6 Useful Things To Remember During Recovery

tumblr_moon06mdOx1sw1y38o1_500

When I talk about ‘Recovery’ I’m on about the process one goes through when trying to ‘recover’ from a mental illness. I wrote a blog post a while back now about my thoughts on what recovery is which you can read HERE. During recovery there are going to many times when you feel like your slipping back or are struggling, it’s not going to be a pain sailing journey. I thought I’d write a few bullet points of things I think its important to remember, do or tell yourself during recovery.

Remember we all have bad days. You’re human and that means you will have bad days/weeks, where the problem you are/have recovered from will rear its ugly head again. Try to be ok with this, you are the one whose in control of that problem now, so remember what you learn’t to get rid of that problem and keep it in check.

If during your recovery process you do slip back for longer than you’d like, remember how strong you are. You have over come this problem so you can do it again. Pick yourself and the little broken pieces up, put yourself back together and regain control. You are so strong.

When you feel like giving into something that your recovering from e.g self harm, OCD rituals, avoiding anxious situations whatever it may be, remind yourself of how far you have come. Really take yourself back to how you used to feel when you used to do these things. Think about how you’re going to feel after giving in, will it be worse than not giving in, in the first place? You’ve gone so long without doing this thing that made you feel broken, keep going.

When you’re struggling and feel like giving up because recovery is too hard. Think about how far you could be this time next year if you keep going. Imagine how much easier recovery will feel this time next year, what you might be doing, what you might have achieved and don’t lose sight of it.

This applies both to giving into old habits and having bad days. Remember feelings pass. Just because today you’ve felt depressed or extremely anxious, doesn’t mean its going to last forever, feelings come and go, keep reminding yourself this and keep going until they pass. The same for wanting to perform a ritual or self harm for example, try to put it off, hours or a day later that feeling may not still be there. Its worth being temporarily uncomfortable, if it means an even bigger step to recovering further.

Help someone else who is in the mist of their struggle. Helping others and talking to people who are suffering like you once were makes you feel good. Talking about it can also be a great reminder of how far you’ve come, of what you’ve been taught and a help to someone else.

I hope this is useful to someone.

Stay Strong,

Anna

Mental Health: Little Steps Are Better Than No Steps

When you suffer with a Mental Illness and you’re trying to recover and get your life back and track you tend to be very hard on yourself, you want to get better over night even though you know it’s not that easy. Whenever I used to achieve something small even if it was as small as getting up and getting dressed, walking one way down to the shops or resisting performing a OCD ritual etc which can all seem so huge when your depressed and anxious, I never gave my self credit for it’s because I felt like it wasn’t good enough or I hadn’t done as much as I’d hoped. If I had done a couple of good things during the week and one day didn’t go as planned and I didn’t resist my OCD or whatever it may be, I felt like a let down and forgot all about the little things I’d achieved. It’s easy to let the negative areas of your days to become your main focus rather than looking at the little steps you’ve taken to try to get better. When your dealing with a mental illness your going through a hard enough time as it is, focusing on the negative things will only decrease your mood and self-esteem even further.

When you achieve something that you normally find hard, write it down so when your feeling negative or things aren’t going to plan you can see that you have achieved something even if you feel like you haven’t. Little steps are better than no steps, no matter how small it is better than not doing anything, give yourself some credit for just getting through the day when you felt as if you couldn’t that in itself is an achievement, feeling depressed, like self harming, anxious or like OCD is controlling your every move is one of the hardest things someone can go through, the fact your strong enough to take that on every day is something you should be proud of!

Your not exactly where you want to be but that’s ok with little steps you will get there whether its tomorrow, next month, next year or in 3 years time, just keep taking those baby steps and never tell yourself that ‘little’ achievement wasn’t enough or wasn’t good enough.  The amount of times I think I’m doing good and achieving loads then the next week I’m back o square one, eventually after trying and trying you will achieve what you want to and move on to the next struggle, just because it didn’t work out the first time it doesn’t matter the fact you tried is a step in the right direction and is better than when you couldn’t even face trying to get out of bed, shower, resist your rituals and thoughts etc!

tumblr_n22y12AXxK1s499p0o1_500

tumblr_mlqihut2dc1qf1498o1_500

If you yourself doesn’t suffer with a mental illness but your friend or a family does, don’t be hard on them, I know from my parents watching me go through what I have, they only get frustrated with you because they hate seeing you like it and want the best for you. Tell the person you are proud of them when they do something that may seem so easy and small to you. Let them know they’ve done good, when you’re battling with your mind and you think negatively its hard to see that from yourself and hearing it from someone else is really lovely, sometimes people need to be told they’re doing a good job and to know someone else has noticed there achievements. If the next day or week they’ve taken a couple of steps back that’s ok too, that doesn’t make what they achieved before that any less, they still done it and they will do it again and again until they achieve something new and bigger.

tumblr_n2o2acq0mH1qk5into1_500

I am proud of you. Stay Strong.

Anna

Recognising YOUR OCD Thoughts

One of the biggest steps to recovering from OCD and dis arming OCD is recognising your OCD’s topic. When you have OCD your fears, thoughts and compulsions usually stem from a particular topic, wether it be harm, contamination or relationships etc to start recovering from OCD you have to learn what this topic is and how it comes into your mind, so you can then recognise these thoughts and feelings as OCD and label them exactly that so you can work on refocusing on anything but that topic. It’s not easy to recognise OCD when your brain is so busy with thoughts and doubt, and then you doubt its OCD which leads you to give in to your OCD and complete compulsions and ruminate over and over your thoughts and feelings!

tumblr_n12h43I0On1rvjlr6o1_1280

 When I went to intensive therapy I learned  a lot of my thoughts come in as questions about my particular worry ‘What if?’ ‘Could I?’ ‘Do I want to?’ ‘Am I?’ and before this I just thought that was me trying to work everything out, but my OCD makes me feel like I have to answer these questions and if I can’t there is something wrong with me and that I need to find an answer because without it how will I ever know I’m not bad, this is a compulsion. I now know any question, thought, image, urge to do with my topic of OCD, I have to ignore and immediately label it OCD and try refocus my attention on anything but what I’m experiencing anxiety over.

tumblr_mhgeqgV9jf1rujwf6o1_500

tumblr_m7ov5nG0LX1r489yro1_500

Once you know your triggers, don’t question if its OCD, 99.9% of the time it will be, OCD might kick you and try to get your attention by giving you more anxiety and making you feel like you have to answer the questions in your head or you have to do the compulsion but you have to be smarter than OCD.  You have to trust your knowledge, which can be very hard because of the doubt OCD creates, but when you can  trust yourself and your therapist, you will notice the better you get at recognising OCD the easier it becomes and eventually it will be second nature to do so!

When I was facing this problem I had to just trust myself and think ‘from now on until my OCD isn’t so strong I’m going to have to trust that ANYTHING to do with my OCD topic is OCD, no matter what the question, thought, feeling or urge is, if its to with my particular fears, I have to label it as OCD’ . I am getting so much better at it, I do sometimes get lost in my head and caught up in OCD’s traps, but each day I feel like I am becoming stronger than OCD. When you become an expert on your own OCD it becomes easier to fight it and you no longer fear this awful disorder your suffering with.

tumblr_mjx6b7QVVJ1rujwf6o1_500

Its hard but with the right help and knowledge on OCD you can do it, I am doing it and if I can you can too, I belive in you. Become an expert on your OCD and be mindful of what your OCD involves and how it comes into your head and by mindful I mean just be aware of your thoughts and feelings but don’t think into them and get lost in them.

tumblr_mg67c7qqpY1rujwf6o1_500

Check out my other OCD, Anxiety and Depression posts to read more about my experience with OCD and tips on recovering from OCD!

Stay Strong ♥

Anna x

What Is Recovery?

tumblr_mxcp5hVdGd1qcawiio1_500

Everyone will have their own view and opinion on what recovery is, until recently I hadn’t taken much notice of the word or what it meant, but I guess since I am feeling more positive with my OCD this past few months, I have asked my self ‘Am I in recovery?’ The thing is I don’t really think there’s a definite answer to the question ‘what is recovery?’ I think it’s a journey anyone with mental health will go through at some point, and it will be different for everyone.

I personally don’t think there is a time limit on how long it takes for someone to recover from mental illness and I’m not entirely sure there is such thing as ‘recovery’ I think in some cases it is a life long commitment and I don’t mean that negatively at all, I just mean you never stop learning about your illness and ways to cope, and I think it’s about being able to live a fulfilling life and making sure your mental health problems and in my case my OCD doesn’t take over again. I think it’s a life long journey, that’s not to say no one can ever fully recover and live an OCD free life, but I personally think OCD is the kind of illness that once you’ve got rid of one form, another form tries to creep in and stress might bring it out, or certain situations might bring it out of you. I think even if you are recovered you have to be aware that OCD might show its ugly face again, but to not be disheartened if that happens, to check yourself and remember how far you have come and remember you can fight it again. I think as long as you are living a fulfilling, happy life where you are in control of your OCD or whatever mental health problem you suffer with then that’s all that matters.

tumblr_mzngx00dtp1snejxvo1_500

 I think I am coming to the point when I think I could be just starting my journey to recovery, I feel more control of my OCD than ever and I feel like I have learnt so much about myself and my OCD already. I would consider myself ‘recovered’ if I could keep a job and know that if tomorrow or next week or at some point I was to have a bad day, I would be able to cope and carry on my day, where as at the moment my bad days often take over and I can’t carry on as normal. During recovery I think you go through so many emotions, some days I don’t even know if I want to recover or if I can ever see myself doing so, other days I am more positive and deep down I want too. It is such a scary feeling though I know recently I’ve felt every emotion going, happy, sad, frustrated, angry, scared, proud and most of all anxious.

I’m not going to lie, I am so scared of getting better and getting a job, just the future in general scares me so so much, but part of that is my OCD, wanting certainty and reassurance that everything’s going to be ok. OCD is normally future based, we live too much in the future and not enough in the present, that’s why a lot of our thoughts consist of ‘what if?’ If we were living for the now there would be no ‘What ifs’, which is one of the reasons why thinking of recovery and the future seems so frightening, there is so many ‘What if’ questions that can’t be answered.

tumblr_my6x3rkQoI1rlie3ko1_500

tumblr_mzkgdvy8nW1soudedo1_500

I think during the journey of recovery there are so many times your going to feel like you’ve gone backwards, but that is recovery, it’s taking the good with the bad but coming out the other side fighting harder and becoming stronger after every step back, I don’t think recovery is about having no OCD or no mental health problems but I think it’s about being able to live how you want to and noticing when you might need to take some time to go back over what you’ve learned and apply it before things get on top of you. Don’t expect recovery to be plain sailing and straight forward,  take each day as it comes and when you get to that day when you can smile and keep going through a bad day, keep going and never stop recovering.

So that’s my opinion on recovery, let me know in the comments what your views on recovery are or if you agree with me and  remember stay strong ♥