Wednesday, 27 June 2012 0 comments

On the edge

I am feeling super anxious and down this morning. I woke up at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep no matter what I tried. Felt like I was awake inside a dream.

I've had a cold the last couple of days with a sore throat. Could it be possible that OCD is made more intense by feeling slightly unwell?

I have no desire to do anything today. Feel like I am sliding backwards. This frustrates me because I'm taking the medication and trying to be positive. I just want to curl up under my duvet and hide. I'm not going to do this, but it's all I want to do. If I could just sleep and wake up in a more controlled mood.

I'm constantly feeling the need for a definite answer on my thoughts. Can't allow ambiguity. It started as a result of reading a book about OCD and Cognitive behavioural therapy. It brought on even stronger the 'This isn't OCD' fight and the need for proof that it is.

There was me thinking reading about OCD or CBT would make it easier and not worse.

Monday, 25 June 2012 0 comments

Harden not your hearts

For quite a while I have been saying to my wife that for the past few years I feel like I was becoming a harder person. This has manifested itself in a few ways, mostly being less caring about others and more willing to criticise.

The worst thing was that I felt I had no choice in this. I was reacting to situations that were placed in front of me and dealing with them as best I could while at the same time protecting myself from anxiety, fear, doubt and probably a few other unpleasant emotions. To criticise or to push away meant I would not be over come by any of the fear. Besides a lot of people I know seem to get away with being selfish, and seem to enjoy life, so why not me? Let me tell you, it was somewhat effective in the moment, but if you let yourself free wheel through life and only think of you, then you will find yourself doing things you would never normally do and you will brush it off for a while in arrogance and I would say I was just looking after myself. Little did I realise at the time, but I was simply storing up pain for my next big mental break.

I could never explain this hardness and why I was feeling this way. Now that I am coming to realise that it was my reaction to safeguard against OCD, I understand a bit more why I was so afraid or fearful and therefore more protective of myself. I was hiding from any and all situations that could possibly induce panic. I still have that anxiety and fear everyday. I still have the thoughts that test me everyday and I still do the compulsive mental routines of checking how I feel about things and testing myself, but it is getting better bit by bit.

My last big crash about three months ago which led to 6 weeks off work and 2 terrible weeks at work, wrestling with panic and thoughts, I came out of the downward spiral a bit more positive. I decided to act differently. Regardless of what I thought, I was going to think about others more and even fake the happiness. The funny thing that happened was that I felt less hard.

Today I read a scripture and the simplest of things stood out to me. How come I had never read this before?

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts. (Jacob 6:5)

I probably would always have noted the call to repentance first or felt overwhelmed with trying to come with a full purpose of heart, but this time ‘harden not your hearts’ stood out.

So the scripture is telling me that I have a choice in whether my heart is hard or not. All this time I have felt hard, it has been a choice I have made and not something I was forced into. As I look back I can see when I made the choice to be hard, but have never really acknowledged the fact I did.

Every time in the scriptures that it mentions hardness of heart, it is phrased in such a way that indicated it was the person’s choice. The only differences I can find is in Exodus where it says a bunch of times that The Lord hardened the Pharaohs heart, but every time it says this there is a Joseph Smith Translation to correct it to Pharaoh hardened his own heart. The second one is in Hebrews

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

Here is states that sin can bring hardness of heart, but of course it is us that chooses the sin, so we are still making the choice to be hard even if we thought the choice was only to do something wrong.

I understand this is not ground breaking. I’m not trying to reinvent the gospel, but it's a simple principle that helps me to remember I have alot of control over how I react. While OCD seems to remove a lot of control over certain thoughts, the choice to be hard or not, has always been mine. 

This thought would not have helped me, even a few weeks ago. My head was still wrestling on an hourly basis. Now the medication is kicking in a bit better, I feel like this is the true me starting to come back and shine through the bleak thoughts.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 1 comments

Why can't I just believe it and get on with it?

Is it normal that when you are first told you had OCD, that you feel relief from knowing that, but then start obsessing over whether it is OCD or not?

OCD explains everything and what I have read describes my thoughts and reactions. But I need to be certain that it is OCD and I can’t just seem to believe that it is.

Saying it’s OCD makes me feel like I have an escape or an excuse for my thoughts, but maybe it’s just another cover up by me to feel like life is normal and I’m normal, but the thoughts really are me!!

My head does not want to let go of the thoughts or have them explained as OCD. That way they would lose some of their power over me. If I can explain them or offer some criticism to them, they lose their effect.

Is it me not wanting to let go of the thoughts because while they are distressing, it is the norm for me now and I've accepted the thoughts, or is it the OCD bringing it up against my wishes?

I can’t seem to distinguish what’s me and what’s not me anymore.

Is it common to struggle with accepting it is OCD?

My general feelings of anxiety and being bombarded with thoughts was subsiding, but after I've started taking an increase in medication it's been worse.

I especially find it difficult at work. It's like I have important stuff to do so my head and my anxiety riddled body is pushing out the ability to deal with something other than itself.


Have I found the limit of the usefulness of medication? Is the rest needing dealt with by CBT?
Friday, 8 June 2012 0 comments

Friday video - 'You haven't done nothin'

Having Stevie Wonder appear at the Jubilee concert to celebrate the Queen of Englands 60th year on the throne, has led me to do nothing but think of Stevie Wonder.

Here is a personal favourite of mine.

Should be enough to make you dance on a Friday!

Thursday, 7 June 2012 0 comments

Running for my life

In an effort to be more healthy I have started taking some supplements. I am taking Omega 3 capsules (3 a day) as apparently the EPA that is contained is good for helping create new neural pathways and a healthy active mind. There have been clinical tests done to show it is effective for those with anxiety, but not so conclusive proof for depression and OCD. I thought it was worth the effort to see if it would help me at all. Will maybe let you know in a month or so.

I’ve also been taking a Vitamin B complex. It’s believed a deficiency in certain B vitamins can contribute to those with mental health issues. Well I’m up for trying it. Let’s hope these can help in some small way too.

If anyone’s reading this, what do you take in terms of supplements that you would recommend to me?

The bigger news is that I am going to start running!! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. My wife and I have been talking about it for a while, but the other day we went and bought some proper running trainers. I am using a Couch to 5k app on my phone to help guide me. The idea is to get to a point where you can run a 5k distance within 9 weeks.

Now I’m no athlete so this is a like a being a duck out of water. I want to do well at it though, so I will give it my best try. I have thought about running with someone else, but I think I’d be too slow for them. Maybe that can wait until I have become a bit better at it.

My inspiration for running -

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done
Monday, 4 June 2012 0 comments

I'm not here for the entertainment

I have been thinking about the reasons there are for going to church, this could apply to any church I guess, and thinking about where I sit amongst possible reasons.

So here's a few possible reasons I could come up with that people go to church

1) Socialising
2) Sense of community
3) You get support and help
4) Feeling of being needed
5) Opportunities to help others
6) Holding positions of authority (power)
7) Out of habit or 'because it's what I do'
8) Family makes you go (more likely a reason for younger members)
9) Doing the things the church teaches makes me a better person
10) Firmly believe/know it's true

I don't necessarily think any of the above reasons are BAD outright. There is probably an element of several of these in our own reasons. Asking this question and thinking of reasons has been part of my OCD (Yes only part. The rest is just as fun).

It's like I can't seem to live with the feeling I am going to church to socialise, hold callings, be involved in the all consuming Mormon culture and I don't like the feeling that I may be needed by others when I go because surely that's prideful (although I like this also). I have to make the situation a black or white, truth or lie, right or wrong decision. This all focuses on number 10 on the list. I have to do it because I know it's true.

I guess for any straight forward person they would accept that there is a mixture of these above reasons in their own decisions for going to and being involved in the church. And also many of them will say 'Yes, firmly knowing the church is true is the most important'.

I would never tell anyone else to stop coming if they only came to socialise. I would never tell anyone else to leave if they were just doing it to hold positions in the church, but I can't seem to let myself go to church or be involved for any other reason other than I KNOW it's completely true.

That's a tough dilemma for the topic of religion, the reason being that it's all based on faith and the things not seen. The only knowledge you have is the interpretation you place on feelings and thoughts. If the spirit works by feelings and thoughts, you have to be able to discern what are yours and what are from an external source working on you.

Here in lies the OCD battle for me. All feelings and thoughts I have are real, even if they aren't true. They happen in my head and express themselves through my body. To say I didn't think it and that it was some 'illness' or it was the 'spirit' is a line that is blurring for me all the time. How can I ever be really sure? Maybe I'm not OCD at all? Maybe all the good things I feel are the Spirit and I just can't accept that? Maybe the bad thoughts and feelings I have are really the  Spirit trying to lead me away from the church ? And the spiral goes round and round. Deeper and deeper. After the panic attack, the anxiety builds and builds and I have to resolve the questioning once and for all RIGHT NOW!!! This is when compulsion starts.

Here's where I've got to recently. I don't want a social club, especially when the rules (commandments) can seem so all consuming. What's the point if it's not true? I just don't want the pretence. Also there's a lot of other members in this club who look down on you as you don't play the game. When I say that I don't play the game I don't mean I go around sinning and breaking commandments, but I just don't seem to buy into the culture of it all; that second layer in the church that has grown over time and almost acts like 'social commandments'. I don't need a socially constructed institution in my life. If I did, surely I'd make it at work because at least they pay me. I also don't want a self help programme from the church. I believe that there are excellent elements in the church that promote self reliance and motivational scriptures, but fundamentally I'm not at church to get a self help programme.

The real heart of it all, has to be that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUTH. That the Church I attend is the only means whereby I can obtain that truth in it's entirety. Where great experiences can be had from participating that affirm it's truthfulness. Then and only then do I feel like I can go for sociality and all of the other reasons listed. They will be bit part players in the bigger reason for being involved in Church and then I can put up with the imposed culture that may actually be more burdensome than helpful.

I'm settled enough (maybe medicated enough) to be positive about life just now. I am not going anywhere, but the above dilemma has to be resolved, even if only bit by bit over a longer period of time. Whether I need to soften my thinking, or I have to get OCD under control more, or I have to simply accept what I know and what I don't know and make the most of it.

Here's to another month of trying to work it all out. Maybe I'll treat you to some more of the inner workings of my mind in the coming days.