This week is OCD Awareness Week!!!!!!
I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know that such a thing existed, before this year,. Before Neurotic Nelly was even thought of, I dealt with my OCD in a more silent way. I had no outlet to discuss my issues except with dwelling on them and only to friends. I had yet to discover that there were hundreds of people that were like me. I knew I wasn't the only one with OCD, but I did not know that there was such a huge amount of others. I had yet to learn all of the statistics and learn that I no longer had to suffer in silence. That I was not, in fact, as alone as I thought I was. I was, admittedly, living with my head stuck in the sand...but no more! Now I am aware! I have learned so much this year! And I want to promote OCD Awareness Week with gusto!
Here is the INTERNATIONAL OCD FOUNDATION website:
and a comic relief with excellent information on OCD website:
There are many ways to support OCD Awareness Week and there is more information on how with the International OCD Foundation website. I will not be able to twitter my picture with one of their highly creative signs as I don't have a printer currently, but next year I will be more prepared and rocking one of those signs while smiling broadly at the camera....promise.
Now onto my actual post for today.......Having mental illness is a sure way to find what is left of your soul. There are many things in life that can make you not just touch rock bottom but come crashing down onto it like falling stars tumbling to the ground. Addiction, physical diseases, and mental illness, just to name a few. Each person's rock bottom is different but they all have similar results. An overwhelming feeling of loss, loneliness, fear, disgust, deep mind numbing pain, and a feeling of being completely alone. Often times it feels like being cast down into a deep dark well that we feel we can not climb out of. A cold damp whole that reeks of damp earth and soft marsh. We scream, we cry, we try to climb out leaving only our nails breaking off and sticking in the walls. It makes sense because we need a ladder to get out and that life saving ladder is help. Simply put, we need help when we reach that kind of devastating low.
It's hard work. We are forced to admit and see things we would rather not. We have to to truly learn who we as people. We have to learn to accept our faults and understand our self loathing. We have to learn to pack that loathing away and let it go. We are forced to truly look at the ugly things we have hid from all of our lives. We are forced to see reality. We are forced to put down Alice's Wonderland potions. Years of being giant and being small have taken their toll. We have to learn what we can and can not handle. We have to learn to break down the walls we have built up over a life time, that never really served any good in our lives. We have to learn to let go of all of our false perceptions and lies we tell ourselves. We have to come into this world as a vulnerable naked new born, grasping only to the knowledge that this time we are going to do things differently. We have to admit the things we are most terrified of. We have to be completely honest and open and completely devoid of all protection. This is rock bottom after all, and there is nowhere left to fall. This is it. There is no option but to learn to thrive or die. It is so hard to do this, that many times learning to thrive feels like we are dying. It is a hard road fraught with set backs and scary twists and turns. A road that others can support but only we can actually walk. Walking this unpredictable road alone, is there anything in this world more utterly terrifying?
The things we have to give up to get better. The things we lost when we were unhealthy and damaged. It really makes no difference, we will miss them but there is something far greater we are striving to achieve. I am not going to sugar coat the path we fear to tread. It is akin to being emotionally eviscerated over and over again and dissecting the results. It is beyond painful. It is horrifying. It is exhausting and often times bitter sweet. It is lonely and dark. It is not a pleasure cruise. By this time pleasure is word we have become holey unfamiliar with. Not because we will never experience pleasure again but because we have simply lost the ability to feel anything else but torment. We can not see beyond our own suffering.
Then after what seems like an eternity the sun comes out. We start to see rays of light peeking through into our well of despair. We run to them. We soak in their warmth and drink in their scent. We start to feel for the first time. Really, truly feel...and it is beautiful. We start to feel hope for the first time, like a child who takes his first breaths. We are encouraged. We know that life will not be easy. We know that we still have issues to work on but we are prepared to fight the battles that come our way. We are reborn, strong and whole for the first time. We put down our tear streaked, battle worn armor and the weapons of destruction we used to protect our fragile egos and tattered lives. We fall to our knees. We don't need them any longer. We are strong enough without them.We start to realize our importance for the first time. Our worth, our strengths, our words that fall gently from our lips like water from a babbling brook.They become clear for the first time. We are worthy of all the good things life has to offer. We learn that we deserve happiness and we don't have to keep punishing ourselves for our imagined grievances and faults. We learn. We strive. We, dare I say it, thrive and suddenly the well that held us captive crumbles away. We are no longer trapped by our own minds..... We no longer have to walk over hot burning coals to prove our worthiness. We instead have stopped punishing ourselves and have risen from the ashes like a Phoenix. We no longer touch the ground. We are for the first time , flying.
The good thing about hitting rock bottom, maybe the only good thing, is that what comes with hitting rock bottom is rebirth if we choose it. We are reborn into something we were never before, strong, whole, and hopeful. It is quiet possibly one of the most beautiful things life can offer. A new self worth, a new confidence, and new beginning. We are more than just living...we are allowing ourselves to finally experience life. We are choosing to no longer dwell in the shadows that once held us back. We are finally learning to stop warring against ourselves and all those around us. We are finally learning the glorious feeling of silence. We are finally catching and holding onto the small slivers and glimpses of peace.
So, if you are dwelling in the shadows or crashing to your own personal rock bottom know this, there is a light at the end of this dark, dank tunnel. There is always hope and you can make it. You can feel the sun light again. You only have to choose to. You only have to get help and work harder than you have ever worked before but you can do it. You are worth it.
It is a struggle and a heartache but for many of us rock bottom isn't what strangles the life from us, it is what saves us.