From Hiding and Feeling Unwanted to Living and Expressing Fully

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Any kind of mental disorder is still taboo in our society, unfortunately, and the result is that those that need to speak up and reach out most end up being those that hide and isolate most. Having a mental disorder myself, OCD, dermatillomania – a self-harm disorder, I know from first hand experience what it is to be alone with intense emotional baggage and how big and overwhelming it can become within the experience of isolation. I stand here now as an individual that has begun to take self-responsibility for my own personal healing and correcting, and would like to share about learning how to come out of the hiding and isolation of OCD, to emerge from hiding within self into Life and living.

Not understanding what is going on within self, not knowing how to manage it, and feeling like it is coming from anywhere but self had, especially as a young child, created a world and reality that seemed cruel and harsh. My inner experience felt like a sort of inward spiral, a self-perpetuating black hole that sucked me into isolation and hiding. Within this, one of the most prominent experiences for me was feeling I needed care, and needed people that I trusted to come in to my world and connect with me on a deep level to assist and support me to navigate my experiences, and to find a way to bring me out, and to see and realize another way to live and experience life.

This continued on into adulthood and influenced how I felt about my innate value and worth, as I had over time taken it personally that no one could see what I was going through. It’s ironic that in hiding and isolating myself within and as the disorder, and presenting a fake front as my ‘social self’, I was sending out the message that I am fine and don’t need anyone, while the reality was one where all I really wanted was to be saved.

What I didn’t realize until recently was the fact that everything I longed for from others, where I wanted others to reach out to me, to pull me through, to help me, to save me, to make me feel good, to make me feel loved and wanted – all of it was only there because I had never learned how to give it to myself or how to be that for myself. Even when I realized that that is what I had to do, I still had to walk a process of making it real, of really doing it for me.

What I had not been shown, seen or realized as a child was my responsibility to reach out and ask, to invite others in, to show and reveal what it was that I was experiencing. I felt alone in an unfriendly place. I felt abandoned and left to fend for myself. Without learning how to take self-responsibility and unknowingly leaving my needs unanswered in the hands of others, the lack of understanding felt as though I must be doing something wrong, or that there was something innately undeserving about me. Instead of learning how to take self-responsibility, I learned to punish myself through self-harm. I learned to carry a burden of guilt, shame, anxiety and frustration as atonement for unnamed sins I did not understand.

The point that is missed here, and the point that we don’t teach children is this point of self-responsibility within the understanding that no one can change they way you live, the way you experience yourself, the hundreds of little decisions and choices made throughout the day regarding the kind of person you will be towards yourself and others. The truth is that yes – there is medication and drugs that can influence and change the internal experience, but without the understanding and with no life skill development or support teaching us how to manage ourselves and our internal realities, all we are creating is the continuous dependency on factors outside of ourselves to make us feel ‘right’ – all the while, perpetuating low-self esteem, diminished self-worth, self-damning depression, and a lost people looking to everything but themselves to save them.

Through walking a process of self-forgiveness to ease the burden I had been carrying, and to better see what my needs were and also, how to create an independence within my life, I was better able to see how to assist and support myself to walk out of hiding and out of isolation. What I began to do and what I am still working on is how to clearly define and express my needs to others in my world instead of waiting for them to notice or figure them out for me.

There are many things I can do for and by myself as well, in terms of moving myself to do the things I know will support me. Within and as the disorder I have in my life at the moment, I am always walking a fine line between being sucked inward towards hiding and isolation, and battling feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. I have many opportunities throughout the day, moments of choice and decision where I can pick myself up and get myself out and moving instead of staying in (both physically in my house or my room, and emotionally as not speaking up and speaking out). Or if I stay in, to do it in such a way where it is a decision made in awareness, where I have a plan or a structure for myself so that I don’t fall into self-harm and self-sabotage.

For me it starts first with what I can give myself, doing writing and self-forgiveness to investigate my mind and the issues I face, and script out a better way to be, like a blueprint to guide me as I move throughout the day. And then pushing myself to participate in self-supportive activities such as yoga, small gatherings and game nights with friends, or simply going out for coffee with a good book. Anything to pull me out of my mind and into this physical reality where I can see that I am ‘normal’, I’m okay, I can do this.

It has been a process, that is for sure, and one that continues and will continue for as long as I live. But as tough a pill it was to swallow at first, it is only without understanding that taking care of oneself seems like ‘the hard way’. What I have lived and learned is that in stepping up and being there for me, I have eased the burden and actually received from myself and others that which I need to live a better and more fulfilling life.

Some self-forgiveness and self-commitments to consider:

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to look to others to show me my value and my self-worth, instead of seeing and realizing that I have in fact not been showing it to myself, living it for myself, and strengthening it within myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to make decisions throughout my day that tend to cater to my subtle expressions of giving up on myself and calling it ‘relaxing’,  giving in to my addictions and calling it ‘treating myself’ or ‘spoiling myself’, and not living my self-worth and calling it ‘giving myself a break’ – and then wonder why I react to and feel hurt when others do not consider me, instead of seeing and realizing that all that is being mirrored to myself is the ways in which I already do not consider what is best for me in my living actions.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to make it someone else’s responsibility to show me my value and worth instead of seeing and realizing that only I can live that as an actual self-creation point, it is not something that can simply be shown to me or experienced as a feeling or emotion, but rather something that I must live for and as myself in many moments and decisions throughout the day in order to give to myself and make it a real, substantial, untouchable, unwavering point of myself that is here within and as me.

I commit myself to stand in awareness in moments of decision throughout the day, where I see which choice/decision/path will contribute to my self-creation as self-value and self-worth, and which will lead to the creation of self-diminishment, self-limitation and self-compromise, and I commit myself to stand as the self trust that I will, in those moments, push myself to chose what is best for myself.

I commit myself to take self-responsibility for my own self-consideration and self-regard, until I see the evidence in my world that I am in fact standing as that for me by seeing that I no longer react and feel hurt when I think and perceive that others are not considering and regarding me.

I commit myself to stand up for myself, and speak up for myself when and as I see that I am being treated less-than I would accept/allow myself to treat another – not in and from an emotional reactive state, but from and as that point of self-regard, self-consideration, self-value and self-worth.

 

OCD and the Buddy System – How it Feels When it Works

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This post continues from my last blog. In this series I am walking through a successful use of the ‘Buddy-System’ to assist and support with stopping OCD.

From my last post:

“For me, on this occasion, the buddy-system worked. Instead of falling into the OCD action of picking my skin before going to meet a group of people, I reached out to my friend who is a life coach, and together we found the source of why I felt the compulsion in that moment. Once I was able to find the source (read the first blog to see what it was), and I did some forgiveness on having created the source for myself, I was able to walk out of my house without having to go through the ‘usual routine’. This is quite a drastic contrast compared to what I am used to in these situations, and I want to talk a bit about that.”
What happened was that I had someone to be accountable to, and together we had found the source of the compulsion in that particular moment, which was fear of judgment from the people I was about to go meet. In doing some self-forgiveness on that point, within the realization that it was actually projected self-judgment, I saw that I was in fact the cause and the source. This means that I had the power to let it go and diffuse the situation. Whenever I believe that it is ‘them’, and ‘the others out there’ that are responsible for making me feel bad and judged, I leave myself completely powerless to change it or do anything about my internal experience. It then feels like I am walking into a minefield, where I can have explosive reactions at any moment.

 

One of the commonalities my friend and I discovered about what triggers my OCD, is that it is often when I feel like I can’t direct the situation I am about to walk in to. I fear the worst and then feel powerless to change it.

 

It’s like walking in to a self-created ‘doomed’ situation. I have also seen that this often causes the situation to be ‘doomed’, because it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I know that people with derma can relate to this, because we do it every time we go into a picking session: we create the problems we fear, which is having blemished skin, thus exposing our disorder, and the fact that there is ‘something wrong’, being judged for it and not being able to hide it.

 

So, I had to make the choice and decide, armed with all of this information and empowerment, that I was going to leave my house without picking. I had diffused the source of the OCD by taking self-responsibility for the reactions in the form of judgments that I had been having and fearing, which had been causing me to want to pick. I decided this was in fact projected self-judgment and I forgave myself for doing it, and embraced myself as I was/am, flaws and all. I also decided that I could direct the situation I was about to walk into. I was going to direct it by keeping myself in check, and not accepting and allowing my mind to go back into fear of judgment, and I would instead take events as they came.

 

I had to focus on what needed to be done to get out of the house, versus what I was being pulled into doing. I needed to get dressed, brush my hair, check myself in the mirror to see if everything was in order, make sure everything in my house was ok for me to leave, collect the things I needed to bring with me, and that was it. The interesting part of this experience was that such a simple thing as ‘getting ready to leave’, felt like walking through quicksand. It was fascinating. I literally had to put one foot in front of the other to keep moving because I felt like I was being sucked in to the OCD.

It was actually a physical sensation of being difficult to move, it was extremely uncomfortable and it just felt wrong. It was like my mind was saying ‘nooooo, stop moving forward, you’re forgetting something, everything will fall apart, you need to slow down, stop moving yourself, go to the mirror instead….” And so on like this. I mean, not the actual words, but the physical experience. It felt like it might feel if you were to turn on the hot water in your bath, turn on the oven and the hair dryer, and then start to leave your house. Imagine the feeling of opening the front door to go out… everything in your body and mind would be saying ‘no, you have to go back and turn of the water… stop, turn around and go turn off the appliances.’ Except, these are rational, practical considerations. I’m just making the comparison to explain how it feels when you take a stand and make the decision to not go into OCD.

 

The unfortunate truth is that stopping, and creating a new path is not pleasant, at all. In the moment, it does not feel empowering, it is not graceful, and it is not an easy moment. It Is hard, it feels terrible and wrong, and it is very humbling to see the power of the disorder and how it has come to control the mind and body on so many levels. BUT, and I say this with absolute certainty: IT IS WORTH IT!!!

No pain , no gain, as they say. In this instance, this was the truth. It was incredibly difficult to leave the house without having participated in my ‘ritual’. But when I went out, I interacted with people more openly, felt at ease within myself, and like I could express a confident and stable part of me. It was as if having gone through the quicksand to leave my house actually strengthened me. And so, I got to know me a little bit more, I got to enjoy me, and I got to be more me than what I am used to – which is hiding me, drawing attention away from me, trying to disappear, feeling completely self-conscious.

It is amazing how different our self-experience can be if we give ourselves a little push out the door. But we have to decide to do this, to take a stand and a stance and gather the strength. Self-understanding, and understanding what is going on in one’s mind and why, is an incredible support to be able to do this. And that is what I experienced in that moment, and it felt like I was more fully living.

 

Skin-Picking and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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I had a possession experience; one where I reached a point that I am normally not able to pull myself out from- one which would normally lead to a skin-picking ‘lock-down’, or depression, or both. It was triggered by the simple fact that I had a couple of responsibilities that I was required to tend to, and which could have some significant consequences if I didn’t.

I felt it coming and the pull to pick my skin became stronger until I was ‘in the position’ of an skin-picking session, but instead I moved myself to get ready and I left the house. As I was driving I was forgiving the experience out loud and as I began to dig a little deeper it was not coming through clearly. What I was experiencing was a mixture anxiety, fear, and perhaps anger.

In this situation I felt anxiety because I had left the responsibilities to the last minute, and now if anything went wrong I would not have time to fix it. I left it to the last minute because of procrastination due to building the thing up in my mind as an unconquerable task, and became anxious and stresses to the point of stagnation.

I felt anger because I had ‘done it again’ in terms of compromising myself by leaving things to the last minute, thus creating an even bigger deal out of the responsibilities by avoiding them, instead of having simply dealt with them earlier.

I felt fear because I didn’t want others to see that I didn’t get it together, because I have this perception of how others see me that I want to maintain in order to believe it is true, and if anything went wrong with either of these responsibilities, my cover would be blown and I would be exposed as my real truth: that I am still participating in this irresponsible pattern that does not create myself as an individual that can be depended on and trusted.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to leave responsibilities to last minute, in an effort to avoid having to do them, thus creating a compromised situation or myself by not having enough time, creating chaos and uncertainty in my world, and repeating a pattern that creates myself as someone I cannot trust to get things done, or depend on to be able to move myself to take responsibility in my life and world, which builds up inside me and leads me to pick my skin as an escape.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to avoid and procrastinate from taking care of the responsibilities I have committed to, within the hopes that someone else will come along and do it for me, thus giving my power away and sabotaging my self-relationship and the self-trust that I require to build and prove over time, but until that is done, I do not have a foundation to stand on for when I am draw into skin-picking, and so I fall every time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to avoid and procrastinate from taking care of responsibilities that I don’t completely know how to do, and instead of simply beginning to accomplish them by taking the first step, I build them up in my mind and worry about them, and I create ideas that I will not be able to get through them and I will fail, and within my avoidance and procrastination from actually dealing with the responsibility, I hope someone else will do it, or that it will somehow work itself out without my intervention, instead of empowering myself to move through the responsibility step by step- asking for assistance whenever I run into an obstacle I cannot overcome, so that I‘m contributing to building my self-trust and dependability each time I have a responsibility. Wherein each time I have responsibilities to tend to, what I also have is an opportunity to strengthen my self-trust and resolve, by showing myself that I can in fact stick to the commitment, and walk through the responsibility to the best of my ability.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to avoid and procrastinate from taking care of responsibilities, and hoping someone else will do it for me like waiting for a saviour, thus creating a powerlessness and helplessness within and as me, where I think/believe/perceive that I simply can’t do it, and I am unable, and instead of proving to myself that I can in fact do it by actually doing it, I simply believe my thoughts/ideas/perceptions and beliefs, and the energy connected to them, within the logic of, ‘because I think ‘I can’t do it,’ and feel like ‘I can’t do it;’ it must be true,’ instead of using common sense to actually test myself in reality, to see if it is true or not, showing myself that I can save myself. I can pick myself up. I can be there for me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create and manifest powerlessness and helplessness within and as me, through allowing others in my world to ‘do it for me’, or simply not taking responsibility and allowing it to ‘work itself out’, which creates the chaos of anxiety and uncertainty, instead of taking the initiative to do it for myself and prove to myself that I can do it, thus actually creating self-empowerment, instead of creating helplessness and powerlessness through inaction and giving up.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to avoid taking responsibility for myself, and then fear the consequences of not doing so.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to make the decision to not take self-responsibility, and to avoid doing the responsibilities I have to do because I have built them up to be something more than I think I can handle, and then fear the consequences of having done so, because this cycle brings it to point where it is beyond my control, actually creating the negative consequences I was projecting.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to bring tasks/responsibilities to the point where they are beyond my control, wherein, I bring them to the point where I can only barely get them done, but within and through my non-action, I have accepted and allowed the point to grow and fester and become something that I cannot possibly take responsibility for because it becomes ‘too late’, and then I can use the excuse that I ‘couldn’t possible do anything’, ‘it was beyond my control’, it was ‘bigger than me’/’too great for me,’ when in fact

I created the entire situation through my deliberate non-action through self-dis-empowerment and helplessness.

I can recall this pattern from when I was younger, wherein it would manifest as a messy room, not completing my homework and assignments, and not pulling my own weight by doing household chores. Within this, there is quite a simplistic pattern within which I create energy in relation to, for example, responsibilities, where I, in a moment of facing consequence that I know I created, would then REACT to MY OWN consequence, and then use this reaction to justify/validate/excuse skin-picking. So the pattern I am exposing to myself here, is not taking responsibility for obligations, then accumulating reactions towards not doing it/postponing/procrastinating (wherein I would feel bad/irritable/uncomfortable/down on myself/low self-esteem/worthless etc….), and from this building up all these reactions into an Energy (like the ‘white noise’ as a constant background anxiety), and then to a point where I use that energy to pick, thus in essence, using this pattern as a deliberate way to deliberately create energy for picking.

The SOLUTION to this would be to, instead of waiting for responsibilities, to DO them, and not build up the energy in reaction to obligation, but to get things done- really walk step-by-step and breath by breath, because I see that if I miss a step/miss a moment- my mind so easily goes into that reaction. In this way, I can ensure that I don’t deliberately use obligations/responsibilities to react to them and NOT do them then lea myself into the temptation of skin-picking. The choice is consequences or solution: doing the responsibility and EXPANDING me, or not doing them and building energy and leading myself to picking my skin/OCD/depression.