It’s been a while since I last posted. Life gets busy, but here I am. As most of you know music has always been the strongest outlet for me. So much so that I created ‘The OCD Perspective Playlist‘. A few weeks ago I went and spent time with my brother and his family. While I was there I ran across a new song released by country singer Lauren Alaina called “Getting Good“. As I listened to it the first time I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything she sang seemed to relate to my life. After I got home from my brothers I was on the phone with my best friend and we were talking and catching up on life. As she talked, she talked about how she kept waiting for things to get better before she could be completely happy. I was amazed at how we both were learning similar lessons in different ways. As I spoke with her I opened my laptop and sent her a link to the song.
The song is about how people wait to start enjoying life because they think that once they have this or that, then life will get better. The truth is though, life is only good when we decide to look at it that way. It reminds me of the lesson you learn where you look at a glass of water, some of us see the glass is half empty while others see that the glass is half full.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my life before my mission. It was around this time 7 years ago that I sent in my mission papers. For as long as I could remember I kept thinking that if I do this, then my anxiety will get better. I had a pattern:
- Once I graduate things will get better
- Once I go to college and meet new friends things will get better
- Once I go on my mission and get away from everything things will get better
- Once I get a job things will get better
- Once I go to hairschool things will get better
- Once I have a boyfriend things will get better
- Once I move out things will get better
- Once I get new meds things will get better
This was my thought process. Every time I tried something new I always had hope that things would get better. After moving back with my parents 2 years ago I didn’t know if things were ever going to get better. I had lost hope. A year ago that hope was rekindled for a short time when I finished a semester of school, had calling in the church I was good at, was driving by myself and found a job. I really thought that from that point all the crap I had gone through was done. And then all within a couple months things fell apart. I lost my job, my housing plans didn’t work out, I started to have frequent panic attacks, I was struggling in school, I found out that my therapist of 2 years was sick and wouldn’t be working much longer, I had to go off of intense meds and get put on new ones and to top it off I had some issues with newly found friendships. This was when I decided that something needed to change. No matter what I did life was not getting good.
In January I met with a new therapist who went deeper into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I started reading books on it and it all made sense. My therapist gave me permission to step back and take things slow. I stopped driving, I stopped going to church every week, I started using a cane and stayed home most of the time. For years I was told doing this was going to be bad for me. It turned out to be the complete opposite. It allowed me time to figure out who I was, what I wanted, and what I was going to do to get it.
I realized that I had to change things in my life that weren’t helping. I had to accept who I was and accept that I had a mental illness. I realized that I needed to do things in the moment; the present day, that would make me happy. I found that doing puzzles, watching Netflix, writing and doing crafts were things that helped me be happy in the moment. I started acknowledging myself for the little things like making my bed, taking out the trash, even working through a bad thought. It’s been 10 months and I have never felt more happy in life then I do now. I may not go to church every week, but the Sundays I get there and choose to be there are amazing. I may not drive by myself yet, but within the past few weeks the desire to try has come back. I found that when I was given the chance to make those choices for myself of when I was ready to do things it made a big difference. So much so that I did drive last week for the first time in almost a year. I can now go to a store and stay when I am anxious. I am not taking my panic attack medicine as often because I am learning to go with the discomfort not fight it. I’m starting to realize what deserves my attention and what doesn’t. It’s not always easy, even writing this post I have anxiety, but I am working with it.
“I’m afraid of both my parents dying
I call my dad, he answers right away
And I didn’t hear a word ’cause I was thinking
About what hasn’t happened yet but will someday
And we hang up the phone before I know it
I’m crying over the conversation my fear took
I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment
I’ll realize my life’s already good.”
I urge you to take some time and decide what is important and what’s not. Is there something that you could eliminate in your life to feel less stressed? Is there something you could do to make your days better? Please remember that you come first. You deserve to be happy now, don’t keep waiting for life to fall into place, because it won’t. Life’s messy, so instead of fighting it, just go with it. Thank you all for your support, you have helped more than you know. And as always, remember, You Got This!