Kirsten, 35, Peterborough, UK

I feel like I can’t trust my own brain

Kirsten Wall PostA year ago I was diagnosed with OCD. It’s a form called Pure O, so I don’t have the behaviours that you might expect, but instead where someone may wash their hands again and again, I analyse my thoughts again and again. It all happens very quickly and for me a normal thought can become distressing and intrusive in minutes. The hardest thing for me is because I question everything it can get very confusing and I feel like I can’t trust my own brain. Sometimes my own brain feels like my worst enemy.

As my condition has a strong hormonal link, I’m much better at the moment as pregnancy hormones have calmed and life is settled and good. Although it’s only been a year since diagnosis, I know it started in my mid-twenties during a period of great stress which unfortunately went on for several years, although I’ve always been an over-thinker.

I’m incredibly lucky to have friends and family who are understanding and supportive, and the best partner in the world who would do anything to help me through tough times. It’s not the same for everyone and I can’t imagine how much harder that must make it. Here are a few things I have learnt:

1. Almost everyone I know has suffered with some sort of anxiety, fear or depression at some point in their life.

2. People want to help. They may not know how but that’s something you can work out together, the first step is just talking.

3. The person you are worried most about telling is often the most understanding.

4. Feelings are temporary. Whatever is in your head and however you feel about it will change. It will get better.

5. Diet really helps. I have by no means mastered this one but keeping blood sugars level really helps. Reduce caffeine and sugars and anything that speeds your system up, and don’t miss meals. Avoid getting drunk as the hangovers make it ten times worse!

6. When someone says ‘if you need me, you know where I am’, they mean it, and it’s the most reassuring feeling in the world.

7. It’s okay not to be okay. Don’t beat yourself up on a bad day, look after yourself. Treat yourself to whatever calms you, a bath or an early night for example.

8. Exercise is a great tonic. It’s not just that the chemicals released help you feel happier, but for that 10mins, an hour or whatever you can manage, you’re not thinking about anything else. You also feel proud of yourself after for doing it!

We could all face difficulties at anytime. Be kind and treat others how you’d like to be treated.

Categories: The Wall

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