Wednesday, February 17, 2016
ADDRESSING THE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS SIDE OF MY SYMPTOMS
Every tiny piece of litter I encounter on the pavement that looks vaguely needle-shaped feels as if it could fatally contaminate me, and I can't stop compulsively looking behind me to check I haven't trodden on such things, plus wherever I am in the house, I feel as if I'm poisoning my beloved cat.
Last Wednesday, I fell out with Nuna - who I considered to be my closest friend. I knew, deep-down, that she was the wrong kind of person for me to be drawn to, and I'm realizing I must focus now on rescuing myself rather than trying to rescue others, which has been one of the biggest defence mechanisms I have against confronting my problems. The whole episode has been extremely stressful and as a result, I've been experiencing a worsening of my OCD, to the point that it's become virtually impossible to differentiate between reality and what's a symptom of my illness.
OCD is also something I've decided that I can live without, and so as I've said before, it's doing it's damndest to bully me back into submission.
Nevertheless, I've been typing up my Anxiety / Exposure Master Hierarchy, and in so doing have changed the order of some of my fears and avoidance triggers.
At the top of the list (with a SUDS level of 100), is a fear to do with my estranged mother having cancer that I've kept making efforts to address with her, but however I decide to handle the situation, I end up feeling bad, and I rarely talk about it to anyone.
There was one item on the list that triggers my OCD I've decided I can simply stop engaging in, because it's self-destructive anyway, and in gaining some objectivity about my fears after seeing the whole list of them in front of me, it's become obvious that I need to get support from the Post-Traumatic Stress part of my diagnosis - especially in relation to unresolved issues to do with the childhood sexual abuse I suffered and have kept buried for the sake of my career: It's this trauma that I'm subconsciously perpetuating in my relationships and which is fueling my need to control my environment (my OCD). Survivors' Network in Brighton (http://www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk/) are going to be my first port of call because they've helped me immeasurably in the past.
I've also become aware of the danger of inflating or inventing OCDs, in compiling this hierarchy, which don't exist.
It's so exhausting living with this level of anxiety on top of trying to hold down my self-employment as a musician, and the little punishing voice (my father's) in my head saying "Your OCD / PTSD is just a symptom of life; DEAL WITH IT!" isn't helping: There are many tears that I need to shed - but when and where?