OCD and Skin: The Mental Disruption

What is OCD?

Many people are aware of the mental health condition of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) a disorder that occurs when a person gets stuck in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. These obsessions are usually unwanted thoughts that bring upon distressed feelings.

OCD and the Skin

Now normally we associate OCD with someone obsessively washing their hands, opening doors, and checking if things like the stove have been shut off. But when it comes to OCD it doesn’t just end there. When you have OCD the compulsive thoughts can be about anything including the skin.

Skin Disorders

After research and my own experience obsession over the skin has been referred to as Acne Dsymporhia and in even more extreme cases is called Dermatillomania. This disorder involves extreme skin picking that results in lesions. I myself never experienced this but did experience Acne Dysmorphia, where my thoughts were centered on my skin and worrying about it where it caused me emotional distress. It caused me to not want to go out and not want to look in the mirror but at the same time obsess in the mirror. Obsessively checking my skin and feeling if I had any blemishes or bumps.

Treatment

Living with OCD can be quite exhausting and make it a struggle in terms of focusing and concentration, but is possible to overcome. There is medication for OCD which can be the same treatment used to treat anxiety. Some have found success with medication, but for some and from my experience it was not the answer.

It actually gave me more anxiety, made me feel numb at times, tired, and heightened suicidal thoughts. But this was my experience and everyone is affected differently. Counselling, exercise, meditation, keeping busy, and using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) are effective tools to use to treat both anxiety and OCD as both maintain a relationship. My skin obsession was caused by stress and anxiety and a mindset that was hard to get out of. It took me about 8 months to overcome. Self-compassion, and realizing my blessings and being grateful were huge ways to look at things in a different perspective. It was my obsession that was making my skin worse and acne, hives and bumps were taking over my life. I was missing out on life.

Some other tips to help stop OCD behaviours are to stop seeking reassurance, to not let thoughts maintain a power over you, and to accept your unwanted thoughts and then try to move onto something else. When you come to realize that maybe that thought is inaccurate then you won’t react to it as much. Not reacting with fear and panic to thoughts is very important. Thoughts we have are just thoughts and not always accurate or reality. Our minds can play tricks on us into believing things that are in fact not true. Something I learned from Youtube videos by OCD recovery coach Ali Greymond. Her videos were very informative and helpful. She also struggled with OCD and continues to provide support online as well as with books.

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13 Reasons Why: The Hard Truth

13 Reasons Why has become a trending and popular show on Netflix. Unraveling the heartache and pain of what it is like to be mistreated. How bullying and torment can drive people to a point of hopelessness.

Mental health continues to be a huge issue in the world as it affects many teens and young adults. It has become so huge that celebrity and singer Selena Gomez decided to co-produce a Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why. The show is about a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and before she does she decides to record 13 tapes pertaining to the 13 reasons why she chose to end her life. Many people are probably unaware that Selena Gomez suffered from depression, so by being the executive producer of this series she obviously wanted to spread awareness about the issue as it was something that was close to her heart.

The Truth

For those who haven’t seen it or are thinking about seeing it, it is not an easy show to watch, as the content is also not an easy subject. It’s a thriller, it’s tear jerking, suspenseful, graphic, and of course it’s depressing. I’m sure many people who have been scrolling through Netflix and came across this show probably didn’t watch it, because of the content. That is completely understandable, some people can’t handle this type of criteria. Even I had second doubts as I thought it might corrupt my mind or affect me in a bad way. But it didn’t. Of course it was hard to watch, but I am a big supporter of everything and anything to do with mental health so I understand that the show is trying to promote awareness not only about suicide, but in how you should treat people.

It is reality. I think at the end of it all it is how you handle it. I think people should watch it. Many people go through bullying, so in today’s world you need to have a backbone to survive. You can’t hide from your problems and you can’t hide from things that are happening in this world. The show gives a clear scenario and shows the aftermath of decisions we make and how they will follow you. It’s not all negative, as the show showcased that resources of help were available, just that they were not used. Also, the show can be insightful showing others that if they are going through a rough time but not as bad as the one Hannah faced, then they should be grateful and realize that suicide isn’t the answer. Lastly, the show can be a marker of what not to do, kind of like reverse psychology.

Of course for anyone who is struggling with suicide, bullying, sexual assaults etc. it might be best to think twice before watching the show. I only say this as it can be triggering. The tub scene where Hannah kills herself is very graphic and hard to watch. If someone is going through one of the matters mentioned above, watching it might set them off in a negative way. Obviously that is not the intention of the show, as it is meant to stay true to the real life complications of suicide, but it is advised as a warning to be wary of the subject matter. And the message obviously isn’t to commit suicide.

Bullying is another major issue in the show and in today’s world should not be overlooked or ignored. Driving someone to the point of suicide is horrible and that’s what the message of the show is. How hard high school can be for some people. High school can be hard enough as it is, so why make it any harder for someone? Although the show is fictional, it is non-fictional in the sense that it is based on true life events that occur. So the next time you think it is okay to call someone a slut and that it won’t affect them, think again.

Don’t Suffer In Silence

Another prevailing notion and huge message in this film is that you shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth. A major issue with mental health or with bullying is that people have trouble talking about it, and choose to remain in silence. Hannah Baker at many times in the show decides to withhold information. She doesn’t tell her parents that she is being bullied at school. She doesn’t tell Mr. Porter that she was raped by Bryce, when he confronts her about it. She doesn’t tell anybody that her friend Jessica was raped. She doesn’t call 911 or tell anybody that the stop sign was was run over. In my opinion, if Hannah didn’t choose to keep quiet about all of these things, it possibly would of avoided her decision to end her life. She chose not to seek help when she needed it the most. It could of helped her and prevented a lot of mayhem. Hannah inevitably had her reasons for ending her life, but maybe if she would of reached out, then maybe she would of had better reason to live.

It wasn’t that Hannah grew up in a bad home, but her parents were obviously struggling to make ends meet and that did affect her in some shape or form. Also, that her parents had no idea what she was going through. She never expressed grief, sadness, or anger around her parents. It obviously wasn’t the best decision for Hannah to leave out the details of her school life, but maybe she didn’t tell them, because she knew they had their own problems going on.

Suicide Isn’t Selfish

How many times have you heard the phrase “suicide is selfish.” It’s selfish, because you’re not thinking of the people you are leaving behind. How your emotionally killing your family and the ones that cared about you. Ultimately, although this is true, and looking from Hannah’s perspective as well, she wasn’t focusing on that. Many people believe they are doing their loved ones a favour. I believe that Hannah felt that she was a burden to her parents. Although she didn’t tell her parents of everything that was going on, maybe she felt if she did that it would of drove them to heartache. So she felt she was better off disappearing. According to Thought Catalog, “It’s time we stop calling a mental disconnect a personality flaw. Being selfish, in our society, is generally seen as a bad thing. So when you call suicide selfish, you’re calling it a bad thing. And it is, but not for the reasons you are implying.” Suicide without question is horrible, emotional, and dreadful. But “someone who ends their life is going through a mental struggle we should feel blessed and lucky to not understand.”

Disestablishing The Negativity Towards Anti-Depressants

antidepressantsWhen it comes to treating mental health issues such as anxiety there are many alternatives and things you can turn to. Of course, different things work for different people such as counseling, exercising (yoga), music, etc. But of course sometimes depending on how bad your anxiety is, you feel like you’re losing control and that you may need to turn to medication. I was at this point, but I was very hesitant, because of all the information I was reading online. Anti-depressants are a controversial topic to say the least. By many and by the media they are portrayed as negative.

Negative Myths About Anti-Depressants

Medications are dangerous, not good for you, addictive, that they will change your personality or prevent you from feeling “normal” and that they will have horrible side effects. Well let me tell you these are all myths. I was really worried about the side effects and I can honestly say that I barely had any. Dry mouth, changes in weight, nausea, having the shakes etc., all of these were inexistent.

The Truth About Anti-Depressants

When you’re depressed it feels like an evil force is being brought upon you and you feel like you will never get better. Hope becomes paralyzing. At my worst, I felt like my serotonin levels were so low. How am I ever going to think positive again?

This is why medication can be such an essential piece of the puzzle for some people. Taking antidepressants isn’t like taking a happy pill. This is also another myth. It is not a cure, but it helps you get through the days. For me, they definitely helped with sleep. I couldn’t go another day without not sleeping or barely sleeping. It will definitely help with your mood and with such things like chest pains and panic attacks.

Unfortunately, your troubles still exist. You don’t just all of a sudden wake up feeling better. You still have to work on your self-talk, rewiring your thoughts and your stance on life. Medication helps takes the edge off, so that it is viable to examine other resources of healing.