The other day I wrote a post about the power knowledge has on our healing process, and today I discovered I had to take my own advice. As many of you know, I started this journey of healing at the end of June, and I have made immense strides in gaining back the power anxiety stole from me.
All those months ago, the doctor confirmed what I always suspected. I have an anxiety disorder. It came as no surprise to me because it is prevalent in my genealogy, and mental disorders tend to be hereditary. I have always known I had this type of disorder, because I have gone to counseling to help with anxiety when I graduated from college, but it was never diagnosed by a doctor.
Since the doctor I have now never 100% confirmed which type of anxiety I have (since he was a gynecologist), I have always speculated it was either GAD or panic disorder. I tend to be anxious a lot and have had panic attacks. However, the more I thought about it, and researched the disorders I felt that I did not wholly identify with GAD. I felt that there was something more that I was missing and I couldn’t quite figure out what.
Completely out of issues relating to my own struggles, I began to read about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Like many others, I had always assumed that OCD was a disorder characterized by excessive cleanliness and rituals. However, while I was reading about it today I happened to stumble upon the intrusive thought obsessions. Pow! It hit me like a ton of bricks (if you pardon my overused idiom). That was it. The missing piece of my anxiety. OCD-UK is an incredible site that lists the various forms of OCD that are not stereotypical of the disorder.
As I read through the signs and symptoms of the intrusive thoughts I felt as if I was reading a page out of my own diary. I felt as if someone was searching the deepest parts of my mind and writing them down without asking me for permission. I have to admit, I started to feel my chest tighten and the familiar feeling of anxiety creep over me. I think it was a knee-jerk reaction to confronting my obsessions in plain, black and white text. Never before had anything struck so close to my core as reading through some of these symptoms.
Since I have started this blog, I have never kept my struggles from you all, because I believe that transparency of these disorders is what will help eliminate the stereotypes we live with everyday. So, I will reveal some of the obessive thoughts I have had in the past.
The biggest obsession has always about being pregnant. The strange thing about this obsession is that I did not have sex until I was 27 (I wanted to wait for marriage) and these thoughts started LONG before I began my sex life. I knew it was insane, but It kept cycling through my brain in repeat. Everyday. All day.
Another obsessive thought I have experienced is randomly punching someone while they were talking to me. It sounds slightly comical, and I have to admit, if I ever saw it happen in real life, it would be hilarious! However, it was awful because while people were talking to me I would just have the thought to hit them or flip the table over or some other weird aggressive action towards them. The strangest part about these thoughts is that I have NEVER been a violent person. I have never been in a fight, and I have a difficult time recovering from a stubbed toe, let alone a blown out hand from punching someone.
Also, I have had what they call “magical thinking”. I thought that if I talked about getting in a car crash, it would increase the likelihood of me getting into one. Or if I talked about an accident happening, it would be more likely to happen. I avoided talking about these topics because I thought that the mere mention of them would seal my fate. I always thought it was because I hated irony, but I see now that they are obsessive in nature. I remember during my first year of teaching we had a member of the police department come in and talk about what to do if a school shooting was to occur, and for the rest of the day I thought we were going to have one. There are many other obsessive thoughts that were listed, but these were my big three.
After reading and researching more, I do feel a little rattled by this learning, but I am happy to learn a little more about myself. In a few months I will be going to a more specialized dr. and I am going to bring up this area and see what I can learn from them. I want to continue to grow in my knowledge so that I can better myself in the future and finally take the reins on anxiety and be 100% in control! It will not win! I am strong and I can defeat it! 🙂