I haven’t been on this site for a while. I like the idea of being on here to cheer on those who are struggling with OCD or other mental illnesses, to provide advice and encouragement. I wish I was more active on here, but I find myself only coming on OCDTribe when I’m having a relapse or struggling with a particular OCD-related issue. That’s the reason for my blog entry today, at least.
I’ve been struggling a bit with my checking behaviours recently, to the point where I am genuinely concerned with the progress I’m making. I take a very active role in maintaining my mental health, there are several daily measures I put in place to ensure my OCD does not consume my life. These include daily physical exercise (of various kinds), taking my medication, regular therapy, journaling and progress tracking for my rituals, making sure I am getting enough sleep, and not consuming alcohol or drugs. Despite my best efforts, there are times when my OCD gets the better of me and it feels like I am taking several steps backwards. This is one of those times.
I have always struggled with leaving the house, and this is what most of my rituals are focused on. I can spend a very long time checking taps, the stove, lights, wall sockets, appliances, doors, etc. I also have several work-related rituals that I try very hard to hide from my colleagues. On a good day, I can complete my rituals in about 15 minutes and be on my way, though I still feel very anxious and uncomfortable. On a bad day, who knows how long it will take me? It has taken me two years of intensive exposure exercises to get to the point I’m at now. I’m grateful for my progress, and proud of myself for coming so far.
Sometimes, with no apparent warning, I can relapse and I find it very difficult to complete my checks. Recently, as well as my usual checking, I have started taking photos of things before I leave the house. This is an old reassurance behaviour that I used to utilise. It’s a big step back for me, as I have not relied on this tactic for a long time. I’m not sure why this has started happening, and I am anxious to stop doing it. However, Im finding it very hard to break the habit. I’ve also started checking things more intensely than I usually do. I’ve told my therapist about this, and she’s coaching me through the next steps.
I guess I’m just bummed that this is happening. I always feel like I’m making great progress, and then I somehow slip or start struggling with things that haven’t been a problem in a while. I know it’s important not to lose faith or give up, and I have no intention of doing that. I just wish I didn’t have to be constantly mentally vigilant and always on top of things, because it is exhausting. I’m also worried that I may slip further into old habits and regress even more. I just need a break from my mind sometimes, I think.
I’m sorry for moaning, but I just needed to vent. I don’t know anyone who struggles with OCD like I do, and it’s comforting to know someone on here might read this and be able to relate. I feel tired and lonely when it comes to my mental heath a lot of the time. I’m sure I’m not the only one on here that feels that way.