makes everything more difficult, cooking, relaxing, driving, decorating, seeing people, going places, work, relationships, pregnancy, events, absolutely everything I do is just a bit harder and over the years I’ve just had to get stronger and stronger to deal with it.

So how have I dealt with it?   

  1. I’ve talked to people
  2. I’ve had CBT therapy
  3. I’ve faced it head on
  4. I’ve learnt to control my thoughts better (most of the time)
  5. I distract myself
  6. I breath through the anxiety when it hits.
  7. I remove myself from stressful situations (when I can)
  8. I’ve read blogs
  9. I’ve started to practice mindfulness
  10. I’ve read books
  11. I’ve learnt what my triggers are
  12. I’ve learnt what relaxes me
  13. I’ve learnt to appreciate what I have
  14. I understand that the thoughts and anxiety will pass in time
  15. I’ve learnt to like myself more
  16. I’ve learnt to be kinder to myself
  17. I’ve educated myself

To be honest this list could probably go on and on.  It makes me realise how far I have come since I was 11, scared, not knowing what was happening to me, completely alone, feeling out of control and upset.  This was the reason I started this blog, no one should have to feel the way I did, ever!

Actually this blog has been very cathartic as well – which I didn’t see coming – so I would probably add ‘write’ to the list above.

I hope by sharing what I am learning and what I have learnt I will be of some help to others.  Life can be pretty tough at times and we all need to talk more to each other about whats going on inside our minds.

I feel like OCD in particular is a hard one for people to talk about as there’s normally an element of being ashamed of or embarrassed by the thoughts.  I guess if they were ‘normal’ thoughts there wouldn’t be an issue.

We must remember that everyone has intrusive thoughts, most people are just able to dismiss them straight away and so they never take hold.  As soon as you notice the thought and give it some time it makes the thought stronger and then if you keep thinking back to it, even if it’s only to think ‘why have I had that thought’ then it will get stronger and stronger and so the viscous cycle continues.

So to sum up the last six months have been a huge learning curve for me, thanks for everyone who’s followed so far, I really hope it’s been of some use.  Here’s to the next six.

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

OCD Awareness Week

So next week is OCD Awareness week.  What a fantastic opportunity to get talking about OCD and helping people understand it better.  I found a great list of ways to get involved on the OCD UK website.  Here are a few of the simpler ones below.

7 ideas for 7 days of OCD awareness

(OCD Awareness Week: 8-14th October 2016)

  1. Change your Facebook/Twitter cover photo for the week
  2. Talk to someone new about your OCD and tell them how OCD impacts on your life.
  3. Invite a friend to watch a movie which features OCD.
  4. Change your social media profile photo.
  5. Get a great photo of you with your ’Supporting OCD Awareness Week’ placard on social media.
  6. Blog about how OCD impacts on you and post that link across all your social media pages.
  7. Contact your local newspaper or local BBC radio station and ask them to interview you about your OCD for OCD Awareness Week.

Together we can make a difference,

Stay strong xxx


OCD – Holidays

So for most people the word holiday probably conjures up happy thoughts, memories and general excitement.  For me however (and I’m guessing most people with OCD) holidaying over the years has been a real challenge for so many reasons.

Straight away a holiday is a break from routine, for someone with OCD routine can be very important.  For me, for a very long time it was the thing that kept me steady.   Knowing I would be going to work everyday and that my mind would be occupied with work and away from OCD thoughts kept me calm and in control.  Add onto that the fact you’re going to a new place with different, well potentially everything and then to top it all off you get lots of ‘lovely’ free time just to think, arghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

So sadly a holiday can quickly become something which you’re paying a lot of money for, to cause yourself a lot of stress – hardly seems worth it – and this is why sometimes it’s easier just to hide away, sigh.

I’ve been on holidays in the past where it’s gotten so bad we’ve come home mid week because I’ve not been able to cope or I’m so touchy the whole experience is just unpleasant for everyone involved.

So do I have any tips for helping with holidays?

I think the first thing I would do, if I could feel everything getting too much for me is take a step back, take a deep breath and break everything down into baby steps.  Don’t think about the entire day, hour, even minute if it helps, just the next few seconds, all you have to do – either mentally or physically – is put one foot in front of the other.

If you’re in the middle of a task which is causing you to be compulsive, stop doing it (if you can) and return to it later.  If you can’t then get someone to come and talk to you or sing a long to some music to distract your mind from the task and OCD thoughts.

Take some deep breaths and be mindful, take in and appreciate your new surroundings, unless it’s the surroundings which are stressing you out, in which case focus on something familiar, which you’ve bought from home.

Do something that makes you happy, you’ve paid for this free time so fill it with something you like doing.  If that’s sitting and ready a book, going for a relaxing walk or even just having a hot drink, then do it.  Focus on making yourself calm and happy.

As with all the things I write about this is still a working progress for me, so if anyone has any other tips for dealing with new situations then please do share.

As always, Stay Strong xxx