Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 36 - Living the Change, Stopping OCD

On the front lines of OCD -
 In this photo, you can see how I have taken steps to create a home environment that is supportive in all ways; I have set myself up in front of the computer to write, which supports me in in my process of taking my authority back from OCD. Because I know that being in front of the computer triggers the OCD, I have put a hair mask on to keep my hands away from my head. The hair mask also nurtures and moisturizes the scalp, which supports me physically as I have scalp psoriasis. I lit a candle to create a more relaxed and soothing atmosphere to lower anxiety, and I also like the way it smells, so it is a point of  simple enjoyment as well The same with the tea, which is filled with healthy ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, honey, lemon, and also chamomile which calms and relaxes. It keeps my hands busy when I get antsy, it tastes good and is warm and comforting. This calming, soothing, healing and nurturing environment was created by me, in awareness. This is MY CHOICE. It depicts an act of creation rather than an environment of consequence, resulting from the automated behaviour of OCD. This is one step of my journey, bringing my writing to life in practical application. To read the writing, visit: AtHome Within Myself - Living the Word 'Home'

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day 35 - At Home Within Myself: ReDefining Home





From yesterday's blog:

Home:




 Self-Forgiveness (releasing past definitions)

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create a home, both internal and external, that is chaotic, unsafe, and unsupportive of my self-development.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have not created a stable and supportive home environment because I did not take responsibility for myself or my life or important things that need to get done every day, because I expected them to be done for me and I expected to be cared for, first as a child by my parents, and then as a girlfriend/wife by men.

I commit myself to create for myself an environment of support by identifying the self-destructive behaviour patterns, forgiving myself, and changing them to patterns of support.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear taking responsibility for myself and my life/world due to thinking/believing/perceiving that I do not know how, because I found it difficult to begin with, and because I accept and allow myself to become overwhelmed and give up, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is a step-by-step process that involves baby steps and learning over time.

 

When and as I see that I am avoiding, procrastinating, supressing (and thus, setting myself up for OCD) due to the experience of overwhelming-ness I create through the thought, idea or belief that “I do not know how” I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to stability, by centering myself in my body, and not following the thoughts causing the overwhelming-ness, but simply breathing myself into presence and awareness, and giving myself the time and space to let the overwhelming-ness pass before I am able to start taking the steps towards directing my reality, so that those steps are taken within self-direction and not from a starting point of fear, overwhelming-ness and confusion. I see, realize and understand that actions taken from this starting point will only create more of the same. I gift myself the patience and stability to allow myself to come back out of the mind before proceeding in the physical.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to reflect the chaos of my mind onto my physical environment, blaming that environment for how I feel inside instead of seeing and realizing that the opposite is true, the environment is the consequence of my internal struggles, and the fact that I hadn’t addressed or taken responsibility for my internal situation caused me to also avoid taking responsibility for my external home environment.

I commit myself to continue my physical process (changing in the moment, in real time, as applied change), and to also push myself to write myself out more and more, in order to better equip myself to make that real time change.

I commit myself to see and realize that writing clarifies the busy, chaotic mind, and creates a blueprint for me to lead myself when life becomes overwhelming with blurring uncertainty, mind chaos, floating light-headedness, self-damning depression, intense isolation – these words describing the internal experiences I find myself in, within which I find it more difficult to direct myself without support.



 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel alone and isolated in my home when there was no one taking care of me, instead of seeing and realizing that I was there, and it was myself that was abandoning me because I didn’t have the tools nor the understanding of how to care for and nurture myself, from without and from within.

I commit myself to push myself to step up for myself, and tend to things that need to get done.

I commit myself to replace self-destructive actions to self-supportive actions (eg: do laundry, make tea or work out for example, instead of allowing for idle time which opens the door to fall into OCD)

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not remain consistent and orderly in my home, but to instead follow the ups and downs of my feelings and emotions, letting things fall apart when the motivation is not there, and doing too much when the motivation IS there.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that I am dependant on the internal experience of being ‘motivated’ to move myself, and to, within this belief, try to get everything done in those few moments where I do feel this way, without realizing that my actions are coming from a starting point of fear as ‘fearing losing the motivation,’ thus making the statement to myself that I cannot move without first feeling a certain specific way. Within this:

When and as I see that I am waiting for feelings and emotions, such as motivation and fear, to move me, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the process of developing self-authority by reminding myself that  it is a process, and sometimes it is a very slow process, and that I am in this moment in a position to take a step, but it is up to me to decide in which direction I want that step to be taken. I push myself to take the step in the direction towards self-authority, which is self-expansion, which is honouring and nurturing self, thus creating an environment of support within self and in my external environment.

Day 34- At Home Within Myself - Living the Word 'Home'



I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and every time I would arrive at a new location I would have projections about what it would feel like to live there, and I would hold an optimistic outlook on how my life would be and how I would make this new place my home. I would settle in over time, but as time passed I would never quite be able to create this feeling I was looking for, the feeling of being ‘at home’.

The repeating cycle that would occur is that the new apartment would become messy and disorganized and financial and other stresses would inevitably arise and plant their roots in my mind and thus be reflected back to me by my environment. Soon most things in the house would cause a negative reaction in me, such as anxiety for example, as I would see things I was neglecting or unfinished projects I would judge myself for having abondoned.  Slowly, over time I would lose my authority in the situation, as I would lose authority over myself and my actions, and this unfortunately leads to a lack of order and direction,  which created an environment that is not conducive to healing, growing or expanding. This environment is actually more conducive to perpetuating dermatillomania, wherein I become the product of the environment I have created, instead of the environment becoming the product of me, as I create myself into someone that is striving to meet their utmost potential, which includes overcoming dermatillomania.

These aforementioned negative effects could be associated with having OCD, although I am certain people without OCD have experienced this as well. For me, with dermatillomania, the home becomes ‘unsafe’, in a way. In the above scenario, things I see in the home create an underlying overwhelming-ness within me, and become triggers and soon bathrooms and mirrors become unsafe places for me to go because of the effects of having a BRFD (body-focused repetitive disorder). It is not an environment of comfort and support, rather, through my abdicating myself to this behaviour, I set myself up for failure and self-abuse.

 http://www.havingtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/messy-house.jpg
And so in this blog I’ve taken up looking at this word ‘home’, and I have decided (i.e. not the disorder) that it is time for me to decide how I am going to re-define the word ‘home’. This way, I can  apply that definition into my daily living, thus creating a living word for myself, wherein slowly over time, one word at a time, I will create a ‘living vocabulary’ and thus, a new life for myself on My Terms – not the terms of the disorder.

The word home, a defined in the dictionary, means:

1.      the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household:

Informal - a place where an object is kept.


Souding out the words (what hidden words or phrases can I see within the word?)

HOnor ME -  (home is a place where I honour myself, and my internal/external environment should reflect that)

HOne in on ME -  (Home is a place that I know in the utmost detail, and when attention is needed somewhere, I hone in on it. If something requires attention and is not getting done, I first hone in on me – my mind – to check why am I not moving myself to tend to the task)

HarmOny in ME ( Home is a place where I create as little friction as possible, where events and play-outs are directed by me in a way that creates them to be beneficial to me, supporting and nurturing my growth and development).

HOusing ME ( Home is the physical location that is housing me, whether it is in my body or my house, and it therefore requires to be physically maintained: kept clean, tidy, organized, well presented, and practical for me).

I like how in the ‘sounding out’ of the word I see a focus on ‘me’, before only considering the physical location, because this way home can be wherever I am. The dictionary definition states that a home is the place where one lives ‘permanently’. This can be complicated for someone in my situation who has forso long been living temporarily in different locations. If I were to limit myself and my experience to the dictionary’s definition, then I may react by feeling things like lost, homeless and self-pitying, because, according to the dictionary definition, I don’t have a’ home’! This can potentially be disempowering, because it’s important to have a place and a space within which to grow and be grounded, and without one I feel ungrounded and like I have no place, This is the kind of potential consequence of not fully investigating the words we are living and defining ourselves according to.

 I would like to instead Empower myself by creating my own definition for the word home. This new definition is not just a physical location; it is a living and a doing, internal and external. ‘Home’ is actually who and how I am within myself, and the physical location is simply an extension of myself, so that by extension, it also becomes my ‘home’.

Home:

Orderly – I have a place for things and I address and tend to all components as necessary.

Safe – it is a safe place/space because as I establish the environment I want to create, such as developing self-acceptance (no judgment) and self-discipline (stopping OCD patterns, keeping everything in order etc), my mistakes, falls and slip-ups are immediately forgiven, and the slate is clean for me to learn from the experience and try again. In my home environment, internal and external, I forgive myself, I learn, I expand.

Directed  - Home is where I prioritize what needs to get done, and I move myself through the tasks. This is Self-direction, where I am the one that assesses my home’s needs – my body as food, water, exercise, relaxation etc… my house as groceries, cleaning, decorating etc… in my home, I push myself to get everything that needs to get done, done.

In my next blog I will post the self-forgiveness in relation to redefining 'Home'.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Day 33- Parents of Children with Dermatillomania/CSP:My Child is Not Okay



This article is for parents of children with OCD, dermatilloamnia, or any other mental disorder. I am focusing on parents, not out of blame nor to create guilt, but because they are on the frontlines of the battle against mental health issues. This is because children are resilient, adaptive and have a high neuroplasticity with which they can overcome and learn how to manage their mental disorders before it becomes solidified, layered and integrated into them as they grow older. I am not a doctor, but someone who sufferers from dermatillomania, and as I am finding solutions for myself, I am looking back and seeing how much of what I created for myself could have been prevented in my childhood. Please also see: Day 50 - OCD: From Hiding and Feeling Unwanted to Living and Expressing Fully.



There was a time, perhaps your parents’ generation, where children were to be seen but not heard, it was as if, so long as the child is alive at the end of the day, the parenting has been successful. These days, children’s mental health has become a prevalent issue in many contexts, with new disorders and prescribed medications seemingly mounting every year. This unfortunate equation results in parents who may have the best intentions, but lack the necessary tools required to deal with today’s children’s mental health phenomena. Part of the problem is that, due to a certain amount of stigma created over the years, there has been a lack of understanding and forward motion with regards to the treatment and prevention of mental illness and disorders. So much of what is suffered in adulthood can be explored and understood, expressed and discussed with the child as active participant in childhood. But first, parents on the front lines have to take a look within themselves to see if there is any stigmatization existent in their own minds, conscious or subconscious, expressed or implicit. In order for a conversation with your child to open up, you have to be clear within yourself that there is no judgment, and that your acceptance of your child is in fact, unconditional.

To this day, 60 percent of people that suffer from a mental illness will not seek help due to fear of being labelled (http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives-and-projects/opening-minds).  It is an absolute certainty that stigmatizing our children’s mental disorders will only ever prevent treatment and healing, and limit our children from realizing their utmost potential in this life. We have to realize that we must become objective about the fact that our children aren’t okay, and that we do not necessarily know what to do about it. We must unlearn the stigmatization that has been passed down for generations because it is a detriment to our children, and we are the only ones keeping it alive today. We do so by accepting and allowing our own fears, judgments and reactions surrounding the issue of mental health, disorders and psychosis, to seep through into our behaviour and attitudes towards our children. Stigmatizing our children’s mental health renders us blind and deaf, leaving our children isolated in the face of something that they are in no way prepared to handle alone.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a stigma is “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something,” whereas to stigmatize means to “describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval.” Now, we don’t have to outwardly say negative things towards a child, nor do we need to disgrace or disapprove in words to keep a stigma alive, or to make a child feel stigmatized (marked out or described as something bad). Simply ignoring the problem, making it seem smaller than it actually is, or not taking it seriously, indicates that there is a belief system, whether or not we are conscious of it. If we are afraid or awkward or uncomfortable around something, or if we ignore it, it indicates that somewhere within us, there is something holding us back.

In a normal scenario, when a child displays a physical symptom of an illness, like a lump, a rash or a fever, even if we do not know what the problem is, we act. We go to the doctor, we do research online, we become concerned and speak with others, treatments are tried and we even ask the child how they feel as an indicator of whether or not the treatment is working. This is normal. The fact that this is what normal looks like makes this a good way to establish a standard against which behavioural reactions can be compared when dealing with psychological symptoms of illness. As a parent, when confronted with possible mental illness within your child, you can ask yourself what you would do if this were a physical illness. If there is any difference between your behaviour because the illness is psychological, then that is a sign that there is some degree of reaction within you. It is up to each one to investigate what that reaction is, because not doing so is a detriment to the child.

 In fact, not only will non-action end up harming your own child, but it will harm other parents and children as well, because it is keeping a stigma alive. So long as the stigma exists, parents will feel like the child’s mental illness is their failure. The mental illness will become something shameful, and will limit the child into adulthood. If swept under the rug, mental illness like OCD and dermatillomania, will not be researched and there will be no prevention.

The first step towards prevention is for parents of children with signs of mental illness to treat it normally, as I described above, and for people who have any kind of mental illness to speak out about it, normally. That also includes taking your child by the hand, and walking the journey together. Nobody knows exactly what to do when their child is diagnose or displays signs of a mental disorder, but children shouldn’t be left alone to figure it out. Listen to your child, he or she might even have solutions we wouldn’t have imagined. Open up the conversation regularly so it becomes normalized and a vocabulary can be developed. Assist and support your child to become a self-supportive adult.

This s a dermatillomania blog, but the message goes for all mental disorders and psychological illness. If you would like to see me speak about OCD and dermatillomania, you can watch my youtube videos HERE.Also watch: Dermatillomania/Compulsive Skin Picking: Physical Body Support                                             Picture: http://www.canadianbfrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/parents_child_silhouette1.jpg