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.

 

The Buddy System, Does it Work?

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I recently spoke to a life-coach friend of mine regarding ways to tackle stopping OCD. She asked me to describe the experience of what I call an ‘OCD possession’ in detail. As I described it, we together realized that there is always a trigger, or a source to why the compulsion seems to ‘take over’ me entirely. We arranged it so that I would reach out to her, either online or phone call, when I feel an OCD possession coming on. So I tried it, and I must admit, it was very difficult to do at first.

The first point I faced were the excuses my mind would throw at me in the moments before I would call her. I would feel the OCD possession coming on, and I would think about calling her, and my mind would come up with so many reasons why I should not call. The excuses looked like this: ‘she is too busy to receive a call from me’, or ‘this is silly, I can do this without her’ (I couldn’t), and so on.

I forced myself to reach out to her on Viber. I told her I was having urges to pick my skin. We looked behind the urges, and it turned out that I was anxious about going to meet with a group of people. I was anticipating all the judgments they would think about me because of my skin. My friend suggested this is a form of projected self-judgment, wherein I was taking my own self-judgement and projecting it in to the future, and ‘attaching’ it to my ideas of others and how I was guessing others would look at me (the same way I look at myself: in extreme judgment for what I do to myself).

It turns out that I judge myself more harshly than anybody, and I create in my mind this harsh world ‘out there’ that is painful to live and function in. But the reality is that I have created this within myself, and then projected it on to the world.

Yes, it’s true that, from time to time, I have received harsh judgment from others. But when I actually experience that judgment, it is not usually as bad as it is in my mind. Judgment from others does happen, and I will look at this in another blog. But for now, I have realized that the greatest, harshest, judgment I endure actually comes from within me, and this is great news!

Why is this great news? Because of the power of self-forgiveness. Returning back now to the scenario where my life-coach friend and I found the source of my anxiety as I was feeling the compulsion to pick my skin before going out to meet a group of friends – the moment she suggested I was projecting my self-judgment on to my friends, I began to forgive myself (I will post the self-forgiveness below). As I forgave myself, the pressure and anxiety went away, and I could move myself.

In the next blog, I will describe the second resistance I faced, how I walked through it, and the outcome of the scenario that was VERY different than how things usually play out!

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear facing a group of people with imperfect skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear the judgement I may receive from people regarding the blemishes on my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear the secret thoughts that others may have about me because it is apparent that I pick my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing the thoughts I think others may be having lead me to fall into an ocd possession and actually end up picking my skin/picking my skin more, thus manifesting that which I am actually fearing.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing the thoughts I think others are having, affect Who and How I am within myself, and how I experience myself, instead of ME deciding who and How I am, and directing how I experience myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to project my own self-judgment about Who and How I am within OCD onto others.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for picking my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for having fallen into an OCD possession, leaving marks on my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as weak/flawed/imperfect/out of control when I pick my skin so much that it leaves blemishes.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear my mind being exposed to the world when I have marks which show the true nature of my mind.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting and allowing myself to live and move myself within forgiveness, instead of constantly being harsh and judgmental towards myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be hard on myself most of the time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel the need to punish myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive I need to be punished.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to punish myself and be harsh and judgmental with myself instead of changing myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear changing myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear losing OCD.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear self-movement.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear living fully.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to resist reaching out to my buddy when I feel an ocd possession coming on.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel undeserving of assistance and support for OCD because I feel like it’s my problem that I created, it is my burden and no one else should have to deal with it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to make excuses for why I shouldn’t reach out for assistance and support when and as I can see that I am going into an OCD possession, instead of embracing any and all support I can get to walk myself through stopping this disorder.

I will continue in my next post: ‘The Buddy System, Does it Work? (part two)

 

My Extremely Large and Incredibly Small Victories

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I have been walking a process for about 4-5 years now where I am practicing living self-forgiveness and learning self-acceptance, self-love and self-understanding in my day to day life. I am doing this by actually forgiving myself, in writing as well as out-loud whenever possible, and letting go of all the burdens, bad habits and self-destructive patterns I had been living out for so long.

Forgiving yourself is not blaming yourself. We are not entirely responsible for the disorders we suffer, as there is a genetic component, an environmental element, and then there is society and the system within which we live, which definitely do not support proper healing and recovery on a daily basis.

Self-forgiveness is the same as making the statement that although there are many contributing factors to the development of a disorder such as OCD (derma, trich, germaphobia etc…), within forgiving myself, I am standing up a taking on that responsibility in its entirety. I am stating that I alone exist within my body, and so I alone, with all the support I can get, am taking responsibility for my own healing and recovery. I am using self-forgiveness to bring myself out of my mind, and to stop the internal conversations, thoughts and reactions that cause the emotional build up inside of me throughout the day, among other things.

Even though we are in fact alone within ourselves, it is always recommended to open oneself up to all the assistance and support we can get, keeping in mind the fine line between being supported and developing a dependence.

Remember SELF-responsibility, no one can do this for us. Seeking and utilizing support is not the same as having someone or something else do it for you – because that is impossible, no one else can ‘fix’ you for you. Support is guidance, it’s someone challenging you or pointing things out you may not have realized. It’s someone talking some sense into you when you are unbalanced and lost in emotions/feelings. It can be someone there to encourage you and push you when you face a fear, or to simply be there to listen to you and show you practical solutions you may not have seen or realized yourself.

Interestingly, within some of the best support I have received, I have found the things I need to hear most are the hardest things to hear. If someone were to say “you need to start taking this more seriously and apply yourself more,” for example, I might get incredibly defensive! I have argued about how much I do already and how hard it is for me, and that they don’t understand what it is I deal with on a daily basis.

But what I’ve learned is that this is what’s called ‘arguing for your limitations’, wherein you find yourself actually arguing and building a defense for why you shouldn’t try harder, you can’t do more, you’re stuck and the situation is unchangeable. This is obviously complete self-sabotage, and sets us up for certain failure.

It is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you’re starting point is: ‘I can’t do this,’ then everything that flows from it, and from you, in terms of your actions, words, choices and decisions etc… will only ever end up confirming your starting point of being limited and unable.

What I have experienced is that there comes a time and a point within this process where you realize what you’re doing, because nothing is working and nothing is changing, and the same pattern just keeps on repeating itself. This is the time and the point I reached where I just had to suck it up and say ‘ok, it is time to actually apply myself for real. I started by finding a new starting point, one based in the statement “I am Here to assist and support myself do whatever it takes to manage and/or overcome this.”

Unfortunately, it is not so simple as making a statement. When I am told things that might indicate I actually have to change and step up my application, I look at why I react defensively. Not only with OCD/derma, but with anything that I wanted to improve, such as keeping things tidier at home and applying myself at work. The defensiveness I feel is covering up the fact that I am fearful. I am terrified of letting go of my current way of being and doing. I am scared of my perception of what the change will be like. I am fearful of losing a part of me and of my identity.

It may seem strange, but I’ve discussed this reaction in past blogs, and will go into in more detail in the near future. For now, I see it as a good sign. I see it as a sign that I am building myself up, my stance, my application, my self-will and my self-directive principle, and the disorder is actually feeling threatened.  Please read this blog, to understand some dimensions of The Fear of Not Having OCD/derma to depend on.