Well, what a year 2021 has been, I feel like I’ve been to hell and back and I really didn’t see it coming. As a result, I have been super quiet on here and I am sorry for that but know I have been working on myself and building back my resilience which was shattered to pieces a few months ago.
This blog was never a place to fill with OCD triggers and so I’m not going to go through in detail what has happened but just that it was some health issues which resulted in panic attacks followed by a particularly awful run of jury duty which triggered my OCD, the result of which was a mental break.
There is no way I could have predicted either of these two events and it has given me a new perspective on my recovery. I really thought I had my OCD under control but what I’ve come to realise this year is that I had actually just become very good at avoiding my triggers. I wouldn’t watch the news or go to places I found uncomfortable but by avoiding these things when I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t anymore, I just shut down and was unable to cope.
My coping mechanisms had become so natural that I hadn’t even realised I was doing them, scary! So, the second half of this year has been a battle with myself to get back on track and I am still going through this and will be for some time I believe. It makes me sad that this has happened but I am learning and growing all the time and having self-compassion is incredibly important. I will not be sad to see the back of 2021 but here are some thing it has taught me which maybe useful for you as well.
- You can’t hide/avoid your triggers, they will find you. You have to face them and ERP the shit out of them!
- Self-care is essential!
- Exercise is really important but don’t rely solely on it! I’ve done this in the past as I love yoga but then if you get ill what do you do, have a backup!
- Sleep well
- Eat really well, avoid sugar and processed foods
- Avoid alcohol, drugs and caffeine where possible
- Help others, this takes the focus off yourself and gets you out of your own head, I teach yoga and it is fantastic for this!
- Be in nature as often as you can, when I was really low just watching the birds fly in the garden seemed to lift me a bit, knowing the world is bigger than you and your thoughts is important.
- Learn to live with uncertainty, yuck, I hate this one but it is essential for getting through OCD and health anxiety, none of us know what the future holds and the sooner you get on board with that the happier you’ll be.
- Learn some breathing techniques, you don’t have to meditate everyday (unless you can of course, in which case do) but know how to regulate your breath for those situations when it’s tough and you feel your anxiety rising, I will try and do a blog on this next year.
- Socialise, I find it brings me back to the present very quickly and out of my own head
- Don’t avoid anything, push into the avoidance – another yucky one I know.
Those are just a few of the things I have learnt, I could probably go on and on to be honest, I’ve done so much in therapy this year! I will do my best in 2022 to blog more with helpful information and I might add in some yoga and breathing exercises too. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram please do as I’m going to be throwing more info up there in the coming months, all things that have helped me.
I hope your 2021 has been better than mine and that your recovery is going well, no matter where you are on that road remember it is not a straight line and there will be set backs, even massive ones like I’ve had this year! Always remember that you are a good person and that these thoughts – which everyone gets – affect you more because of that. Sending lots of love to everyone suffering with OCD over the Christmas period, I know it can be really tough, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year,
Stay Strong xxx