OCD and Anxiety Disorder

I have OCD and I have had it for many years now. I find that my OCD feelings, thoughts and behaviors are directly affected by my general state of anxiety and my feeling of mental stability….or instability.

There have been times when my OCD was so bad that I thought I was going to lose to my because it was so hard to leave the house.  I was in a relationship which began last  May which was 2014. This relationship lasted until he finally cruelly discarded me and did not even tell me we had broken up.

This “break up” was in March…actually it was on  my birthday…at least the last time he talked to me on the phone…with one more very short conversation for a few minutes on the day after my birthday. That conversation seemed to be him confirming that I was completely broken so that he could feel victorious.

Anyway, this post is about OCD, not abusive relationships, but in this case there is a cross over. So, this relationship was emotionally and mentally abusive. I will not go into too many details here, in order not to take away from the topic of OCD and anxiety.

I was very happy at the beginning of this relationship and my OCD  behaviors were there but they were not so bad as to be endangering my job or to really interfere with my life too much. I was used to these behaviors and I had to do them in order to avoid extreme anxiety when I was out of the house…or when I went to sleep.

I do have the germaphobia thing..with the constant handwashing. I was able to hide that at work for the most part. Since I worked at am assisted living with elderly people,

I had to assist them in the bathroom. I would wash my hands several times when I was in the bathroom with them and no one was there to see this but the person with dementia …and they did not think it was weird or even notice it.

After I brought them out from the bathroom. I would bring them to the tv room and quickly run back to wash my hands again. Sometimes I would tell the coworker that I had to go get some supplies of some sort.

The big thing about my OCD is the fear of fire when I am out of the house and my kids are home. The intrusive thoughts are about fire and the fact that there is no fire escape on the third floor apartment where I live.

I also had this same fear of fire when I lived in the last house. That house was much safer and they would have been more likely to get out if there had been a fire, than this house.

So obviously having to move into this house increased my anxiety about fire but the compulsions to check. recheck. and recheck all of the plugs for the appliances was still bad at the last house too.

There were days at the other house where I drove ten minutes and then turned my can around to go back home to check the plugs. This was at its worst when I was in the middle of a severely stressful situation when I lived there.

The OCD compulsions are always worse when my general state of anxiety is high.

So …back to this story….in May I was happy with this relationship. He was a narcissist and at the beginning they do this LOve Bombing thing which means you are on top of the world and can do no wrong.

As the relationship went along the mental abuse including gaslighting tactics got more and more. As the abuse got worse, my anxiety got higher in general. Not just when I was interacting with him. It was all the time and especially bad when I had to get out the door to get to work.

He had convinced me that people at work hated me and that I was in danger of losing my job at any minute. He had convinced me that I was unable to conduct myself properly at work and they were going to  fire me for having mental illness.

He also caused me to believe him about my own mental state being much worse than it was. This cognitive dissonance of what I perceived my mental state to be and what he told me my mental state was….caused me to question my own perception of my mental stability.

This caused me to become more unstable because I thought I must be unstable since I thought it was less bad that he claimed that it was.

This was like a scene right out of the old movie Gaslight!  But I knew nothing  about this movie at the time and had no idea about gaslighting tactics and that people actually did that on purpose to cause you to become unstable and unsure of reality.

The truth is the main mental illness I was having was being caused by him. He drew me into depression, caused me to be on high alert anxiety, and caused me to be very paranoid as he pulled me into this duet of psychosis that psychopathic narcissists do.

But my OCD focused on the plugs in the kitchen. I would check the plugs and then walk away. In would walk back to check them again. I would walk down the stairs and then walk back up again to check them again.

Some days were so bad that I got all the way down two flights of stairs and to my car…only to walk back up all those stairs to check once again.

I would send my teenage daughter texts from work to check the plugs again. I would be uneasy until she texted me back that they were already unplugged.

I felt a general feeling of detachment from reality and often questioned my ability to perceive reality properly,,,,hence I was unsure if I was remembering unplugging things or of it was imagined.

The incessant hand washing also increased and became bad enough that I really had to work hard at hiding the repeated hand washing from coworkers. I would come up with excuses to leave the room so that I could wash my hands and under my nails again.

I just think it is so strange how the brain works. My fear was focused on those plugs and not on the real danger of the abuse, or the danger of losing my job because I was being lead into paranoia about the people I worked for and with.

I did not really know where the true dangers were, so my brain kept telling me that I was going to forget to unplug something and the house was going to burn down with my kids in it, while I was at work.

After the relationship ended the OCD about the plugs went back to what it had been before,,,with the checking them three times in the kitchen and then walking away and then walking back to recheck them.

That is what I still do and it is okay. It is somewhat tormenting but I can get out of the house without crying while I am driving. picturing the house burning down.

So I am wondering if a anyone else who had OCD, notices a difference in the intrusive thoughts and / or the behaviors when you are under severe stress in general in your life. Let me know in the comments. Just curious if anyone else has experienced this.

Comatose

Dark is the night

When all have forsaken you

 and

some

 have mistaken

your intent

For malice

Others

 have seen a glimpse

of your soul

And despised it

Many

have perceived you

As unworthy

And you

 have

Lost yourself

In an ocean

Of torment

Undulating waves

of painful

regrets

Calamity

of confusion

Disorientation

of perception

You have

lost your mind

Lost your reason

Lost

your memory

of what was important

in the first place

You are left

with questions

that

you are afraid

to know the answers to

the Why

the What for

and 

Was the past

just a dream

A nightmare

Or simply

a passing thought

of

a comatose patient

lying motionless

in a hospital bed

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Making Changes for Better Brain Function in Avoidant Personality Disorder and Severe Anxiety

Avoidant Personality disorder comes out of a severe fear and anxiety of the consequences. There is a projection into the future of self destruction or of being destroyed by others.

We avoid doing things that other people just do without thinking so much about them. With avoidant personality disorder there is obsessive thinking.

These fearful obsessive thoughts run through the mind around and around. Pictures of horrible things that will happen to us in the future, dominate our entire brain. They override logical thinking and reduce our ability to function properly.

One of the things that makes avoidant personality symptoms worse, is walking through life in autopilot. If we do the same things over and over it is bad our brains.

If we just go through the motions of repetitive tasks and then get up an repeat the same patterns again the next day, we are shutting down the parts of our brain, that we need to be rational.

All parts of the brain cannot be active at the same time. If the fear centers are on overload, then the rational functional parts of the brain is reduced. If we do not use the creativity and ingenuity that we have, then those skills become weaker.

We need to make changes in our behaviors. Not necessarily dramatic changes, but tiny little changes. Just do something that is different during your day.

Read something new, take a different route to work. eat somewhere different, research something new. Anything that we like, but we do not usually make time for.

If we create variation each day, then our brain will learn that it is needed for learning and problem solving. Once the brain begins to work better, then we can approach the tasks that we always avoid, with a new perspective.

Perception and perspective is everything. If we can see situation from a completely different point of view, it will force our brains to wake up. Our ability to deal with problems and complex situations will become higher.

Namaste

Annie

Derealization / Depersonalization Disorder Part 2 / Memory Failure

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This is the second part of my posts on derealization / depersonalization disorder. Part 1 can be viewed here.

One thing that I have experienced is a major lack of disorganization of my thoughts.

The thoughts become disorganized, meaning that they do not flow in a logical order. There are pieces of thoughts here and there, that come and then go, and then come back again.

I try to begin with a train of thought and then quickly do not remember where I was going with it. A little later it comes back to me and I can continue on with it for a minute or two, before it is lost again.

Last night I wrote a post from the state of derealization and I will post it next. I had to pause completely in places, to figure out what I was thinking and in those cases I put a “dot dot dot”  … or …Uhg …or something like that and that is where I was stopping to get my brain back together.

risk

The memory fails to function properly. Once in a while I get into a severe anxiety state, that goes into some level of derealization and then my memory just fails. I cannot even remember a simple direction given to me by a coworker.

They will tell me to do something and when I walk down the hall, the memory of what they told me leaves. I don’t just mean that I forget what they told me. I will will actually forget “that” they told me.

I wonder why I am walking that direction down the hall. I make an educated guess as to what I may have been going in that direction for, but I completely have lost the fact that someone gave me a specific task to do.

The harder I try to keep on track, the more nervous I get over the fact that I am not remembering simple directions, the worse my ability to keep track of things gets.

As I mentioned most people that have episodes of the derealization state have trauma of some kind in their past or present. Sometimes situations occur that are too overwhelming and trigger post traumatic stress.

In the case that you are still living with some kind of mental or other abuse, the actual abuse can cause the derealization and / or the depersonalization mode to kick in. Actually, it is more like parts of the grounded brain function are shutting off, than it is like something is kicking in.

out of mind

This can occur to perfectly intelligent and logical people. It is not a sign of lack of intelligence. In fact, the more intelligent, sensitive and creative a person is, the more severely their brain is sometimes affected by mental types of abuse.

The brain keeps attempting to put the abuse into some category of ration and logic. Since it cannot do that, the brain becomes more and more traumatized , as it tried to organize the information surrounding the abuse.

Derealization and depersonalization often goes with another disorder such as bipolar disorder, PTSD, dissociative disorder or a severe anxiety disorder.

Later this afternoon, I will post the writing from the night I was still in the derealization state. I had begun to come out of it enough to be able to write. I talk about what it had been like for me earlier that day.

The worst part of the day had been in the early afternoon. The post was written late that night, while I was still struggling with the symptoms, but I was better than the time of the day that I describe in the post.

Hopefully this will shed some light on this less understood disorder and be of help to people who feel very alone about having this disorder.

I think that most people that experience this, keep it to themselves, for fear of sounding crazy or not being understood. This is also true for me and this is really the first time I have decided to be truthful and transparent about these experiences.

Derealization / Depersonalization Disorder

What is derealization / depersonalization disorder? This is really impossible to convey to anyone who has never been inside of a brain state like that. Maybe someone could kind of understand it, if they are really good at putting themselves in a fantasy fiction book they are reading.

The difference is that you are fully aware you are reading a book but in derealization state you are never 100 percent sure that this is a temporary mind state.

You may be mostly sure that your brain is being affected. You may have a rational part of your brain telling you that you are in derealization state and that you should be careful doing things, like driving and cutting vegetables.

You may be hopeful that your brain will come back to a more normal state and that this is temporary. But you are never positively sure. There is a feeling of doubt about reality and a feeling of extreme disorientation.

As you look at your hands doing things, they seem like someone else’s hands.

You have to direct those hands to do what you tell them to do. It seems to work that when you tell them to take out the frozen pizza from the freezer, that the hands take the frozen pizza out.

There is a blur between the parts that are your body and the things that are not your body. It is similar to being in a dream, if you can recall what that feels like. You may be doing things with your hands in the dream.

But these are not really your hands. Your hands are on your body, which is lying in your bed.

The hands that seem to be yours in the dream , are just a part of the dream, a part of your mind, and they are no more real than any other part of the dream.

If you were to cut your finger in the dream, your actual finger laying on your pillow in the bed, would not be cut.

As far as pain goes, that is an interesting topic to me, It is very possible that if you have a vivid dream of pain, that the pain will be activated in your brain and that the nerves in your real body will feel actual pain.

Depersonalization is a state that is similar to derealization. They usually go together, but not always. Sometimes one of the states is more prevalent than the other.

Depersonalization is a way of a person’s brain detaching their feelings and their feeling that they are actually participating in what is going on.

Someone could be screaming at you and whereas normally you would have emotions related to being screamed at, in a depersonalization state you don’t feel anything about it.

You kind of know that you being screamed at but your brain is watching it from a distance. You feel like a ghost in the room, watching, as opposed to being inside of your own body at the time.

The state of derealization is more frightening, from my experience. That is a state in which the brain shuts down the ability to feel grounded and connected to what you are doing and what is going on around you.

Everything is like a dream state. Dream state is the analogy given because it is hard to find another thing that people can relate it to.

It is like your brain splits into two. The one part is rational and telling you that something is wrong. You are aware that something is malfunctioning in your brain. But you do not have the ability to fix it or control  how long it will last.

I am explaining  all of this as i see it because  i am going to post something  I wrote  when I was in  derealization state. I wanted to let you know first before  I posted it, why the thoughts are so doisjunct.

I thought it would  be interesting  to some of you to experience  things from the inside of a brain in depersonalization / derealization  state.

I hope it is validating  to readers who experience  this. You are not alone.

Usually  the cause of this disorder  stems from some severe mental trauama either in the past or in the present.

I will let this post stand a while and then retrieve  the other from my draft files, later today.

I wanted you to read this post first. It would  have been confusing  to you, if I had just posted the one from last night with this post to prepare you.

I have not edited the derealization post and I will not edit it. That would defeat the purpose of having gone thre the effort to write in that  state.

I am doing this out of my interest in studying  the brain . I know that many of my readers are also interested  in understanding  the brain better.

Comparing Ourselves to Others…Shame, abuse, mental illness

This was my response to one of the comments I got on a post. I will not say which person commented but they can feel free to comment here if they want to do so. The reason I am posting this, is because I feel that the concern they had was one I have heard many times from people with mental illness, abuse and psychological injury. 

People who have mental pain, have trouble in day to day situations, where other people seem to float right through. Everyone around us seems to have a better handle on just getting through life, than we do. It is so easy to become discouraged by watching other people do things that we either cannot do, or cannot do without mental anguish.

I wanted this reader and all of you, to understand that we are not being fair to ourselves when we compare ourselves to other people. If we are comparing ourselves to someone who has no mental suffering , then how is that comparison fair to us? 

This was my response to a comment that talked about feeling shame, and comparing ourselves to  other people.

People are good at things that they have had the background, the support, and the early wiring to be good at. Even the things we learn when we are older, are easier to learn if we were wired properly when we were growing up.

A lot of the people you are comparing yourself to had parents that helped them to follow the normal development stages and they also had the mental stability to process all of the stages properly, in order for the neurons in their brains to be set up to do these things.

There are chemicals involved in every process we do. The chemicals in our brains are dominating our feelings and our feelings affect how well we can do things. We have behavioral patterns and they are also linked to the organic connections (neurons and chemicals) in our brains.

If there is any trauma, abuse, neglect during childhood / teenage hood, we can end up with things that are not wired properly. We also end up with the chemicals sending the wrong signals and we feel depression, anxiety and worthlessness about ourselves.

Your feelings of not being as good as other people are conditioned behavioral patterns of your brain. Past trauma, abuse or neglect may have caused these patterns. Your inability to things that other people do, may be related to feeling inadequate to do them, feeling depressed, anxiety etc. This is not your fault that you have these chemical, neurological responses to doing things.

If you feel anxiety about something and someone else does not feel that, then of course they will be able to do that thing, better and more easily than you can. It is not fair to yourself to compare your brain on depression or anxiety with their brain that is functioning perfectly well. It does not mean that you can never learn to do it, but it means that it is much harder for you to do things, than it is for them.

When we have mental illness issues, it is more fair to us, if we so not compare ourselves directly with people who do not have any mental illness or trauma in their background. I have recently come to believe this is true

I spent many years wondering why I felt so inadequate to everyone and why I felt so out of place. I had so much trauma in my back ground that I could not keep up with the people that had brains that functioned normally. It was not that I was not as smart, but it was because my brain was and is so traumatized.

I am learning that we have to be kind to ourselves. In order to be kind to ourselves, we have to understand and feel compassion for the fact that trauma, abuse, neglect, depression, anxiety and any other mental issues, does cause us some disability. We cannot always compete with the other people.

We can learn to heal and to slowly rewire our brains. But mostly we have to talk to ourselves like we would talk to someone else that we knew was having trouble feeling as good as everyone else. You are as good as everyone else, whether you can do everything they can do or not.

We all have gifts and are good at things. You might be good at something that those other people suck at. I bet you are better are being compassionate for another human that feels depressed and worthless. The ability to be compassionate is not a gift that a lot of people have. Compassion is a lost art these days. People who have mental suffering can often also be compassionate to others who have depression and anxiety. That makes you better than them at something.

You are also probably better are being introspective and analyzing things.  Many people  just go with the flow of what everyone else is doing and they do not think for themselves. If you can think for yourself then you are better at that too.

I think that we are just better at different things than most people are. There is room for us in the world too. The world cannot be ok, of all of the people just follow the crowd and are all good at the same things.

I hope this helps a little. You are a unique, independent person that can think, care and love. That makes you special and no one is better than you.
Blessings,
Annie

Once we begin to forgive ourselves for how we are, then it gets easier to live with ourselves. People with psychological trauma usually end up with some kind of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, OCD or other mental disorder. These disorders can be permanent , because the trauma never goes away. But we can learn to shoq kindness to ourselves.

We can learn to be functional, compassionate people. There are plenty of things we can be good at. If we cannot answer the phones for a job, because we have social anxiety then so be it.  If we cannot work at certain types of jobs because we are constantly triggered onto post traumatic stress there, then so be it.

A person with an eating disorder may not be able to work in a bakery. Well if they cannot do that, it does not make them less than anyone else. It just means that they cannot do that activity safely  because of their disorder. Someone who has a phobia of open spaces cannot work in the mall. So, what of it?

We are ok the way we are. We are trying to heal. We are trying to connect with others. If there are things we cannot do, then so be it. It is not because we are less than anyone else. They did not grow up, or have the adult past that we have had. Someone else may not have survived your situations as well as you did. How do they know what it is like in your world?

We all need a break from feeling shame, inadequacy, and worthlessness. We need to show ourselves some kindness and compassion in our thoughts about ourselves. We are doing the best we can with what we have to work with. We have to work with our brains being the way they are, right at this very minute.

Blessings to all,

Annie

Make the Moments Count !

create your magical moments

Depression and Difficulty with Taking Care of Yourself…Be Your Own Nurse

Depression wears you down and drains your energy. The amount of energy required to get it together and take a shower is tremendous, nevermind doing anything with our hair and make-up. It feels like we have to literally drag ourselves around to do anything.

Making dinner is an effort so we often don’t eat or just open a can of something or other. We deprive ourselves of proper nutrition because it is too confusing to keep track of that when our own thoughts are consuming us.

Besides the lack of energy, we don’t really see the point in taking care of ourselves. We feel hopeless and worthless and it just seems like it is not worth the effort. It is not like we are trying to impress anyone. There does not seem to be any hope of anything improving in our lives.

We will neglect our personal hygiene like taking showers, brushing our teeth and brushing our hair. We do not feel up to going to the beauty parlor.

We may have some vague recollection of feeling attractive, but we do not feel that way anymore. It feels like we can barely get through the day, Our minds are occupied with running thoughts that are extremely painful to keep listening to over and over.

Time passes differently and we are not even aware what time of day it is or how much time has passed sometimes. I have had times when three hours had gone by and I thought it was a half an hour  at most. This time confusion also makes it hard to figure out what to do and when to take care of our basic needs.

When we are in a state of severe mental torment, caring for ourselves just seems like a waste of energy. There is confusion in our minds and we have problems remembering things. A simple thing like organizing our day or making ourselves lunch, feels like a difficult task.

Our appetites are low and we do not feel like eating. or we overeat to make up for feelings of emptiness inside. Either way, our diets become unbalanced. We starve ourselves of proper nutrition and also exercise.

We do not feel good about how we look in the mirror.   The mirror tells us we are neglecting our personal care and basic needs. The mirror tells us , but we do not know what to do about it.

The problem is that when we neglect our personal care and our diet, it makes the depression worse. Our self esteem about how we look goes down. Our self esteem goes down regarding our ability to function normally like others do.

Bad nutrition will make our bodies and brains weak and less effective. Our thought processes will be slowed. Our ability to fight off infection is lower. All of these things will increase depression.

The chemicals in the brain are affected by the intake of nutrients from food.  When we do not eat properly,  our brains become more chemically off balance, as we continue to neglect eating proper meals.  It is a spiraling cycle into deeper depression.

It is very difficult to begin taking care of ourselves if we have been out of the habit for a long time. It requires “baby steps” to get back on the right track. We have take small steps to take care of ourselves and nurse ourselves back to health.

Think of yourself as a patient in the hospital. Your bed is a hospital bed. You also have to play the role of the nurse.

The nurse will encourage the patient to take a shower because you will feel better if you do. The nurse will bring food to the patient at regular times and encourage them to eat because the body needs to be strengthened.

Play the hospital game and pretend you are a wonderful nurse, taking care of a favorite patient. Encourage yourself to eat a few bites of healthy food. Have some nice soup  hot chocolate.

Think of what you would order , if you were in the hospital.  Encourage and be kind to yourself about personal care. Get out of bed for fifteen minutes an walk around the “hospital” a little bit.

Be your own  nurse and see how it helps. 🙂

Blessings,

Annie

Derealization Disreality

Silent is the night

When all have forsaken you,

Some  have mistaken your intent

For malice,

Others  have seen a glimpse

of your soul

And despised it,

Many have perceived you

As unworthy,

And you  have

Lost yourself

In an ocean

Of torment

Undulating waves

of painful regrets

Calamity

of confusion

Disorientation

of perception

You have lost your mind

Lost your reason

Lost your memory

of what was important

in the first place

You are left

with questions that

you are afraid

to know the answer to

Why am I here?

What is my

existence accomplishing?

Was the past just a dream?

A nightmare?

Or some passing thought of

a comatose patient

lying in a hospital bed?

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