Every year around this time I hear tons of people excitingly discuss their plans to bring in the new year. Some have gatherings at their homes, some go out to clubs, while some prefer to stay home and treat it as any other ordinary day.
And then there is me. As most of you already know, I have ocd. I talk about it quite a bit. Quick refresher for those of you that aren’t familiar with me: I have thoughts in my head telling me to do things over and over, because according to my ocd, if I don’t, then something bad will happen. So I end up doing things over and over until a good thought pops in my mind.
Celebrating New Years Eve has always been a little challenging for me. It’s actually my least favourite holiday.
Let Me Try To Explain Why………
Every year when tons of people are enjoying the countdown and hanging out with friends, I am stressing and worrying about what “thought” is going to be in my head at midnight. As it gets closer and closer for “that time” to arrive, I begin mentally repeating positive thoughts in my mind. I will say those positive words over and over until the clock strikes 12:00. Because right when it hits midnight, midnight making it officially the new year, I “must” be thinking of something happy and good. I “have” to have happy thoughts. If not, ocd tells me something bad will happen. So I work harder, I mentally prepare, I repeat and repeat hoping to have a happy thought at 12:00 exactly.
Sometimes I get lucky and I have that happy thought. But there are also times that I don’t. If a happy thought is not in my mind at that precise time, if I have a “bad” thought instead, then I have to mentally repeat happy thoughts until the clock changes again, hoping when it does change, a good/happy thought is in my mind or I repeat the process again, and again until my ocd says I got it right.
I know how ridiculous this sounds to those of you that don’t struggle with Ocd. Dang it even sounds ridiculous to me when I re-read what I just wrote. But, like I have said many times in previous posts, those “rituals”, those “thoughts”, are so strong, so intense, and feel so real that I seriously feel like I have to give in.
As the years passed I learned of a more simpler, easier way to bring in the new year. A way where I didn’t have to perform those tiring mental rituals. And that way is….. SLEEPING.
Yes, sleeping has been my coping magnetism for several years now. I go to bed early and sleep through midnight. On occasion, I have woken up due to people in the neighborhood celebrating, but I know to immediately say something “good” or “happy” in my mind before I open my eyes.
But even though sleeping may be the easiest way for me, it really isn’t the way to get better. Avoiding thoughts and situations is not the way to live with OCD. The proper way, in my opinion, and from my years of research, is to acknowledge the thoughts but do not give into them. I should sit with those thoughts and sit with the uncertainty.
Back when I started this blog almost a year ago, one of the most important things I really wanted to accomplish was learning how to live a more enjoyable life, which meant finding new coping skills and how to sit with the ocd thoughts without giving into them. Because the more I resist giving in to my ocd, the weaker my ocd becomes.
Tonight I am not bringing the new year in like I have many times before. Tonight as the clock strikes 12, I am not going to mentally prepare. I am not going to repeat happy thoughts over and over. Instead I am going to let what ever thought happens to be in my mind at that time, sit there. It will sit there and I will acknowledge it, and then I will continue with whatever I am doing at that time.
The more I acknowledge and let the thoughts just sit, the more I will gain control of my life. The more I resist the compulsions, the weaker ocd gets. The weaker ocd gets, the stronger I get.
Even though I still struggle hard with ocd, I have also worked hard to get better and live a happier life with ocd. I know I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. Each day I try, and most days are hard, but knowing that I have improved since last year gives me hope that I will continue to improve.
Tonight I will do what it takes to make my ocd weaker, and by doing that, I will become stronger. Stronger to lead a more enjoyable, healthy, fulfilling life.
Have a wonderful evening, and please stay safe. If you drink, please have a designated driver with you. Do not drink and drive.
Now with that being said, have a fantastically fabulous evening!
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please Reach Out, Speak Up, And Ask For Help. Nobody should go through it alone.