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Overcoming Anxiety & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The healing process is such an interesting topic to explore. Every story is unique but often the same as well. We’re all working towards something in regards to a better future and improved health, among other things. It isn’t an easy journey to navigate nor is it ever one that seems particularly black and white. In this series, we will hear from different individuals within the mental health community about their healing process, how it began, what the journey has been like and where they are today.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Ashley Goulart. I am 33 years old and i am a reiki practitioner. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety & OCD in 2008. In the last 6 years, i have overcome my anxiety as well as my OCD and rarely have episodes of anxiousness and ocd.

When did your healing journey begin and what lead you to take the route that you did?
My healing journey began when i was 25 years old (2011). I was living in a toxic home environment and i was on Prozac. I did some sessions of therapy but couldn’t continue due to the cost per session. I had stumbled upon the teachings of Bob Proctor and the book the secret and started diving deeper into self-help and self-love work. I decided that after 2 years of being on Prozac that i wanted to start reducing my dosage of Prozac and stop talking it all together. I engaged in self-help seminars, webinars, podcasts and read a lot. I wanted to learn to control my thoughts and really take charge of my life and mental well being.

What were some of the highs and lows you have encountered along the way?
The road to recovery took about three years. I knew i wanted to stop my OCD habit of washing my hand and i wanted to control the anxiousness i felt around certain trigger words (any talk of life-threatening or terminal illness diseases sent me into immediate distress). Learning to control my compulsive behaviors was by far the most difficult thing i have ever done. Learning that it was okay to go into public places and touch and sit in spaces were safe and normal and i didn’t need to continuously sanitize and wash my hands. I lost a lot of friendships and relationships when i battled my mental health because of my behavior became irrational, irritable, overly sensitive and i became angry very quickly. I lashed out at a lot of people and said a lot of hurtful things that i didn’t mean because i wanted everyone to feel on some sort of level what it was that i was going through and feeling. These were the lowest points of my recovery. The highest points were gaining my life back. Going out in public and engaging in trips, and activities and regaining friendships and relationships that i thought were ruined and gone. Learning to control my impulses and thoughts and start talking to myself more positively and gently really helped me tremendously and i am thankful that i came across the self-help and new world philosophy. It truly changed my life.

What has the process been like with trying to figure out what works best for you?
The process was hard. I felt okay about therapy but i truly had an overwhelming feeling that my healing journey would be more than this. I started eating healthy and i started exercising regularly. At this point, i was no longer on medication and i had stopped therapy because of costs. I found that This practice really helped my mind stay focus on a goal that wasn’t centered around my diagnoses and it made me feel ”normal.” i started sleeping better and it really helped me tremendously and it made me a lot more motivated to continue my journey. I moved out of my toxic home and really started flourishing in my new space. I began writing positive affirmations on sticky notes and i posted them in all the spaces in my home that i spent the most amount of time. Whenever i had impulses or anxious thoughts there was a positive affirmation to meet me and i read them out loud continuously until the symptoms reduced and i felt okay about returning to the activity i was doing in my home. I had cut any food or drinks that really increased symptoms of anxiety and OCD. I journaled my feelings and started to figure out where my fears stemmed from. I was able to see how i hurt others around me and i wanted to take accountability for my actions and slowly one by one contacted people i hurt and apologized to them for my words and my actions. I read a lot of books ”the power of now” Eckhart Tolle, ”The Alchemist”- Paulo Coelho, & ”The Secret” -Rhonda Byrne just to name a few really helped me. I also signed up for different seminars and really surrounded myself with people who had gone through a mental health struggle. This process really helped me cope and overcome my struggle.

What is one thing you didn’t expect to learn from this journey?
In the beginning, you don’t believe you are strong. I honestly felt like this was going to be my life forever and once i began doing the work, i realized how strong i truly was and how truly powerful our minds are.

Where are you at today with everything?
I have been OCD symptom-free for over 5 years. I may have one or two episodes of bad anxiety a year which is usually brought on by highly stressed situations. Because of the work that i have done, i am able to identify the early signs of anxiety and i am able to bring my anxiety down before it gets to an uncontrollable state.
I am in the best space i have been in and really truly feel free.

Where can people follow you on social media?
Instagram

 

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