Mental Health Month and OCD

It’s been a while since I’ve written an entry but it’s because I’ve been facing my fears hardcore in a multitude of ways and it’s been a little overwhelming. It’s intense to face your fear and push through obstacles. I started to see a therapist and earlier this year she asked me how I felt about her assessment that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I told her it made sense. I started seeing her late last year because I realized I had gotten into certain unhealthy mental patterns that were getting stronger as my stress levels increased. She recognized these patterns as signs of OCD.

Photo Credit: Unique Spirit Photography

Thankfully over the past few months, she’s introduced me to various cognitive therapy techniques to help me break these mental patterns. It’s been working wonders. I’m not taking any medications to assist in this transformation (doc doesn’t find it necessary) and breaking mental patterns is a stressful endeavor. Luckily a lot of the therapy techniques she’s been working on with me are relaxation techniques as well.

It’s challenging for people with mental health issues to be open with their friends, family, and colleagues about it. Mental health is heavily stigmatized, maybe because so many people are repressing their own mental health issues and feel a need to disassociate from people who are naming and working through their shit. Who knows. Thing is it’s not easy for people working on their mental health issues to admit it to themselves either because of that same stigma. Yet self-acceptance and love are essential to recovery.

I have a mild level of OCD and I’m pretty sure it’s added to my ability to be a more highly functional human in certain areas of my life. Which is why it took me so darn long to seek help for it. I was kind of in denial about the negative impact it was having on my life, even as I was able to observe it happening.

Photo Credit: Dan Corbett

Since I’ve started using the cognitive exercises my therapist recommended I’ve noticed I’m able to focus more on the present moment and release an obsessive need to control it. It’s an ongoing process but I’m deeply grateful for her assistance and it is 100% changing my life. I cannot recommend cognitive therapy enough.

Mental health is such an important part of our lives and it frequently gets swept under a rug of shame. Lets air out our collective psyche and let the healing begin. I highly recommend following @MensHealthMag for more on the importance of men talking about mental health and their #HowIGotHelp campaign for #MentalHealthMonth.

Also, there’s a beautiful organization called Art with Impact that brings screenings of short films about mental illness to college campuses around the world that is worth keeping an eye on.

Alright, until next time. Maybe next week. We’ll see…

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