Today we’re really lucky to share this excellent guest post from Lotus, who volunteered through one of our Instagram stories. She discusses OCD and much more, and talks about what it took to feel much better. Now here’s Lotus…
Hello! My name is Lotus and I have OCD (contamination) and am living in recovery from Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Both disorders stem from emetophobia (the fear of vomiting) and I've dealt with mental illness for the majority of my life.
My behaviors included handwashing, cleaning, restricting food intake to prevent feeling full, taking toxic doses of immune supplements and anti-nausea medications, isolating myself from enjoyable activities, avoidance of "dirty" items/areas, and many more. After years of talk therapy, misdiagnoses, and living in denial and dishonesty, I knew something had to change.
I’m a BFA Musical Theatre major at a large university in the US. During my second year in the program I stood in rehearsals for our upcoming show. I was being given lines and stage directions I couldn't retain. I was fatigued, severely underweight, depressed, and constantly succumbing to the pull of compulsions and tempting urges. I decided that once the disorder started intensely affecting areas of my life I had goals and dreams around, that was the red line.
My decision to admit myself into treatment couldn't have been more voluntary. Over the course of seven months, I went through inpatient, residential, PHP, and IOP at an eating disorder treatment center and an OCD/anxiety center. While both centers were far from home, I met some of the most impactful therapists, dietitians, psychiatrists, and friends.
I found my values through ACT and my strength from ERP therapy. I find it funny how the hardest, most painful times in our lives can wind up being the most valuable. For me, that was my time in treatment. Putting in the hard work in order to feel like myself again was infinitely worth it.
I still see an outpatient team to help keep me accountable, and I’m enjoying getting adjusted to #posttreatment life. There will always be hurdles to jump through, and sometimes I get stuck because OCD is a chronic condition. I don't let OCD keep me from challenging myself everyday. Through acceptance and self-compassion I know that I'm strong enough to live my life authentically. You can too! Do something that scares you...it may not be as scary as you think.