The Thoughts That Won’t Go Away

The Thoughts That Won’t Go Away

Good morning!

I certainly hope it’s a good morning for you. But if it is another anxious morning and you aren’t sure why, welcome to my Friday anxiety post!

First, I have noticed that you guys have been frequenting my 5 Thing Hats Post. It’s my most popular blog post week after week! So I thought I would go ahead and share the technique again for you guys today.

5 Thinking Hats Technique

This is a grounding technique to use when you feel the symptoms of an anxiety attack coming. It really works! The next time you feel your legs about to give, the room spin, your heart racing, sweat bead on your lip, or whatever symptom your body decides to scare the crap out of you with this time, do this!

5 Hats Technique

When we are anxious, our thoughts are constantly in the future or the past. This technique brings you into the here and now telling our brains there is nothing to run from. Everything is ok.

Also, make sure you are breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. This has a HUGE calming effect. Close your mouth and make sure you are only breathing through your nose until you calm down and make sure to keep breathing through your nose most of the day. You are going to be tempted to open your mouth and take huge gulps of air but just remember, that will only make the anxiety worse. Close your mouth, breath through your nose.

The Thoughts, the Thoughts, the Relentless Thoughts!

The thoughts that relentlessly keep stabbing their way into your mind and scaring the ever living poo out of you are called intrusive thoughts. It doesn’t matter if you are at a wedding, your child’s first birthday party, or sitting on a cloud with unicorn’s jumping through rainbows, those nasty little intrusive thoughts like to ruin any otherwise happy and memorable moment.

If you are reading this and thinking “What in the world is she talking about?”, you are not who this post is for. But there are many of you who know exactly what I am talking about in the above paragraph and you my friend are not alone and believe it or not, you’re not even crazy.

OCD is an anxiety disorder. Everyone, OCD or not, has weird thoughts pop into their minds. Everyone. But in the mind of the person with OCD, the thoughts stick and there is a fear response causing their brain to give significance to the thought and obsess about it. Understand, this is a chemical imbalance.

If you break your arm, your arm is broken and there is pain. You can manage the pain. You can breathe. You can tell yourself that many people have dealt with this pain before and you will get through this. You can hold your arm in place making it better for the time being. But at some point, you will have to get up and try to live life with this broken arm. Unless you go to the doctor and get a cast, you are going to be painfully holding your arm in place while trying to do your daily tasks. When you finally let go because you need to arms, excruciating pain will ensue making it almost impossible to do anything other than hold your arm in place and cry through the torturous pain. Day after day of this managing and then giving in wears on you. This torture wears you down and begins to affect other areas of your body. If you would have just gone to the doctor, you would have gotten a cast for a while and then your arm would be fully healed!

OCD is the same. Because of the chemical imbalance, our brains shoot these terrifying thoughts and images into our brain constantly. We are overwhelmed with feelings of doom. Seriously, doom! We go about daily life trying to focus our minds on work and our families but like the broken arm, we just hold it together until life gets even just a little hectic and then bam, anxiety attack. It’s torture.

But there is hope!

Know you are not alone and get help. Do not take this lightly. Go get help. The reason I share my experience is to direct you to help. There is too much shame in all this and too many lives lost from years of mental torture. There is help and there is hope.

When I was suffering, I thought to myself “This is all in my mind, I can think myself out of this.”

No. Not when it is a chemical imbalance.

You all know I am a Christian. I share my experiences on here for everyone but especially for Christians because there is kind of a stigma against medication and even just being anxious. So what does the Christian do when the thoughts and feelings won’t stop?

When I was struggling, I had never felt so alone. I was scared so of course, as we do when pain strikes, I was brought to my knees before the Lord and read the Bible almost obsessively. This was a blessing and just goes to show how pain drives us to the word.

Spurgeon said that adversity is what sharpens the knife but the knife is the word. Very true! The more I read, it was like God was pruning me.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

God speaks to us through His word. Man did this help to know when you have thoughts and feelings literally blasting through every particle of your being telling you to pay attention to them. I sometimes thought those were God!

But it was through His word, that I saw the truth. My anxiety was suffering and this is meant to bring me closer to the Lord.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5 

Remember, when our loved one has cancer, we thank God for healing them through chemo. When our loved one has diabetes, we thank God for insulin. When we have a broken bone, we thank God for doctors and for casts.

Friends, when your mind is broken, thank God that you live in this century with doctors, counseling, and medicine.

I thank God for my wonderful counselor, Sarah Beth Wheeler. I thank God for medication. And last but certainly not least, I thank God for my sweet, strong, and loving husband Jason who only supported me though he had no idea what I was going through.

IMG_3006

If you are suffering, do not be afraid to get help. In fact, you need to get help. Run to God, pray, read His word, and ask Him to direct you to the right doctors and the right treatment.

Blessings,
Angela

 

 

 

 

 

The Searchlight of OCD

The Searchlight of OCD

proverbs-1225.jpg

Happy Friday Friends!

I promised myself that once I made it through to the other side of the dark cloud of anxiety, I would tell my experiences so that some other obsessed Googler will happen upon them and be comforted.

Today I want to talk about the searchlight of OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder in which the individual has repeated unwanted thoughts and is compelled by those thoughts to carry out certain behaviors to reduce or get rid of the thoughts temporarily.

Everyone, with or without OCD, has strange thoughts run through their mind. When waiting for a train at the station any given person may have a strange thought like, “What if I jumped in front of that train?”

But while the person without OCD immediately dismisses the thought and moves on with their day, there is a fear response that happens in the mind of the person with OCD. This fear response leads them to feel that there is significance to the thought. They begin to obsess about the train and may start to avoid train stations. They would then develop compulsions to deal with the obsessions in their mind. They may only walk into the train station at exactly 3:04 pm and stand 34 feet away from the train tracks until the train arrives. They do this because these numbers when added equal seven, a number that they have deemed safe. When the train arrives they take 25 steps up to the door making sure they sit in the seventh seat from the front.

As obvious as this all seems, someone can live for years in mental anguish without even knowing that they have OCD. The obsessions and compulsions are just a part of everyday life. It isn’t until trauma occurs or hormonal change like pregnancy occurs that the fear and anxiety becomes too unbearable to take on alone.

When I was struggling with OCD, I was sure that I had a reason to be so anxious about all of the things that I was obsessing about. Everywhere I looked there was proof. I couldn’t watch the news or be on the internet without having an anxiety attack that my fears were moments away from coming true. I couldn’t get through a conversation without crying because whomever I was speaking with never failed to say something that validated my worries. My stomach was constantly in knots and I felt that at any moment the proverbial piano was going to fall from the sky and crush me!

I shouldn’t have waited so long to get help but I did. I waited until I couldn’t shower for more than a few minutes without having to get out. On numerous occasions, I had to pull over to the side of the road and contemplate calling my husband to come to get me. Every time I walked into a grocery store everything would blur and I would feel like my legs were going to give out. Now not only did I have the focus of my obsessions to worry about but I thought I was dying too! The symptoms of anxiety are so physical!

I finally went to the doctor with dizziness and shortness of breath. The doctor asked me what was going on and of course, I burst into tears. He told me that he would do some blood work but that nothing was wrong with me. It was all in my head. I made an appointment to see a counselor the next week. God literally healed me through His word and this woman. I will tell you all the things that helped me because where I was, I never want anyone to be! So let’s begin with the searchlight.

See, all of this proof that I had for believing what I believed, as real as it was at the time, it was just my mental searchlight. When we are anxious our minds begin looking for proof of what we are worried about… and it finds it! So our anxiety grows and grows because we will keep seeing proof that isn’t really there.

So if this is you, next time you are watching TV or talking with a friend and that fear rises up inside of you because you are finding proof that your fears are valid, know that your mind is looking for that proof; no one else would see it. And second, make the conscious effort to find proof of the opposite. It takes practice but the more you do this the more your mind will begin finding proof of the opposite without you having to try.

I hope this finds you well! But if it doesn’t, know you aren’t alone and there is help to be found.

Blessings,
Angela