I was contemplating what to write about for this week’s blog as I itched my hives. Hives that arise from stress, which primarily stems from my OCD.
I would like to clarify that my hives were not regarding blog stress but the past week of my life!
Then it hit me! So many people classify OCD as obsessive cleaning and have no idea how much goes into it.
So, like, let me give you some basics on OCD!
According to the International Foundation of OCD (2021), nearly 1/100 adults have OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While OCD can reference cleaning, it is often belittled when used in terms of cleaning. While this doesn’t bother me personally, it does affect other people. Just be cautious and respectful of the things you say – especially if you aren’t too familiar with a topic! ❤
I believe that everyone is individual and has unique experiences. Therefore, I’d like to share my personal history with OCD and my basic knowledge of it to give a more comprehensive look at my perspective. If you’d like a more thorough understanding of OCD, I encourage you to ask me questions or research it!
Just to clarify: my experience isn’t everyone else’s. Everyone’s mental health and body is different, so this may vary from your experience with OCD! But here’s mine:
When I was little, I used to clean obsessively and be incredibly obedient – meaning I wouldn’t get out of bed unless someone told me to, I would eat all my food, etc. As I got older, I still felt like anything I wasn’t explicitly told to do would get me in trouble, and I would obsess over doing the wrong thing.
Additionally, I would wear myself down to reach perfectionism (or at least try). Through high school, I would spend every waking second thinking about how I needed to lose weight, get better grades, what yearbook designs I should try next, and how I could gain one more mile-per-hour for pitching.
Constantly, I was exhausting myself. I would obsess over being the best, not hurting people, and meeting all irrational needs – maintaining an unhealthy weight, keeping everyone in the whole damn world satisfied, being the hardest worker I could be, and so on.
Through these years, my constant obsession over yearbook and pitching helped me maintain my mental health rather than obsessing over every single thing in my life.
Then college and working full-time occurred, and my mind struggled.
So, Like, Now What!?
I wanted to maintain a 4.0 GPA while taking 18 credit hour classes (girl, chill), be the most productive intern ever, maintain a social life with my friends, be a great girlfriend, keep a spotless room, save every penny, and keep everyone pleased. That whole year, I obsessed and obsessed and obsessed.
Soon I began getting hot, sweating, and feeling stuck in small spaces – almost weekly. Whatever I was obsessing over would feel like the end of the world if it wasn’t going perfectly. After months of this getting worse due to COVID-19 taking away stability on things in my life, I decided to seek help.
After speaking with a doctor, he confirmed that I had OCD which is an anxiety disorder. Additionally, he told me that I was experiencing panic attacks and recommended walking away from whatever was causing them and having a positive activity to do instead. Now, whenever I encounter a panic attack, I walk away from what I’m doing, hop in the driver’s side of my car (driving relaxes me), and get a Wendy’s strawberry lemonade. Every time a panic attack starts, I calm myself down and rationalize with myself – whatever I’m obsessing over isn’t going to make or break me, and it isn’t worth all this anxiety that I’m enduring.
Now, I know how to work with my OCD. Yay!!!
Some things make me incredibly stressed and are extremely challenging for me to let go of; however, I understand why these things are happening, which is a significant first step! While I cannot fix my OCD or stop the panic attacks and stress hives, I can maintain my mental health.
Ultimately, my OCD makes it hard for me to let things go, say no, or realize when I’m obsessing too much.
For example, I think there is a very particular procedure to everything. If you do something wrong, I think you should apologize. I cannot let it go until there’s an apology on either end. Another example is if someone gives me a compliment…I will sit and think about it forever if I forget to thank them.
The only support I need from people when I’m going through these obsessions is to let me go through my moments of panic and not add any more stress or tasks onto me.
I hope this helps you understand OCD!
A lot of people have asked me about it, as I am pretty open about having it. To sum it up, I’d say it entails having irrational worries that you cannot let go, causing urges and obsessions, until you reach a point you’re happy with, leading to relief. It’s a bit intense, and I can’t say I love the panic attacks or stress hives, but I’m happy that there are resources to help me with it!
If you’re struggling with your mental health, I strongly recommend altering who you follow on social media, being patient with yourself, journaling, and seeking therapy or medical help.
Let’s take care of our minds, friends! After all, they are the best parts of us! ❤