Sunday, 26 December 2010

Time to ask for help

Since my last bad anxiety attack I have decided to see a counsellor. It is a problem which needs dealing with. You see most of the time I am ok but on occasions the anxiety arises over relatively small issues and can last for days, transporting me to my own world of angst and negativity and fear. Then there are the extreme occasions when the anxiety is closer to terror which feels as though it will never leave. This I cannot cope with. I have only had two "getting to know you" sessions and we start the therapy in early January after the holiday period. I m not sure what to expect from the therapy as I have never been through the process before. I do hope that she can open up the mystery of the gripping fear which I feel during times of minor incidents. I know as much as I fear for my safety and I fear being wrong or irresponsible particularly in the eyes of others - but why? And how can I come to control it.

I have, in my desperation for a calm, peaceful and logical mind delved into the world of Buddhism or more accurately Mindfulness. It is a practice which involves being fully present in each moment, fully experiencing the sights, sounds and all which is happening, whilst also being aware of your thoughts and feelings and to observe them without necessarily being drawn in and acting upon them without thinking. This is intended to provide a more peaceful state of mind. If you are fully involved in the hear and now you cannot be worrying about the past which no longer exists, nor can you be worrying about the future which is not yet here. All you have is now. This, I think, is good for my anxiety. It also teaches to observe your thoughts and emotions without habitually acting upon them. Buddhism teaches that we all tend to live in our own world and that by being objective we can better understand the world and ourselves and how we relate to it. We also see the facts, what is really there rather than our own interpretation of it. This is another area I'm hoping will be useful to my anxiety. Perhaps I can, with practice, objectively look at my anxieties and see them for what they are a result of my insecurities and irrational fears and not a genuine threat. I have already experienced more peace in my mind since beginning to use Mindfulness. I do have high hopes for this to work.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Well where to begin? Since my last blog on 2nd November things have gone from bad to worse to better to pretty fantastic.

After the incident with my wrist my anxiety continued into the following week and by the Tuesday I decided to add a days holiday to either side of my already booked days off on the Friday and Monday giving me six days of rest. This rest, I did not get. I have spoken before of going away causing stress. Well I had planned to go to visit my parents 200 miles away from the Friday to Sunday. This only added to my anxiety, causing my overall stress levels and tiredness to increase so much so that on Saturday my OCD caused me to replay words over and over in my mind making me disappear further into my own little world of stress. By the time I got home on Sunday evening I felt as though I had not even really seen my parents because I had not properly been present with them. As you can imagine, this was really upsetting. My next two days off were not much better and as time went on I began to realise that my relaxing time off had been anything but.

Back to work on Wednesday, I just tried to get back to normal, whatever that is. Still feeling stressed and even more tired, I felt as though the intense anxiety was lasting for an eternity and was feeling really down. I began to think the feeling would never go. Needing to take some action I started repeating to myself some mantras such as “swap anxiety for confidence” and “swap negativity for positivity”. I have found that if I repeat such things to myself enough times and really take them on board and mean them then they do begin to work. It takes some self-discipline to retrain the mind this way but is well worth it. The following weekend I went to my Karate lesson, which was the last one before the Championships on 20th November. In my anxious state the lesson was really nerve wracking for me because I knew that I had to practice hard and do well. Also, I feared that the next week my anxiety would be really intense because of the competition coming up. On Sunday I spent the day with my brother, sister-in-law and their lovely new baby which brightened me up a little. Then something strange happened. After I got home and had dinner my anxiety seemed to fade and was then completely gone within a short space of time. Last week each day I went pretty much anxiety free, very, very tired but not at all anxious. I kept thinking, how odd! Even with the competition looming I was not nervous. It was as though an off switch had been pressed. I wish I knew how to locate the off switch!

On Friday the day before the competition I was feeling the beginnings of a few nerves but not much really. I was just exhausted. On the day, yesterday, I was nervous but only typically, nothing too severe thankfully. And guess what?! Not expecting to get very far as I am a beginner and have never entered any kind of competition before, I got through to the finals and won a bronze medal. I am so happy. Not wishing to be boastful but I feel as though I have done really well and been quite brave to be honest because it’s not easy doing this kind of thing especially in front of approx. 300 people. I am still a little “high” from the whole thing and feel I now need to practice relaxation techniques because of the excitement rather than anxiety. I don’t know, if it’s not one thing it’s another!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Showing the strain of OCD and Anxiety...

On Sunday I hit the back of my wrist on the underside of the shower door as I picked the bath mat off the floor. The following few hours were hell. Not because of the cut which was very small or the force with which I hit it but because I became paranoid that I was almost certainly going to get tetanus. Normally I would not even think of this especially since I was immunised as a child. Or perhaps it would pass through my mind only to be quickly dismissed. I was terrified. It was all I could think about, going over and over the likeliness. I made the mistake of doing the worst thing which is look it up on the net as that way you pick up a lot of innaccurate and frightening information. I ended up calling NHS direct who said I should keep the cut clean and covered and call my doctor in the morning to check my immunisation history. I had to wait until morning. I felt dreadful knowing that I had to wait so long until I could be sure I would be safe.

I understand why this has happend. Basically I am stressed. It has happened before where gradually the stress has crept up on me unnoticed until one day something relatively small happens and wham! Horror strikes and I feel as though I have a clamp around my heart and I am having the life squeezed out of me slowly. Having totally misjudged the situation and being illogical. I put it down to a combination of general life stresses which we all suffer, of course and OCD & Anxiety. Obviously suffering with OCD and anxiety makes you more susceptible to stress. The day in day out strain of having to repeat everything and knowing I will feel I have to do this each day along with the general feelings of anxiety really take its toll and when "real" life gets stressful too it can be a lot to deal with.

I think I need to really keep an eye on my stress levels and make sure I am getting enough relaxation time each day even if only for a short while. I am feeling a bit better now and am really trying to make sure I relax. I am due for my daily "session" now and a bit of meditation is called for I think.

I did call the doctor by the way, who said I am covered as I am immunised.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Positively, slowly moving on...

I have realised, considering my last two blogs, that it is easier to deal with feelings which relate specifically to something than those which are more general. When I was critical of myself after my karate lesson I was able to reason and move on. What do you do when it is a more general overall feeling of frustration at yourself because if lack of self-esteem? I feel as though I cannot effectively grip the problem to resolve it. I suppose this is where the positive affirmations or "session" each day comes in. I hope to report back success! It has worked previously.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

OCD v Self-esteem

Whoa! This week has been tough and it's only Wednesday lunch time. Work has been crazy busy and when that happens I can react in one of two ways. Sometimes I love it and become very active and enthusiastic and enjoy the challenge. Other times I am plagued by self doubt and the OCD seems to gain strength which of course increases the self doubt. Unfortunately on Monday morning it was the latter way. I feel quite cheated because I believe that by nature I am a very confident individual and that my lack of self-esteem is a direct result of OCD. I am now tired and bit miserable. I am trying to pick myself up with positivity and I will get there but it's a struggle. I have felt as though I am sinking and not able to manage rather than seeing it as a challenge and getting stuck in and putting some energy in.

I wonder why I sometimes thrive on it and others want to disappear. Maybe it is simply my attitude and self-esteem at the time the situation arises. As I have mentioned previously I have been aiming to actively increase my self-esteem on a daily basis by having a "session", as I refer to it, when I consider my good points to give myself a boost. Lately I have not been doing this as life has kind of got in the way. Perhaps though if I were to have a "session" daily then life would not have the chance to get in the way and run away with me as I would remain more in control...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Beating the effects of OCD. Lesson learned...

I went to my Karate lesson at lunchtime today which I thoroughly enjoyed as always. Afterwards I considered my performance. I am quite critical and can be hard on myself if I feel I could have performed better. This attitude is fine to a point because it all goes towards the desire to improve. But I tend to get frustrated and angry at myself. Never at the time but after the event when I start thinking about it. I start by recognising what I did wrong and how I could have done better. But then the criticism grows into something out of control. It quickly spirals from recognising errors to telling myself I am useless and will never be capable. Many years of feeling useless because of constantly not being able to even lock the door or turn off a tap or rather know whether I have done it or not because of my OCD take the blame for this. Any kind of failure or inadequacy, or at least what I believe to be so, can bring out all these feelings of negativity and lack of self-confidence I am harboring. Today was different. Today I changed my attitude towards myself. I looked at the situation from an objective point of view, considered how I could improve and decided that next week that is what I will do. I then got on with my day. I have just made it sound so easy. It is not. Self-hatred is a tough thing to control.

I do find it helps to each day reaffirm to myself my good points and what I enjoy about myself. It helps with my confidence and self-esteem and makes me stronger to remember I am a person with a personality and not just a functioning Obsessive Compulsive. I have a life to live and must be me and get on with it joyfully. Keeping these thoughts fresh means not only do I feel better about myself each day but I can more easily call on them in my hour of need. I know it might sound self-indulgent to say these things to myself but it’s a necessary boost. It works for me and today it saved the day.

Friday, 1 October 2010

A little goes a long way...

Feeling I had not done well locking up for a long time I was determined today to just calmly lock up and go. I did so well I ended up being ready to leave the house a little before I needed to. If only it could be like that everyday. I realise of course that it cannot. But now I know that that is ok as any progress is good. A little progress improves my confidence and then helps me improve a little more and then so on - hopefully. I used to think it had to be full on total OCD exposure which I think should be the aim as you should always aim high but at the same time be realistic enough not be disheartened if you cannot achieve it. As long as there is some progress then it's good stuff. Sometimes of course there will be tougher times but that is all part of the struggle.

Anyway it is the weekend now so I am planning to have some relaxation time - that is after Karate tomorrow morning!!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Hunger, tiredness & OCD do not mix!

Yesterday was a bad day. I did not really eat well towards the end of last week and as always it caught up with me. I was ok on Saturday although feeling a little strange. I then woke early at about 4.30am on Sunday due to hunger and could not get back to sleep. The strange thing was I was in a terrible mood. How can you wake up in such a bad mood? I eventually managed to get another hour / hour and half before getting up and was then tired, hungry and grumpy the whole day. I realise tiredness and hunger can make anyone irritable but my moods are quite extreme. I don't tend to take these moods out on anyone though, thankfully, only myself. I seem to turn the anger inwards. I have tried to consider why and since I am still without a therapist due to the massive waiting list I am figuring this out alone. I guess it's the frustration and anger at my OCD or at myself for having OCD. The constant feeling of not being able to do this or that or being able to do it but not without huge irrational stress and anxiety. Constantly doubting myself or my ability when really I am more than capable. This destroys my confidence and self-esteem. How to tackle this? Of course number 1 has to be eat well. When I fall into this mood I need to realise why I am feeling that way. Ask myself if I am hungry or tired? I leaned a simple but effective tip at a talk I went to which was to say stop! Whenever my mind is confused just stop and clear my mind. A great way of dealing with any problem which causes mind confusion is to clear the mind and come back to the issue. If I can realise it is just my frustration coming out because lack of food and sleep has made me vulnerable maybe I can stop the feeling or at least ease it. I can but try...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Positively struggling on...

I seem to go through stages with my OCD. Bad patches and then good as of course we all do. It seems though when I have a good patch, that it will last forever and that I will continue to be improved. This of course is not the case but I believe can remain much improved with almost constant awareness and hard work. This of course is tough. Since falling the other day I have not had to run to the station and have not missed a train so I am improving somewhat. Some things I feel a need to check less than others according to what I fear most. At the moment I am doing better with most things but the thing I find so hard to leave is the basin tap in the bathroom. So worried it will flood when the thing is clearly not even on.

I have learned to not be so hard on myself for not doing 100% OCD exposure the whole time. As long as I am making some improvement most of the time then that is good enough. Remaining positive and remembering how far I have come is a great help.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

OCD Exposure: Fell flat on my face at my first attempt - literally!

On my way to work on Monday morning I was running for my train and tripped. I banged my knee and cut it open. I sat there for a few seconds feeling a bit shocked and sorry for myself and then as I got up and slowly made my way to the train station the feeling quickly changed to annoyance. Why did I trip? Because I was running. Why was I running? Because I was late for the train? Why? Because it took me too long to lock up because I was not strict enough with my OCD. I then promised myself I would not be having to run for the train again and have managed the last two days to leave in good time but still feel I am giving in a bit too much. I reminded myself as I left the house this morning that complete exposure to OCD means not one little check. Not one! I wonder how I will do tomorrow...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Total exposure - again...

Well I have tried this before and really did quite well but like many things it slips back if I don't keep control of it. At first I am strict and manage to get on top of it and in control and happy about it. Then because I am relaxed about it I seem to occasionally let my grip go and give in to the temptation but still feel happy with my progres overall. Then I slowly let it slide more and more frequently until it's gained control once more. Why do I do this? Surly I cannot forget the horror of feeling helpless and powerless when it takes hold of me? The feeling that I am at the bottom of a long, deep, dark hole with no way to climb out. The trouble also is that by then my confidence and self-esteem have gone too. Not only do I feel like I have to get myself out of this hole but have no confidence at all that I can do it. Apart from the fact that I have of course done it before. This fact really is the light at the end of the tunnel which keeps me going. Where would I be without my CBT self-help book too?! It has been a great help to me and is purely the reason why I have managed as (relatively) well as I have. I have still not been given an appointment to see a psychologist. The waiting list is one year which is up in November so I guess it should be any time soon. I think I will have to adopt for my progress with OCD the same attitude I have towards practising sports which is that when you progress to the point where you are doing well you must not assume that that is it I am good now so I can relax the effort and stop because of course that is foolish. To stay at a level you need to practise all the time again and again. We'll see how I go this time.

By the way on the dieting I wrote about a while ago, that has predictably fallen flat on its face. Not because I lack discipline (honest!) but because I am just so bloomin' hungry! I don't know what on earth to do on that one. I go from being comfortable being a bit bigger and actually feel quite empowered that I can accept my womanly shape to hating the weight and feeling inadequate and a failure that I cannot manage to be thinner. I know the logical thing is to accept myself the way mother nature made me but it's hard.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Don't need to check? But what if.....

Everyday I try not to check as do all of those with OCD. We tell ourselves over and again that we should not and sometimes manage not to. But what if? I know the words "what if" are very dangerous and destructive to those with OCD and we should not entertain them but what if someone leaves the back door unlocked? You usually try not to check it as 99 times out if 100 they remember to lock it. This morning I was about to leave for work and I noticed that the key was not in the cupboard next to my vitamins so I looked at the lock and there it was. I wondered if he'd turned the key highly suspecting he had not. I pulled the handle and it opened. I was annoyed because of the security risk but also because he knows I have OCD and that this will not help. So now I am left thinking does this mean I do have to check everything?! My rational mind says not but my OCD is giving me an evil grin. I wonder if I can put this down to one of those occasional things and continue to walk away from the doubt each time I get the urge to check. What do you think?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Combining CBT & Meditation is the answer?!

On Sunday evening I went to an Inner Space talk on "being" which basically means being happy in yourself with what you have rather than planning to be happy when you obtain something or reach a goal. It was useful and one thing he suggested is meditation which I do anyway - although probably not enough if I'm honest - he suggested this should be done in the morning whereas I usually do it in the evening. I have been reading my CBT book yesterday and Wednesday night as I needed some support and encouragement on that. Well the last couple of days I have meditated and not really got as much out of it as I have in the evening but today I felt so relaxed that I managed to lock up in - wait for it- seven minutes!!! It used to take me 40. Perhaps CBT should be accompanied with a few mins daily meditation. Let's see if it continues to work so well. I hope it was not a fluke. I did make an effort to ingnore my compulsions but it seemed easier than before.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Changing my ways? Time will tell...

Since beginning to learn about what is important and what makes us - or rather me - happy I have been considering the huge amount of shopping I do. My huge handbag collection for which I am well known among my friends and family and the way in which I am attracted to jewellery like a magpie. Is it all really that important? Should I really be spending my hard earned cash on this stuff? Well obviously not but we all do lots of things we know we shouldn't really do. I enjoy my beautiful possessions and appreciate them but I think it's now sinking in that it does not actaully make me happy. The other day I spent hours agonising over whether to buy something and when I eventually bought it I did not feel much better for having made that decision probably because I know that it is not something I need, is frivolous, is greedy going too far? And I now have less money. Lesson learnt? Time will tell. The reading up on spirituality and Buddhism I have done has tought me about how happiness comes from inside yourself and how you feel about yourself and the world. Nothing external and nothing material should control your happiness. I think it's an interesting point and while difficult to get your head around, once you begin to it really makes sense. Well I'm off now as I need to go to the Post Office to send off one of my many possessions I have sold / am selling on eBay. Perhaps I can make some of that hard earned cash back.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Commencement of the unusual anxiety combat plan

Well now I can tell you about my unconventional OCD/Anxiety combat plan. Karate! Because I am anxious or maybe aside from being anxious - I am not sure - I can be intimidated easily and quite fearful. Relatively minor things make me scared and things which the average (whatever that is) person would find a bit scary I find terrifying. One day a few weeks ago I was walking down the road with my Louis Vuitton handbag in the undesirable area in which I live and this guy said to me "That's a nice bag. Is it real?". To which I too quickly replied "No. I wish". I was immediately scared that I was in danger of being mugged. Not right then but in the future. The feeling increased and I felt totally crushed as though I had a big black cloud hanging over my head and as though I was destined to be attacked. It was all I could think about and when I got home I burst into tears. My husband understood why I was scared but said my reaction was too much which I already realised for myself. But the problem is that knowing it's over the top does not make it go away. I thought that something really has to change. I need to do something empowering and demonstrative. I have liked the idea of Karate since I was a child and never got around to it through laziness and fear. Now I am doing it because of fear. To get rid of it. I had my first lesson today and loved it so much. I really hope it will help and believe it is already increasing my confidence.

As for the diet, well I am still tweaking that around. I really am one hungry monster. I think years of watching what I eat has made me think diet food is the norm when in fact people not wishing to loose weight really need a whole lot more. Especially when they run and do Karate! We're going out for dinner tonight as it's my Birthday on Monday (not an ideal night to go out). Dessert or not? We'll see.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Good intentions and determination...

Well the new eating plan is going well. No snacking willy nilly, here and there although it has been tough as I don't think I ate enough the last couple of days and did not sleep well last night. I woke up hungry this morning and was unable to get back to sleep. Maybe I just need to get used to it but I probably should eat slightly larger meals. I do feel better for eating more normally.

On a different note I have come up with an unconventional but possible and very likely anxiety combat plan. I won't say anything yet as it is early days but I think I have an idea that might help me out. Well see.

Again I have reminded myself of the total OCD exposure I am supposed to be aiming for. I keep slipping and giving in. Must stay determined and strong willed!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

So far so good...

Last few days I have stuck to my meals with my PM and evening snacks with nothing else. I must admin I am feeling a little hungry but I guess it takes a while to get my system used to new eating habits. The funny thing is, although actually I guess it's quite logical but I enjoy my meals more. I guess you do if you're more hungry. It will be good if I can continue with this approach to eating. No messing around snacking and hopefully I can more easily control my weight. The important thing to remember I think is to make sure I get all my nutrients in each meal. With the odd bit of chocolate now and again of course!

I am not feeling much more anxious either but I need to keep an eye on that as I don't want my OCD becoming worse. I'll need all my discipline with fighting that nagging doubt when locking up etc.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Oh to be thin and anxiety free...

Recently I have been feeling as though I have gained too much weight. I tried on some old dresses the other day and felt big in all of them. I bought two of them about ten years ago and in that time I have lost loads of weight and put it back on. It’s the second bit that bothers me. One dress fit me last December when I bought it for the work Christmas party. It’s only July and it is really quite tight. I realise that until very recently I had been hungry most of the time as I tried so hard to be thinner but trying on the dresses now has really made me think. How big will I get?! I know I need to eat enough for my health and that hunger causes problems with my anxiety and OCD but I do feel as though I have excess I should lose. Sometimes I think it doesn't matter what size society dictates women should be and others I think why don't I look like that thin girl over there? Since realising I am easily influenced by the opinons of others I have come to the conclusion that, of course, it is my opinion which matters not other peoples. I do feel uncomfortable and as though I have gained too much. The question is how to loose some and deal with my increased anxiety, hopefully just while I adjust to it. I know I have been here before but I feel I must do something now.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Self-esteem and me...

I realise I have not written for ages! I have just been pootaling along with my efforts to learn to be myself, appreciate and love myself and I think it's working. I am also using what I have learnt from Spirituality. I recently went to an Inner Space (centre of peace and spirituality in Covent Garden, London) talk on self-esteem which was very useful and reminded me that happiness really comes from within, from learning who you are, your values and loving yourself for them. I am meditating for 10-20 mins per day, concentrating on my good values and basically how lovely I am which sounds ever so self-indulgent but hey if you need to convince yourself you're worthy of love you've got to do it!

Now, about the OCD full on exposure. I am trying to be strict and not doing too bad but it's a case of constantly telling myself to challenge it every time without exception. Lots of work still to be done but at least I'm going in the right direction. Ongoing, never ending but one day I'll be winning!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Self-esteem through individuality?

I am quite hung up on the issue of lacking self worth and having low self-esteem as a result of not being given enough love and attention as a child. How do you get over that? How do you as an adult restore the feelings of love and being loved and valued which were not instilled in infancy? I don’t think you can, surely. I know my parents love me but don’t feel it if you see the difference. I wonder if I need now to stop considering the love I didn’t/don’t feel and to start loving myself. Perhaps I can get that love, value and self-worth through “self”-respect. How to achieve this? I have been reading a book called Affluenza which tells of how different races bring up their children and the love and values attainted as a result. It tells of how one nation strictly instill in their children that they must be good at everything they do and that love is conditional on this. Anything less than perfection is not good enough. Also, it states that any individuality is worked out of the child as they must be made to conform. Depression and anxiety are huge problems in the country. This got me thinking. When I was younger I was very sure of myself and confident in that I was and wanted to be an individual. I took great pride in this fact. It increased my self value and self respect to exorcise my right to be me and not to conform to what was expected of me. I have since teenhood/early 20’s become more boring in order to be more accepted as wackyness and individuality can be frowned upon. I think I have allowed myself to be sucked in to what society wants from me and have conformed to this. Perhaps if I could re-gain this perspective and be myself I could develop and strengthen my self worth and self pride. I have strong opionions on individuality but at the same time I want approval. But instead of gaining approval from others (actually I do often get complimented on my sense of style) I have compromised my own personal individuality and I think therefore have allowed my own sense of self to diminish.

I, of course, understand why people conform if they crave approval but would it not make more sense though to be myself no matter what others think and in being myself I will be happier and will be more likely to succeed. People like happy and successful people = approval. Ta-da! Is it that simple? Am I nieve?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The power of positive thinking...

I have just learned the importance of positive thinking. It should never be underestimated. NEVER! It is also therefore, true to say never underestimate the power of negative thinking. Last November when it became apparent I needed to share my OCD secret with my family because of a partial "breakdown" I took great comfort from a book called "Who Rules In Your Life?" by Miriam Subirana which is based on the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. This book teaches you that you are the ruler of your life in terms of how you deal with your life by thinking positively. It is a very useful tool in dealing with the small things and the big and your overall approach to daily life. Thinking positively massively influences all decisions you make, the way you feel and live. I realised the importance of this back in November however, life being what it is, even the the most inspiring of things can get forgotten if you allow yourself, as one naturally does, to get caught up in life without pausing now and again to consider your spiritual state of mind and well being. This is what I have done. Gradually, slowly the negative thinking has crept back in without me even noticing. You'd think it obvious but no it wasn't. My OCD became worse (as I mentined on my blog a few days ago) and I am not sure why. Maybe it was the negative thinking?! I was quite down about this and then became aware that I was thinking negatively. While I tried to improve my OCD with total exposure, which is helping, I then proceeded to spend the next few days dwelling on my bad feelings while trying to tell myself not to be negative. The dwelling on it then intertwines with my OCD and I then compulsively think about it constantly in an effort to sort it out and find the solution. This all gets very depressing and I need to break away from the compulsion to think about it. The realisation alone, that I was negative thinking was not enough to turn it around. I then picked up the book today and started reading and already have begun to feel a bit better. The book and spirituality/positive thinking will from today onwards be a permanent fixture in my progress and maintenance of a positive, healthy and stable mind. I can recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sunshine therapy...sanity v safety

Well how nice it is to have the day off. It's boiling hot and I have had to come in from the garden. The sunshine really does make everything seem that bit more positive. I did a bit of shopping this morning for a few bits and pieces and something for lunch. I made the mistake of wearing a pair of new-ish snakeskin sandals which absolutely killed my poor feet. I think they'll have to be sitting down sandals - not what they are meant for but never mind. So here I am watching Wimbledon and thinking of writing about some of my OCD "episodes" which seems quite daunting.

I locked up with ease this morning. My way of thinking at the moment is that quite frankly my sanity and happiness are more important than whether the tv is unplugged. The fear of losing control is greater than my fear of what might happen if something is left on or unlocked.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

What joy is the sun...

I decided to book a day off work tomorrow. I strangely feel I have to justify the luxury. Well here goes: I have plenty of holiday as I didn't take it all last year, it's not too busy at the moment, the sun is shining at last and quite frankly I want to. I do enjoy having the odd day off now and then. As long as I don't stress too much about my in box at work!

Whatever to do? Well sunbathe but first there's a little shopping I want to do and I might finish off with watching Wimbledon in the afternoon. I'm trying to do a little writing about some "experiences" of OCD. Not sure how interesting that will be to anyone who does not have OCD though!

I am really making at effort on the total exposure. I have rarely managed to refrain from checking at all but have massively cut down the checks so I will just keep aiming for no checks and see how I go.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


The OCD checking has really got the better of me. I'm not sure if I have become more anxious or more lazy in terms of controlling the thing. It's probably a combination. I realise it's somthing which I must keep a constant eye on. It is so easy to let the old habit of checking slip back into routine. One little check here and there becomes a full on ritual and from there it just continues to grow. I have been reminded of one tip I got from a self help book "Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" which is that carrying out just one quick check just to be on the safe side is a seductive and hazardous route to keep the OCD going. Very true. To be really effective in using CBT and exposure I guess the rule needs to be absolutely no checking. I think the reality is that that is extremely hard and brave. I can but try...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Well that never happened...

The difficult conversation never even happened because the other person, who's place it is to instigate the conversation, never approached me and I'm now thinking it won't happen. I am not sure how we can go forward and progress without doing so though. The worry though has faded now and I feel prepared for what I want to say if the situation arises.

On to far more interesting things now. Bought myself a little present. I am lucky enough to have, despite the economic problems, received a bonus at work so have purchased a fabulous ink blue clutch bag from Mulberry. I have many handbags but had not until recently bought a Mulberry so am v excited! Is soooo nice. Yes it seems very superficial and silly compared to any of the above but these little things do give genuine pleasure - and I do work hard for it. The frivolous things in life do make things that bit sweeter when you need it. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The fear...

I now wish I had read the book "Feel the fear and do it anyway" because I think it might help me with something I have to do tomorrow. Let's just say it's a confrontation situation. I need to have a difficult conversation with a person who scares me. I do not want to do it but have no choice. I am worried that I will not put my point accross well. Wish me luck - please!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Extreme sensitivity...

Does anyone else with Generalised Anxiety Disorder or OCD find that they are really sensitive? I find that if I am told I am doing something wrong by someone who I find intimidating I can be devastated. Even when the issue is not a big deal. I either feel irrationally bad about myself for making the mistake or just really frightened of the individual. Or both. This is quite a problem for me at the moment because I feel strongly one way and my logic tells me otherwise but my feelings are so strong that I cannot ignore them. Help! Do you know what on earth I am talking about?! If so how do you deal with the feelings? Are they just my problem and I have to just get in with it? Or is the other person at fault for making me feel bad? Confused!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Real success...

Well as I said in my last blog I went away for the weekend - something which usually fills me with anxiety and an incredible ability to feel stress about the smallest of things others would not even register as stressful. This time I am pleased to say I was just like one of the others. I did not stress about not sleeping and I slept, didn't worry about what we would eat and just enjoyed my meals. I just got on with enjoying my time! This really is a first (for several years anyway). I am realistic though and realise this will not necessarily be continuous progress. It will surely be an up and down pathway but I am optimistic.

With regard to the OCD I do still need to work on the old locking up though. I am not going downhill but did slightly a while ago and seem to have stuck there. Hmmm what to do?

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Storm...

My last blog was the calm before the storm. I should have seen it coming. I have had the most awful week. I am having problems at work because someone is being unfair to me and I am a painfully sensitive person. I shall not elaborate but suffice to say it's been a tough one. My stress levels have been crazy to the point where I started to have stomache pains and headaches and as for the OCD - well I'm sure you can imagine. Anyway, I have taken steps towards sorting it out and I think things are now going in the right direction although it will probably be a long tough road. It's a matter which has been going on for a while, slowly making me more and more fearful so it's not helped my personal issues (which they are not aware of) at all.

Anyway, a long weekend is here. I'm off today to travel to visit family and of course it's a bank holiday weekend. Fabulous!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Relaxing in the sun contemplating my weekend away and not getting fatter!

Hurray, it's the weekend and the sun is shining bright and hot. Must get in the garden and enjoy it. There is nothing quite as relaxing as being outdoors in the good weather especially if you have a nice garden with lots of flowers and twittering birds and a good book. Bliss. I'll try not to get too wound up about doing all the housework and the chores as I usually do. I tend to feel bad if I've not done it and on top of that I am away next weekend so cannot really skip anything this weekend.

Going away for the weekend always effects my OCD. I tend to get anxious that I am packing the right clothes and that they are appropriate and look nice and that I have my schedule correct etc. I'm only going to see my parents not going to Australia! But I will probably still get wound up. Also, I never tend to sleep well when I'm away from home (which I guess is the case for a lot of people) and my OCD really has fun under those circumstances.

Back to the weight issue. I will try not to bore with this as I know I tend to go off on one about it. I went to the doctor yesterday and had a check up. He told me my weight and BMI are perfect. This is great not only because it means I am healthy but because if you'd have asked me beforehand I would have told you I think I'm just ok at the moment so at last I have a realistic view of my weight rather than being convinced I'm too big. I do have to admit though that that thought was closely followed by thinking I must be cautious that I don't put any more on though as then I'd be overweight. But I am not feeling worried - just being aware.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


I have been coping fairly well over the last few months with my compulsions to check. Some days are better than others. The repetition of internal thoughts has also been very good indeed apart from occasions usually when I am tired or under the weather. Since I have been really tired this week I have struggled a lot with repetitive thoughts but am hoping a restful weekend will help out with that. One thing though which I cannot seem to put a stop to is checking my alarm. Each night before I go to bed, on a "school" night, I have to check my alarm many times just in case I did not set it and I don't get up for work which I feel would be a disaster. I even have two alarms in case one does not go off but of course that means checking two! Does that make it easier or harder? Not sure. I used to go to bed each night repeating a list of things which worry me and the purpose of this is to reasure although it's pretty tough getting to sleep when you're repeating a list to yourself! I have started to do this again this last week because of my tired state of mind. Please let it pass. Still have to come up with a plan for the alarm checking though. Perhaps limit myself to two checks each alarm. Any ideas welcome.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

I thought exercise was good for mental health?!

I have started running each morning. They say it's supposed to make you feel energised but I am exhausted. I started running three miles from last week, had the weekend off and started again this week and I have no energy at all. Overdoing it? My mind is sluggish which tends to cause me anxiety and in turn OCD. I also find the tiredness and sluggishness quite depressing and it seems to sap my confience. I'm not sleeping as well either! I don't feel properly tired each evening. Maybe the sluggishness stops me tireing my mind out during the day so I'm not tired at night or am I talking rubbish? I am reluctant to stop running so perhaps I could do fewer each week and build up. I feel I should be able to manage it though. I'm not superwoman but it's only three miles!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Will I ever find the answer?

Is it true that you can help to overcome anxiety and OCD by finding out the cause? I am still waiting to see a psychologist after going to my doctor in November last year. It can take a year! Last week I became frustrated at my anxiety when considering the logistics of various things I have to do. I became obsessed with the details and had to go over and over them. I recognised this as OCD and realised that people without these problems would not even consider these things an issue but they make me anxious. I'm not usually one for thinking "why me" but hey, I'm only human. Why do I have these anxieties and if I can ever discover why then can I work towards putting a stop to them? It remains to be seen for me but it would be useful if anyone else has a knowledge of this being the case.

Monday, 3 May 2010

And on and on...

The compulsion to repeat a list of things to do is still here. On and on it goes. I have pretty much just decided to try to relax and enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend and not bother trecking into the West End (as I do each day for work). I think I'll just nip to the local town for some bits for dinner and then do a few things around the house namely list more items on eBay. I feel the compulsion fading now. Perhaps that's it for the day? Selling bags is probably smarter than buying them which was my main reason for going to the West End. I know, I know I am not supposed to be buying them after my self imposed kind of ban but Orla Kiely has brought out a fab collection of leather bags. I like the canvas but can only do leather I'm afraid. They're rather wonderful. Perhaps I'll have a little trip to Fenwick in the week! Bad girl! :o)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Generalised Anxiety Disorder "GAD" revisited...

It seems GAD is feeling left out and wants some attention. I am feeling a bit confused today. I go through cloudy periods where I am lost in my own OCD world where I go over repetative thoughts and try to reassure myself about the anxieties I am able to identify. I feel somehow disconnected from the rest of the world. Usually this is brought on by any or a combination of lack of food or sleep or being unwell all of which have been problems recently. I guess I just need to look after myself more now I'm feeling better.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

All is not well...

I have been off work the last two days with a heavy cold. On Sunday night as I went to bed I suddently developed a really congested nose and a headache. I did not sleep at all all night long so needless to say felt dreadful in the morning. Yesterday, once I eventaully surfaced late morning, I flitted around the house feeling as though I wanted to do something but was really too tired. I ended up reading my book and watching a bit of TV - Dr Who on BBC iPlayer is brilliant! Matt Smith is fantastic! I didn't sleep great last night either and haven't been in to work today. I felt pretty rough up until after lunch when I had a couple of painkillers - which have also helped the pain from the pulled muscle in my neck I have managed to acquire - and now don't feel too bad. The tiredness really sets off my OCD and from yesterday morning I have been going over what I should do with my day even though I know I would not usually even be at home. I also tend to feel the need to define myself. I know this sounds odd and wonder if anyone else who has anxiety finds this too. It's as though I am insecure and I need to reconfirm to myself who I am and what I "do" in my life. Does this make me sound really weird?!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Make it stop!!

Had the hair sorted and it's now very neat and very blond. Fabulous! And yes I did buy the necklace. Ok, ok I'm crap. But I realised I have made good money on eBay. More than I thought so why not?

Anyway, a problem has resurfaced this afternoon. As well as being a checker I have repetative thoughts by which I mean I am compulsed to repeat a list of things over and over. Today I'm going over time and again what I plan to do with my afternoon. I'd actually just prefer to get on with it and enjoy it! Cannot complain too much though because I used to experience this everyday and in fact it was the norm.

Deep concentration on somrhing I enjoy usually kicks the compulsion away though so I think I shall absorb myself in Mr Toppit.

Relaxation in the sun - pah!

So that's my relaxation in the sun out the window then! Where is it?! Never mind. All is not lost as I was contemplating sorting out the mess of out of shape, half blond hair on my head. Sitting in the hairdressers on a warm sunny day seems like such a waste but I think now it's the order of the day.

I will try to stay out of the shops and remind myself that this is part of my sorting my life out plan since "coming out" (my way of describing telling my family I have OCD) in November last year. With this in mind I will try to ignore the fab turquoise necklace which keeps speaking to me (I don't mean literally - I am not completely mad). You see I used to spend money to make myself happy. Now I am much happier since "coming out" I have no excuse - only weakness! I'm actually trying to sell stuff on eBay. Good way of making some of the money back on the useless stuff I bought. Hurray for eBay.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Relaxation time...

What a beautiful day. Will sit in the garden and try to get as much relaxation time as possible after the couple of weeks I've had. I fancy visiting the shops but it will only end in catastrophe for the bank balance so I think reading Mr Toppit in the garden is the safest bet. Off for a stressbusting run first though.

Thought I'd upload a picture of the international symbol of hope which is a butterfly.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Feeling more normal...

Slept ok the last few nights (the anti-snoring aids hubby is using seem to work most of the time). As a result I am feeling more human and a lot less anxious. Good not least because I'm finishing a project at work today and don't need the stress! Hurrah the weekend is almost upon us. And it's pay day! I am thinking what can I buy? Naughty, naughty!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Sleep deprivation...OCD

My husband has started to breath really loudly while asleep. I cannot sleep because of the noise and the last few days have been tough. Sleep deprivation is hard for anyone but when you suffer from anxiety and OCD it's quite unbearable. He has tried these things which you put in your nose to hold the airways open. He tried it on Sunday and it worked a treat but then for some reason on Monday it stopped working half way through the night so I lay awake. Feeling dreadful at work yesterday I started to get really worried thinking "what if it continues for ever?", "what if I start having panic attacks?" etc.. He bought a spray yesterday which does the same job - not sure how, and he tried it last night and all was quiet so fingers crossed they'll both work! I cannot cope with such tiredness because it just makes everything seem so dark and bad.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Breakthrough in confidence...

Work has been crazy because of the volcanic ash. Booking and rebooking flights for my managers, it has been very stressful. Normally this would make my anxiety and in turn OCD off the scale. This time though I handled it very well and managed to keep my OCD to a minimum. I am rather pleased but realise it is something I must continue to work on.

The diet is just nicely ticking along. I am just eating what I need and keeping it 95% healthy and am quite happy with it. I might treat myself this weekend at some point though.

Talking of treating myself I am enjoying my new purchase. I got a cash award at work and decided to spend it on something frivolous - a Miu Miu wallet! It is a classic style but very pretty. Grey pink croc print leather. Gorgeous! I can feel a new clutch bag coming on but the only problem with them is they tend to be small. Being a bookworm I rarely leave the house without a book but an overstuffed bag does not look good. Problems, problems...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Found the logic...

Over the last few weeks I have been a little erratic to say the least and basically have been "going into one" about my weight. Well now I have stopped obsessing and discovered the logic I need to come to a sensible and realistic decision. I have been torn between what I want and what is right for me. I don't want my goal to be towards being skinny as that is unhealthy psychologically and physically. I also don't want to think my natural weight is whatever weight I end up being when my appetite is fulfilled - there are a lot of large people with big appetites! I now realise I have been thinking too much and haven't been able to see the woods for the trees. I guess obsessions are like that. I just need to lose the excess. Simple as that. It doesn't matter what number the label in my clothes says, as long as I lose the excess I will be healthy.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

I put rosemary in the lasagne...

Whenever I go on a strict diet I always loose my mind. I think the energy from the little food I do eat goes elsewhere and completely bypasses my brain. So low on energy I do silly things from the lack of concentration. I am cooking lasagne, something I have done countless times, and I have just put rosemary in it! It should be basil and oregano. It tastes good actually, but that's not the point. I've not had a good week this last week with starving myself stupid. I think I need to accept that my ass is bigger than I want it to be. It works for J-Lo but then I don't have her face. I have done very well at work this past year and have been rewarded for it. I don't want to jeoparise this by having no energy and consequently lack the concentration I need. Progression at work has done wonders for my self esteem over recent weeks. My new found concentration and less anxiety is largly down to eating correctly. I know that only a foolish airhead would wave that away for a smaller behind.

Let's go eat that lasagne.

Friday, 2 April 2010

I must be crazy

Mental and physical tiredness, lack of interest or enthusiam in anything, lack concentration, wondering mind, feeling down and moody, increased anxiety, OCD and obsessions - all caused by lack of food. And I'm doing this am I?!

Kept up by the cooker...

Didn't sleep great last night. I was just going to bed when I unfortunately remembered that I'd used the cooker earlier so I "had" to check it. I went to bed still with some doubt and it bothered me for a long while until I could get to sleep. The compulsion to check again never really faded. Normally I sleep better on a night when I don't have to set my alarm as worrying it's set is what bothers me. I guess when you have OCD anything can bother you. I wasn't in a very happy mood either because I have been so consistently hungry lately and I don't think being down helps OCD.

My parents are staying tonight. It will be the first time I have seen them since I told them by email that I have OCD which was six months ago. I wonder what they will ask/say. I hope they bring up the subject as I will be quite offended if they don't think it important enough to. They can be quite unpredictable. Maybe they'll wait for me to bring it up.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

So far so... ok

Diet is going fairly well in that I am being disciplined and sticking to the three meals a day strictly. It's tough though as I am hungry. I think I need to eat slightly bigger meals. Hunger is causing: fatigue, aggression (but not with other people - I hope!), wondering mind, slightly increased anxiety, all which seem to cause low self esteem - oh what fun! Being thinner is at a high price indeed. I'll see how I feel after increasing meal size.

Locking up was tough this AM. Had to check the cooker dozens of times as I cooked last night. Common sense suggests if it's been ok all night then it should be ok I the morning but OCD does not do common sense. I thought to myself I cannot slip backwards with the OCD as a result of dieting as that would be too depressing. I have come long way in the last few months and I cannot risk current state of mental health for a slim figure. Here's hoping I can take control of the effects of the hunger by being aware of how it effects me.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Reunion, plumber (or not!), casual chic, more Pino Grigio...

Let's start where I left off with my blog of Friday. With a glass of Pino Grigio because I need one! What a weekend. Yesterday I was a bit nervous all day because I was going to a small college reunion in the evening. I was a bit nervous - not helped by the hunger I'm still feeling with the start of my new meals only diet. Anyway I did a few things and got myself ready. I was not at all sure what to wear which seemed so important especially when meeting people I haven't seen for so long. Do you go for the effortlessly casual chic or a bit more evening glam so you have clearly made an effort look? I wanted to wear my gorgeous dark blue, straight leg Levi's but the recent weight gain made it too uncomfortable not to mention unsightly what with the fat splodging out at the top - nice! So I went for my pale blue, straight leg Top Shop jeans which actually worked much better as they're a bit more laid back and worked well in contrast with my sexy black fitted long sleeved top from Zara. It's a bit low but not tarty low and has a bit of a shine to it. The overall look was chic and not too try hard. Result! Cor this isn't supposed to be a fashion blog. So off I went to Bond Street. I was a bit early and as I waited I began to wonder if I would be ok. I was beginning to feel a bit panicky. I was more than starving but determind to wait until dinner. Not even knowing if we'd eat out or just have drinks and eat when I got home. Turned out we just had drinks and the red wine staved off the hunger for a little while until beginning my third glass when I thought - this is the one too many, better stop. Luckily I had had the hindsight to let them know I couldn't do a late one so I left after a few more minutes. After grabbing a sandwhich and a small choccy bar on the way home I felt a bit more relaxed. I didn't sleep so well though. The hunger makes by brain hyper. When I got up this morning I was really OCD. Going over and over all sorts of insignificant things. Make it stop...

Then all those worries disappeared because of the appearance of another one. I could not turn off the shower. My husband had a go and it just wasn't turning off. The plumber promised he'd be here in an hour. That was 13:45 and he is still not here at 19:00! The shower is still on as we cannot get to the stop-cock! My anxiety level at the waste of water and the unresolved broken shower is sky high. I have been on the rescue remedy but it's not a cure. Time for that Pino Grigio (I realise that is no cure either).

Friday, 26 March 2010

Had enough now...

I have had enough now. I hate my weight and want to loose some. I have not been comfortable for a long while and that woman pointing it out the other day has really made me motivated now to do something about it. If she has noticed everyone has noticed. I wonder if people at work comment to each other? They must as everyone at work is obsessed with weight - even the guys! They always used to call me small and one woman used to say I was a tiny person which although I didn't object to I didn't really appreciate - now I do! So from yesterday I have decided to not go on a diet as such but just cut out snaks. Meals only should really shift the weight. It did last time although that turned into anorexia so I must watch myself. Wish me luck. Don't think me easily influenced. She only pointed out something I already feel uncomfortable about. I know what I want for myself and wouldn't be bothered by the comments of others if I was happy. I'm only effected because I'm not.

Only trouble is if I eat less (as I have said before) my anxiety increases as does the OCD. I guess I need to find ways of managing the anxiety and OCD when I am not able to stave it off by satisfying my appetite. All who reduce their calorie intake go through a period of constant background hunger. What am I supposed to do? Slowly get bigger so I end up physically unhealthy but with a healthy brain? What a choice!

Anyway, it's the weekend now so time for a glass of Pino Grigio and sod the calories.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Old times, getting fat and Mulberry handbags

Tough day today. My anxiety was quite high. Such difficulty concentrating on things which always increases anxiety. Then the OCD kicks in. Was going over and over things in my head and repeatedly checking over and over. It made me realise how far I have come since confronting my problems last October. It was like it used to be before and I don't like it one bit. I think it's just a brief relapse though, brought on by tiredness and not eating properly for a couple of days.

I bumped into an aquaintance today who told me I had put weight on! Cannot believe it. I have but you don't say that do you?! It was surprising not least because she was asking for a favour she knows I am reluctant to do! Nowt as strange as folk! Someone said that to me when I was recovering from anorexia and I went to pieces.

Lastly I am suffering something else too - Mulberry handbag envy! My friend has just bought the next Alexa! I would go for a different style myself but it is oh so nice! Wonder how long it will take to save £800!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I'm back...

Not written all week due to catching the dreaded stomach bug which has been going around. Not pleasant! Off sick on Tuesday I was stressing about all the work mounting up but managed to reason that we are all allowed to be ill some time and work would just have to wait. Normally if I'm off sick I spend intense hours worrying about what's happening only to go back and find that while of course I was missed (!), things are fine. I think though that non sufferers of anxiety worry like this too so don't attribute it to GAD.

I feel with regards to locking up, that I have come to a sticking point. I have improved greatly getting my time down from half hour to between 12-15 mins but I don't seem to be able to improve further. I am still checking as matter of routine but have managed to decrease the amount of checks per item and there are a few things I no longer feel the need to check at all. The CBT book I am reading tells me to try not to check at all (apart from the obvious like shutting windows and locking doors etc.) which I have not done yet because I feel this level of exposure is too much for me. I do believe though that the golden rule of CBT is that no amount of exposure is too much. So from today I will try this out. I'm off to the hairdressers at lunchtime so we'll see how I get on without checking anything but the obvious. I'm quite excited actually as I have recently gone back to blond after five years as a brunette and today I'm having more blond highlights. It's true that being blond is more fun!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Help! Is my CBT progress a problem?

I am confused now. It seems I am making progress with cognitive behaviour therapy but it is now causing me concern. Last night I went out for dinner and was quite relaxed before leaving the house. I did not feel such compulsion to check and just had a quick look around and did the obvious like shut the window, switch the heating off and lock the door. On my return I noticed that I did not unplug the TV or switch on the answer machine. The answer machine is not really important but what about the TV? Does conquering my OCD mean that I will be more likely to cause a disaster? Or is this just the OCD talking? I know people without OCD don't feel the need to check but if they return home and realise they left something on does this matter to them? Probably not. It just makes me think oh heck I should check. My rational mind though tells me that this is typical OCD thinking and that it's not a big deal. Do you know what I mean? Am I right? I hope I can continue to make progress and this won't set me back...

Friday, 5 March 2010

Almost normal!

Well, locking up was not too bad this am. Almost normal apart from needing to check the back door was locked! Even though I heard hubby lock it last night. I managed it in 15 mins. Not in the high spirits of late today though. I'm hungry and a bit tired and look it too as my skin is a bit dry. Anyway, it's Friday and the sun is shining. Weekend nearly here with actually no plans. That's nice.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Strange eating habits have got to go

Today I have been more anxious due to my diet and lack of sleep. I am wondering if I can continue to run as my injury is refusing to mend. I think I need to take more time off from it - very disappointing! So I have decided to tighten up on the calorie allowance. I guess until my body adjusts to it and I stop being hungry my anxiety will stay higher. Hopefully not for more than a few days maybe?! It does effect my sleep too. OCD might be a bit tougher for a while. I could just eat normally I know, but putting weight on just makes me feel mad with myself.

Talking of diets, a long while ago I realised that my eating habits are very habitual and illogical. I am a strange kind of emotional eater. Usually emotional eaters are overweight, or so I believe, please tell me if I am wrong. I am not overweight because I have a little trick - I don't eat enough a mealtimes so I can rely on the emotional crutch of food later in the day. Not good - I know! Years ago I tried to diet and failed all the time until I one day I came up with a weight loss plan which worked too well and not only did I end up being disciplined enough to stop myself eating too much, I became anorexic. I am no longer anorexic but I have, since then, eaten small meals which are focal points of the day, knowing that I am then able to eat whenever I like at other times. It is like a comfort blanket. I need to give this a rest now, not only because it is mentally and physically bad for me but because it is also very distracting - being hungry and nibbling every two minutes. I am trying, as I have mentioned previously, to declutter my mind and life in general. This is one way in which I can make life more simple by doing the logical thing and not messing around. I will of course then be left with this gap the food used to fill (in my mind I mean not my stomach!). How will I feel when I have eaten enough lunch and it's 3:30pm and I'm sat at my desk thinking dinner is hours away? If I eat then it's too much food. If I don't how will I feel? Why is the emotional gap there in the first place? Let's see how I go tomorrow.

One last thing though is that tomorrow I need to lock up so am slightly concerned at how I'll cope since my anxiety is increased. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Hmmmph! Everything is tricky with OCD!

Excuse me for repeating myself (OCD makes me do that!) but OCD has a lot to answer for. Another interrupted nights sleep due to hunger induced anxiety setting off the repetative thoughts in my head. My mind would not properly switch off so while I did manage to sleep it was like being half asleep. Quite frustrating! Locking up was tougher than I am used to these days as a result. Tiredness always interferes with my anxiety and OCD. I did not do too bad though. I think it was 14 minutes.

It feels at times as though I am such a sensitive sole that every small thing effects me hugely. "Normal" people can just go for a run and feel good about it but I need to struggle with the hunger induced OCD. I guess it's not down to OCD that the running makes me so hungry though! Why don't you just eat more I hear you ask, but eating more food seems to make it pointless from a weight loss point of view.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Weird sleep...

Yesterday I went for a run which I have not done for last couple of weeks since I've had an injury. It was good to go again as I do miss it! The only problem with running though is that it seems to make me so hungry. Not that odd, no, but it does not just make my stomach hungry. I tend to get a bit light headed which means concentrating is difficult especially since it tends to set off my OCD. I don't know if anyone else experiences this? Apparently hunger causes anxiety - not helpful to OCD sufferers who are trying to watch their weight. It interferes with my sleeping if I spend a day going over and over phrases or lists (which I spoke about in my previous post) and then go to bed with it still going over and over because my brain refuses to switch off. It's as though it's stuck on repeat. Last night I did slep but it was that strange light, patchy, unsatisfying sort of sleep. When I get used to exercising each day and get into a pattern with my eating habits it settles down a bit but I do still get a little anxiety induced OCD sometimes. I don't see it as reason to stop running though as the health benefits of exercise and the pleasure it gives me are huge. OCD effects my life in so many ways it's quite incredible.

Anyway, today I am off shopping. I am researching effective but not too expensive anti-wrinkle creams. I have one but am not convinced it is working for me. Perhaps I would not be getting wrinkles at my age if it were not for the anxiety...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Kind of as expected...

Well, checking the alarm went pretty much as expected last night. Not quite as stressful as I thought and didn't take quite as long but still was hard work. At least from now on it's set at the right time so I just need to set it rather than check the time which does not take as long.

I won't be locking up each morning this week as there is someone in each day - so whatever to talk about?? There are lots of other areas in which I have OCD but tend to write mostly about locking up as it is the most frequent and problematic. Some other things I need to check are things at work - for example I am a PA so I arrange a lot of meetings which means double, triple checking the date and time of the meeting and that the meeting room is booked etc. I also need to check things like my bank card is in my wallet after buying something. I have another form of checking in my mind where I compulsively go over and over something repeatedly. It can be a list (which is not so bad as I can write that down and don't need to go over it in my mind so much) or it can be someting I'm trying to resolve or work out. If I am really worried it is terrible because I just cannot stop going over it almost word for word in my head. It is like a record stuck on reapeat. It can last for a day or more at times which is quite depressing and makes me feel like I might go a bit crazy. This is the worst form of my problem.

Something nice now. I went to see the new film A Single Man which just swept me away. I love it for many reasons; the characters and story and the images are beautiful. One thing that really struck me though was the order. The main character is so particular, neat and tidy. I do not have this type of OCD though, where I have to have everything tidy and placed in a certain way. I think I appreciate this because I belive that what is going on inside is refleted in what is going on outside so I guess he must have a clear mind. I have always had a very cluttered mind and fairly cluttered surroundings. I have always aspired to be clear minded. I am having a bit of a clear out at home too at the moment! I have only just started tackling my OCD and have seemed to progress slowly but surely and this is where I am at now. Slowly moving forward and clearing out my mind and belongings. Strange but liberating! More about this tomorrow...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Bit anxious ...

I've had a long weekend as I had today off work and on Friday I reset my alarm for Saturday morning. This means that I need to put it back to the correct time for getting up for work tomorrow. Seems quite simple really but not for someone with OCD. This is the cause of much anxiety. I need to check my alarm dozens of times each night and in fact have two alarms in case one does not go off. I realise this probably makes the problem worse because I then need to check both dozens of times but anyway, I prefer to have two. I normally do not reset them as I don't need them at weekends so now I have altered it I am anxious I will need to check much more for longer. I will try to use what I have learnt recently and keep in mind that setting it and checking once is enough. If I know I have done it once, then I have done it! Well wish me luck...

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Checking going well...but other issues not so...

I seem to have gained more control of my checking. I'm trying to retain a sense of reasoning that it's simply not necessary to do it as well as keeping in mind all the other points I have learnt.

There have been other issues lately though. Sometimes my current situation throws up other anxieties. My partner and I were due to go up north to stay with my family. I have been stressing about it. Things such as when will I get chance to do the housework?, when will I get "me" time?, what will we eat?, will I end up eating too much?, I won't get to excercise... All these things go through my mind and make going away stressful rather than relaxing. I have to say though that I have not been quite as anxious as normal which is really encouraging. Anyway, all unnecessary in the end as my partners is unwell meaning we had to cancel. Wonder how anxious I will feel when I go up in a few weeks time when we've rescheduled?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Sooo pleased with self...

Locked up in about 11 mins today. I did not check anything totally unnecessary and only did minimal checks on other things. Brilliant. Not perfect as there was still checking which I would not do if I did not have OCD but it's a brilliant effort. Tomorrow I don't need to lock up as someone's home but lets see what happens on Friday...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Whoo hooo...

Eleven minutes today! The main focus was not to ask for certainty and to acknowledge that being fairly sure is good enough. Perhaps as long as I can be mindful of the fact that I have an unrealistically high level of anxiety and therefore the checking I am compulsed to do is unnecessary and that being fairly sure is good enough I can manage better control...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

New plan...

Right I have had a rethink about the way I am tackling this. I seem to be suffering a setback and am not sure why. Perhaps I just need a fresh and more strict approach. The book I am using presses time and again the importance of total exposure and refraining from checking in any situation. Basically, I am to ask myself "would I be checking this if I did not have OCD?" If the answer is no then do not do it. I think I have fallen down at this point because I am still checking. I managed to reduce the amount of checks per item and therefore the amount of time spent but the idea really is to refrain from checking altogether. Last night I decided to stop altogether and this morning I did ok. I had got up to 20 mins but am back down to 16 now so it's an improvement. There were some things I managed to avoid checking but with others the compulsion was too strong. But hey it's early days with the new plan so watch this space...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Big backwards step...

What is going on?! I seem to be going backwards. Today, not only did I need to check everything I normally need to check but more besides! Admittedly I didn't sleep so well the last couple of nights so that will increase my anxiety and lessen my confidence in my ability to check things. I think I need to adapt my approach to cognitive behavioural therapy. Perhaps I can use the points I have learned and come up with a specific plan rather than simply trying to be mindful of them at the time of locking up. Back to the books, I think.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Health Anxiety reared its ugly head.

I have not written all week because I have been unwell. I think on Sunday I was coming down with something - that might have led to my anxiety! Anyway, all week I was so mentally and physically sluggish,a little achy and my appetite was not so good. I also had a strained muscle in my thigh. I have Health Anxiety which directly relates to OCD. I began to convince myself that the feeling unwell was connected with the pain in my thigh and that it was all part of some serious illness and that I was about to collapse and have spent the latter part of the week obsessing about it. I have now managed to persuade myself otherwise and that they are unrelated. It's a problem I have not really had since childhood when it was really quite constant. I must try to keep a lid on this. As for locking up, my house has been occupied most of the week so not really had to do it. I did have to lock up the house before bed last night though and did really well. I resisted the huge temptation to check the kitchen tap and that the fridge door was shut, that the lights were off. I went to bed very proud of myself. I guess the glass of red wine might have helped. Have to lock up this afternoon so we'll see how that goes! Am off to the hairdressers - and I am taking my new Vivienne Westwood handbag!!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Yesterday was lost...

Not a good day, yesterday. I was obsessing all day long. I seem to plan to do so much at the weekend as then when it comes end up being overwhelmed by my "to do" list, espcially when I am feeling anxious. I was quite tired from not sleeping great which never helps. It starts off with anxiety and then the OCD kicks off. I am a checker but also I have a compulsion to go over and over things in my head. It's like a list which is stuck on repeat going round and round and it's so hard to stop it. At least when I'm checking I can somehow, eventually walk away from the object I'm checking but I cannot walk away from my head (probably not a bad things really!)! So yes, that was yesterday. I was so annoyed at having wasted my day. I need to learn to recognise at the time that I am anxious and try to sort out the cause of it but somehow I often fail to spot it. It sounds so obvious but it's not always an intense anxiety - just in the background but strong enough to set off the OCD. I don't realise until much later when I've started to analyse. Oh well today is another day. I try to see it as a learning experience and spot it next time. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Hangover happened

Well on Thursday the hangover happened. Locking up at lunchtime to go to work wasn't too bad considering but work was though. When I'm unwell, tired or hungover (not expecting any sympathy on the latter!)I always seem to be more anxious. I work as a secretary so it means I'm responsible for arranging meetings and business trips. You can imagine, being a checker, how much fun my OCD has with me! Details, details, all the little details. It's hard enough that I feel the need to check multiple times because of the OCD but in the company I work for we are actively encouraged to check, check and triple check. It goes without saying of course that you should check your work whatever it is that you do but as all people with OCD know there's necessary checking and needless compulsive checking - it is so wearing. I was exhausted by the end of Thursday. Lack of sleep on Thursday night (could not switch off from work) meant that it was similar on Friday. I wonder if I am making enough effort with the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I don't think I am so will try to be more disciplined and see how I go.

I'd like to point out that I realise some people might think why on earth does she go out drinking and induce a hangover when it makes her problems worse?! but you see one effect of OCD is that it makes people feel as though they cannot live a "normal" life. Going out with your friends and having a couple of drinks (not more as I hate being drunk) is normal and I feel as though I have missed out on so many things, especially earlier on in my life when it was debilitating, that I just want to do those ordinary, small, enjoyable things. I just have to use judgement and take care with each occasion. I am very aware of myself and my health.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Up and down...

Well it's been an odd couple of days. On Monday I was terrible at locking up. No idea why. I must have had some unconscious anxieties going on as I felt quite relaxed in myself but when it came to locking up everything worried me and I had to check things I no longer normally think about. I stopped checking the cooker before leaving for work a few weeks ago but no, I had to check it. I also had to unlock the front door and lock it again! This felt like such a big step back and made me determined to lock up better so yesterday (didn't have to lock up on Tuesday as someone was in (handy!) I made a big effort. Although I have to admit I did not feel so compulsed as Monday and locked up in 11 mins!! Let's see how I do today. I have a feeling I might have problems later today as I was out last night for a few drinks which always effects my blood sugar levels and in turn makes me anxious. Need some protein pronto. I'm not in work until this afternoon and I might, on the way, have to pop in the shop to see the Vivienne Westwood handbag...

Just an observation but when you think of something you really like (such as a new handbag - or if that's not your bag (!) a night out or whatever) does it make you less anxious and your compulsion fades? Or is that just me? Good excuse anyway...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Locked up quick but no designer bag!


Well, yesterday I did go out but not to the west end for the designer handbag, just into town for a few bits and managed to lock up with hardly any stress. I did struggle for ages when I locked up the kitchen though to go to bed. I had to check the cooker a million times. This seems to be something which is a problem inconsistantly. Also, in the night when I used the cold water tap in the bathroom I had to check it was off several times. This is always a problem. I really need to work on it but find it really hard because I always think that if I'm not comfortable then I won't be able to sleep which I find harder to deal with than when locking up to go out because I can then leave the house and then it's done with. If I'm in bed thinking "is the tap off?" it's possible to re-check so much harder to get out of my mind.

Oh well, must work on it!!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Naughty, naughty!

Oops! I said I would update my blog daily and nothing for a week! I will blame the fact that I have been busy at work. Actually, after trying to find my blog in search engines I have discovered that it might take weeks before my blog appears in any of them! So, if you're reading this because I have provided my blog URL in a discussion forum thanks for looking me up. Pls pass it on! x

Anyway, as I have mentioned, I have just started seeking help for my OCD. While I wait for my psychologist appointment I am going it alone and putting into practise CBT I have found in a book called "Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" by David Veale and RObin Willson. It explains how OCD works and how you can effectively overcome it. I am a "checker" which means that I am compulsed to check things are switched off, shut, locked etc. before leaving the house and before bed at night. The aim, very basically, is to fight the compulsion each time - more complicated than it sounds. Believe me this is a lot easier said than done as other sufferers will understand. It used to take me 30 to 40 mins to lock up the house each morning before work. It now varies from between 10 to 15!! I am very pleased. In fact on Friday (when I really was on a mission to do well after taking ages the previous day) I did it in eight mins - EIGHT!! It varies a lot depending on my level of anxiety. I am not yet sure if I'm off out today (there is a Vivienne Westwood handbag calling in Selfridges!) - wonder if I can do it in eight again?! We'll see.

Bye for now. x

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I am glad you've found me.

I want to share with you my experiences as I deal with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder). I have lived with these conditions since childhood and now in my thirties I have begun to seek help which is slowly but surely enabling me to deal with them and start living rather than just existing!! These are conditions which people find hard to tell people about and therefore feel isolated and find it very difficult then to seek help often with the belief that there is nothing that can be done. I have realised this is not the case. I am reading self-help books and am due to see a psychologist within the next few months. Unfortunately mental health is very underfunded on the NHS and the waiting list is one year!!

I have discovered that 2.3% of the population have OCD and only 10% of those are seeking help. I hope that my blog will help me and others as I share what is happening in my life and that perhaps other sufferers who read this might be encouraged to also seek help if they are not already. Or maybe you have managed to gain full control of it and you can offer advice to me!

I will try to update my blog daily.Thanks for reading. Please do comment and share your thoughts.