I’ve written a couple of blogs now that have focused on positivity and recovery. Every word I wrote is true. I live with my OCD, anxiety and eating problems. They don’t run my life like they used to. But, at the same time, I feel it’s only right that I write about the days or weeks, sometime months, when things aren’t quite as okay. I talk about how my mental health is my superpower and I really believe that, I do. But even superheroes have off days right?
It’s been written about many times that the impact of Covid on our mental health will be massive. With this in mind, I’m conscious that many people will be experiencing mental illnesses for the first time, and while I hope my story of recovery will bring hope, I also want them to know, that bad days, weeks or months, do happen, and it by no means makes them a failure, it just makes them human. There will be better days.
When I think about the fact that I’m going to have to battle these problems for the rest of my life, there are days when I wonder if I can. There are days when I’m just tired of staying strong, of fighting against that part of my brain that wants to go back to those harming behaviours to control my weight. Some days I think it would be easier to just give in to these behaviours. Some days I do.
On these days I feel like a hypocrite because I’m forever talking about body positivity and acceptance, and I believe in every word. I don’t want anyone to feel how I’ve felt. Our bodies are miracles. But that little villain in my brain takes some fighting, and on some days, it’s really hard work.
Then I have the OCD and the anxiety. The obsessive thoughts that are convinced that I’ve harmed someone or something in some way. The thoughts that constantly tell me I’m not good enough, that everything I say is just embarrassing and stupid and I should just not. The anxiety that makes it hard to function…or breathe.
I catastrophize constantly. Someone I know is going in a car? In my head, they’ve gone in the car, crashed and I’m at their funeral. Can’t get hold of someone? They’re not answering the phone because they’ve had an accident. And again, I’m at their funeral. It’s exhausting to rationalise these thoughts all the time.
While I’m more than happy to discuss my mental health, I rarely go into detail about the thoughts and behaviours that go along with it unless people ask. As I write this, I’m scared of what people will think. I’m worried that people will think this is trivial, that I’m making a fuss out of nothing. Then I worry that people will feel uncomfortable, is this going to change how people act around me? But then I think, that’s the whole point of this campaign, right? That we speak out about our experiences, break that stigma that trivialises our experiences or our problems.
Our battles are very, very real and at times, very scary. I think if I’d have known that other people were going through something similar when I was at my worst, that I wasn’t weird and different, I think that would have really helped, so my hope is that this can help someone, in some way. I really am okay most days by now. Cheesy as it sounds, these horrible, dark days do pass, and you will feel better. Help is out there for you; all you have to do is reach out.