This post is the start of something new that I hope to happen on my blog. Each month I want to publish at least one post about mental illness. Preferably these posts would take the form of Guest Posts. Therefore, if you have a mental illness then I invite you to get in touch with myself about Guest Posting here on ‘Under the Surface’.
I was born on Christmas Day 46 years ago.
As a child I remember counting squares on the sidewalk while walking. I counted lines and shapes in letters and words. I mostly wanted the resulting number to be even or a multiple of 5. An example of counting lines and shapes would be the letter E. There are 4 lines in the letter E. If the letter was in lower case it would be 2. Another example would be if I were to count the word PEAS. There are 10 lines and shapes. P=2, E=4, A=3, and S=1.The total would change if the word were in lower case. peas would then be p=2,e =2,a=2, s=1 totalling 7. You can see how obsessive this can be depending on the individual and how important it is to that person to have it perfect. Another form of my personal experience with OCD is with washing and cleaning. I cannot get into bed unless my feet are clean. If I use a public restroom I grab a piece of tissue with my foot and use it to turn knobs on the stall door, faucet, towel, toilet paper dispenser and door handles. I even use my foot to flush the toilet. I also carry baby wipes with me when going into a store to wipe the cart or basket handle clean. Anytime I handle cash or use the credit card pad at checkout I will not touch my face, eyes, or mouth before thoroughly washing my hands. I never eat unless I do the same as well. I’m a pretty clean person and like things done as close to perfect as possible. I used to see dust and have to get up and dust it immediately then continue to keep dusting since I had everything out and was dusting anyway. I organize Books and Movies alphabetically and the title has to be showing. My pantry is organized by types of foods and all labels have to be seen.
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it can come in many different forms. Obsessions are repetitive and overwhelming thoughts about a particular thing or group of things. Compulsions are the actions that you do in relation to these thoughts. The actions can vary. For some the actions can be washing, cleaning, checking, repeating, counting, arranging or symmetry. The actions are often done to distract the mind from the overwhelming obsessive thoughts or to relieve anxiety.
In 1991, when I was in my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Depression. However, I had been experiencing symptoms from the age of 6. My Grandfather had anxiety. My Mother had both Anxiety and Depression and was put on Valium at the age of 11. I came into the world a year after she went to the doctor who told her that, if she got pregnant, the Depression would go away and she would feel better. I went on SSDI in 2004 due to the severity of my Anxiety and Depression. I had to find a new Psychiatrist whom ended up diagnosing me with Social Anxiety, Depression and finally OCD.
My parents and siblings have always been very supportive of my illnesses. They put no pressures on me and accept me for who I am.
I have become an Advocate for Mental Health. I follow many pages about different Mental Illnesses on Facebook and offer advice and help when it’s something I have personally experienced. As well as advice and help I also offer people hope and educational information. I am active on Pinterest with a Mental Health Awareness board where I pin info graphics about any type of mental illness. I also pin positive quotes and stories from sufferers to allow others to know that they are not alone.
I’m now 46 and have been with my wife for 13 years. I’ve taken almost 20 different antidepressants over the past 25 years. I’m currently taking Lexapro as well as Valium and I am stronger than ever. With the help of medication, therapy, a supportive family and a supportive wife I have been able to control my illnesses and prevent them from controlling me. I am an Advocate for mental illness and stopping the stigma attached to it.
This post was written by Chris Trudelle and edited by Amy Walker. Chris is a 46 year old woman who suffers from OCD, depression and anxiety. As well as this she has also had to come to terms with her sexuality and is happily married. If you would like to contact Chris then please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading.