I have realized many times that I can’t fight this battle all by myself, yet time and time again I find myself falling back into the pattern of shutting myself off and isolating myself as a coping technique. A part of me justifies this by holding the idea or belief that I am protecting others from me, and that this is my problem or issue and it should only be a burden on my own shoulders. And this causes me to not reach out and to ask for help, assistance or support.
I want to see myself as strong and capable and able to handle myself in any situation, and I also developed the belief that no one can really help me or do anything for me that I can’t do for myself. But circumstances in my life have made me realize that sometimes you can’t do it all alone, and that sometimes you can be surprised with just how beneficial reaching out and sharing can be. Unfortunately I took the route of learning this the hard way, through consequence rather than having taken more preventative measures when I saw things were getting tough.
I had reached a breaking point with the anxiety that I had been building up and suppressing for quite a long time. I had been feeling very overwhelmed and powerless with certain situations in my life, with things not moving fast enough, or financial situations where I didn’t see an immediate solution. Also, with a course I had been taking, I was working 7 days a week, with many obligations and responsibilities in between. This caused an accumulation of reactions which increasingly became overwhelming.
During this time, whenever I found myself alone, instead of taking that time to support myself, I would lose control and fall into OCD behaviour. It’s that repeating program that takes over and mutes out that part of me that is fighting for healing, allowing instead for the destructive part of me do the coping and the processing. Finally, one day a severe migraine broke me physically, forcing me to stop for real, and this ended up giving me the chance to see that it was time to stop suppressing and putting up walls around me like a fortress, and I allowed myself to go through an emotional breakdown as well.
After such an episode I felt much better, but alone. I closed myself in my room and told myself I would tough it out and everything would be better tomorrow. But, before this all took place I had just listened to an interview about this exact topic, also titled “Doing it All Alone” (you can listen to it for free: https://eqafe.com/p/doing-it-all-alone). I decided to take the advice from the being that had been going through similar experiences, and I came out of my room and talked to my parents. I’ve been hiding OCD for so long that talking about it with people in my world is still a bit foreign and uncomfortable for me. But I was able to express myself and speak about the anxiety and the lack of control I feel with OCD. We talked about the circumstances surrounding me reaching my breaking point, and discussed some immediate steps I could take to take care of myself. We also discussed some long-term options which I will be taking steps toward exploring as well.
After talking for some time, my migraine dissipated completely. I felt like I had support around me, and my parents expressed being grateful about having a better understanding about what it is I am going through. This was not the outcome I had expected when I imagined or anticipated talking about it. In my mind I thought it would be hard and uncomfortable and make matters worse, but in reality, it felt life-saving. I know that this doesn’t mean that everything will be easy from here on out, this is obviously a process that needs to be walked from moment to moment. It will take time before I become more and more comfortable allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others, and to learn to identify when I can handle things on my own, and when it is best to ask for support.
The moral of the story is that we cannot trust that things will turn out exactly the way we imagine them, especially not when we are in an emotional reaction or heightened anxiety. It is important to sometimes come out of one’s own mind and cross-reference things with others in order to get a clearer perspective on oneself and one’s own situation. Talking to others and seeking support can introduce new options, open up alternatives or solutions that one may not have thought of alone, especially not from the limited perspective created by anxiety.
Doing some things alone is cool, it can be very empowering and build confidence and strength of character, but so can asking for support. With practice, it has become easier to do this, and to correctly identify which path is more appropriate to take in the moment.