OCD isn’t chronic. But mental health is, just like physical health. If you don’t take care of your physical health, it’s entirely normal to experience consequences from that. Mental health is no different.
I often get asked what supplements I took or what medications I took to recover from OCD and all of the things that went along with that. But I didn’t take any supplements or any medications. So this is how I usually answer the question:
Recovery isn’t something you do once and are finished with. Taking care of your mental health is a lifestyle, just like taking care of your physical health. To keep from sliding back into relapse, I’ve found it helpful to put distance between myself and the way things used to be cutting out the “normal” coping, checking, and controling behaviors that would lead me right back down the illness hole.
When it comes to avoiding anxiety triggers, approach them in the same way you would if you had a physical injury: understand what’s causing the pain and stop that, do specific exercises to recover from the injury, and then gradually but consistently reintroduce the trigger, learning to embrace it in a healthy way so you don’t run into the same problems again in the future.
When it comes to the question of what causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the simple answer is that the causes are complex. But what I really want to emphasize when it comes to any anxiety disorder, is that it really doesn’t matter who or what is responsible for getting you to where you are. What matters is who is going to be responsible for your recovery, and the answer to that question is always the same: YOU.
I often hear people talking about “normal” and wanting things to be the way they used to be before they got diagnosed with a mental illness. But normal and the way things used to be is what led to the way things are. Being normal is a lot like sitting in a psychologist’s waiting room–it’s something you do before you get a diagnosis. Instead of going back to “normal”, go to a completely different place, a much, much healthier place:
Doing behavioral therapies like Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are tough. And to be successful at those you need to do a lot of other tough things like eat well and exercise and communicate better. Taking care of your mental and physical health takes a lot of work and, unfortunately, there’s this very persistent myth that in order to do lots of hard work, you have to be “motivated”. But chasing motivation and waiting for …