Andrew

Brannigan_APositiveFromANegative_Andrew

Andrew
Northern Ontario
OCD, Depression, Anxiety

 


 

My name is Andrew.
I deal with O.C.D., anxiety, and depression.

I started noticing it mostly when I was in Grade Eight, around there. I went to a psychologist for about a year, once every two weeks, and we went through behavioural therapy. I also take Prozac and there’s lots of breathing exercises, which I do when I start to feel anxious.

If I was talking to somebody I could never keep eye contact. Never ever keep eye contact. I look off into the distance and I’d line up two points of something, like let’s say the corner of a table and the corner of the T.V. And then I have to move my head and cross those two points. And so line the two points up and then I’d look from another angle and then I’d line the two points and then look back and line the two points up in my vision and I do that with literally everything and I don’t know why I would do it but I just have to do it over and over and over again. I’d be moving my head all over the place when I was talking to people and I couldn’t have normal conversations with people because I’d be doing that thing where I’d line up two points in the distance. Now being on the medication, I can talk to people, look them in the eye and it also helps me just be myself. All Prozac is, is it stabilizes your serotonin levels, I think. So, it’s not making me somebody who up I’m not, it’s just regulating my serotonin levels and making me be able to be myself.

When I was a lot younger, maybe about ten or even when I was like six or seven, I went through phases where I couldn’t eat. Just something my mind was telling me I couldn’t eat because I was going to choke on food. So I’d starve myself because I wouldn’t be able to eat because I’d try to eat and then I’d wouldn’t to be able to swallow because I’d think I was going to choke on it. And then throughout hockey, I’d always get nervous when I was younger, maybe eleven or twelve, I’d get sick before hockey games because I’d be nervous. I thought I had stomach problems. So I got tested for stomach problems and all that. They all came back, and I was perfectly fine.

Then once I started skate boarding in Grade Eight, my life turned around. My social life got better, I wasn’t having as bad anxiety, my obsessiveness all turned towards skate boarding. I was able to think clearly and have fun and do whatever. But then slowly after about two or three years of skateboarding, around Grade Ten, my obsessive thoughts started coming back and the same thing where I would be nervous and would get sick would come back. I wouldn’t be able to go to school anymore so I had to come up with something new. What helped me there was, and I got very depressed during that time period and I couldn’t leave my bed and then I started flying model airplanes or building model airplanes which was a hobby I had when I was a lot younger then I picked it up again. Then all my interest went to that and that kept my mind busy. I was able to live more my normal life. And then around the same time I started taking my medication, talking to my psychologist and everything turned around from there. I also started getting into fishing around the same time and that, fishing, and then took over.

Then the summer before first year university came around, I decided to quit the meds because I was going out and partying a lot. I wanted to be able to drink more without worrying about mixing it with my medication. So I quit the medication and then within the month of quitting the medication, all my obsessive thoughts came back. My anxiety came back. I couldn’t, wasn’t able to, do anything. Throughout the first three/four months of university, it was a struggle every day. I didn’t want to leave my bed or do anything. I still skateboarded occasionally but I just wasn’t all there. Then I started the meds again halfway through my first year of university and within about a month, or month and a half, everything turned around. My social life got better; I was hanging with people more and feeling better. I’ve been on the meds ever since then and still seeing my psychologist occasionally, two or three times a year, just to check up. And things have been going amazing ever since.

My object is my skateboard because my skateboard has had the biggest influence on my life. That’s where all of my, most of my, friends have came from is from skateboarding and all my life, like my friends I’ve known since before high school, are from skateboarding. And even though I don’t do it much anymore, it brings back so many memories and stuff. Starting to skateboard was the first point where I noticed all my rituals, O.C.D. Rituals, were still there but my anxiety and my depression got better because I was able to enjoy life so much more when I started skateboarding, just when I started before high school. And then after that, there are the model airplanes, which I’ve been in and out of. But then fishing has now taken over and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three/ four years. So I make fishing lures and all that. My fly tying desk, where I make flies or fishing lures or whatever you want to call them, that’s my safe space because it’s something that I’m passionate about, fly fishing. I cannot actually be fishing and I can still have something to do with it and enjoy it. While you’re making a fishing lure, you’re thinking about where you’re going to use it, when you’re going to use it. You’re thinking about how to make it properly and you can zone everything else out and just focus on what you’re doing. And it helps keep the bad thoughts, or anxious thoughts, away.

Mikayla

Brannigan_APositiveFromANegative_Mikayla

Mikayla
British Columbia
Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, Anxiety

 


 

My name is Mikayla.
I deal with O.C.D., B.P.D., which is Borderline Personality Disorder, and occasionally bouts of social anxiety.

I’ve been dealing with it for about eight years. I think what brought on my mental health problems would probably be genetic and environmental.

I guess in terms of coping strategies, I would use stuff like anything from that I’d learned in terms of mindfulness, pleasure activities like drawing, but also bigger things like exercise and eating properly. And building those goals like going to work more and just taking it one step at a time. A lot of it is just focusing on yourself, focusing on how to get through the situations. I take the skills that I have been taught and I work it into my life. And with that it’s like when you kind of get little snippets throughout your days or months or weeks or years, you bring that, those little ideas in, and you just work with them. It’s a work in progress. I mean there’s no magical wand that is just going to cure you.

B.P.D. is a personality disorder so a lot of it is action based. So it’s a very, very, self-destructive illness. It’s very personal; it’s very all about you kind of thing. It’s the way you act out, the way you think and it’s personal with everything. Everyone’s different, but my own experience with B.P.D. is that I have challenges with self-harm and that was my biggest addiction. It’s masking your emotions or it’s a release. I mean it can be. I use to do it anywhere, any reason from being bored, to being angry, to being sad, or even happy. And sometimes I did it to feel emotion and sometimes I did it to suppress emotion. Sometimes I just did it because I was punishing myself for punishing someone else and I took it out of my body and then sometimes it was just plainly the release.

The thing with B.P.D is it is a very dramatic illness, and I mean there definitely were a lot of traumatic events based on the drama that went on in my environment. A lot of it I’ve learned, you know, that I have hurt people with my illness but it’s learning that it is not me that hurt them, but it is my illness that hurt them. It’s coming to that understanding that you know you’re not doing it to hurt people, it’s your illness, it’s inside you and sometimes it controls your brain, it controls your operating system. I give a big shout out to my family because I know they went through a lot and it made us stronger, it did, and it gave us a lot of really good moments too. And you know, it goes with any family who has a child who is very sick.

If we band together and we help each other, we’re going to spread that knowledge of what helps each other and what works and what doesn’t work and how we can fight back to get us, to get our voice heard. You know, you’re all worth it. We’re all worth it. We’re all pieces of a puzzle that connect the world.

I believe I can live positively. As much as it’s a negative atmosphere, it’s definitely is, I wouldn’t have had so many awesome attributes about myself. Some days I’m like I wish I never had to go through what I went through; I wish I’m not going through what I’m going through now. But when I am in a positive frame of mind, I wouldn’t take back those years. I wouldn’t change them because it’s taught me so much and it’s given me so much insight and so much wisdom and so much empathy and it’s really just kind of brought me to where I’m supposed to be in life and what I’m supposed to do. It showed me the path of what I’m supposed to do in life. I mean it can be a real pain, a pain in the bum, but it’s really, there are moments where, I mean even laughter even just having a bout of laughter and you cherish it so much more than most people. You don’t take things for granted. You don’t take those happy moments for granted. And so yeah I think I can live positively. You know maybe not all the time, as this is a lifelong process. But if I live in the moment and if I live through the skills and helping myself then yeah there are going to be a lot more moments that are really worth living for.