I’ve always struggled with Stress.

I have always struggled with some sort of chronic stress. I was always unable to manage it especially when I was younger. I was always on the go. I was always trying to make my dad proud of me. I got good grades, made honors, and overall a “good kid”.

On to of that, I was always teased and bullied. I never really had many friends. When I came home from school I watch anime and did my homework or played video games. However, deep in my mind I would always think of what would happen if I wasn’t around. Suicidal thoughts would cross my mind but were never severe.

As I got older, Anxiety was more present. It wasn’t just being anti-social it shy. The thing about anxiety disorder that deep down you know it’s quite dumb. you know that things are not a big deal and should took right off of you but that when anxiety actually kicks in. That small things becomes the biggest thing and it keeps growing in your mind, flooding your nerves, and trying to escape from underneath your skin. I hate every minute of it and no one recognizes it or even have the patience to try. Most will just slap an ordinary label and it makes things a lot worse.

As I got to my 20’s and more on my own the anxiety makes me overthink everything. At times it makes me think people in my life will leave. I tend to feel abandoned and worthless. The depression aspect will kick in after that. People with anxiety experience it differently. I experience different from others.

I have actually several different anxiety disorders. General anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent worry about everything. I really do worry about almost every little thing. At my worst, I am in tears. I am restless at night with muscle tension and easily fatigued. This happens even when I’m going about my day. My brain will feel like a tornado of thoughts swirling around causing destruction.

Now, my social anxiety disorder is another story. Instead of panic attacks I get the feeling of knots in my stomach. I am actually petrified of a whole bunch of people at once. Though I am also an introvert, it is more than that and more than just being shy. I can still work but there is nervousness inside me everyday.

Lastly, OCD is one of the most complex anxiety disorders that most really understand. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined by the relationship between between obsessions and compulsions. This is where my suicidal thoughts happen. No, I do not want to die nor do I want to act on them. However, it causes some of my anxiety and serious overthinking as to why I exist.

From the outside looking in, I’m overreacting. From the inside looking out, there is a constant battle. How anxiety affect people is as unique as a fingerprint.

I’m not OCD, I have OCD – There’s a difference.

As someone with OCD, I am always questioning the things I say or do. I guess you can say I want to be flexible. I want that but then my social anxiety kicks in and I hold back or feel embarrassed if I will say something wrong.

When others use the term “OCD” to bring attention to their particulars I try not to correct them because not too many understand what OCD is or what it is not. The struggle overall is the stigma of mental illness. Part of that struggle to de-stigmatizing mental illness is to not using “shorthand” for universal behaviors.

When someone gets down on themselves for not “doing something right” even if you do numerous things right we are requiring the impossible standard of perfection. That is not related to OCD. However, I do have an issue with perfectionism myself far beyond the practice of it that everyone does but that is another topic. It affects every single aspect of every single second of our life’s even when it’s invisible.

Me not getting certain things done regardless of how badly I want to do it is more of a compulsion not a preference. I’ve done so much research on the human brain and behaviors especially the last few years was me being obsessive not particular. Studying and researching other topics like astrology, anthropology, and reaching thing that possibly will bother me later if I didn’t find out the answer is a obsessive-compulsion for the impossible.

I have OCD. I still don’t know how long I’ve had it. There have been intrusive thoughts and obsessive-compulsive actions. It’s an invisible illness. Use your words wisely.

Limitations

I have been sort-of a work-a-holic most of my existence. Even when I had things to do or certain things going on or even when I just was not 100%, I kept on going as nothing was wrong.

I was either stubborn or in denial that I needed to rest or even set limitations for myself. I have always thought: “you get sick and you get better. It’s as simple as that”. That is really not the case especially when I got older.

When I was officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression, things fell into place as to why fatigue would happen so often or as to why I would experience muscle pain for days as of my muscles were in the contraction phase of a workout and never relax. I am learning to live with it but never gotten used to it or even being confined to the bed for most of the day.

Lately, I have limit the activities I do in one day so it does not cause pain flare ups.Not by much, but so I do not feel fatigued as much. For example, if I have an anime convention or just going for an outing, I do what I can the day before to make sure I am resting. I cannot always pull this off because I work 40 hours a week. As John Lennon famously said, “life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”. Pretty much, days will get away from me. The hard part is really my overthinking and my serious perfectionism. Pacing myself works only half the time. The one thing I had to learn is to not side with those who are against me. The comments telling me “you’re to young to be in pain” or “I’m tired too” or “you shouldn’t be depressed” reflect why there is so much stigma and ignorance about mental illness and chronic illness. I have to trust my own judgement.