I live with a number of chronic illnesses and the worst one to deal with from my point of view has to be my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). My other illnesses follow some vestiges of logic, they are grounded in science, but OCD has no logic. I know a statement is cruel, harsh, judgemental and yet I cannot stop letting that statement intruding into my thoughts.
At my worst I cannot sleep, feel very stressed and constantly have compulsive thoughts which are judgemental and depressing. My anxiety spirals and everything feels worse days on without sleep. It’s hard to say what triggers these bouts of extreme stress. It may seem obvious that I am suffering with stress at the moment because of my recent hospital stay and the resulting stress but I didn’t feel very stressed at the time and a week later I am very symptomatic with anxiety.
Even people close to me can give little comfort at times. If someone twists their ankle you wouldn’t squeeze that ankle deliberately to illicit pain. That would be a cruel act indeed, yet to when dealing with loved ones with anxiety disorders I have witnessed and experienced deliberate exacerbation of the symptoms from a lack of understanding of the problems but also those who do understand the problems and have difficulty dealing with the issues of OCD and GAD in a close friend or relative. After being diagnosed with mental illness I found myself faced with my own prejudices and those of everyone around me. The stigma of being ill in this way is overwhelming at times. No one wants to admit to knowing someone with a mental illness. It lowers their status in society somehow to admit to knowing or being related to someone with psychiatric disease.
What makes my current anxiety worse than any other sort of anxiety I suffered when I was younger is that I feel there is no way of relieving it and escaping the compulsive thoughts but to end my life. I understand the value of life and how sacred it is and I would never think of ending my life lightly. It is a selfish act and arguably one of great cowardice, but the thought plagues me incessantly which is very unpleasant and frightening.
I am lucky I have the support of my husband who is understanding and approachable so I can tell him when I am feeling worse and getting to what the psychiatrists call crisis point. I have access to nurse practitioners and doctors who can help me and they do but I just wish I didn’t have this illogical, disabling and tormenting affliction.