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How the Summer Holidays Affect My OCD

alisha

Alisha

Time off from the reality of life, be it work, school, university, is supposed to be a relaxing time to regenerate and rebuild, and I know a lot of people really enjoy and appreciate the two months off. Personally, though, I’ve always dreaded finished school on the 30th June and having an agonising two months to fill until September 1st, when normality returns. Of course, it’s been different for the past three years due to getting study leave from the start of May in preparation for GCSE’s and A-Level’s, but regardless. The summer holidays can be incredibly difficult when living with an anxiety or mental health disorder such as OCD. Although, please do keep in mind that OCD affects every single person differently, and so my experience may not be the same as another’s.

A fundamental part of the school term is routine. Waking up at a certain time, having specific meal times, and having a day planned until at least 4.30pm has always been hugely helpful for me. I appreciate that OCD can prevent some individuals from going to school, or even leaving the house, however, for me, school was such a help in getting me through. With the right accommodations in place, such as being able to leave classes or spend days in the sixth year study area rather than in classes, I was able to be somewhat functioning in school. Whilst I did not always have the five 64 minute daily lessons as timetabled, I had a time to get up at, eat breakfast, as well as take my medication before getting the bus or a lift to school. Not only did this provide somewhat of a daily “purpose” (at times being to survive double history), it also ensured I was continuously taking the right steps towards recovery. For me, this meant taking my medication at the right time consistently, and tackling exposures day-in, day-out.

Despite this, though, I’ve established my own summer routine to ensure I don’t lapse in fighting OCD. I’m typically woken by my two impatient puppies looking to go on their early morning walk, love breakfast too much to miss out, and use my bullet journal to roughly plan what I’m doing each day – some days are dedicated to Netflix watching and tea drinking, mind you!

Alongside this, summer typically means higher temperatures, (even in the U.K. this year!) which is another difficult aspect of the holidays for me. My OCD clings onto fears about people facing harm, including sunburn, be it severe or mild, making the sun incredibly challenging for me as I don’t want to go out in it in fear of getting burnt, nor do I want anyone else being out for too long in case they get sun burnt or suffer heat stroke. I know, it’s absurd – this is the U.K. we’re talking about… Often, warm days can get very stuffy which I’ve found to be a trigger for panicking in my case, because I feel like I can’t get fresh air. For some, it may be difficult to deal with the increased number of insects and bugs flying around, or potential contamination issues regarding this.

Summer is survivable, however! Thanks to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), I continuously challenge myself to face the sun without engaging in compulsions, and can now have a flexible, vague regime that allows me to spontaneously go to the shore or visit friends. I’ve been working on different projects, such as building the OCD Youth Campaign Manifesto and learning British Sign Language. These activities prevent me from being sucked into OCD’s wants and spending relentless time on compulsions that only reinforce the anxiety.

Difficult times will pass. Summer will soon be autumn again. We’ll get through this.

Take care,

Alisha

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One Response to How the Summer Holidays Affect My OCD

Avatar of glitch

Question from Subscriber.

OCD has affected many of my summers too. Though it affects me differently than yourself, in the holidays there's less to do which means I get bored, if I get bored my mind goes in zig zags and I overthink, this isn't healthy as I have intrusive thoughts I can't control. I know it isn't healthy to keep myself to myself in the holidays but I just don't like opening up to others. I also have Aspergers, so that most likely contributes to the compulsions. Though I like to think about deep concepts of the world, but as a deep thinker I'm more prone to mental health conditions such as OCD as I overthink :/ Although we're in different circumstances with our OCD if you need any support, I'll be here ;)

Posted on August 30th 2017 @ 02:10:50. [ MjA5OQ== ]

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