Psychological War

Drawings of Chinese man with face mask on wall

Coronavirus Eating My Brain Away

Times have really changed during the last couple of months. Countries all over the world are battling a viral pandemic that is not only affecting the human body, but the mind as well. The virus is causing great damage to not only the elderly but young folks with no comorbidities. More hospitals in the U.S. and Italy are seeing younger people being admitted and even intubated! This virus is causing panic and skyrocketing anxiety levels; it has become a psychological war.

Store shelves all across the world are emptying at an alarming rate. Walmart and other big chains are decreasing their employee work hours. Countries in Europe such as France, Italy and Spain are under nationwide lockdowns. Public events such as sporting games, concerts and shows have all been canceled.

This virus is now even causing anxiety from one’s home. You don’t even have to leave your living room to feel anxious; your perception on reality is slowly changing. You’re starting to view society as a dangerous place to be. But then again, you don’t want to remain locked inside your home because you want to continue living a normal life.

So you’re gridlocked; you either isolate yourself in your home or you take a chance and go about in society. Either way, your anxiety has never been this high. Psychiatric patients are also suffering more, especially those with a preexisting anxiety disorder or OCD. Those with anxiety are even more worried about their everyday lives and those with OCD are washing their hands until they turn red.

The coronavirus is slowly entering our minds and controlling us. It wants us paralyzed with fear. It whispers to us, “If I can’t get you sick physically, at least I’ll torture you mentally.” Many of us can control our anxiety and go about living our normal lives, but many people are vulnerable to freezing and allowing their preexisting mental illness to get the better half of them.

The most important thing to remember during these types of psychological wars is to remain positive and go about living your normal life without fear. Once you allow fear to plant a seed in your mind, you become a victim before anything even hatches. Take care of your physical health by washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, eating healthy and exercising and maintaining a positive outlook on life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Imprisoned By Your Thoughts

Young brunette woman experiencing negative thoughts while standing next to graffiti wall

All I Have Are Negative Thoughts

If every day that you wake up and go about your day experiencing negative, twisted, sadistic or evil thoughts, then you are not alone! The human brain is the most intricate and mysterious organ of the human body. Even with dissection upon an autopsy, what does a physical specimen tell us about our thoughts? Absolutely nothing.

Your thoughts make up who you are, but this does not mean that you should identify with them. The moment that you start understanding this, is the moment when you will start to slowly obtain freedom from your disturbing and uncomfortable thoughts. Freedom comes when you paradoxically care less.

If you continue to fight against your thoughts, you will always lose the battle. Guess what happens when you repeatedly fight against them? You’re increasing your chances of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is when you obsess so much over your disturbing thoughts, that you begin to develop ritualistic, compulsive acts to alleviate yourself from them.

Guess what happens when OCD hits you? You become imprisoned by your mind; it starts to take control of you. And the more that you attempt to pull away from OCD, the greater it pulls you back in under its control and influence. So you start considering seeking solutions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or antidepressants.

It basically becomes a messy show. Hence, why the solution to your negative thoughts is to just allow them to be; let them swarm your mind like a bunch of piranhas eating away at smaller tasty fishes. Adopt a carefree mentality no matter how disturbing your thoughts are; just don’t care anymore!

The key to unlocking yourself from your mental prison is to prevent the prison from forming in the first place.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

Man suffering from OCD while sitting on white metal bench during daytime

The Birth Of OCD

They come through like raining bullets; unwanted intrusive thoughts become stronger the more you experience them. This is because we usually fight uncomfortable thoughts and apply resistance by pushing them in the back of our mind; the unconscious vault does not stay locked indefinitely.

When we attempt to ignore unwanted intrusive thoughts, we are suppressing them into our unconscious mind; this temporarily removes them from our day-to-day awareness. The problem is that the unconscious mind is not a permanent storage vault for unsatisfying thoughts; they leak back into our daily stream of thoughts at unexpected times. The pattern then repeats itself.

When this pattern persists, we begin to become compulsive: we start to perform actions or ritualistic behavior with the hope of suppressing the thoughts. At first, we might notice some improvement; the thoughts are not as persistent. But over time, we must perform the compulsions more frequently in order to suppress the thoughts more consistently. The pattern then repeats itself.

The natural way of overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts and the accompanying compulsions is to master the act of willpower. Willpower, is this case, is allowing the thoughts to be present without them affecting you; their intrusiveness no longer bother you. It is a mind state that only you can apply; a change in character that you must adopt. By becoming indifferent to intrusive thoughts, your compulsions will also start to decrease and you will start living life again without interference.

It is a wonderful feeling to overcome intrusive thoughts, compulsions or OCD altogether; it brings you joy to experience freedom again. But if unsuccessful, do not become discouraged or give up! Many people suffer from OCD and benefit from antidepressants and psychotherapy. The most important thing is to try your best and to know when to seek help; you are not in this alone!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Torture Of OCD

White male with OCD wiping his tears

OCD Is Treatable

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are defined as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and cause anxiety or distress.

Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors (i.e., checking or ordering things, excessive washing, excessive tics) or mental acts (i.e., repetition of words, counting, praying) that an individual performs to attempt to neutralize the unwanted thoughts.

The compulsions aim to prevent or reduce anxiety or some dreaded event or situation from occurring. They are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize.

The obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming and may cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning. They are not due to a substance, medical condition or other mental disorder.

OCD can be very debilitating to the point of causing individuals to lose their job or marriage. Some individuals may shower 7 times a day while others have to return home multiple times to check if they turned off the stove. Spouses, family and friends can be greatly affected by an individual’s behavior; it can be very hard and painful to witness someone struggling with OCD.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from OCD, please seek immediate treatment from a medical professional! Antidepressants and CBT are the first-line treatments.

Lastly, The DSM Ready Movement is always available for mental and emotional support; together, we can overcome any hardship!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)