Sometimes when we’re feeling sad or anxious it can help to read something that someone else has written (and often much more eloquently!). I love this poem by Kahlil Gibran as it really leaves you with hope.
On Joy and Sorrow
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
Obsessive/intrustive thoughts in my experience are the lesser known part of OCD. Everyone talks of someone they know who likes their towels lined up in the same order, washes their hands excessively and so on but there’s another type of OCD sometimes known as ‘Pure O’ which doesn’t get as much airtime.
I suppose I just want to say to anyone who’s reading this is that obsessive/intrusive thoughts can be very distressing and don’t be afraid to seek some help. I wish I had done so earlier or at least recognised that what I was experiencing were intrusive thoughts rather than just convincing myself that they’re real and I’m just some awful, slightly crazy person. Of course the nature of having intrusive thoughts is that often because they have distressing content you don’t want to share them with anyone for fear that they do actually think you’re an awful, slightly crazy person. And so the cycle goes on. I’d really recommend going on the OCD UK website as it gives a really clear overview of it all and also offers support for people who feel scared/nervous/anxious about sharing with people that this is what they’re going through. They also have a Twitter page.
I’d also recommend this link to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. which has great information about OCD.
As for treatment, different people will find different things helpful. I’m about to start CBT as a lot of my research has thrown up that it seems to be an effective way of treating it. I’ve had a really hard time organising it though. I went through my GP first of all but then became anxious that all the content of my intrusive thoughts would be on my medical records so I decided to go privately. Wow people are making some good money out of other people’s misery!! It’s really expensive! I think I may have just found someone that I can afford so fingers crossed it works out. I will provide an update on how it’s going somewhere down the line.
I’m also trying acupuncture (and I hate needles so you can imagine how desperate I am!) so we’ll see if that yields any results.
So what about you? What have you found has helped in your quest to beat the obsessive thoughts?
It’s that time of the week where most of us are staring down the barrel of a working week. Until my most recent bout of anxiety I generally didn’t dread work too much, no more than the average person but lately I find myself feeling winded just thinking about going in. I think it’s because I get into a cycle of “what if” catastrophic thoughts that make it feel like it will be insurmountable.
So to give you an example – right now I find myself thinking:
What if I feel panicky and can’t concentrate and then it impacts on my work? That then leads onto… what if my boss thinks I’m incompetent and bad at my job? Which in turn leads to what if I need to take time off because I’m panicking and that shows up on future employment references?
Before I know it I’ve convinced myself that no one will ever want to employ me and that I’ll be living on the streets in no time. By the time I’ve thought all of that (which can take merely a matter of seconds and can happen without me even really noticing that I’m doing it) I’m feeling sweaty palmed and shaky at the idea of going in.
Of course there are some truths about the difficulty of working lives combined with anxiety or any mental health problems for that matter (and I think I’ll probably touch on that later on in the blog as it’s something I feel quite passionate about) but I have also realised that I need to challenge some of this negative thinking and catch it in it’s tracks.
So tonight before I go to sleep and before I do my meditation I’m going to have a think about putting some positive thoughts down on paper to counteract my negative ones. Perhaps I will share them with the blog when I’ve developed them a little.
I’ve also realised through a lot of reading and research that acceptance seems to be a big key to defeating the feelings. So feel free to join me in saying or writing down – I am aware that I feel anxious and this is OK.
Good night, may your sleep be full of peace and your dreams full of happiness.
The word anxiety is thrown around all the time. Everyone knows what it is to feel scared and yes to feel anxious, it can be helpful in many circumstances making sure we know when there is danger and sometimes even pushing us to do well.
This blog is for those where feeling anxious has gone beyond helpful – where it feels like it’s become a permanent guest, one you’ve asked to leave many times, you’ve told them that you don’t like the things they say, the way they make you feel but still they cling on, saying not very nice things, stamping their feet. That’s anxiety.
Just to give a brief outline, I’m someone who gets bouts of feeling anxious (I don’t even really like the word anxiety, it feels too much like an identity so I’m trying to train myself not to use it). Ever since I was young I can remember having obsessive thoughts, some of which are very distressing and provoke extreme feelings of fear, no scrap that terror. At my worst, if the feelings get too much I vomit spontaneously, no doubt to expel some of the pressure and panic that builds up in my body. I have had long periods where it hasn’t been a problem (even though some of the obsessive thoughts have still been there). I’ve built up some avoidant strategies and that has kind of seen me through. Right now I’m having a flare up of anxiety, a rush of obsessive thoughts and general feelings of panic.
The purpose of this blog is not to over-share and divulge all the ins and outs of my obsessive thoughts or worries but it’s to provide some reassurance I suppose to me and others, a place of safety if you will where we can just come and say “today I feel anxious”. I like the idea of posting things that are soothing and so that will really be the main aim.
Please feel free to post comments (I will aim to reply) but please be aware that I am not a counsellor and if you are finding things really difficult there are professionals who can help and who you can be put in touch with.
*There is hope and where there is hope there is strength*