Friday, 21 February 2014

On compulsion

There is a huge amount of misunderstanding surrounding many parts of mental illness. One in particular that's been standing out to me recently is compulsion. I mean the word is pretty self explanatory but I'll give you a dictionary explanation "An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation".

What many people are not aware of is that it is often an oppressive thought, one which forces itself into your head without asking permission first. It is not rational and pointing this out is never helpful. But please also do not make us feel ashamed for some of the things we feel we MUST do. Try to listen & understand us, don't make us feel worse for things that already do not make us feel good about ourselves. 

Here are some things that have helped me through in the past. I am by no means a trained mental health professional these are just personal things I have figured out. These have helped me through not only compulsion but also low cycles.

For anyone who is near me at the time, please ask permission before you physically attempt to comfort me.

Have a bath with something in it that smells nice. Bubbles are great too. Pampering yourself in any way you tend to enjoy can help too. If you are with someone you feel safe with ask them if they will give you a foot rub or a massage. 

Attempt to distract yourself. Try to do something easy that you enjoy. Play a video game, read a book, watch a TV show you love, cook yourself something nice & simple (if you can). Tidy your room and do a clear out (again only if you can). Listen to music & pretend you're the one on the stage screaming your heart out. Screaming into a pillow can also be helpful.

Take a walk. This I find better if someone is with me as being outside can sometimes be a bit too much.

Don't do too much, cancel plans you can't manage. People will understand, if they don't well then they're the shitty ones, not you. (This one is much harder to do as inevitable practising what you preach can be very difficult)

Alternatively see people you know you feel safe with. Ask if they can come to your house & bring with them something they know you love (a film, food stuff, nice drink etc.). Or go to a place you're 100% sure you will feel safe. Of course public transport can be too difficult so keep that in mind if you are low on spoons. 

Call a friend you feel safe with or text if speaking to someone is too much.

Most importantly however, it's ok to fail. I inevitably feel full of shame and angry at myself for not being able to do what I want to do or giving into compulsions. Of course I'm saying this as someone who's never been able to accomplish not beating myself up about it. However I at least want you all to know that I am someone who will never judge you. 

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