My OCD & Me

When I first started having problems with my mental health I never thought I would actually be diagnosed with a mental illness. There is a difference between having a hard time resulting in your mental health suffering and actually having a mental illness. This took me a very long time to understand. I just thought I was going through a difficult time but, fast forward a few years and I'm actually in a very good place but my mental illness is still there, and always will be. It's a difficult concept to come to terms with and it really upset me for a long time. However, now that I've finally accepted that this is something I live with it's become a lot easier. When I was told I have severe anxiety I couldn't understand how - I'm an outgoing, friendly person. I like the company of others. I love going out and I don't particularly enjoy being alone. I like to talk. A lot. So how could I have anxiety? I took me quite a while to understand that my panic attacks were a result of anxiety and not of stress. I wasn't 'faking' it as my anxiety sometimes told me and I certainly needed help. Two years on I've been diagnosed with anxiety, with agoraphobia and OCD.

I don't normally speak about OCD on my blog, or in general, as I am only coming to terms with my diagnosis and to talk about it causes me extreme anxiety but I felt like I wanted to overcome that. It's scary for me to write about this as I don't feel as comfortable telling people about my OCD than I do about my anxiety, however I feel like the two go hand in hand so I think it's time to talk.

When I was told I have OCD I genuinely laughed. How could I have OCD? I was so confused. I realise now that it was because I was so misinformed about OCD. I was one of *those* people who thought OCD equated to being neat, tidy and organised. Yes, I like to clean. I like everything I own to have its own place. I try (and fail) to be organised. However, to me, none of this added up to OCD because I'm not the tidiest or the most organised. My brother is a perfectionist and his things are always in order, with nothing out of place. My family, (and me, until recently) would always say 'ha ha Emmet is SO OCD'. I cringe when I think back on this because he doesn't have OCD. I do. It is something I struggle with every single day and the fact that I was joined in in the stereotyping of OCD makes me feel sick. 

I think people often forget, or don't even know, what OCD actually is. People forget that it stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, not Obsessive-Cleaning Disorder (thanks for that Channel 4). You can have OCD and be the messiest person ever. It's also important to note that it is a disorder and the term OCD shouldn't be thrown around lightly. It isn't washing your hands a few extra times a day. It isn't lining up your pens in a straight line. It isn't being uncomfortable using public toilets. 

It's so much more than that.

It's being obsessed with urges, thoughts and images which cause crippling anxiety and being forced to act on these obsessions. It's not being able to control your thoughts. It's fearing that you could cause your friends and family harm by a simple thought. It's being terrified that someone will attack you as you walk down the street. It's feeling completely filthy if an insect lands on you, upsetting you so much that you feel you have to shower, and shower again, just to be sure. It's a constant fear that something bad will happen to you, your family, your friends or strangers around you. It's bleaching a hot cooker. It's being too paralyzed with anxiety to make yourself dinner for fear that you will poison yourself with bleach. It's crying because you can't get your bed perfectly neat. It's being terrified to meet new people in case they reach out their hand for the dreaded handshake. It's forcing yourself to eat in other people's houses despite the fear that their house is contaminated, so that they don't think you're rude and never speak to you again. It's literally pulling your hair out from your scalp.

OCD is ranked THIRD in the Top 10 Worst Mental Illnesses. So before you exclaim how 'OCD' you are after you neatly stack your books on your shelf think about how the actual disorder affects actual sufferers. It isn't a cute little quirk or an interesting personality trait. It is a nightmare that people, and their families, have to live with every single day. 

Read my Mental Health Story here or browse my other mental health posts here.

Selfishness & Mental Illness

When it comes to big occasions, like my brother Emmet's graduation, I always tend to feel anxious. I think this stems from my Dad who, perhaps unknowingly, makes everyone feel slightly uncomfortable and on edge on days like this. I talk about my Dad quite a bit on my blog and this is down to the simple fact that he could be the cause and reason for my anxiety. I'm not sure but I was recently told by a new therapist that my anxiety had a male energy, so it makes sense I suppose. Anyway, it was Emmet's graduation on Thursday and I was feeling anxious all week. My Dad was supposed to be coming down to see us and I was terrified, mainly because I haven't seen him since April and before that I've seen him maybe twice since this time last year. It's strange. My Dad was a very big part of my life for eighteen years and now he's not. So, it was scary to think that I would have to see him again after all this time. I didn't know what we were going to talk about. 'How are you?' seemed a little silly. Should I give him a hug? I had such a hard time last week thinking all these thoughts and my anxiety was as bad as it's been in a very long time.

After all that stress and worry however, he didn't bother letting me know that he had come down. He met Emmet for ten minutes and he left. I was SO relieved but also kind of angry, but that's beside the point. I didn't have to see him, so I could enjoy Emmet's day.

The weird thing, however was that although I didn't have to worry about seeing my Dad and all I really had to do was enjoy my meal with Dearbhla, Emmet and my Mam, I couldn't help but feel guilty because I didn't even think about Emmet graduating all week. I was only thinking about me and I didn't think that was okay. It was his day and once again, my anxiety and mental illness took over what was supposed to be a really exciting and proud day for Emmet. It made me feel really selfish. 

Then I remembered that I was told to be selfish. My Mam tells me to be selfish all the time, counselors have told me to be selfish and I know myself that I do have to be selfish even though that is not the person I am. I need to look after myself in these tough situations even if it means enjoying someone else's achievements a little less. Because I looked after myself during Emmet's graduation I allowed everyone else to enjoy their day and that's all I really wanted. It was nice for my family to actually enjoy a family day out and for it to go smoothly because usually that is not the case. 

It makes me feel uncomfortable to be selfish and think solely about myself because I hate doing it. I like making sure other people are okay, I like knowing other people are having a good time and not worrying but maybe this is part of my problem and in order to help others I need to first help myself. 


I've been a little bit absent on my blog lately mainly because I am just back at college and I find it so hard to sit down and write a post, reply to emails and do blogging stuff in general when I'm in college. I really don't want to completely abandon my blog like I did last year but I have absolutely no idea what to write about anymore. I thought I would try to get back into things by doing an update because I actually really enjoy reading what other people are doing.

'I should have done this yesterday' deskpad ThatLameCompany
Marble notebook -
Tiger (similar here)

I've been back in Galway for 7 weeks which I absolutely love. It's so nice to be back. It makes dealing with things a lot easier and allows me to forget about my Dad. This year I'm living in a house with all girls which I was so nervous about but it's lovely, and such a nice change. I'm also sharing a room and I think I love it more than having a room on my own.

I haven't been excessively cleaning this year either. I can sit and actually relax in a messy kitchen. My other compulsions and obsessions are still just as bad but I think I'm getting the contamination obsession under control even just a little bit. My anxiety is not good but I was expecting that because I'm off my antidepressants now and I'm just getting used to not having that stability in my life. I am back attending the student counseling so I am excited to get back on track again.

Other than that, however, I'm doing good and I'm really enjoying this year. It's been a year since the 'Dad thing' happened and I think I'm finally over it. I don't really care about it anymore. Shane is coming home at Christmas and I'm so excited to see him.

As for my blog I feel like I've done next to nothing on it since the Awards. I feel like I worked so hard on aillyx all summer and now I've completely lost all motivation and inspiration which I hate. I am going to try really, really, really hard to get back into it as I hate seeing my stats dropping. It makes it all feel like a waste of time. Although I don't really care about stats because I genuinely do just like to write, it is such an amazing feeling to see my work being recognised. So, hopefully this will push me to keep writing and working on my blog.


We are half way through Mental Health week and while I should be doing an assignment right now I feel like it would be more beneficial for me to actually write something that won't cause me heart palpatations. Mental Health Week is obviously something that is very close to home with me so when Dylan from Hear2Listen contacted me and asked me to contribute a blog post to the Hear2Listen blog I couldn't turn him down. 

Hear2Listen is a non-profit organisation that aims to bring mental health workshops to schools in Ireland as well as encouraging young people to talk about difficulties they are facing and raising awareness about mental health. Dylan sent me over a few topics that I could cover and the one I was really excited to write was 'Meeting Your Therapist For The First Time'. This is something I really struggled with initially so I thought it would be nice to share my experience and some advice which could possibly help someone else out. 

It is so important to talk about any difficulties you're having and although it is a tough and daunting experience it's important to recognise when you need help. 

Click here to read the post I contributed to Hear2Listen or follow Hear2Listen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Don't forget to use the hashtag #LetsTalkMH to raise awareness about mental health.


Looking After Yourself During Your Period | MyLadyBug Subscription Box*

Periods are hard. You go from happy to sad to happy again within minutes. You need to cry but nothing will make you cry. You are happy but you burst into tears. As women, during our periods our emotions are high and we never know how we will feel from one moment to the next. For me, I get very sad in the days leading up to my period and for someone who struggles with mental health anyway, this is difficult. Because of this, I like to take extra care of myself during this time of the month.

Thanks to MyLadyBug*, and Irish period subscription box my period was a lot less awful this month. MyLadyBug delievers your box straight to your door, in discrete packaging which insures the postman doesn't know your PMS cycle! Within the box you receive your choice of either pads, tampons or a mixture of both, some herbal teas to calm your cramps and the other discomforts that come with being a girl, and even some sweeties for when your cravings are high!

MyLadyBug aims to make your period as comfortable and as easy to deal with as possible. At MyLadyBug they allow you to customize your own box, and supply you with brands you already now including Always and TampaxPearl, to name a few.

MyLadyBug also supplies you with extra little luxuries to make your period a lot more do-able. Each month the sweets and treats change which adds to the excitement of opening up your package and seeing what you get to try out this month! This month I was delighted to receive some Galaxy chocolate because as we all know, chocolate cures all period troubles!

Boxes are dispatched between the 19th and 22nd of each month and are delivered to your door within 5 working days.

MyLadyBug has three subscription plans - 3 months, 6 months or 12 months as well as being able to buy it as a once off treat for yourself. The cost of MyLadyBug starts at €9.99, however if you subscribed to one of the month plans, you will receive a discount. For more information about offers and plans click here.

If you would like to try out a MyLadyBug subscription box, I have been given a discount code for my readers which gives you 15% OFF your order. Just add 'AILIBLOG' at checkout and it will be applied for you.

To get started on your first box click here and follow the very simple instructions. I hope you enjoy your box as much as I loved mine! Follow MyLadyBug on Instagram and Twitter.

* indicates products that have been sent to me by brands however all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by outside parties. For more info, check out my full disclaimer.