A coach tour around 3 countries in Europe – Italy Switzerland and France. My OCD gave me hell but I managed it, I won’t be doing it again but it was worth it for a few reasons.
- The organisational skills – getting up straight away when I hear that alarm. We were up at 7 every day, this is not something my body let alone my OCD is used to. I found that it was beneficial after the first couple days, the tiredness subsided and I was able to say FU OCD. It taught me that I have to schedule in ME TIMES, in order to relax and shower. Ready for the following morning.
- Social anxiety is off the chart – constant checking of conversations and the way people behave towards me. More paranoia than social anxiety, conversations about me ETC, perhaps that is why I’m psychotic. This element was exhausting.
- There is peace in some of the things I saw. Mainly the amazing scenes of Switzerland and museum du Louvre in Paris.
- I’m a nice guy. I was always nice towards people and even though I probably appeared odd, as we do, caught up in rumination, I still realize that I am calm on the outside.
- Honesty – I was honest about my illness to a few people that I met. I could tell straight away that they knew I was being genuine.
- I want to do more travelling. Even if its on my own I want to go back to Switzerland but also head west. If I stay in hostels I can choose to speak to people. Even though I did the coach tour, it was not suitable for people with mental illness. Some points mainly due to my first point ‘organisation’ it caused so much unbearable anxiety.
- That brings me to anxiety. The wrath of unreason. The chains on the brain. I simply meditated as a necessity. If I didn’t know how to meditate, I would have certainly failed and cut my trip short. The trip forced me to meditate so I am now In a good position to keep up my practice.
So, although I realise I should not have done a coach tour, I acknowledge that it has pushed me closer to where I need to be headed- learning to take that time to relax for one even if it takes forever, and work on the things I mentioned. I will re edit this as it is very brief right now, just needed to get it started down on paper.
‘Immersion’ is what I use to gauge my wellness, because I recognise that when I am well immersion is light and easy, but when the mental illness is strong, immersion can be ‘blocky’ and difficult. Its at about 70% now as I am able to type this. Which is pretty damn good. If I make the time to meditate diligently, it helps too. The floating anxiety, which alot of ppl get, is magnified, and is why I must meditate every day. Eventually immersion is easier, and the storm clears a little.
Mindfulness and OCD is extremely difficult, as before we have to intentionally bring the obsession to mind, whether it be a mini obsession or an intense violent thought. When we choose to bring it to mind we are telling the OCD something important. We are in control… response prevention; My compulsion was partly a mental argument, so catching the argument in the act and choosing to think of the obsession without responding used to work. The violent thoughts are demoralising and exhausting, you may have a different one that’s scary too. But with practice we desensitize the obsession, and delegitamize the compulsion.
Whilst we remember returning to the natural breath is therapy, over, and over breathing into it, over and over again. Breathing into the thought stream and sitting with the sometimes debilitating emotions. (such as guilt, shame, depression, anxiety)
In many types of mental illness, taking medication is a much better option than doing nothing. It seems to be protocol for people to have huge doubts though regarding medication and its effectiveness. But how true is that assumption? True to a certain extent. Its known that antidepressants are massively over-prescribed. But how can a GP tell the situation? They can’t, really, they do not have the experience or the qualification. They may see something wrong, or miss something. I was miss-diagnosed by a GP. The OCD wasn’t GAD or depression. This caused a lot of wasted time going to counsellors. (talking can make OCD worse, initially).
The answer is, that if you are seriously debilitated, incapacitated or anxious beyond belief, you have to go and see a consultant psychiatrist if you are overly concerned that you an illness. But if you have anxiety or depression on their own, I would probably say try other options first – join the gym, try a new hobby. There may not be the need to prescribe yourself onto antidepressants. Because they do suck the energy from you. Naturally get your chemicals flowing and you’ll do well my friend.
My life was great since being on a particular type of anti depressant that has been shown to be effective with OCD.
My life is even greater since being on antipsychotics. Why? because it does treat it. I wasn’t miss-diagnosed, I was over-looked. OCD is secondary like in many psychotic patients. I may be schizoaffective, one psychiatrist said, but whether i am or not as long as i’m making progress it’s fine; I’m on the highest dose… which is great.
I’ll come off one day and on that day i will let you know if it was all worth it, the meds. I currently have no doubts of their effectiveness… The side effects are worth it!