Lessons From Lockdown – Facing Your Demons

We are slowly getting used to life under lockdown. How long will it last? Nobody knows – at least not in my country. And while social isolation is important, it is very challenging. I guess many of my readers have already experienced how difficult it can be to self-isolate, so I would not want to write about the challenges, but about the things that I have learnt while spending time with my own demons.

Now, who are my demons? Mostly, the different faces of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But in general, I think most of our negative thoughts are just like demons who are trying to ruin our lives.

So, what did I learn while spending time with my demons?

You cannot run away from yourself

Okay, this sounded pretty desperate but it is true. At the beginning of this whole crisis, I thought self-isolation would totally destroy my mental health and while it has been a pretty difficult time, I can tell you that so far I have been doing fine.

Why? Because I am forced to stop running away from myself. Now, those who have been following my blog for some time might have noticed that I am a very outgoing person. Which is not a bad thing, but going out used to be one of my strategies for managing my anxiety and my OCD. If I had a scary thought, I would just go to a party or to a nearby shopping mall to spend some time with my friends. If I obsessed over an intrusive thought, I would just travel somewhere during the weekend and try to forget about it.

But a few weeks ago, the world changed and I am no longer able to run away from my demons. Obviously, I can still call a friend or talk to my family but it is just not the same what it used to be.

So, at the end of the day, I am forced to face my own demons. And I do not want to be a hypocrite: I have to admit that at the beginning it was extremely difficult but the more time you spend with them, the less scary they become. And spending time with your inner monsters will also give you experience and handling them. I am pretty sure that when this crisis is over, many of us will be much better at managing our mental health issues.

Further Reading:

Social Media Can Be Toxic

Are you worried about the current situation? Not yet? Just check your Facebook newsfeed and you will surely be scared to death!

I am addicted to social media. I have always loved using it and I can say that I have “grown up online”. But in difficult times, social media is not a place of comfort. In the last few weeks, I spent more time checking Facebook than ever before and this made me realize how dangerous “social media overdose” can be.

Social media is just like alcohol. The world is much more beautiful after having one ore two glasses of wine, but drinking a few bottles will surely send you to hospital.

And well, it has been pretty difficult for most of us and you would think social media could help you feel less lonely and more connected, but my experience is that it just makes things a lot worse.

In difficult times, people should support each other. And that’s what most of us do. I am pretty much convinced that human beings are generally good. But for some reason, this is not reflected on social media. Instead of becoming a platform that supports people, social media has become a place full of fear-mongering, hate and hypocrisy.

If your friend was in a terrible situation, you would tell them to be careful, to take care of themselves but you would not want to scare them to death, would you? Why? Because you love your friend and because you know that fear never helped anybody – and believe me, I am an expert when it comes to fear, having lived most of my life with OCD.

But then, what happens on social media? First of all, it is next to impossible to find positive news in your newsfeed (the only headlines with the word “positive” are the ones about people testing positive for the virus) and even if there’s one, people will make sure they do not miss leaving a few hundred fear-mongering comments below the post. If there are good news, someone will surely post a comment saying that “the worst is yet to come” , “millions will die” or “the apocalypse on the way”.

And it is not only about fear-mongering but there are a lot of posts full of hate and hypocrisy. People who posted “it is just a flu” kind of comments a few weeks back, are now humiliating others for not being able to “stay the f**ck at home” (do not get me wrong, I do think that most of the people in the streets are there for a good reason, at least in my country people are pretty responsible at the moment.) And let’s not even mention all the racism against Asian people.


So what is my advice? At the moment, social media is a poisonous place and it will not help you feel less lonely. If you need someone, call your friends or send them a message – or just spend some time on WordPress which is far more comforting than Facebook 🙂

Further Reading

Enjoying Life

The world is a beautiful place and slowing down made me realize how many amazing things we have in our lives. And we do not always value all of the amazing gifts God has given us.

Not sure how it is in your countries, but here we can still go out for a walk. And having an evening walk has become one of my new habits. And while walking alone, I notice a lot of beautiful things that I have never noticed before – because I basically spent most of my life running around.

Beautiful things such as the smell of flowers in the air, stars on the sky and extravagant buildings. Life is full of uncertainty but at the end of the day, there is one thing you can control: the way you are looking at things.

Now, if you have OCD, it is not easy to get rid of your obsessions and compulsions but I think this is a perfect time to learn how we can manage the way we see the world.

Further Reading

Embracing Uncertainty

I can tell you that many of the “what if” questions I was obsessing about came true in the last couple of days. Nothing seems to be certain anymore. Things that I used to take for granted are no longer there and we are in a situation that none of us can control. Now, this is what I call a real life exposure therapy!

And my reaction to this is pretty surprising. Like I do not want to be a hypocrite and tell you that I am not worried because I am. But I am a lot less worried than I expected. When this whole situation started, I really thought that I was going to have a nervous breakdown and I would not be able to control myself. And my obsessions would take over me. But then something else happened:

I have started to accept uncertainty and living in the moment. You never know what tomorrow brings and this is why you are somehow better at enjoying things that you have today. Has my OCD “miraculously” gone away? Of course, it has not – I probably worry more than many other people, but I am proud of myself for not losing control over my obsessions 🙂

Further Reading:

Final Thoughts

Do not forget about taking care of your mental health in these difficult times. And take care of yourself and your loved ones. Everything will turn out fine! Sending my love to all of you, guys!

Mark

11 thoughts on “Lessons From Lockdown – Facing Your Demons

  1. Hi Mark :
    An excellent post, and very helpful to everyone.
    Your first point is profound – We can’t run away from ourselves. When we spend time alone we get to know ourselves well, and, our fears gradually subside.
    Of course, we are not alone, since the Lord is always with us. Matthew 28:20.
    I too find WordPress soothing, and I stay away from other forms of media.

    Your comment on staying in the moment is also well-described.
    Thanks for posting. 🤗

    Like

    1. Hi Sally,

      Thank you and I am glad you found it helpful.
      Yes – I always used to tell myself that running away from myself would not solve my problems but this situation actually made me realize what it feels like when you really can not just escape from your own thoughts and the first couple of days were difficult but I think this is a great lesson for all of us. Like in the last few days, I started noticing that people have become a lot friendlier and they care a lot more about each other (okay, social media is an exception but then at work, at home, at the supermarkets..everyone seems to be a lot more caring)

      And that’s true ❤ The Lord is always with us. And he will protect us.

      I can say that at the moment, WordPress is probably the best place on the internet. I have actually decided to limit my internet usage to WordPress and to instant messaging.

      Thank you for reading and stay safe ❤

      Blessings,

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree on living in the moment and facing your demons. Although I’m not ‘fine’ because I am worried sometimes how all of this will end up, I also feel strong because I know myself and I know what to do to take care of me. Finding new ways to do or to look at things, is a wonderful way to cope with this crisis and shows how resilient you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, living in the moment is very important – I really try not to think too much about the future because everything is just too uncertain. Me too I am worried cause as you said who knows how this will end up. I do not actually worry about myself, but about my family.

      And yes! We definitely have to find things to do – I have started writing a novel, have been planning it for a long time but never actually had time to do it. How did you spend the last few days? 🙂

      Blessings

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well that is nice of you to ask! I did move in with my boyfriend just this week, so we adjust to living together. I cook, read, blog, walk around in the garden, unpack boxes and some more boxes. I look at pictures of my dog and mail the shelter for updates. Life is good and easy that way. The only thing is that therapy has been cancelled as we’re not allowed to go. I don’t know what effect that will have. Great that you started writing your novel. I think it’s smart to take advantage of the possibilities given.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It have 2 therapists (!) I don’t know how that makes me look 🙃 One offers counselling through Spkype or Whatsapp but that doesn’t sit well with me. When people tend to ‘leave me’ I break all contact. It’s an old wound and a pattern that plays strongly in my life. I’m most comfortable with face-to-face therapy and I take this opportunity to see if I can cope on my own. I’ve been going for over 8 years so. My therapist is going to quit at the end of 2020 so I can practice now. For the other one, she comes from The Netherlands once a month (dramatherapy). I don’t know if you know but in Holland they have a whole different approach to the virus. So I am not comfortable to be exposed to that and to maybe pick it up.
        I hope that living together can offer some solace too. How is your novel going?

        Like

  3. I heartily agree with your take on social media. I don’t have any accounts or presence on Facebook or anywhere else. As an author it limits who and how I reach people, but it’s not worth it. Aside form being toxic, bullying, intrusive, and a waste of time, it’s full of dangerous nonsense on virtually any topic you can name. Stick to your guns, Mark. You aren’t missing anything good! Wishing you good health and peace during this awful time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – I guess it’s actually better not to have it. I have not deleted my account but I decided not to look at the newsfeed and only use messenger. 🙂 And agree with you: it’s just absolute nonsense.

      Wishing you good health and peace! Stay safe.

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I guess you’re right. It’s better for our mental health to avoid it completely.
      I do not think it’s hypocritical – WordPress is nothing like Facebook or other social media platforms, it is just much more comforting on here.

      Like

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