I’m sure many of us have had the same experience: those intrusive thoughts that just won’t go away. Sometimes, they can be so pervasive and relentless that it can be difficult to keep going throughout life. That’s what I faced for a long time; it felt like I was in a never-ending maze of anxiety and compulsive behavior.
Although I still have my days, I am now in a much better place mentally. It took me some time to get here, but with effort and hard work, I can proudly say that I’ve overcome obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), something that affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world every day.
I first noticed a shift in my mental health when I began engaging in overly repetitive behaviors; for instance, checking and re-checking to make sure all the doors were locked multiple times, pushing away certain thoughts because they terrified me. Although at first these habits seemed harmless, as time progressed they got more intense and soon dominated all aspects of my life.
I knew something needed to change; however, doing so was easier said than done. Many individuals suffering from anxiety or OCD symptoms tend to keep their condition hidden due to fear or the stigma attached to mental illness. Thankfully, through a combination of prayer as well as therapy sessions for myself and family members, things improved significantly over time.
One of the most helpful steps on my journey has been mindfulness training - learning how to slow down and observe my violent thoughts instead of constantly attacking them. It involved uncovering deep beliefs about myself and the world as well as practicing breathing exercises whenever my inner turbulence reached its peak. This process was arduous yet transformative in equal parts, but eventually it gave way to moments where being present didn’t feel like forcing a square peg into a round hole anymore.
This is not an overnight success story - far from it - since problems don’t automatically disappear with just one solution or two counteracting strategies employed against them! But there is no doubt that little by little progress is being made every day; OCD isn’t something that controls you forever; with patience and courage it’s possible to take back control over your own life again.