How am I?

I’m alone.

I can access support if needed to avoid self-harm. My CMHT (community mental health team) is supportive.

My family speak to me (and meet up, I’m in a support bubble).

I feel broken.

How can I recover from OCD when I feel like a fraud – I’m not sure how to feel unwell when I’m not in incapacitating distress.

All my routines feel so ingrained and optimised to avoid any OCD triggers that it seems impossible to change them further. I can’t see how to ever add working into the mix – and if I can’t get to working, how can I ever feel recovered.

I consume 800 disposable gloves a month to avoid touching (and hence handwashing), so the time taken up by my OCD is reduced, but its impact isn’t removed.

CBT is intense as we’ve eliminated all the easy topics, so we’re looking at core beliefs. They drive my behaviour, but are distressing to identify. Exposure response prevention feels ineffective as it doesn’t generate as much distress as it needs to work. Imaginary exposure drags up memories of when my OCD prevented me from functioning, which I really really want to avoid – I felt trapped in darkness and couldn’t see a way out – and can trigger me feeling unable to speak.

There’s a secret blacklist of things that I can’t ever do. Speech occasionally gets on the list when my distress spikes. There are times when trying to distract myself feels wrong and sleep is the only way to cope.

I can zone out and go into “objective mode” which lets me do virtually anything, at the expense of feeling in control of my actions. Zoning out is also how I unlock the ability to seriously self-harm; which terrifies me.

I think that’s everything for now.

I don’t feel OK, but I can’t pick any one thing that makes it so.

To Protect

  • From sadness
  • From fear
  • From pain
  • From those who want to harm

That sums up my ideal superhero.

Thinking about it makes me cry, as I feel so powerless and unable to protect.

Reading a crisis scenario in a fantasy book I cry because the loss is beyond my ability to stop.

Postscript

The emotion involved with wanting to protect is significant and can feel overwhelming. I don’t know how I want to deal with the emotion. The usual techniques of distraction or rationalising thoughts help, but don’t deal with the emotion coming up again and again.

Let there be light

I sucked in air with all my might

Like I was trying to light a fire in all my cells

Make your blood and sweat your sacrifice, desire your holy flame

And shout at full volume:

“Let there be light”

Intro song to Haikyu!! Season 3 (anime series about a volleyball team)

I’m still here. Still carrying on. Still dealing with OCD and anxiety. Still have days when I wonder if the effort is worth it.

I think it is. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

After taking a break from running (I overdid it and hurt my knees), I’m trying again, but this time using the NHS “Couch to 5k” app to pace myself better, I’m on week 3, so far so good…

My care coordinator is changing jobs so I’ll have a new care coordinator (I’ve already been told who it will be, its a CPN I like). I’ll miss my old care coordinator.

I think that’s everything.

Coping, just about

In the last few days I’ve set some personal records for time spent running (not for time spent walking though) – feeling anxious is a strong motivator to run/walk a lot more than usual.

For me running is a way to forget how I feel. The sense of euphoria after running makes it feel worth it, as how awful I felt beforehand is just gone.

I don’t always get the sense of euphoria though. Often running/walking is just a way to burn time without negative consequences – although while writing this post I’ve come to the conclusion that I need new running trainers – 360 miles of use (mostly walking, as I don’t keep multiple pairs of shoes…) and my legs aching today and yesterday seems to indicate they’re at their limit.

Today running wasn’t enough to escape how I felt. At the end of the day (19:00) I was agitated. I did identify that I was at the limit (distractions were not working) of what safe (not self-harm) coping strategies were working. I used a (prescribed medication, PRN), sedative that calmed me down enough to use distractions to cope. Using medication is something to try when multiple coping strategies have failed, not as a first option.

For me not coping is any of:

  • Wanting to self-harm
  • Melting down in tears
  • Persistent agitation/not settling down on any task

Melting down in tears I usually let happen as I tend to feel better afterwards.

When struggling to cope distraction is the first strategy. Speaking to someone (about something irrelevant) is (for me) the next best option. Using medication works in the rare instances it’s used, but as it doesn’t tend to address whatever is stressing me out it isn’t a silver bullet – it works best when I calm down enough to resolve what is actually bothering me.

For me “only just coping” means I’ve had to use medication to cope, which is what happened today.

Going to sleep now, so looking forward to a better tomorrow 🙂

I’m not OK

Trigger Warning: This post contains feelings and thoughts about self-harm.

I don’t feel able to say that.

I have wanted to cut myself, but stopped before I did it.

I’ve had thoughts of overdosing, but haven’t done it.

I feel frustrated at my own uselessness.

I feel not great.

I should probably telephone my care coordinator, but I feel like I’m not meant to do that, and I’m only meant to need my care co when they call me. It doesn’t matter that I have been told repeatedly to call them if I don’t feel great, it still feels wrong.

I did call them (as I was writing this post) – they’re in a meeting at the moment so unavailable.

I still don’t feel great.

Waiting for sleep

This evening I didn’t have anything that needed to be done.

I didn’t have any mistakes to rectify.

I’m not even sure why I exist when there’s nothing left to do.

There’s things I could do. Things that would matter. Things that are optional.

I have not done them however. I don’t see the point. I am just waiting for it to be time to sleep.

So my day can start again. So I can have mundane tasks I haven’t done yet. So I’m not limited by feelings of fatigue. So I don’t have an existential crisis. So I’m more than I could be today.

Running, again

Is exhilarating.

Is freeing.

Is a release.

Is the best.

Recently my trainers started to fall apart, so my body ached too much to run in them, got new trainers and it feels like I’m running on air.

I’m back in my flat. Yay!

Getting the trainers was a unique experience, as normally going into a shop and trying on random items would be too contaminating for me to do. Not this time, being unable to run was so important that it was worth taking the risk. That, and I cheated a bit by using a sedative to make me less anxious.

I’m in a good mood 🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. I’m not technically a runner, its more of a series of sprints rather than one long run.

Planning to move back to my flat, again

Last time this didn’t happen because I ended up going to a rehab unit instead (which ended up being an unsuitable place for me).

I’m anxious, which is to be expected. There’s a sensation of excitement about the change which (when my anxiety doesn’t dominate) makes everything seem like it will work out.

Excitement: More control over what I do

Anxiety: All the things I need to do to look after myself (eating, washing, …) that will have to do.

Positives: For the next few weeks at least I’ve got the home treatment team following me with extra support.

Negatives: The extra support won’t last forever.

Positive: Everything could work out 🙂

Negative: It might not.

Conclusion: Its not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out, but it’d be awesome if it did.

Leaving the rehab unit

I didn’t feel in control on the unit; was told by the staff to trust the staff and take the medication suggested, basically “take it”, and they then prescribed new medication after I said I didn’t want it. I’m already on medication, and haven’t even been on them long enough to know if my current meds are effective!

There is no way I was going to make myself endure another 7 days of isolation (no leave), so I left the premises, only to return 1.5 hours later and be told they had to search me and the isolation now had 14 days left (reset to the full time because I was off the premises).

I then left again, and slept in my flat overnight, before getting admitted to a psych ward because of my self-harm risk.

Leaving the unit gave me a sense of control that I had been missing from when I first arrived, however after returning to my flat I still felt that I didn’t have much control because of the lockdown making going out more stressful.

I don’t know how to restore the sense of control that I once had, but it feels like that is the only way to make me safe again.