I know it’s been a while since I last wrote. To be honest, the past few weeks have been tough. It’s been hard to find the energy to devote to writing, let alone to even shower and brush my hair daily. My OCD is back in full force and I’m having some paranoid thoughts. The good thing is that I can identify both thoughts. When the urge to cover up my phone camera (cos people might be watching me) strikes me, I can logically identify the thought as paranoid and irrational and I’m aware I don’t have to act on it, which is better than it’s been in the past. It’s similar with my OCD. I can recognize my thoughts of being a symptom of OCD and not cave in to the compulsion I feel an urge to complete. It can be really tough sometimes, when I feel the compulsion to wash my hands for example, sitting with the discomfort can be really well, uncomfortable. It can mean the anxiety I feel increases greatly, but what I’ve learned is that no matter how high it gets, it will always come down. The anxiety will always decrease. I will eventually feel better, even if it’s a few hours later. It’s not easy learning to sit with discomfort. The first urge you have is to give in to the compulsion. I know going to wash your hands for five minutes sounds like it beats sitting with anxiety for 3 hours, but in the long term, giving into the anxiety is what keeps you sick. Learning that I can resist the compulsion and that no harm comes to me if I do is essentially the idea. Sounds relatively easy, but imagine that feeling of when you realize you don’t have your mobile phone with you, the one that makes your stomach sink and your hands tremble and you’re in that complete panic about where it is, that’s what sitting with anxiety feels like. Sometimes it last hours, or days even. But as I’m learning, eventually it passes and I can once again breath.
I’m going to see Neil Hilborn’s show at Howler on the weekend. If you haven’t heard of him, do yourself a favour and google him. He’s a poet who does spoken work and a lot of his work channels mental health themes.
You’ll understand why I chose this particular poem to share. There’s still tickets available for the Sunday night show if you’re keen, or you can buy his book through the Button Poetry website.