A review of my mental health in 2017, with also my hopes and dreams for the upcoming year ahead!
Mental health wise, this time last year I was still in a pretty bad place to be honest. With me starting on medication for the first time in my life and seeing a new mental health team, I was hopeful that things would improve in time, but I’m not sure how much I really believed that they would.
I’m delighted to report that things have improved so much more than I ever could have envisaged twelve months ago. Therefore, I wanted to write this blog to socially document how far I have come. I also wanted to state my aims for the following year ahead. I need to keep pushing myself in terms of my recovery. I need to keep challenging myself because ultimately I want my life back, the life that has been missing for eights years due to the awfully debilitating consequences of suffering from OCD!
For those of you that don’t know, I have irrational fears of standing in dog dirt whenever I go outside and sitting in vomit anywhere that I go. These fears have robbed me of my seeing my best friends, seeing my family and ultimately having any sort of life really. I could not get excited about life because I could not see my fears ever lessening.
The fluoxetine and aripiprazole medications have helped me enormously. If you suffer with severe OCD then I really advise you trying them because they have changed my life so much for the better. They have helped give me a more rational state of mind up to the point where I felt capable of doing CBT exposures, exposures that I would never have felt possible as little as twelve months ago.
I first started getting on a bus again. Granted, I stood up on the bus but this was still an achievement for me at the time. I then decided to go and walk around my local shopping centre, this would be the first time I’d been inside it for over EIGHT YEARS due to the OCD. It was a tough exposure BUT I MANAGED IT and so this really was a landmark event for me.
I then started getting momentum behind my exposures. All the time I was full of motivation driving me on, ‘I want my life back’ was the mantra that I kept repeating to myself. I got on a TRAIN for the FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS, I went SHOPPING at my LOCAL SUPERMARKET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS, and then I had a MAJOR, MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!!
My best exposure and CBT achievement of 2017 was without doubt, when I took the plunge and finally decided TO SIT DOWN ON A BUS. I can still remember the fear that I had at the time as I sat down on the seat, overwhelming my entire being. I got off that bus shaking at what I had just done, BUT IT ALSO FELT AMAZING. I can remember the second time I did it and reporting my achievement on social media with happy tears in my eyes. The support on Twitter and Facebook was truly heartwarming. I sat there reading these wonderful well wishes from people, your comments really did mean the world to me so thank you soooooooo much!
I started putting the BINS OUT, I started going for walks and NOT THROWING MY FOOTWEAR AWAY AFTERWARDS. I HAVE FINALLY STARTED FIGHTING BACK MY FRIENDS………..AND IT FEELS WONDERFUL. I hate writing self-congratulatory words in case they comeback to haunt me, but I really have come such along way in the last twelve months in terms of my recovery. Am I completely better yet? The answer to this is NO, but at least I am taking baby steps forwards now. These are baby steps that I never thought possible not so long ago.
These achievements and my OCD not being as bad as it was, they’ve made me get excited about life once again and this newfound feeling feels tremendous. I feel on a roll now and so I have to keep pushing myself. I now have goals for 2018 and this feels so empowering and motivating.
In January 2018, I have set myself two massive important goals that are really going to challenge my OCD and anxiety levels to the maximum. Nevertheless, they feel obtainable though, I have to keep pushing myself forwards like I’ve said if I want things to change for the better.
Firstly, I’m going to arrange to meet up with one of my best mates that the OCD has robbed me of seeing all these years. I love this person like a younger brother, he means a lot to me but I feel so terrible at more or less abandoning him for awhile. We are going to meet up for lunch which will require me going to a restaurant/coffee shop for the FIRST TIME IN OVER EIGHT YEARS. It is going to be soooooooo tough for me but at the same time I feel ready for this next challenge. I’ve really missed seeing this dear friend of mine and so I’m using this as my motivation.
My second immediate target of 2018, is to go and see a careers adviser because I badly need some careers advice. This time next year I want to be working and have a career plan in front of me. I would love to do something within the written sphere if possible. There must be other jobs that exist out there that involve the art of writing, that isn’t being an English teacher(I’d find that too stressful). Going to these careers appointments and sitting down in an unfamiliar room will be hardest part regarding my OCD, but once again I feel ready for this challenge. Getting such advice will really motivate me for the year ahead I think.
I want my OCD and my other mental health issues to obviously keep improving in the year ahead. I love my mum dearly but I want to move out and get my own place. I would a like serious relationship with a woman in 2018, God knows I know I’m long overdue one. I just need my life to keep moving forwards now. I cannot afford for my OCD to go backwards again, not after coming this far in 2017.
I just want Christmas and dreaded New Year’s Eve out of the way as soon as possible, so I can start these new challenges and continue to get my life back on track. I never thought I’d say these following words twelve months ago but you know what everybody, I’m going to say them once again now because they mean so much to me, THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER…………FINALLY!!
Best wishes for 2018 everyone!