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OCD Tendencies Triggers

Okay, so I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD.

In fact, I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety or depression either.

Shock. Horror.

Would is surprise you that anybody who is currently diagnosed with a mental health problem, at some point in the past, HADN’T been diagnosed with a mental health problem?

I’ve read so many places how it’s “wrong” to self-diagnose, but the truth is that the NHS system in England doesn’t really accommodate psychological diagnosis’ very well. To get onto a psychologist’s waiting lists can take months by itself, and then there’s the time on the waiting list, and then the time before a diagnosis… It’s a process.

And to first even approach a doctor, either oneself, somebody close to you or somebody who comes across you in the emergency room after swallowing a bottle of pills, will refer you to a doctor, to begin this process.

The people close to me are too go-with-the-flow to really care if I go to the doctor or not to resolve my problems. And, my problems aren’t severe enough to land me into the emergency room.

So, once things started getting bad, I did my research and came to my own conclusions, and thus referred myself.

WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT THAT?

And yes, I’m in the process of, well, waiting for my doctor to ring me up to say that I’ve been referred to a psychologist which, y’know, it’s been probably 2 months of waiting so far.

In the mean time I’m not exactly going to just sit around doing nothing about my problems, hence the research, hence the conclusions. It’s much easier to help yourself when you have a good idea of what’s wrong.

So, there’s my little disclaimer for all the people who are like “don’t claim to have something you’ve not been diagnosed with”. If you’ve even had the opportunity to get to the stage of diagnosis then that’s bloody lucky. I’ve been trying to get to that point for a really long time.

SO

I have some OCD TENDENCIES.

What I mean by that is that I’m not really convinced that I’d get diagnosed with OCD, because there are a lot of things that luckily do not affect my daily life that do affect OCD sufferer’s.

For example, my mind has never really associated not doing an action with meaning that someone I care about will die or something.

I’m not super particular about where things are in my room (unless I’ve done a good tidy up, but before that point, I don’t care too much if things aren’t absolutely perfect.)

My problems are with repetitive phrases, repeating actions to an extent, etc.

So again, here are some of my “triggers” for my OCD tendencies.


1.) When I fill up my water bottle. You see, I’m quite particular about my water intake – I MUST achieve 4 full bottles of my BRITA water bottle (600ml) from midnight of the day before until midnight of the day after. So, whenever I’m to fill my bottle of water, it has to be done perfectly. I run the water until it’s so cold that it hurts to the touch, and then there are phrases I repeat in my head until my brain is satisfied enough to move on onto a different activity. The water bottle is ALWAYS overflowing by this point! For some reason that I don’t quite fully understand, considering I know he isn’t flawless by any means – if my partner fills my bottle up for me, I simply trust that he’s done it right, and don’t worry about it at all.

2.) When I shower and do anything like shampoo my hair, condition my hair, wash my body, rinse my body, exfoliate my face, tone my face… Actually, any single beauty step you can think of. Whenever I do these things, the same thing happens as above. I repeat phrases in my head, for example “too much because ___, too little because _____, too much because ____ too little because ____, …” I know that probably doesn’t make sense but it’s basically my silly brains way of making sure I’ve completed the task properly. Even with the water thing, I didn’t repeat the phrases because they are so abstract that I’d be embarrassed to, but it’s basically my brain trying make sure that I’ve found the sweet spot and have completed the task perfectly…

3.) When I weigh myself. I like to maintain a weight of exactly 127.8 lbs, and if I don’t weigh that much (especially if I weigh MORE than that amount, as I tend to be over my ideal weight versus under), I will stress out and really try to get myself back to my ideal weight. Even if i’m just 0.2 lbs over, I’ll stop eating or something and weigh myself every 5 minutes until it’s back to my ideal weight.

4.) When moving on to any task different to the one I’m currently one, I have to repeat phrases again until my mind is satisfied enough for me to move on. In fact, when I make any decision at all, about anything. Whether I’ve chosen the right amount of presents for Christmas, whether the present itself is right, when choosing option modules for Uni, when deciding if it’s time to close my Instagram tab or…. Ugh. It’s really difficult to explain accurately.


 

This is something very closely linked to my anxiety, and I really do suffer from it. It’s the think that makes me so anxious about making decisions, the thing that often makes me take an hour to just shampoo my hair. Sometimes my brain simply will not let me move on from a task because it will deem that I haven’t done it perfectly enough.

You know what, I don’t even think I’m a perfectionist in the traditional sense. I don’t study much, the quality of my Uni work isn’t the best, my flat is far from immaculate etc. Like, I’m not ACTIVELY a perfectionist – it’s just certain actions, my brain won’t let me move on from unless I achieve them perfectly, which can take such a long time that by time I move on I have a headache, feel physically sick, tired, upset etc.

What helps me with all of the above, besides the weight thing, is me asking my partner to help me. When I ask him to fill my bottle for me I know he often thinks I’m just being lazy, but it’s because it is genuinely a MUCH bigger task for me to do than for him, and it truly helps when he just does it for me. Sometimes when I’m really struggling to get ready in the morning and I have to be somewhere at a certain time, he’ll wash my hair for me and again, I generally just trust that he’s done it right. The same for making decisions and moving onto different tasks – I’ll often just ask him if I’ve done enough to move on, if I’ve done it right enough, if he’s certain etc etc, and will move on much quicker after he has told me it’s the right thing to do versus me trying to come to that conclusion myself.

Basically, taking decisions out of the hands of someone who suffers with these sorts of tendencies is probably the best way to help (although, not taking full control – if someone were to choose an outfit for me to wear and there were very specific reasons why I couldn’t wear those items in my mind, I’d be VERY upset if they insisted I wear that outfit, if that makes sense? It has to be in ways that the sufferer actually agrees would be helpful!)

Storm

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Depression Triggers

Following on from my last post…

I also have depression. Yay!

And I get depressed a lot.

Sometimes this can be worsened or brought on by a “trigger”.

I’m going to list some of my triggers – maybe the list will help some of you know what sort of things to AVOID if you have someone in your life who is also suffering from depression, or maybe it can be something you can relate to if you have depression, or something that can educate you, or entertain you?

I dunno guys, use it however you will.


 

1.) My relationship with my partner not being exactly how I want it to be. Maybe I overthink the situation when he doesn’t give me enough attention, which leads to me feeling really un-special, unattractive, plummets my self confidence, makes me really dislike myself and my life and wish my relationship was more than it is and ugh… Leads to depression. Guys, just to clarify, my partner is amazing. I’m just a person who needs a certain amount of attention from their partner to actually feel like I’m wanted so when he isn’t feeling very affectionate towards me, it brings on my depression haaaaaard.

2.) Not waking up at a good time. You know how nice and, well, NORMAL it feels for most people to simply wake up at like 07:00? On a full 7-8 hours of deep, undisturbed sleep? Yeah, that doesn’t happen to me. This is the earliest I’ve been awake in a while – and it’s around 10:15. I go to sleep at maybe 03:00 at night. My sleep is disturbed because I always go to sleep super anxious, and watch maybe 3 hours of TV in bed before sleeping. Before bed is usually when I discuss problems I had in my day with my partner, so I also normally go to sleep really down and ugh… It’s just proper screwed up and disorganised and it’s really really difficult to wake up happy after sleeps like I have!!! I should be in bed at 23:00, without any electronics or anything, after having taken a bath and after having a GOOD evening with my partner and a really productive day, and then just actually fall asleep easily for a good 7-8 hours. That’s all I need. It really sucks starting every single day late. Caused by depression and induces depression, a beautiful cycle. This also leads to me sleeping during the day and having an even less productive day and leads to even more depression and leads to my night sleep causing me to actually be over-rested, so I also always wake up with a headache and feeling unwell. Amazing.

3.) Not doing well on my degree. I’ve been missing SO many lectures recently because of my lack of energy and my weird sleeping pattern. I’ve been hardly working, and earlier this week I received the first grade that I’ve been very unhappy with this Semester. It’s okay, I’ve come to terms with it and have thought of a way to level out my grade to bring it back up, but it’s just upsetting. I have an assignment I wanted to hand in tomorrow that I haven’t even started. It’s just never-ending work which is just almost impossible for somebody with mental health problems to actually succeed with. I just feel lazy and really disappointed in myself for not doing better, and I know everybody else just views me as lazy and unreliable as well. It’s easy to judge what you don’t know or don’t care to understand.

4.) Not having a great support network. I don’t have any close friends whatsoever. I have my partner, my mother, my little sister, my little brother, my older brother, my older sister and my father. That’s every single human being that I feel I can turn to. I also have my niece and nephew but y’know, they’re kids. I plan to get married next Summer or possibly the Summer after, and those are all the people (minus my little sister who’s in America, and my partner who will obviously attend) who I will invite. With me having full power to invite whoever I wish, 7 people, at maximum, will attend my side of my wedding. I mean, it could be worse, I could have a small immediate family. The problem is though, that as I said before, my little sister lives in America and well, the rest of my family all live in Glasgow (I live in London), so they’re not exactly super close. I hardly see them. I hardly speak to them. It sucks.

5.) The fact that my anxiety is kinda taking over every aspect of my life. I’ve bought bags and bags of beautiful new clothes, that have just remained in their bags for literally 2 years, all because of my anxiety. No, clothes do not scare me. The decision to just wear them when I had planned to do haul blog posts with them scare me. The prospect of all the steps it takes to create a haul blog post scares me. This is the exact same problem I have with using bath bombs I bought like, 3 years ago. Nothing in my life is simple anymore because my anxiety over-complicates EVERYTHING. Which leads to depression.

6.) Winter. I hate worrying about having the heating on all the time. I hate feeling cold. I hate the static in my hair. I hate the silence and stillness. I hate how ugly it looks outside, how dark and glum it is. I just despise it. I get seasonal depression every single year without fail, meaning that although I have general depression year round, my depression gets more severe during the winter months. Which is just lovely when everybody else is so excited about finishing up work / education for the winter and about Christmas.

7.) Just not being who I want myself to be. I feel like if it wasn’t for my anxiety and depression, I’d be who I actually want to be and feel like I AM, on the outside. I’d be able to live my life in a way that reflects my actual wants, likes, beliefs. I’d have hobbies, a good routine, friends. I’d have all the tattoos and piercings I’ve wanted to have for years, would wear the clothes I love, would go out and just be happy and enjoy myself. Instead I’m just quiet, isolated, unhappy, anxious.


 

The only ways I find relief from my depression is when things actually go right, which is kinda rare?

It’s not that I’m ungrateful – I am SO grateful for what I have. I do feel that it’s difficult for me to get things right and how I want them to be though.

I’m very critical, and am a perfectionist at heart, so unless I feel like something is basically done exactly how I want it to be done, I won’t be happy. I know that it’s bad, and is something I’ll work on.

If there’s somebody you care about who is suffering with depression, keep this perspective in mind. Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, so it’s likely that similar things will “stimulate” their depression.

My advice would be to just help. Help make things in their life easier. Help make things actually go RIGHT in their lives – whether that’s getting out of bed at the time they wish they would, or going to bed at the time they wish they would, or getting them to shower before bed so that it’s one less thing they’ll have to worry about in the morning. Whether it’s through being the support that you are and taking them out, bringing some fun and excitement into their life. Showing you care about them by making them a card, giving them cuddles, complimenting them.

Helping them get their to-do list done!!!

I think that’s genuinely the biggest way to help somebody with their depression. Go onto trello.com, create a ‘To do’ list, a ‘Doing’ list and a ‘Done’ list, and ask them every single thing in their mind that they would like to get done, big or small. Fill up the to-do list, and update it every few days with new things that they’d like to do. Help them get items moved to the ‘Doing’ list and ultimately, the ‘Done’ list. Trust me, this will help them SO much!

Storm

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How To Keep On Top Of Your Laundry!

Hey guys! 😀

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog post – sorry! I recently finished up at University for the year, and have since been catching up with a whole ton of chores that I let get on top of me during the academic year.

I live away from home in a cute little flat with my partner, and doing the laundry for the household is my chore. Studying for an Astrophysics degree is, well, basically rocket science right? So it’s pretty damn difficult, and has taken up almost my entire attention since the end of September / beginning of October last year. This meant that I fell behind TERRIBLY on the laundry front (and honestly, basically every front in my life, I just decided to tackle the laundry first!)

Finally, a billion full loads in the washing machine later, and I have actually managed to get all of the laundry done… As in, to fill up the washing machine right now I’d have to wash the bed sheets on my bed or something, which really don’t need to be washed right now as we changed them quite recently!

Now, you guys, you have no idea how bad the pile of dirty laundry got. It got pretty bad. So, I’ve come up with a strategy that will make doing the laundry easy, and prevent it from getting this bad ever again!:


  1. img_01681Don’t put dirty laundry onto the floor, into a laundry bag or basket or anywhere else. Do put dirty laundry STRAIGHT into the washing machine, and let it act as your laundry basket.
  2. Don’t wait to add fabric softener and laundry detergent into the washing machine for when you actually need to turn the washing machine on (if your household contains 2+ people.) Do put in the fabric softener and laundry detergent as soon as one load is finished (using a generic fabric softener and detergent suitable to wash most clothing items,) so that when you do need to turn the washing machine on, the job will be done that much faster.

  3. img_01751Don’t be super picky with the temperature, speed and setting that you wash clothes on apart from for clothes where it ACTUALLY makes a difference. Do find a general speed, temperature and setting that works for the majority of your clothes and put your machine on those settings, so that you can get a load of laundry washed that bit faster when you next need to.
  4.  

    Don’t leave clean, wet laundry in the washing machine when you have noticed it has finished its cycle. Do take out the clean laundry and hang it out to dry straight away.

  5. img_01781img_01771Don’t leave laundry out to dry for days and days and days. Do check everyday to see what pieces of laundry are dry, and bring in, fold up and put away any items that are STRAIGHT AWAY!
  6. Don’t wait until more than one full load of laundry is dirty before using the washing machine. Do check to see how full the washing machine is whenever you add in new items and when it is full, take out any odd items that won’t be suitable being washed with the rest of the items, turn on the washing machine and start a cycle.

And there they are – my pro tips to keep your laundry under control!

I don’t think leaving fabric softener etc in the machine will be a problem because we somehow come up with dirty laundry in our home pretty quickly, and I can sometimes even find myself needing to do a full load of laundry every other day! Even if some of the tips don’t look appealing to you, maybe some could be adapted a little so that they help make your laundry easier to do too!

– Storm x

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Depression Tip #4

Depression Tip #4:

If you’re not on any medication for your depression, you should be taking supplements! I personally decided to not opt for medication when my doctor offered – SSRIs just really don’t agree with me at all. Instead, after a lot of research, I decided to begin taking Tryptophan supplements. Tryptophan is a natural amino acid that your brain needs to produce serotonin – an important brain chemical that helps regulate mood, sleeping patterns, focus, appetite, energy levels etc. The purpose of prescribed SSRI medication is to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain – taking Tryptophan supplements effectively do the same thing!

You should always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements – particularly if you are already on medication. Do NOT take Tryptophan if you are already on prescribed medication related to your mental health – too much serotonin in your system can do a lot more harm than good! 

There are other healthy ways to self-medicate from home – such as taking vitamin D supplements, taking vitamin B complex supplements, using a SAD light or using SAD alarm clock.

Taking supplements really helps me. Just knowing that you’re actively doing something to help yourself feel better feels really good!

– Storm

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Depression Tip #3

Depression Tip #3:

Take a really thorough, long, hot shower. Bathing is something that can become very difficult for those of us with depression – but being unclean just makes us feel even worse! If you’re feeling down and haven’t showered in a while, or even if you have showered recently, almost nothing serves as a better pick-me-up than being clean (at least for me.)

Take the time to give your hair a really good wash and condition. Thoroughly wash your body. Exfoliate and cleanse that beautiful face of yours. When we’re clean, everything feels a bit simpler and easier.

Follow by drying yourself off thoroughly, applying anti-antiperspirant (if you’re like me and anxiety makes you perspire like crazy,) and putting on a clean, warm set of clothes. I personally love to leave a set of clean pyjamas, underwear and socks on the radiator while I shower, so they’re super cosy when it’s time for me to put them on!

– Storm

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Depression Tip #1

Depression tip #1:

Brush your teeth! I know this first one is going to seem overly simple, but it’s something that definitely makes me feel a bit better. If you’ve ever been so down that even brushing your teeth feels like climbing a mountain then trust me, you’re not alone. You’re not disgusting. It’s not your fault. It’s none of anybody else’s business, and it is something you do for yourself.

It’s very easy to get into the thought cycle of “I don’t deserve to take care of my body, why would I take care of myself when I don’t even like myself? Why would I take care of myself when I don’t even care about anything at all in life right now?” I know, it can be really, really difficult.

My first tip is to brush your teeth, because it’s something that will be over and done with REALLY quickly, and is honestly something that will always make you feel a little bit better. Clean your entire mouth – you’re tongue too, and the sensation of having a clean mouth will just make everything feel a little bit less crap.

– Storm