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What Helps Amanda, 39, With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it.

In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. 

Today, we meet Mighty member Amanda. She is 39 years old and lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Amanda, what helps you?

A woman with a brown bob and wearing a blue shirt smiles with her hand on her hip.

THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health?

AMANDA: Medication helps control the physical symptoms of my OCD. While on medication, even if I have an anxiety attack, I know it is one. I can go lie down and do some breathing, and I’m OK pretty quickly. I don’t get sick to my stomach as much anymore or have as many body aches or headaches. I go to my doctor at least once a year to make sure I do not need to change my medication type or dosage. I also now get blood work done to check for things that can make my OCD and the anxiety it causes worse. For example, I recently discovered my vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels are low, so I am now taking both. Getting massages as often as I can afford to also helps with the stress obsessive-compulsive disorder puts on my body and makes me more relaxed. Trying to take good care of myself by getting enough sleep, eating more healthily, and exercising also helps. Of course, as a full-time working mom and wife that can be a challenge at times, but it has gotten easier as my daughter has gotten older. I’ve made it a priority so that I can take better care of myself in order to take better care of her and others.

What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health?

Medication helps me because it stops my constant racing thoughts, and I am better able to control them. Certain exercises — especially yoga — can also help. Writing my thoughts out also helps me, and sometimes I turn it into blogs. I also turned some of my writing into a book. Sometimes it helps me to stay busy while other times, it helps me to get some rest. It also often helps to do something I really enjoy. Sometimes it helps to be around other people, while other times, it helps to have a break from people. Sometimes social media helps while other times, taking a break from it helps. I love to travel too, so traveling is almost always good for my mental health.

How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working?

I’ve gotten frustrated, I’ve cried, and I’ve wanted to give up, but I remember when I didn’t give up before, and I not only made it through, but I eventually became even happier than before. I now keep trying different things until something works. I wait less time to go to the doctor or to try certain medications or treatments that could offer relief. I even try things that make me uncomfortable at first — and not only do they often work, but they often also comfort me. Sometimes you may have to learn to listen to yourself when what others are suggesting is not working for you.

Thank you to Amanda for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments.

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Image via contributor.

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