Who I am

Welcome to my new blog – thank you for stopping by. Firstly, introductions.

I’m ‘The Girl with the Hat’ – a name partly inspired by my love for hats and partly by one of my favourite books ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’. I’m in my early 30s, I’m single and have a loving family around me. I work in an office and have a housemate. The reason for creating this blog, is because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s not my entire personality, it’s a part of it. Just like the fact I love baking and watching football is also a part of that. However, it’s a part of who I am that doesn’t get shared very often. Another reason for the pseudonym.

Mental Health carries a stigma. It shouldn’t, it’s the 21st Century now and we have a much better understanding of mental health issues, their probable causes and how to tackle them, but the stigma remains. People still do not realise that a ‘mental illness’ is just that – an illness. Just like asthma, diabetes, a broken leg. For those who believe the bio-medical explanations (and for most part I do, I certainly believe it’s a contributing factor) – something in me doesn’t work quite the way it should. My brain has trouble filtering out irrelevant information, worries, concerns and these then come out in my obsessions and compulsions.

So what is OCD?

To the layman OCD is just someone being anal over cleanliness, tidyness, locking doors or checking the gas is off. (For anyone who suffers from OCD, if you want to take a pause and go and do any of these things, please do).

But it is so much more than that. It is an Anxiety Disorder that can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have often laid in bed desperately trying to resist the urge to go and check the doors that I’ve already checked several times and know for well they are locked. I have so often been so frustrated with myself that I’ve cried.

I don’t like being this way, but I’ve learnt to accept this is who I am. I have good periods and bad periods – often linked to stress and tiredness. I have trouble getting to sleep as it is, but when it’s bad this worsens, I get less sleep, more tired and then my mind is weaker to fend off those intruding thoughts and delightfully relieving compulsions. The thoughts and compulsions then make it harder to sleep and I get stressed about them and not sleeping – so it’s a vicious cycle. Then, often without warning, the phase will be over just as quickly as it came and I’ll be back to ‘normal’.

I’ve created this post so that I can share with anyone who cares to listen, what it’s like living with OCD. There are lots of blogs out there covering mental health issues, but I haven’t found many on my illness. Maybe that’s because I haven’t looked too hard. I often find that if I discover what someone else is worried about, I’ll start worrying about it too. So, I completely understand if fellow OCD sufferers steer clear. Whoever you are reading this, be you a fellow OCD / mental health sufferer, know someone who is, or just plain curious, I hope this will help you understand, at least in part, what it’s like to live in my head sometimes.

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