Disorder Diaries: Does Self-Care Give You Anxiety?
A day in my life with OCD, anxiety and depression
Written by Gabriella Pellagatti
01 Gabriella suffers with anxiety and depression, and manages the Exposure Project (@exposureprojectsf on Instagram).
02 She shares her feelings of boredom, anxiety and frustration, and reminds people that no matter how hard things get, they aren't alone.
April 2nd, 2020
6:30AM: "Alexa, turn the alarm off." I planned on going for a walk, but my energy level is off lately. I decide to sleep in longer.
7:30AM: I'm human, okay... obviously, the first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone - a bad habit that I’m trying to crack. I go for a little Instagram scroll, catch a good laugh from Twitter, and then inevitably run into news updates about COVID. More than 1 million cases of coronavirus confirmed today. 50,000 people have died.
7:50AM: I force myself to stop reading the updates - they do no good for me at this point. I run to the bathroom and then choose what area in the house I'll be working from today. I notice that my hands have scabs on them from over-washing.
8AM - 5PM: Coffee, work, repeat. Oh, I forgot to add anxiety to that list: coffee, work, worry, repeat. Motivation is a complicated subject when images of people dying alone, in overloaded hospitals, managed by overburdened doctors and nurses occupy my mind throughout the day. This is the image that terrorizes me the most: people, alone. People dying alone, and their loved ones grieving alone. These thoughts pop-up often during my workday. Luckily, I have mindfulness tools to push me through the noise; food helps too... sometimes.
*Insert real-time thought* One of the main OCD themes I struggle with is death and magical thinking. Thinking about death is hard enough for me, so writing about it, right now, is even more formidable. If you struggle with these themes, I want you to know you're not alone.
6 - 7PM: I head to the beach for a walk with my roommates and boyfriend. My thoughts circle a bit. I feel guilty for not working out for 2 days and instead drinking wine. I feel like I could be running instead of walking. I imagine myself stepping on the scale in 1 month to find myself 15 pounds heavier. But then self-love comes to mind, I tell myself, “who cares if I feel like eating pasta every day or wine every other night.” Unsurprisingly, the concept fails me as soon as I see a beautiful, thin woman running past me. “That should be me”, I say to myself.
8PM - Now: I’m back home from my walk and just finished dinner - it was pasta by the way. As I’m sitting here typing, I can’t help but think of all the negative thoughts I’ve been having lately. Specifically, about my role on the Exposure project. The hard thing about being vulnerable is that you open yourself up to criticism and misunderstanding. Will my all friends think I'm crazy? (friends don’t answer this - I’m not looking for reassurance), will people feel like i’m unstable? Am I just too much for people?
As you’re probably reading, you may think I sound a little depressed. You’re probably right. Being stuck in the house for nearly 1.5 months has been difficult. I enjoy the weekend with my friends and working out with my fitness family. I love Sunday brunch, and random uninterrupted trips to Trader Joes, for no other reason but to get flowers.
Today I experienced intense feelings of boredom, anxiety and frustration. Tomorrow, I hope it’s different. The silver lining is this though: no matter what feelings come my way, I know that I'm not alone, and we’ll get through this together.
Gabriella suffers with OCD, and manages the Exposure Project (@exposureprojectsf on Instagram). Aside from mental health work, she is a full-time marketer who likes to wine-taste from home and occasionally workout.