When I am not thinking about anxiety and OCD, I am thinking about anxiety and OCD. It is annoying actually but somehow becomes an enemy, friend, and shadow all in one. It’s like the feeling when a little child plays the “stop copying me” game: that nagging thing in the back of your mind that even if you try not to pay attention to, it’s still there and you know it will respond even if you don’t want it to. It’s the hamster wheel that keeps spinning; the voice that plays in the back of your head without an off button but maybe a volume adjustment; it’s the incessant buzzing in your ear. It’s that audio storybook on low in the background when you are out with your friends or at a family function, and that nervous twitch you get when you feel out of your comfort zone and you start to look around, bite your nails, and tap your foot.
For me, anxiety pops up from a known trigger or just randomly, and in noticeable ways. As opposed to my gregarious, smily self who is the conversation starter and doesn’t mind bringing attention to myself, when I feel anxious or am bothered by OCD thoughts or am more depressed, I become quiet. I withdraw. I look around observing my surroundings in my own unique form of fidgeting. I turn inwards and just think. I try not to bring attention to myself, and sometimes I think I am sly, but ultimately the shift is enough for people to notice. People who know me well definitely notice and some I can even tell and have understand. It is difficult when people do not understand, might take it personally, or think something is wrong, but sometimes nothing is wrong and you just need to be alone. It’s all ok. Those people who truly care and bother to understand, will understand, know what to do or what not to do, and be there for you when you are better!
As much of an extrovert as I can be, I am also an introvert and that becomes even more apparent when I get trapped in the snowball effect of thought. I do believe that time, awareness, and practice of coping skills and thought diversion are ways to help one get out of these cycles, but being mindful of when the feelings surface and what you, personally, need to do is critical to mental health. For me, time alone, relaxing, watching a show, reading, writing, or walking are my go-to’s….what are your’s?