The bad, finding my thrive, and the secret to massive heart change
I have OCPD, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. In comparison to being particular about how items are arranged or wanting to achieve the “perfect” life the disorder instead can be life debilitating. Holding you frozen in place mentally. Not a doctor but the way I describe it is you who have to flip the lights off and on, off and on, several times before their brain understands the light is off. The brain just can not process in real time the light being off. The back part of the brain that holds information is like an overflowing box but the catalog to help you find anything is thrown in disorder. Like a spider web that has been in a tornado the paths of my frontal lobe of my brain, that processes information, was not in balance. With therapy, meditation, support and God though I can now not just live but thrive and heal the pains of anxiety.
Anxiety was my go to emotion. The wheels of my brain turned in such a furry my mind would literally stop and time out for a moment. Like a frozen computer in which the processor could not handle all it was receiving. Doctors, books, medications, pains, poor decisions, my life was an emotional teeter totter with no hope. Early adulthood stress had left me close to just functioning until one day something happened and it was almost over. I don’t remember anything, not the accident, nothing. Today I still do not know what happened but the only thing I know for sure is when woke up and something had changed. I KNEW God had left me here for a reason.
Why? Why was I given a chance to move on when I was a soul in chaos? Wish I could say I was full of peace and hope and the light was shinning brighter than my darkest pain. It was not. Still years of nagging, incessant, insecurity. More doctors, more books, still more bad decisions. My paths could not connect to find peace. At stable functioning levels but with a non stop voice of never being good enough. Anxiety slamming through every beat of my heart. Fear to make any decisions and even doubting when it still turned out will. Happy was a pipe dream that I was not built for.
God was always a certainty in my mind but seemed a far off person. Until one day He spoke to me through His word. After moving to a new southern state I wanted to go back to church. Working on the “American dream” it seemed a piece of the puzzle that was missing. I had still believed God was there but I was not really working on my side of our friendship. Being in a new town we picked the church closest to our apartment and grace was the sermon series they were working on. Grace? I knew of the pray we learned as children but the concept of grace was new to me. Someone lived me just because I was me? Someone who suffered and died a horrible death just because He loved me? Without me achieving some goal or completing a list of tasks? This was something at first I could not believe fully. Believing God was there but not that he just gave grace freely. My whole life was spent trying to do something, this or that, to try and even make someone close to happy. Unconditional love, job well done, you are special, was never something part of my life. So I had to dig into this farther and find the loop hole.
Soon I attended a prayer group and asked God to help me. Help me with moving forward in this life transition. New job, new state, new everything. Someone spoke: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23. Ok God, I get it, You were listening so maybe just maybe this grace is real. I started studying the bible, praying more deeply. Soon a new feeling God started to feel like a friend, someone to talk to and share my anxious thoughts with, asking Him to help me with my problems, giving Him glory for the good things in my life. I no longer felt like I was handling it alone. Chose to be baptized, volunteered at church, lead bible study, spent time with other followers and became friends with the best-bestie ever, the One who created it all including my hot mess.
Walking the mine field to a diagnosis
After a major life trauma that left me house ridden for two months I was finally diagnosed with OCPD. Previously I had been misdiagnosed so the books, coping techniques, mental aerobics were only partially working. Knowing what was really wrong was able to point my doctors and I on a more clear path to alleviate my anxieties through brain building exercises. Even just knowing my issue made me feel less like I was “crazy” and be able to build my mind to better handle even if just a little.
Then a vacation turned into moving back to my home town when I heard someone laugh. Had a plane ticket back to the Midwest, open spaces filled with God loving people which I cancelled to come back to the Burgh, city of champions and pierogis. Best decision I ever made. I now have two step kids I absolutely adore and a better half of a great team. Being my best self for the three of them is the least I could do for the unconditional love and support they show me. Never imagined my life could be so full of amazing blessings. Learning more coping techniques for my anxiety. Sorting out my decisions and rewiring the pathways in my brain was lots of hard work but finally i had the biggest part, a solid support system.
Mental survivor to thriving through a single heartbeat
One day my heart felt a change. For the first time I actually felt calm in my heart. Literally thought I was having some type of cardiac issue. Absurd as it may sound my whole body was set on “stress” with reductions but never an off switch. Just riding along in the truck I wanted to speak up but my mouth didn’t even have words. My thoughts had been with God and I knew he was the reason for this gift. Now how do I continue this feeling?
(Later that day something tragic happened to a loved one and my heart was shattered but that ironic story is for a different day)
Knowing God was the reason and the only route to get that feeling back was such a blessing. Finally truly I had actual relief! Turning my heart to you God be here and fill me with Your holy spirit now and forever. Not completely but much more quickly and often my anxiety was relieved. I started to feel a difference when I studied and started to more deeply practice meditation. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV. Just giving my quiet time to Him praising Him in the peace. Usually after my daily study I close off my outside thoughts and focus on Him alone. My heart relaxes, I feel His spirit. I went from hoping to knowing that even as broken as I thought I was God had created me to be here just as I am. With all my pains and problems it is all for some reason. My spirit started thriving, far beyond just coping, knowing my heart was in my True Fathers hands and no matter the obstacle He would hold me.
What in the world am I supposed to do next to stay in Your spirit more?
What is it I am here for Lord? Where do I go? Which path is mine…what, where, how?? Naturally I thought it was something I needed to “do”. Picking a path that would keep my heart in His space all the time. Started studying different books about finding purpose or choosing paths. One book stuck me because the idea basically is to decide your favorite feelings and then plan your life to do things that give you those feelings. Well I was trying to go in the opposite and just not feel anxious. How was I not feeling anxious? because of God! So how to I share his glory? Again I was looking for paths and problems to solve. One day in prayer He came through loud and clear and said “its My path”. At that moment I knew true surrender was my only option. No matter how I searched or worried God had planed my path and His timing would be when it would be. Mentally threw up my hands and said “take me God make my life to be about Your works”. Instead of trying to chase or plan just lead me Lord. Anxiety is planning and the opposite is trusting.
So back to the book on emotions…. yes I do have other emotions but the paths for them are still under construction to pull them more easily without anxiety attached. Lead me Lord to know You are with me at all times and fill the spaces with your spirit. So then which emotions do I work first? Over the next few months I will be studying The Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. While also confronting my self doubt, anxiety, past abuse and turning each new breath over to God.
So how is this a blessing?
Without my disorders drive to learn and achieve I do not think I would have worked so hard at getting better. Truly God is the piece that puts all the chaos together I know I am here to do His works. Tune in next post for details on the first three books, first three fruits and the way we will track the change in the overall anxiety, and a few other things. We will dig deep into bad spaces and confront uncomfortable truths while glorifying his blessings and lessons along the way.
song I can’t stop listening to this week: Old Church Choir by Zach Williams
current meditation focus: this single breath has already been planned out by God. In his creation of the universe He still planned this single breath in me, and the next, and the next