It feels weird to be sitting down at my laptop starting a blog post again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on JourneyEverlasting. The truth is, I’ve had the topic covered in this post lingering around in my brain for months and months now. I’ve known that it would be my next topic, and honestly, I’ve sat down and tried to start writing so many times. But I’ve put it off and procrastinated because it can be difficult for me to talk about. But it’s something that my good friend urged me to do, because it needs to be talked about more. The topic is mental health. So let’s talk about it.
If you’re close to me, you probably know this. If you’re not, you wouldn’t. Last summer I got diagnosed by my psychiatrist with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Not the kind that everyone has — you know, when people say “That’s just my OCD kicking in” — no, the real kind. The kind that requires Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication to help you try to be able to live normally. The kind that is an anxiety disorder and causes so much stress and anxiety in the brain and the body that it can be hard to get out of the car at times when alone. The kind that causes you to think such irrational thoughts over and over again that if someone else got to hop in your brain for just a short while, they’d want to get out immediately. This is my OCD. This is my mental health disorder.
Anxiety is no joke — it’s so serious in fact. But it’s also so common. That’s why those that struggle with it should not be ashamed to talk about it or admit they deal with it, but be open about it because it’s so common and needs to be talked about more. And the same goes for any mental disorder. Johns Hopkins Medicine has researched and claims that 26% of Americans ages 18+ — about 1 in 4 adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. ONE IN FOUR. That’s a fourth of the pizza (I think in food terms) — so a big chunk. If it’s so common, why is it talked about awkwardly and passively, and judged too easily? When you hear that someone is in therapy for something, why does the conversation get weird sometimes and you might not know what to say to them? You might not be aware, but there’s more people around you than you realize that are in therapy for something. And if you are struggling with an anxiety disorder or are actually seeking mental health treatment, you are not alone.
God created the human brain. He created it so complex and so detailed that it’s hard to understand what exactly goes on in there. That’s why when it comes to my OCD, I don’t even try to explain it to most people. Because I can’t. All I know is that it’s hard, and I need help. But since God created the brain, He knows each and every one of our brains inside and out. He understands what’s going on, so I don’t have to. That’s why I’m learning to not be ashamed of what I deal with it, and I’m learning to talk openly about it. Hence why I’m being vulnerable with this post. Because God created the brain, He’s in control, and what I struggle with is real. Just as it is with millions across the world. So if you’re reading this and you struggle with anxiety – Generalized Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Panic Disorder, etc., or anything under the mental health umbrella, once again, you are not alone. Talk to somebody about it. Talk to somebody who already struggles with it. Ask questions. Research. Talk to your doctor about it. Pray about it. Do something! The best decision I made was going straight to a doctor who would know exactly what I was dealing with. He told me, educated me, recommended treatment, and he helped.
You are not alone. Here’s the healthy cycle I’ve learned when it comes to mental health and something you may be struggling with:
[ Face it. Accept it. Seek help. Talk about it. Use it to encourage someone else. ]
I’m hoping someone reading this post will be encouraged and will do something about what they are struggling with. Most people don’t know and would never know I am diagnosed OCD. Yet here I am sharing about it, and more people need to do the same. It needs to be talked about more! It’s so common and it’s prevalent. It needs to be more normalized in my opinion, not viewed as shameful or helpless. I am extending the invitation to talk to me if you have questions, or just simply need to talk about it. I also encourage you to pray about it and talk to God. Because He knows you — He knows your brain and He knows your struggles. Psalm 139 says:
Lord, you have examined me
and know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know my thoughts before I think them.
You know where I go and where I lie down.
You know everything I do.
Lord, even before I say a word,
you already know it.
You are all around me—in front and in back—
and have put your hand on me.
Your knowledge is amazing to me;
it is more than I can understand.
He knows our thoughts before we think them. He knows how our brains work. Seek Him and He’ll direct you. You are not alone.