Sunday, 31 July 2011

I Slept Without My Phone Under My Pillow

Today I feel pretty happy for a number of reasons, to be honest this is a rare occurrence for me upon waking up. I'm happy because my goal setting seems to be working (so far). As I said yesterday, my obsessive thoughts are starting to settle and now I'm thinking of ways to overcome my compulsive internet use. 

Last night I tried switching my Smartphone off and keeping it in my bag for the whole note. This was to prevent me from waking up at random times and checking my emails and social networking websites. I did wake up a few times in the night but accepted my urges and thoughts as normal and went back to sleep no problem. I'm so glad that on a short term basis this actually worked, it's certainly worth trying on a long-term basis as I might start sleeping properly and therefore generally be in a good mood. If I have relapses with the compulsions that wake me up, I'm simply going to turn my Macbook on and log my thoughts using CBT Pad and then go back to bed. As usual it's probably easier said than done, but it's worth a shot if I take a positive attitude right?

As for my daytime social network use, I have not yet thought of a solution to stop the persistence of it. Obviously there's going out without my phone or with my phone but not being able to check it. Another way is not to be allowed online until I'm washed and dressed and chores for the day are done, and another way is going offline an hour before bed. I would like to try all of these, but trying them all at once would result in huge relapses and I'd be in a viscous circle again and I would probably have relapses in goals that I've recently achieved too. So one building block at a time would be the best approach to take here. I'm going to set myself 3 goals for this week (plus the one from last week). So, here are my goals for this week:

1) Accept urges and obsessive thoughts about social network use as normal, do not act on these thoughts and urges at unsuitable times (i.e. bed time, when you're out, first thing when waking up).

2) Do not check social networking websites until you are washed, dressed and chores are done

3) Switch anything that allows you to gain access to the internet off at least an hour before bed time (11pm), use this hour to read or write. 

4) Accept your obsessive thoughts about your lecturer and his female contacts as normal, do not attempt to neutralise these thoughts to make sense of them.

So, there's the lot. I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

It's Been a Week

So, it's been a week since I last updated this blog, I suppose you should take me not updating for a while as a good sign as this means I haven't had any huge relapses. The thing is that there's nothing new with me this week. I suppose I've achieved a goal or two but everything pretty much remains the same!

I emailed my lecturer to explain why what happened actually happened. He didn't email be back! Usually I would go off on one and have obsessive thoughts about him hating me and going off with other women (who are in fact just colleagues) but none of this happened this time. So, I suppose I can say that I achieved the goal that I set for myself last week. Taking a mindful approach seems to be working. I'm finally beginning to accept the fact that he's just a guy, nothing special. I can move on and stop having obsessive thoughts about him (I hope!). Obviously I will still have relapses with this and it's early days yet but at least I'm getting there.

As far as my OCD as a whole is concerned I still have far to go. I suppose that my compulsive internet use should be the next thing that I sort out. This is perhaps my most prominent behaviour though, so all I can say is that it's going to be difficult and there will certainly be relapses. I don't even know where to start with this. Exposure may be a good start, I tend to check my emails and social networks a lot on my Smartphone just for comfort when I'm out. Therefore I should try going out either without my phone, or not allowing myself to check my phone every minute or so. Another approach is just accepting my obsessive thoughts about losing friends / feeling lonely when I have no access to the internet. I think in this case the exposure method followed by the thought acceptance would be most useful but I'll give this a trial to see how it all goes. 

I'll write again soon to let you know how I'm getting on and which approach that I'm actually taking.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

I did something bad ... it made me relapse

Hello everyone, unfortunately I feel really bad again, in fact I just want to die. You've probably read the title and thought that I'd committed a criminal offence or something, well it's far from it but I just feel so bad. I know I keep going on about my lecturer but it actually has something to do with him. 

A few weeks ago I added my lecturer to Facebook under the delusion that he would accept my add and we could be pals, I soon realised that this was wrong but left the friend request standing. Last night I had a few glasses of wine and decided to send him a Facebook message to say sorry and ask if he would feel more comfortable if I just cancelled the request. When I woke up this morning I immediately knew I had done the wrong thing, but as usual just waited it out. I signed into Facebook just to realise that he has actually blocked me on Facebook, meaning that he read the message and has had enough of me contacting him, so he just blocked me.

This makes me feel like such a stalker and I hate the idea of that! I know that he hates me and I'm angry with myself after setting the goal that I set yesterday. I've actually got to a point where I just want to hurt myself because of what I've done to him. Sorry if this sounds a bit dramatic, but this is actually how I feel. 

I now feel the need to actually reason my behaviour and figure out a way to stop anything like this from happening again. Rationally thinking, I don't think that he really hates me, after all he doesn't know enough about me to actually hate me, he probably just sees my behaviour as abusing his position as my lecturer, so therefore he has blocked me. Another explanation is that he actually has a partner and he wants a happy life with her without getting hassle from girls who fancy him, which is understandable enough, I'd be the same if I had a boyfriend. The guy is too nice to be nasty, if you know what I mean. So I'm sure he has a good reason for blocking me on Facebook. I should just ignore what has happened, after all what am I really going to lose? I only know the guy in a professional context and I think it should stay that way. Now here's for the hard part, what can I do about this?

There are a number of things I could do here, but pros and cons to all of them, so I've decided to list them all here in order to help me make a decision:

1) Send him an email explaining what happened and why:
Pros: He'll at least understand why I behave like I do and maybe forgive me a little bit
He can see what a great person I really am
Cons: He will get annoyed that I've contacted him yet again.

2) Just forget that the whole thing ever happened:
Pros: I can just move on in life without any consequences 
I won't have to explain what happened to him
Cons: I'll feel like a coward
His opinion of me won't change 
I'll have to face him at some point 

3) Set myself a goal:
Pros: I will actually overcome what has happened
Such behaviour will stop
Overcoming the problem will mean that I can form a professional bond with him
Cons: There are actually no cons, but one drawback is that I'd need to apologise to him too, to make myself feel better and acknowledge that I'm going to try and change.

So, you might have already figured out which option I am going to take. Actually I'm going to take two of the options, these are option 1 and option 3. I'll let you know how I get on.

Best wishes

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Goal setting and beating obsessive thoughts

I've just came to the conclusion that I can't go on feeling the way that I do, so it's time to take a productive approach to tackling the problems that I have. However, I feel that I should sort my problems one by one rather than trying to change my life all in one go, that would just be stressful. 

I broke down into tears this morning with the feeling that I just couldn't take it any more. I started to think that I have a sick mind and that I'm just useless. I suppose the main obsessive thoughts that I want to get rid of are those about my lecturer and wanting to kill all of his female contacts to make him notice me, morbid jealousy I suppose. I was reading a book that a friend (who is a therapist) suggested to me, it's called "Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Self-help CBT" or something along those lines anyway. Apparently the best to get rid of such obsessive thoughts is to expose yourself to the situation, so in the case of obsessive thoughts you should just allow yourself to have the thoughts but don't attempt to neutralise them to make them seem normal, just imagine that they are a normal occurrence and they will go away. The notion of this process does sound quite daunting but it actually makes sense, surely if you have obsessive thoughts that are followed by you feeling sad and concerned because it's not normal it damages you more, you have more of an obsession with that thought because of your connotations. Thinking that the thought is normal would just neutralise it and in time it would go away or you would at least be able to deal with the thought.

Goal one: Accept your obsessive thoughts about your lecturer and his female contacts as normal, do not attempt to neutralise these thoughts to make sense of them.

I suppose I need a time frame for this goal! so I'm setting a two week trial period to see how I get on with it. However I do expect relapses in the process. I picked up two useful apps in the Mac App Store, one called CBT pad and one called Goal Chart. Together these apps should help the process of achieving the goal. Goal Chart is simply an app where you can place pictures as stamps leading up to a reward, so this makes it easy for you to monitor your progress. CBT Pad is more suitable for relapses where you might need to make sense of your behaviour again. It basically provides you with a set of forms to fill in that assist you in making sense of the situation and what you could do to prevent a relapse in future. It's certainly worth a download if you do have relapses. 

I suppose that one draw back to this goal is that I use the phrase "Do not attempt to neutralise thoughts" in the goal, this could potentially present the "Do not think of a pink elephant" effect. So to control for this I'm going to take a mindful approach with this goal.

I'll report and let you all know how I'm getting along.

Speak soon

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

And the Story Continues

It looks like I don't keep this blog up-to-date, it's just like everything else, my obsessional slowness seems to really get to me these days! Anyway, I'm having a bad day today, so I guess this is why I'm actually writing here, to vent my anger and talk about things that are bothering me. Here goes!

I love sending emails but when I don't receive a reply my obsessional thoughts begin. I start to think that nobody actually likes me and that people talk about me behind my back, this thought is so obsessive that I begin to feel angry just as though the person has said that they hate me. Sometimes I even make stories up in my head about why the person may hate me. This seems to be the main theme with my obsessive thoughts, I guess this is why I frequently check the online social networks that I belong to, I fear that people will delete me as a friend or people will start talking about me and my face will be pushed out of the picture. A life of loneliness is what I'm afraid of most, I often think that I am going to end up lonely and that my so called friends will do shit tricks on me, this is why I stay signed into social networking websites and make conversation with people as often as I can. Staying online means that I don't actually get much done which also frustrates me, I hate the idea of being lazy. It just feels that none of this will ever balance out. This probably sounds like a really modern version of OCD to you but I am technology dependent after all, but only because of the obsessive thoughts.

I suppose the main thing that bothered me most today was morbid jealousy. I think I mentioned in the last post that I fancy a guy, my university lecturer to be exact. Well at the moment he's running a piece of research with a woman and also got one of my fellow class mates (also a woman) to collect data for him. Today I just started to wish that every woman who has anything to do with him was dead. I'm not usually a violent person but I guess I've always been jealous. The thoughts were so vivid, I even thought about murdering these women, all because this guy isn't in my life at the moment. This really concerns me, I don't think I'm really capable of hurting anyone but the fact that I even thought about it scares me.  I'm seriously considering opting to pay for my own therapy rather than waiting for the NHS to fit me in somewhere. I'm beginning to hate myself and others because of my OCD. People frustrate me, but mainly if I'm jealous of them for some reason or another. 

Another thing that's annoying me today is that it took me about 8 hours to actually get around to having a shower. My mom rushed me and said that I could only stay in there for 20 minutes as my dog needed a bath. I rushed my shower and then felt uncomfortable, when I visited my nan I just didn't feel like speaking at all. Just so uncomfortable and miserable! 

Anyway, I think that's enough moaning for one blog post! catch you later. It would be nice if someone would actually talk to me by the way

Monday, 11 July 2011

Spilling Time

Today I don't feel good at all, I feel almost depressed and I can't even explain why but I'm going to take a shot and just spill my heart out in the hope that it will make me feel better. To tell you the truth I feel so down due to my OCD, the notion of not being on the road to getting better, the fact that some people just upset me without even knowing so. 

As I said in my first entry, I often think with my heart instead of my head which often results in problems regarding relationships and feelings. A few years ago I took interest in one of my university lecturers and now the feelings I have just don't feel healthy yet I can't break the cycle. I email him, if he doesn't email me back I get upset and start to have obsessive thoughts that he just hates me and wants me dead. I'm just fed up of this, it's me who is in the wrong here not him. I'm the one who obsesses, it's really unfair on him for having to put up with it. 

Why can't things just be better =(

Saturday, 9 July 2011

It's time that I actually start posting here ...

For a few weeks now I've thought that it would be a good idea to start a blog about my OCD, however I kept putting the idea off. Last night I created this Google account so I feel that I should start posting here today! It's kind of hard to get started with writing such a blog, I'm not sure what kind of reaction I'm going to get from it. I suppose this account is pretty anonymous so there's nothing to fear. 

Ok, less of the ranting on! I should get on with my story. So, I'm a 22 year old female who has recently been diagnosed with OCD after pretty much having a life-time of problems relating to the disorder. I'm also a student, I'm starting my postgraduate studies in September. This blog is going to be my thinking space as regards to my OCD and I'm hoping that people who are going through similar experiences will make note of this or get in touch, if not then no problems, this is just a way for me to share my thoughts without being identified. 

I suppose I should dedicate this first post to tell you what the characteristic of my OCD are, no person with OCD behaves exactly the same, but then again no people actually behave the same. My obsessions and compulsions have changed over time but there are some behaviours that have stuck with me throughout my life. The main theme of my OCD is obsessional slowness, for those of you who don't know what obsessional slowness consists of, it's the desire to take a long time to get ready to do anything, also things have to be done in a specific order. I can't go out until I feel a sense of completion which makes me feel comfortable, to reach this sense of completion it takes hours and if I have to go out before I feel ready (i.e. to get somewhere on time) I feel a lot of distress and it ruins my entire day. I also have an obsession with my hair not feeling clean and get urges to wash it even when people say it's clean. Other behaviours within my OCD include: obsessions with certain foods, sitting in the same seat and only eating with knives, forks and spoons that match each other. Most importantly I am technology dependent and sometime just sit there refreshing the page on my favourite social networking websites. I also suffer with hypochondria and morbid jealousy. It might also be worth knowing that I think with my heart rather than my head. 

Sorry to cut this blog a bit short but I feel a bit tired at the moment. I hope this entry gives a good overview of my problems. I am currently trying to overcome my OCD and this blog should keep you up-to-date with my progress in doing so. I'll also write about my problems in more detail.

See you soon