I realize that it has been such a long time since I posted; I tend to get discouraged and start thinking that there’s no point in keeping a blog if I’m writing a book at the same time. However, in reality, I think sharing my blog on Facebook is a push in the right direction for my story to become noticed so that it can help someone else struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression, or all of those at one time like I’ve dealt with.
The topic I want to write about today is asking the question: “Why do I care so much about what people think of me? Why, even though I live to please God, does it matter so much to me what anyone and everyone thinks of me? It’s so hard to shake this feeling no matter how hard I try to shake it.
Earlier in my blog I shared with you all my OCD’s main premise: intrusive, scary thoughts. As much as those thoughts STILL terrify me on a daily basis, they’re not the only symptom of OCD that I suffer with.
I have constant, obsessive anxiety about what people think about me, whether I know the person personally or accidentally cut them off in traffic. Sometimes I do make mistakes as I’m driving, and I then obsess about someone taking down my license plate number and calling the police, when in reality I know that’s unlikely. I also become scared that someone overheard me in a conversation and is going to tell someone else what I said, therefore the “grapevine” is a disturbing concept for me that I feel is real but it’s not as prevalent as I obsess over it to be. . In cases of people I know and love personally, I obsess nonstop about what they are thinking about me or not thinking about me, knowing I can’t control what anyone thinks of me. When I obsess like this, it drives me to despair to where I end up slyly seeking reassurance from them, whether that means texting them about something that has nothing to do with our conversation that day just to see what their attitude about me is like, or if that means asking them up-front, “Are you okay? Are you mad at me?” This always ends up driving the person crazy and makes me worry more that I drove them crazy.
I have a special friend who taught me that I don’t have to confess every little “mistake” to people. I’ve struggled with compulsive confessing and it’s not in the least bit fun or ideal. It’s quite the fight and quite the struggle, to the point where I feel physical pain from worrying so much.
I love writing about my OCD because I want people to understand how close people get to giving up and giving in to self-harm, whether that self-harm is physical or emotional. I do think there is such thing as “emotional self-harm”. In other words, those of us who have a mental illness beat ourselves up over things that don’t matter as much as we think they do. I want people to understand that there is a stigma associated with mental illness, and that stigma drives people to ignore mental health because it’s not a physical illness, branding us “crazy”, even though there ARE chemical imbalances in our brains that cause this “Stinkin’ Thinkin”.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, please do not think that you are by ANY means alone. It comforts me to talk to other people that have anxiety and depression because my personal experience with OCD and depression has led to me not thinking of anyone else but myself, and selfishness (to the extent that mine is) is toxic. I forget about everyone else and even think “I have ultimate OCD, and no one else has it as bad as I do.” WRONG. I praise God that He has revealed to me that I need to reach out more to the people around me instead of reaching in to myself. Philippians 2:3 is a very strong word for those of us who struggle with selfishness. It says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” As hard as this is for me, I’m slowly becoming less self-sufficient and more focused on the cross of Jesus Christ and the life He has given me to reach other people.
I pray that you all take something from this and know that I am working more and more to reach out to others with anxiety. We are not alone. Praise God for that!
Love to all,