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How to accept my flaws and be myself

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  • #386072
    Rubina
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am suffering from OCD for the past few years.It really didnt affect my life until my daughter was born three years ago.I have had different themes of ocd after my daughter was born.I really didnt enjoy intial years of my motherhood because of my OCD.I would get thoughts like i might hurt her,touching her in a wrong way,Kissing her in a wrong way.The thoughts were endless.I doubted my every action as a mother.I love her to bits and pieces.I know i wouldnt do anything to her.I never had such thoughts in my life before.At the same time i had some other thoughts like i might be a lesbian,i might cheat my husband with some other guy.The thoughts were endless.It took me two years to get out of that rabbit hole.I started enjoying my motherhood and stopped doubting myself.The thoughts are still there.But i dont give them the power.Then covid hit.These thoughts started spiralling again.I have different theme this time.Its related to religion.I was born and brought in India raised as a muslim.Now i feel l like i am a bad muslim as i dont pray,wear jeans, listen to music.Whatever i do there is always a voice in my head that always tells me i am a bad muslim.I dont know why i always feel i am not good enough.I am not able get these religius thoughts out of mind.I dont know to heal and accept myself the way i am instead of beating up myself for not doing things that a muslim is supposed to do.The anxiety has started affecting my physical health as well.I dont know how to feel that i am good enough and worthy of Gods love.I still doubt my actions as a mother,muslim,wife.This OCD has created self doubt in every aspect of my life.I had the same theme of religious OCD when i graduated.Since childhood i wasnt that close to God.My parents never forced religion on me.I have phobia against hindu goddess since childhood.Looking at thier images would give me anxiety.I used to avoid them.During 8th grade i saw procession of hindu goddess.It triggered my anxiety to such an extent that i started having all those obsessive images in my mind during day and night.My mom knows about my fear.But she didnt take it seriously .Even i thought it was a silly phobia/fear and didnt tell her what i was going through. I started sleeping next to my mom to feel safe.I started doing so many compulsions at that time like turning of the fan twice,using the rest room twice,praying to god twice.I started doing these inorder to decrease my anxiety.My anxiety kind of faded away for sometime.Since that time i used to dread a particular  time of the year when the hindu goddess processions used to take place.I used to do compulsions inorder to cope up with my fear/anxiety.Thats when i got closer to God.I used to pray and fast during that month of every year.I used to pray to God not to give anxiety every  year. I coped up with my anxiety with the help of God and doing some other compulsions.I didnt know the other way to cope up with my anxiety.Because my parents were dealing with thier own set of issues and didnt want to trouble them.I joined university and stayed in dorm  since i started graduation.The fear and compulsions have subsided to some extent after i joined university.So i didnt have the fear so i stopped praying.Anxiety came back during my 4th year of my graduation.Then i started having fear like since i stopped praying God is going to punish me again with the fear of hindu goddess.It hit me hard this  time to an extent i didnt want to be alive anymore.I got  intrusive thoughts like i was abusing hindu goddess.The intrusive thoughts were endless.This time i told my mom what i was goong through.My parents know nothing about anxiety.Nobody in my town knew about mental health at that time.My parents helped emotionally as musch as they can this time.I have a twin sister who also graduated from the same university.But she stayed in a different dorm.I started staying with her.She is a religious person.Thats when she told me pray and ask God for help.I was so desperate in need of help that i started praying again.At that time she told me that God will answer my prayers if am  good muslim.Like i should stop talking to guys,stop listennig to music and so many other things.I stopped doing all the things which i liked  hoping that god will ease my anxiety.I couldnt do it but i did it forcifuly.I thought why is so God strict and why is it so difficult to give up on all these things.I did it to some extent and my anxiety went away after few months.I was happy that God eased my anxiety and became closer to him. Stopped doing things as told my sister to some extent.I feared that god would punish me in the hell if do things which are forbidden.Also i feared that i will anxiety again.I was only close to my mom and God.After graduation,I started joined a job and moved to some other city.I felt lonely because i didnt how to make friends as i always had no confidence.

     

    #386076
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rubina:

    I read most of your post and would like to read more attentively in about 10 hours (Sat morning, my time). For now: I suffered from OCD for many, many years, lots of Obsessions (OCD) and compulsions (OCD). I can share more about my experience, as well as respond to different items you brought up in your post when I am back.

    anita

    #386081
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rubina:

    You shared the following OCD obsession themes:  (1) that you might hurt your daughter, touch her or kiss her the wrong way, doubting your every action as a mother, (2) that you might be a lesbian, (3) that you might cheat on your husband with another man, (4) that you are a bad Muslim (for not praying, for wearing jeans, for listening to music, etc.). You shared about the following OCD compulsions: “turning of the fan twice, using the rest room twice, praying to god twice“.

    Whatever I do there is always a voice in my head that always tells me I am a bad Muslim. I don’t know why,  I always feel I am not good enough“-

    – this voice in your head is probably the combination of real voices of real people in your life when you were a child: voices of parents, teachers.. people in authority. These people told you that you were a bad girl when they thought you made mistakes. Fast forward, the voice of the “person” with most authority: God’s himself, tells you that you are a  Bad Muslim (parallel to Bad Girl).

    I don’t know to heal and accept myself the way I am instead of beating up myself for not doing things that a Muslim is supposed to do“- someone in authority (a parent, both parents, an aunt, uncle, older sibling, etc.) beat you up when you were a child as punishment for mistakes they believed you made, beating you up with a belt or with their hands or with their words.. or with a punishing silence. Fast forward, you beat yourself up for mistakes you believe that you are making, or might make at any moment, punishing yourself, doing to yourself what was done to you.

    Like I shared with you yesterday, I suffered from OCD for many years and performed so many compulsions/ rituals that they took a big part of my days for years. Here is what helped me:

    (1) One day, I was close to 30 years old, I said to myself: what will happen if I don’t perform the compulsion I was compelled to perform? I controlled myself and didn’t perform the compulsion and.. nothing bad happened.

    At that time, or at another time, I asked myself: what happens when I think (a particular scary thought/ obsession), and I noticed that on the Outside, Nothing Changed. My obsessions happened only in between my ears and not outside of that distance. It made me think of my obsessions not as a real danger, but as mental events that happen in the short distance in between my ears. Not beyond that distance.

    I stood by a mirror and said out loud: “I am an elephant”. I then waited and looked at my reflection: I did not turn into an elephant. I then said out loud other thoughts and watched.. nothing happened. My thoughts in themselves were and are powerless. Understanding this caused me to not fear my thoughts/ obsessions. I still feared bad things happening, it’s just that I understood that my thoughts/ obsessions cannot make bad things happen.

    I have more to share but would like to read your response to what I wrote so far before I continue. If you choose to respond, please take your time, no need to rush a response.

    anita

    #386082
    Rubina
    Participant

    Thanks Anita.I appreciate for taking your time to read such a long post written by me.During my childhood i was surrounded by religious people.They would always tell us that you would go to hell if you dont pray,or listen to music and all other stuff.That didnt impact me during the childhood.It started impacting since graduation when i got closer to god.I was judged for wearing short clothes as child,for not covering my breast.These so called religious people would always judge about the way i dressed.My parents werent emotionally avaible to us.We indian people stay with parents even after my maariage.My mother had to deal with my grandmother who used to fight for every small thing.I used to get scared during weekends because it was a always chaos at home.My father is also short tempered person who used to blame/fight with my mother for every single thing.During our childhood we were very poor as my father couldnt get a proper job.He lost his eye to cancer.So mother and father had so many issues to deal with.I sometimes feel like my parents never taught us how deal with people judgements or how to stay strong during difficult times.We were always judged by relatives as we were poor that time.I have very low self esteem as a child.I have very few number of friends since childhood.My job was a disaster too because i wouldnt talk to anyone.I always felt like i am not good enough that carried till i got married.I used to pray to god to give me a good husband who shouldnt be like my dad.I got married 6 years back.It was an arranged marriage.I dont know why after marriage my confidence shot up.I started being myself.We moved to US after marriage.My husband never judged me the way i looked or dressed.I used to wear whatever i wanted even stopped praying.That didnt bother me much at that time.I really love the initial years of my marriage.There was no fear or anxiety for just being myself.I have an elder brother who became religious after i got married.He is used to judge me the way i am.He would always hit us(me and my twin sister) or say nasty words since childhood.I never said anything but tolerated his behavior all the time.But after pandemic i stopped talking to him.Because it really started affecting my mental health.I didnt want to be treated like that anymore.I dont know why  i dont feel confident like i felt during the intial years of my marriage.The feeling not good enough is back again after my daughter was born.I dont pray now and i still dress the way i want to.I dont do any of the compulsions now.Because i am trying change my beliefs.,but i am not able to do so.As i said there is always voice in my head that i am doing wrong.I am not able to move forward with that mental block.I want god in my life but i dont want to be driven by fear.My husband is a very confident person.He is a muslim too but he doest have this kind of fears.He always tells me to treat God like a friend and get bothered by others beliefs.I always wish i was like him.I am just trying to introspect what went wrong during my childhood that is stopping me for being myself.I also had counselling with a muslim therapist during pandemic.I told her what i was going through.She told me that i have to pray and God is guiding me.My anxiety spiked up after talking to her.I always feel like i dont want to do it compulsively.Now a days my mother has become religious.She tells me that i dont dress properly or i stopped praying like i used to before.I dont know even sometimes i feel the same thing why i have changed now.Why i dont do all those things like i did during my graduation like praying,dressing modestly.I dont want to raise my daughter by rubbing all these beliefs on her.So i am trying to change myself and beliefs.My mother,brother and sister they all are religious.When i think about them i always feel like a bad muslim.

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 21 hours ago by Rubina.
    #386087
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rubina:

    You are welcome. Regarding OCD: at one point, I was so distressed with obsessive thinking that I saw a psychiatrist and he prescribed to me Zoloft– an antidepressant of the SSRI group which is often prescribed for OCD. I remember that after a short time of taking it, it felt like a pair of scissors cut off the string of thoughts and there was an emptiness, an ending of the thinking.. it was like I forgot what I was thinking .. and gone was the obsessing. I got off this medication almost 8 years ago, after my first quality psychotherapy of over 2 years.

    I no longer suffer from OCD. Rarely I have the inclination to .. double check that the water faucet is turned off all the way, etc.,  but not much more than that. I still experience anxiety, but I am able to manage it through a daily routine. Routine calms me (doing the same activities every day at about the same time, including a long daily walk).

    There is so much more that I can share with you about my struggle with anxiety and OCD, what worked for me, and what didn’t)=. We can keep communicating for as long as you want to and we can exchange information and ideas over time.

    My mother had to deal with my grandmother who used to fight for every small thing. I used to get scared during weekends because it was a always chaos at home. My father is also short tempered person who used to blame/fight with my mother for every single thing.. elder brother.. would always hit us(me and my twin sister) or say nasty words since childhood“-

    – this is the source of your anxiety/ where it started: the frequent (“for every small thing”) blaming, fighting, hitting, saying nasty words, and the resulting chaos in the home of your childhood. The frequent anger and aggression scared you, causing you anxiety.

    Being poor and being judged by relatives for being poor didn’t help of course. Being judged increases anxiety, including  being judged by your religious family members for the way you dress and other practices. It seems that you getting married was a step up for you: a step up toward a better life: living with a nonjudgmental, kind husband, and moving with him to the U.S.

    The feeling not good enough is back again after my daughter was born“- it always happens that as adults, when we leave the homes and circumstances of our childhoods, we feel a great relief and a happy feeling of freedom for a while.. . but then, the negative feelings of childhood return. It happened to me too.

    “I want god in my life but I don’t want to be driven by fear. My husband… always tells me to treat God like a friend“- see if you can join a mosque and/ or a group of Muslim women who practice this principle: viewing God not as a scary entity, but as a friendly, calming entity.

    I hope that you can create more of a distance between you and your mother/ brother/ sister who still judge you and “always (make you) feel like a bad Muslim” (and in so doing fueling your OCD). Instead, get closer to your husband and, like I suggested, to a group of tolerant, friendly Muslim women.

    As I said, we can communicate for a long time if you would like to, so no need to rush our communication.

    anita

    #386088
    Rubina
    Participant

    I tried zoloft when i was postpartum.Zoloft itself gave me anxiety.I started having thoughts like what if i get addicted to this medicine,what if i have side effects.But i did take it for an year.I was on 25mg that didnt help me much.I always seek assurance from my husband whenever i have a ocd attack.I feel better for few months then it hits me again.I feel anxious for one month then it kind of goes away.I started eating healthy and try to go for a daily walk for the sake of my mental health and i started feeling better.But now a days when i go for a walk.I get thoughts like” you are doing so much for mental health not doing anything for the God”.Sometimes that stops me for going on a walk.These obsessions  feel so real.When it comes to my kid i get the same thought you are doing so many sacrifices for your kid and you are doing nothing for god.These obessions come out in every action that i do.I spoke to a UK therapist who herself is a ocd survivor.I just had one session with her.She told me to set boundaries with religion.When i do i am scared if God will accept me?I am scared of conflicts in general if  i dont like something about people i try to avoid them.I always fear being judged and when they do i dont talk to them i simply avoid them instead of setting boundaries.The only person i can set boundaries are with my husband.I try i pray and fast during particular month of the year.I try to avoid so many things which are forbidden in our religion.Still i am not happy with myself.My mother used to always compare me with my cousin even if  iwas good at sudies.She once told me that you wont be able to achieve what your cousin did.Once i told my dad i was topper in the exams.He told me there might be poor students in the class thats the reason you became the topper.My father never respected me even my siblings.How do i heal with the childhood trauma and come out of trap of the perfectionism?

     

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 18 hours ago by Rubina.
    #386091
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rubina:

    “My mother used to always compare me with my cousin.. She once told me that you wont be able to achieve what your cousin did. Once i told my dad I was topper in the exams. He told me there might be poor students in the class thats the reason you became the topper. My father never respected me even my siblings. How do I heal with the childhood trauma and come out of trap of the perfectionism?”-

    – you heal when you stop seeing your mother and father as gods, judging you negatively.. then you will be able to see God as one who does not judge you negatively (and if you keep seeing God as negatively judgmental, then abandon him altogether).

    We see God the way we see our Parents. For a child, parents= gods. When the child grows up, if the home is healthy enough- the grown-up child can see that her parents are not gods. But when the home is unhealthy, the adult-child still does not really grow up and keeps seeing her parents as gods: judgmental gods. And she sees most everyone the same way: judgmental and punishing.

    anita

    #386092
    Rubina
    Participant

    Thats what i tell myself God is above all these people.He is non judgemental and forgiving.Anyways thanks for  your time and  input anita.I alreally appreciate it.It was nice talking to someone who understands what i am going through.I am just trying to heal myself from this trauma so that i dont repeat the same with my kiddo.

    #386093
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rubina:

    You are most welcome.

    I am just trying to heal myself from this trauma so that I don’t repeat the same with my kiddo“-

    – this makes you a Good Person, a Good Mother..  and a Good Muslim, if I may say so!

    Post again whenever you want to and I will be glad to read from you and reply.

    anita

    #386094
    Rubina
    Participant

    Thank you for your kind words!!

    #386095
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Rubina!

    anita

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