My name is Nicolina and I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety. I’m in the postpartum phase, so it’s also being considered as postpartum anxiety, I guess. This is a new diagnosis for me, and I find myself struggling to cope with this. So, I decided to create a blog/vlog as an outlet and put it out there for anyone else who may be going through the same thing. Though as I write this, I am not entirely sure about it. I mean, do I really want to do this? Put it all out there – for everyone to see? To know? Am I ready for this? But, would I ever be ready? I don’t know. So, here goes nothing.
I suppose I have a mental illness. I am really struggling to come to terms with this. This OCD shit. To be completely honest, I was genuinely shocked with this diagnosis from the psychiatrist. I was fully expecting the anxiety part (as I have been feeling very anxious and having anxiety attacks since I hit my third trimester), but the OCD was kind of like being punched in the stomach. Here’s what happened…
A very pregnant me noticed I had become anxious about many many maaaannny things. Mainly medical things. I was terrified I had everything and would die. I was terrified my son would die in some awful way. I was convinced I’d lose the baby growing inside me. The anxiety grew and grew and I was constantly reading about all kinds of diseases and the like. Every pain, every throb, every headache, every weird thing I felt was happening in my body, I was on the internet for hours trying to find what I horrible thing I was convinced was there. Enter the postpartum phase and I had completely gone over the edge. I was having panic attacks left, right and centre. I couldn’t be alone. Every night my husband had to convince me that I was not dying of whatever that day’s worry was. My doctor sent me off to see a psychiatrist after talking with me about postpartum anxiety.
So, there I was in the psychiatrist’s office filling out questionnaires and surveys and talking my heart out about what has been going on. Expecting purely an anxiety diagnosis (but ever terrified it’d be something worse like psychosis, schizophrenia and on it goes), that I hadn’t even noticed he had diagnosed me with OCD until he handed me a script for a medication and I asked what it was supposed to help with. Here’s how it went down.
*Dr. hands me a script*
Me being worried about side effects and interactions I had asked what this medicine will help with and what I need to watch out for.
Me:Will this help my anxiety? What should I watch for?
Him: In a way. But this here is for the obsessions and behaviours with them.
Him: Yes, for your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Me: What? I OCD? I thought I had anxiety?
Him: Yes, but I believe it is the OCD making the anxiety worse.
Me: How? I don’t understand? I don’t have OCD…
But I do. I really do. And OCD wasn’t at all what I thought it was. I’m not someone with a mental illness. But, here I am. Riddled with OCD without knowing it, and filled with anxiety and panic. Throw a hyper toddler and new baby in the mix with some sleep deprivation and postpartum & I’ve got me one interesting cocktail. But that’s a story for another post.
Now, I feel my journey is to understand this OCD. What is it? How do I live with it? Can it be fixed? Am I just a “mental health patient”? How do I get past this social stigma against mental illness? Believe you me, I have a thousand more questions that follow. And while I have much more to say, I will sign off for now. And I invite anyone willing to go on this journey with me, to please do so. Whether you are dealing with your own mental illness and need a friend, can offer advice, or if you simply want to learn more. Come along. I have a feeling this is going to be a long ride.