This morning the eight family members that I’m spending holiday break with went out to a nice brunch on a beautiful tropical island, and I opted to stay home. This is because I often experience nausea in the mornings, for reasons too complicated to explain in an Odyssey article, other than to say that it is due to my anxiety disorder, which namely manifests itself in the form of OCD. I’m tired of letting my anxiety disorder dictate which activities I partake in and which I stay home from. I’m tired of hearing my anxiety disorder whisper in my ear that I cannot do simple tasks such as sit through a meal, forcing myself to face fears that raise my heart rate and make my palms sweat what feels like 20 times a day. I’m tired of laying victim to the obsessive thoughts that are characteristic of OCD, and falling prey to irrational fears such as that I’ll have a continuous panic attack if I go more than 20 miles from home. I’m sick of waking up at six o’clock in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep because the fear and anxiety grips me so hard. What’s worse is that a large part of my anxiety disorder is a fear that people will judge me for my symptoms, and that it will cause me to lose friends and miss professional opportunities. I’m ready to put an end to this. I’m ready to take back my life.
I should start by saying that I don’t know if it is even possible to completely overcome my anxiety disorder. Based on what my therapists have told me, it will most likely never be possible to eradicate my disorder entirely, and therefore the goal is to manage it at a level in which I can function in daily life. I won’t know if I can completely eradicate it until I try, right?
I should also say that I have not merely sat here idly and let the disorder take over my life. I have been going to therapy on and off for six years and in that time my anxiety disorder has fluctuated greatly, at times seemingly going away for up to 6 months at a time. However, I always seem to relapse, causing me to feel as though I’m continuously managing the disorder, not beating it. As I said before, it is quite possible that managing the disorder is the best I’ll ever achieve, however I won’t know if I can truly conquer it until I try.
My symptoms worsen when there are other stressors in my life and the recent stress of finals caused a moderate relapse to occur about a month ago. As it is the time of year when people commonly reflect and form new goals for the future, I have decided to attempt to take hold of my disorder once and for all, and give it my all to fully eradicate it. Whether I will be successful in this endeavor is as much a mystery to me as it is to you but I will keep you updated through Odyssey as I embark on this journey.