Helping Yourself To Move Forward: A Personal Account of OCD and Anxiety

“Sometimes you have to help yourself in order to move forward.”

At Creative Family Law Solutions, we often emphasise the importance of prioritising mental health, whether you’re navigating separation or simply managing daily life.

Sometimes, it’s through the experiences and stories of others that we recognise the need to take action and seek help.

With all mental health stories as important as ever, and Men’s Health Week happening this month, we are sharing a deeply personal blog post of the journey of a member of our CFLS community, who has bravely navigated their own mental health struggles step-by-step. Their name has been omitted for privacy reasons as they wish to remain anonymous.

Please note: This piece contains descriptions of mental illness and suicide. Please read with care.

Despite being naturally social and outgoing, I’ve always felt anxiety following me like a shadow.

As I grew older, it worsened to the point where intrusive thoughts became a regular fixture in my everyday life. If I were catching the train to work, I’d grip the fence, fearing I might be drawn towards the railway tracks. If I held a pair of scissors, I would become consumed with fear that I might hurt someone, despite knowing deep down that it was irrational.

At the time, these feelings were confusing and confronting, leaving me scared to confide in anyone. Eventually, I opened up to my doctor, who then referred me to a psychiatrist, initially suspecting schizophrenia.

The psychiatrist, a well-dressed and mild-mannered man with a likable quirkiness, listened carefully to my story. He then diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Receiving this diagnosis was a huge relief, as I finally had the words to describe and understand what I had been feeling my entire life.

OCD is a long-lasting disorder characterised by uncontrollable obsessions and repetitive compulsions, often causing significant distress or interfering with daily life.

Unfortunately, I experienced both obsessions and compulsions, deepening the feeling of anxiety, my constant shadow.

Talking to my friends or family about my symptoms has always been difficult. I constantly worry about being judged or feared because of my compulsions. What would they think about my constant need to wash my hands? Would they think I was weird? Would they want to spend time with me?

This struggle persisted for a decade. I didn’t work and was in and out of mental institutions. I felt sorry for myself during this time and sought solace among others navigating similar challenges. However, in my experience, these environments could sometimes be unhelpful.

Mental illness can be incredibly lonely. But with determination, grit, and a willingness to explore different options, you can learn what works for you.

After years of hard work, I was able to return to work, albeit slowly. Now, I have a job I’m proud of and a promising career ahead of me. While my OCD remains, I’ve learned strategies to manage it and recognise my support needs.

Sometimes, you have to help yourself in order to move forward. I may have a long way to go, but I will always keep trying.

Thank you for reading my story. I wish you the very best on your mental health journey.

We at Creative Family Law Solutions thank this contributor for their openness, courage, and strength.

Please note that everyone’s experience with mental health is different, and this piece reflects one individual’s perspective, not medical advice.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, know that there are professional support services available to help guide you. We’ve listed some below and encourage you to learn more about them:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Suicide Line Victoria: 1300 651 251

SANE Australia: 1800 187 263

Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78

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