I Hope You’ll Die Next Time :)

Quite a shocking title but please carry on reading!

In light of the recent suicide prevention day, I would love to talk about a Hungarian movie that I think is definitely worth watching. As you may have noticed, I do not normally post film reviews on my blog – ’cause it’s actually difficult to write one without any spoilers in it. But then, as I am a mental health blogger from Hungary, I really feel that I should talk about this film.

I Hope You’ll Die Next Time 🙂

was released exactly 2 years ago, in September 2018 and I have watched it quite a few times since its initial release – especially since it’s been recently made available on Netflix.

Now, the title of the movie is pretty shocking on its ownwho on earth would put a smiley face at the end of such a sentence? Well, I’ll not tell you the exact reason why it is there as I really do not want to drop a major spoiler but all I can say is that the smiley’s there for a good reason: this is a movie about teenagers living in Budapest, the Hungarian capital and just like any other teenagers in the world, they normally use emoticons while texting each other.

Image from: Port.hu

So, what the movie is about? You may have already guessed from the title that it’s about suicide. But it also talks about other problems of teenage life such as cyberbullying, relationships with friends and parents, love and sex. And well, there are pretty interesting topics, aren’t they?

Synopsis

I Hope You’ll Die Next Time 🙂 tells the story of a Hungarian high school girl, Eszter, who is just like any other teenage girls – she loves manga, does cosplay and she has a crush on her English teacher – okay, I am not entirely sure whether having a crush on one’s English teacher is considered to be average but I guess it’s happened to some of us in our high school years. I mean ,I too had a crush on one of my teachers.

I know it may sound pretty much like a Hollywood romcom. But it’s not. Eszter’s life seems to be pretty happy but obviously something bad needs to happen. And in her case, things will start to take turn for the worse when her English teacher (Csababá) announces that he’ll leave the country for a foreign job.

Will Eszter forget him? Of course, she won’t. And I guess it will not be a major spoiler if I tell you that our teenage protagonist starts a sexting relationship with her ex-English teacher – who’s actually married by the way – and that’s when things really start going out of control.

Well, I will not carry on with the story but I think it’s pretty obvious that this whole situation will not end well. And by the end of the movie, you’ll also learn why the movie’s title is “I Hope You’ll Die Next Time”.

Oh and I think I should also mention about the beautiful visuals of the movie and about its great pastel colours (just love the atmosphere!). And another thing that I loved was that it includes video calls, text messages which make the whole thing look more realistic.

And at the end of the day, the most important thing is the message of this movie. The characters have a seemingly perfect life, living in one of the prominent Budapest neighborhoods but this doesn’t mean that they do not have their own problems such as bullying, self-esteem issues and other mental health problems. And parents often realize that there’s a problem when it’s already too late….

Director:
Mihály Schwechtje

Writer:
Mihály Schwechtje (screenplay)

Starring:
Kristóf VajdaSzilvia HerrCsaba Polgár

Where To Watch?

The movie is available on Neflix and also on HBO Go – but as far as I know, their catalog varies greatly depending on your region.

Other Movies To Watch

I am a movie addict. And when I do not know what movie to watch, I will normally check blogs or websites about movies. One of my favorites is: Assholes Watching Movies – I love that they have very strong opinions and they’re not afraid to share them! So if you’re wondering what movie to watch tonight, just check out their blog and I am sure you will find tons of ideas. 🙂

Your Suggestions

If there’s any movie that you’d like to recommend, please do not hesitate to share it in the comment section! 🙂

More From Mark Wester

Does Keeping Yourself Busy Help With OCD?

I have been thinking a lot about this question lately and I realized that there’s one thing that I got completely wrong – I used to think that keeping myself busy was the only way to fight OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and I guess I have kind of “overdone” it.

Please do not get me wrong, I still think that staying busy is one of the best ways to cope with OCD but it will only work if you do it in combination with other techniques and if you do not overdo it like I did.

So, what do I actually mean by saying that I have kind of overdone the whole thing?

Let me tell you my story. How it began – and how it ended.

As I mentioned in many of my previous posts, I was diagnosed with OCD in my late teens. While I do not actually remember the exact day when my OCD started (’cause I guess it has always been there in the background) I will never forget the day when I felt it was going out of control. I was a senior in high school and my class was having a particularly long holiday as we were supposed to be preparing for our final exams.

I guess having a long holiday is probably a positive thing for most people. Well, for me it was not. I was very anxious about getting into college so I had pretty much finished my preparation for the finals by the time our break from school started. Which meant that I had a month off – a whole month to think about all the crazy stuff that was going on in my head! Now, that was a terrifying thing for me. I was worried about my future and I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. And in addition, I also had OCD. A perfect recipe for disaster.

As I could no longer deal with the things that were going on in my head, I decided to seek professional help. I have already published a few posts about how I got diagnosed with OCD and what kinds of thoughts I was having so I really do not want to go into more details in this article.

Related reading:

Being Scared Of Having Too Much Free Time

Now, one thing I definitely need to mention about is a conversation that i had with my therapist who told me that keeping myself busy could help a lot. And who also made a few suggestions. Like – I could find a part-time job. Or go out a bit more often.

Well, I gotta tell you that I listened to her advice! But I guess I kind of misunderstood what she meant. Because for me, finding a part-time job meant working 40-50 hours a week and going out a bit more often meant going out every single night.

At the beginning of my OCD journey, I did not feel that there was a problem. Staying busy actually helped me forget about all the scary things going on in my head and it was just a great way to escape from my OCD monster.

So, after a few months of long working hours and parties, I started feeling that things were going in the right direction. The only thing that I was concerned about was a new fear that I had developed – the fear of having too much free time. Because I remembered what it felt like when I had to stay at home and did not have anything to do. And this fear was the beginning of a new chapter.

Fear Of Losing My Job / My Friends

My “busy new life” was just perfect – except for one thing. I started obsessing over losing my job or my growing circle of friends.

And that’s when my attempts to keep myself busy became an obsession. Doing some extra work or going out with friends was no longer about distraction – it was a compulsion just like lock checking or other repetitive actions people with OCD tend to do.

I felt that I couldn’t say “no” to any invitationbecause what if people will be upset with me? What if they will never want to see me again? I was just unable to say “no” to any request at work because you know..what if they fire me? And taking a day off work or spending a weekend without going to any social events were just things that I didn’t even dare to imagine.

Related reading

When Things Go Out Of Control

After a while I arrived to a point where I felt that I was just losing it. By saying after a while I mean a few years – ’cause that’s how long it took me to take up enough activities and to commit myself to do so many things that it was just impossible to handle.

So, after years of living a busy life, I started to feel that it just couldn’t go on any longer. And at the same time, this realization was also a great shock to me – for the first time in many years, I felt that I did not need to stay busy for keeping my OCD under control. And that was an amazing feeling!

The Aftermath

Now, I think you can guess that the story is not over yet. I cannot just simply undo the last decade and run away from the people I love and from my responsibilities. But I have been improving – I am trying to say “no” a little bit more often. Of course, not like literary but in my own, overcomplicated way.

I have become a little bit less proactive – but I think compared to most of the people I know, I am still pretty much a workaholic. Well, there are things that will never change.

And I focus more on my family and on my real friends – I know this will sound pretty ugly but you know how it is, there are people who come and go – and there are those people who’ll stay in your life. Back in the past, I used to attend every single social event that I was invited to. Nowadays, I spend more time with my “inner circle” and I try to make a little bit more time for myself. And over the years, I have learnt that the people who are really important in your life will not stop talking to you just because you did not go out with them last Thursday!

Why Exactly Now?

You may ask how come I decided to write about this topic. Well, you might have noticed that this is the first post I published after a 2 weeks break. There’s been a lot of thing going on in my life the last 2 weeks so I really needed to talk about this topic!

Conclusion

1. Keeping Yourself Busy Helps With OCD

At the end of the day, my personal experience is that keeping yourself busy is a great way to keep your OCD under control.

2….But Don’t Overdo It!

But just like with anything else – you shouldn’t overdo it. And I know it is hard to find a balance, so if you feel unsure about it, the best thing you can do is discussing with your therapist. So, do not be like me!

3. Stress Can Make OCD Worse

If you have a lot of things to do, it’s more likely that you’ll be stressed. And stress does not help OCD at all.

4. You Can Not Run Away From Yourself

Staying busy cannot be your only way to cope with OCD as there are moments in our lives when it’s simply not possible. Like, just think about the recent restrictions due to the pandemic – if this happened years ago, I think I would have lost my mind.

Further Reading

Reblog – Interview With Mark Wester

I first came upon Mark Wester’s blog, Overcoming OCD while researching about OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, due to a revelation by my daughter. I had no prior knowledge about this issue. Since then Mark and myself have been interacting through our comment section. Several days ago Mark sent me a message through email that he […]

The Interview – Overcoming OCD – Mark Wester — rts

George Ezra opens up about his OCD – Why is it important?

Normally, I do not follow celebrity news but I recently came across a podcast where George Ezra opened up about his OCD struggles and I found it so deep and relatable that I just felt that I needed to share it with you – in case you missed it – and I also want to talk about why I think it’s super important that celebrities like him open up about their OCD.

So this is the article that one of my friends sent to me the other day: George Ezra Opened Up About Living With OCD In A New Interview. And honestly, when I first saw the title, I would think that this interview was going to be just like most of the others – a meaningless conversation about how important cleaning is for George Ezra and how uncomfortable he feels when things are not perfectly organized in his wardrobe.

Do not get me wrong, I love this guy but I think you can totally understand why I was having such thoughts – I mean what could we possibly expect after Khloé Kardashian’s KHLO-C-D series that present OCD as if it was a fun thing to live with. (Here’s the link to one of her “fantastic” videos)

But well, let’s leave Khloé alone and talk about George Ezra. In this interview he was talking very openly about his Pure O – and well Pure O is something that I’ve been suffering from ever since my teens so I can tell you that I could totally relate to everything he said.

What Is Pure O?

Purely obsessional OCD – or simply, Pure O – means that you’re haunted by intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts, but these are usually not accompanied by any compulsions.

Now that’s a definition from a book but if you would like to read more about the topic please check out my post:

Pure O – Living In Endless Fear – well, I know the title may sound overly dramatic but it really feels terrible.

Hm..so well this is the Pure O that George Ezra was talking about and he perfectly described the way many of us feel:

It feels like you’re testing yourself. It feels like you go….
”God, in this situation the worst thing you could think is…”
And then you have that thought. And then you think

„George don’t have that thought again”
So you do. And then you go

„Well, if you’re somebody who could have that thought, does that mean you are this person? And if so, you’re fucking horrible mate”
And this in its worst, it would be before – and this might be me dramatizing it, but when I remember the times it was as if before my eyes had opened they would have started and it would last until I went to bed. And I wouldn’t have lived, I wouldn’t have been alive. Whilst everything was going on in your head, you’re vacant to the world around you and you’re not really..there.

And well, I guess I have nothing more to add. He’s described the way I feel.

Why is it important that celebrities like George Ezra open up about their OCD?

Well, George Ezra did say that the reason why he talked about his OCD publicly is because he was aware of the idea that somebody hearing him talk about might be helpful.

And I do agree with that. I spent years living with OCD without getting a proper diagnosis and the reason behind this was the fact that I used to think I was a psychopath and I would never have thought I had OCD because well – the media gets OCD all wrong. It’s usually portrayed as if it was all about cleaning – and well, even worse, certain TV shows can really give you the impression that it’s actually a useful thing to have!

So – I wish George Ezra talked about this 10 years ago!

Further Reading

Do you know any other celebrities who opened up about their OCD/ talked openly about their mental health? Please share in the comment section – together with your thoughts and experiences!

Love,

Mark


How Do You Learn The Best? – The 4 Learning Styles

Learning new things is fun but it can sometimes be very challenging. I am pretty sure all of us have attended classes that were unbearably boring or training courses that hadn’t met our expectations.
I, for instance, will never forget the completely incomprehensible mathematics classes I had to survive throughout my high school years.

Was my teacher bad at explaining? Well, not necessarily. I mean there were quite a few people in our class who could perfectly understand the explanations she was giving so I cannot say that she was the only one to blame for the fact that I found her classes absolutely intolerable.

Now, you may ask if I was actually paying attention to what she was saying and the answer to this question is definitely yes. I wasn’t particularly interested at mathematics but I really wanted to get into university and that made me pretty keen to learn.

And well, at this point you may be wondering about whether I was just “bad with numbers”. Let me tell you that I was not. Actually, since I started working, I have realized that I am pretty good at mathematics!

Oh yes, and forget to mention one more thing – those mathematics classes that I found incredibly intolerable and that made me want to escape from school, get a new identity and start a new life in Argentina – sounds crazy but that’s always the first thing I think of when something goes wrong in my life – were not even that boring. According to some of my classmates they were simply phenomenal.

Hmmm…..kind of a mystery, isn’t it? There’s a teacher who is pretty okay at explaining and a student who’s keen to learn and who doesn’t have any significant learning difficulties (missed to mention that earlier). So what went wrong?

Well, I think I know the answer. My teacher’s way of teaching didn’t match my learning style. And I guess we cannot even blame her for that as this problem goes well beyond the teachers. It’s about the whole education system!

Now, why do I write about this topic on a blog that’s primarily about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Because I think it’s a very important problem to talk about and it does have an impact on our mental health!

There are millions of students all around the globe who feel stupid for not being able to understand certain things they learn at school. People who have been told that they were good for nothing because they just couldn’t get good grades no matter how hard they had studied. And we are not able to change the whole system from one day to another. But one thing I can do is sharing my experiences and I really hope this will help some of you. And well , I am very passionate about this topic as I am a Learning & Development Professional – and back at school and at university, I was often told that I’d never have a proper career if I continued to live my life with my “rebellious” approach.

The 4 Learning Styles

So let’s take a look at one of the reasons why you may find it difficult to stay focused during a class or a training session:

Your teacher’s (presenters, facilitators etc.) style doesn’t match your learning style.

Now, what do we mean by “Learning Style”?

Learning styles were developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford and they identified four distinct learning styles or preferences:

  • Activist
  • Theorist
  • Pragmatist
  • Reflector

These are the learning approaches that individuals naturally prefer. It’s recommended that in order to maximize one’s own personal learning, each learner should understand their learning style and seek out opportunities to learn using that style.

Source: Honey & Mumford – Website of the University of Leicester

And well, we obviously shouldn’t categorize ourselves as these learning styles are not definitive and most people are a mixture of several of them. Take, for instance, me as an example – I am a mixture of “pragmatist” & “activist”. Now, what does that mean? Let’s look at the different learning styles! 🙂

Activist

Learning by doing – that’s what normally works for an activist. Activists need to get their hands dirty, enjoy the challenge of new experiences and often act before thinking.

They can learn the best by:

  • brainstorming activities
  • problem solving
  • group discussions
  • puzzles
  • competitions
  • role-plays
  • games

And as you might have already guessed, the worst possible learning experience for an activist is a presentation full of theories, abstract concepts and without any interaction. (A perfect description of my university – do not tell you its name ’cause I don’t want to do any negative publicity!)

Theorist

Well, if you think that the example that I gave above – about the presentation full of theories and concepts – is not that scary, you’re likely to be a theorist.

What do theorists like?

  • understanding the theory behind actions
  • models, concepts and facts
  • analyzing and synthesizing
  • systematic & logical theories

And what do theorists not like? Things that do not fit with theories they’re already familiar with or classes/ training sessions that do not explain the theory behind the practice.

Pragmatist

Okay, but how does it work in practice?

Pragmatists need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice. In the real world!

What they like:

  • Experimenting
  • Problem solving
  • Discussions
  • Case studies
  • Time to think about how to apply learning in practice

What is the worst possible learning experience for a pragmatist? Now, as a person whose main learning style is pragmatist I can give you the most perfect example – my mathematics classes I was talking about! Numbers, letters and theories without any practical examples. Okay, there’s a Pythagores Theorem but how does it work in real life?

Reflector

Reflectors learn by observing and thinking about what happened. They may avoid leaping in and prefer to watch from the sidelines, view experiences from a number of different perspectives, collecting data and taking the time to work towards an appropriate conclusion.

Learning activities that work the best for them are:

  • paired discussions
  • self analysis and personality questionnaires (so reflectors will hopefully like today’s post)
  • observing others
  • coaching
  • interviews
  • feedback from others

When do they learn the least? When being rushed or put in the spotlight.

What Is Your Primary Learning Style?

You can find out by completing this questionnaire. (not from my blog, it’s on Mint HR but that’s the best free one I could find.)

And well – do not forget to share the result in the comment section! 🙂 As I said earlier, mine is pragmatist.

Does Your Learning Style Affect Your Mental Health – Or The Other Way Around?

That’s a topic that I am planning to explore in more details in my future posts – well, please let me know if you’d be interested at reading about it at all.

At this moment, what I definitely know is that my learning style definitely had an impact on my mental health. My main learning styles are pragmatist and activities and I grew up in a country that has a very theoretical education system which doesn’t really welcome innovative ideas.

There are obviously many teachers who try to make things better and who do everything they can to make their students feel comfortable but their power is very limited – it’s the government that decides what and how students should study and many of the people in charge do not see any problem with our current education system. Sorry, didn’t want to get political just felt I had to share.

So back to my mental health – as I have OCD which in my case comes with a constant feeling of uncertainty, back at school (and mainly at university because that’s when my OCD really started to go out of control) I used to question my own capabilities. Do I have dyscalculia or why am I so horrible at math? Am I not as intelligent as the other people around me or why is it so difficult for me to pass an exam? Why do I feel like falling asleep during classes?

So yes, my learning style did affect my mental health but did OCD affect my learning style?

That’s something that I am not sure about. Logically thinking, I guess OCD sufferers could learn better with methods that normally work for activists – a class or a training course with a lot of activities can keep you engaged and can help you forget about your intrusive thoughts but this is just what I think – haven’t found any research data about the topic.

Your Thoughts

As you know, there’s one thing I enjoy more than sharing my stories – reading yours.

What is your primary learning style? How’s the education system in your country? What learning methods work for you the best? Do you think there’s any correlation between the different learning styles & mental health?

Share your thoughts in the comment section! 🙂

Further Reading

From Mark Wester:

Am I Going Bald? – OCD & Hair Loss

During my teenage years I used to wear my hair long. I was an emo kid who loved trying different hairstyles and I think I do not exaggerate by saying that my crazy haircuts were a part of my identity. Back in those days, I would spend hours in front of the mirror fixing my hair or experimenting with different hairstyles.

And I can tell you that throughout my high school years, I did not have self-esteem issues. Do not get me wrong, I did not use to think that I was the most perfect-looking guy of the universe but at the same time, I felt comfortable with the way I looked.

But unfortunately, things started to change as I grew older. I was 18 when I first noticed that my hair was thinning.

Or wait. What am I saying? Did I say “I noticed”? Well that’s not actually true. It was not me noticing it but a schoolmate who asked me whether I was going bald as she thought my hair was getting thinner. Honestly, I still do not know if she was just teasing me – ’cause she obviously knew how important my hair was to me – or if it was true and my hair really started falling out at the age of 18. Well, I could ask her but I guess she wouldn’t remember ’cause it’s been so many years and to be honest, I do not think it even matters anymore.

But what matters is that the remark she made meant a beginning of a new obsession. Do not get me wrong, I do not blame her for that. If she knew the way I would feel, she would have never made that remark. But anyways, I think you can easily guess that this new obsession I am talking about was an extreme fear of going bald.

It all started by me spending even more time in front of the mirror – but instead of doing my hair or trying out different hairstyles, I was just checking my hair and trying to make sure that it wasn’t falling out.

At the beginning, my “hair-checking” compulsion bit was still under control: I was just looking at it or brushing it a little more often. But one day I just felt that I needed to start pulling it out.

Did I Have Trichotillomania?

Now, first of all – what is trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania, also called hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

Read more: Trichotillomania (Mayoclinic)

Looking at this definition, you may think I had trichotillomania. But I do not think I did. In my case, the reason behind my “hair plucking obsession” was that I just needed to make sure that my hair was not falling out. And I didn’t feel relieved after pulling my hair out. On the contrary – I would be extremely sad when I saw the hair strands on my hand.

By the age of 20, my hair loss had become pretty noticeable. And I am not sure whether it was my obsession that lead to hair loss or it was my hair loss leading to this obsession. I have always thought it was a kind of “chicken or the egg dilemma”. Not sure if I will ever find an answer to this question but I think it’s more likely that it was my hair loss was caused by my “checking compulsion” rather than the other way around.

At this point you may ask if I am still having this compulsion. The answer to this question is yes….and no. After some time, my compulsion turned into a “simple habit”. A bad habit that I haven’t been able to break for years.

I still need to touch my hair and I sometimes need to pull it. But it’s a habit that doesn’t really have any meaning anymore. Back in my teens and early twenties, I used to do it because I wanted to make sure that my hair was not falling out. Nowadays, I am doing it simply because over the years, it’s become an automatic movement. I keep telling myself that I gotta stop doing it ’cause I know it can do a lot of damage to my already thinning hair. And when I pay attention, I will be able to stop playing with my hair but you know how it is. Sometimes you just kind of forget about yourself and you cannot control the things you’re doing.

Damaged Self-Esteem

Now that I have told you about the story of my thinning hair and my hair-loss-checking-compulsion, let me tell you how this whole thing makes me feel. a selfish reason why I decided to write this article.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that back in my high school years, I did not use to have self-esteem issues.

Unfortunately, that has changed over the years.

It took me a crazy long time to give up on my long hair but I finally had to let it go as I realized that I looked pretty deplorable. And well, much older than my age.

One thing that helped me make up my mind – and that I will never forget – is what a friend of a friend told me a few years ago. We had a get-together, everyone was a little bit drunk and we were trying to guess each others’ age. Now, I know that it’s never a good idea to play this game – especially not in my case, because people usually say that I look older than my age.

Anyways, when it was my turn and people started guessing how old I was, this girl (the friend of my friend) would tell me that I looked 30. You may say that a 30 years old guy is still pretty young and I do agree with you on that but you have to bear in mind that I was only 23 years old when this whole thing happened so I guess you can imagine how it made me feel.

It was a horrible feeling. And I was stupid enough to start seeking reassurance – which meant asking other people about how old they thought I looked. And I can tell you that I wasn’t happy with the answers they gave.

Restoring Self-Esteem?

I have learnt to accept myself and a few years ago, I found a very nice hairdresser (would give you his contacts but I see in my stats that most of my readers are from the US/ Western Europe and I am based in Hungary so…not sure you’d ever come here for a haircut) and lately, we’ve been experimenting with a few new hairstyles that actually make me look my age (I’m 27 by the way). So we could say that I have managed to “regain” my self-esteem. Of course, I still hope that I will have my long hair back but I no longer feel anxious over my thinning hair.

One thing I have learnt though is that it’s important to accept yourself and to work with what you got not what you hope for. And well, another thing is that you should stop worrying about what other people think of you. Like…I still miss my long hair but I do not care anymore if other people think I look older than I am or if they do not like the way I look. ‘Cause at the end of the day, all of us are beautiful people!

Further Reading

More From Mark Wester

Your Thoughts

As you know, there’s one thing that I enjoy more than sharing my stories: reading yours! Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section! 🙂

Now On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mark_wester_overcoming_ocd/
Just in case you want to see some of my travel photos and what my balding head looks like 😀

Love ❤
Mark

“Not So OCD” – A Guided Tour Around My Room

OCD is not an adjective – and I think many of you already know that. But despite the fact that there are more and more people who have been trying to raise awareness on OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I still see quite a few “I am so OCD” posts in my social media feeds.

Am I offended by them? Well, I do not think “offended” would be the right word to describe how I feel about this whole “I am so OCD” thing. I would rather say that I am concerned about it as using OCD as a word to describe the love for cleanliness and order can be a very dangerous thing.

There are many OCD sufferers who do not know that they have OCD and who may even be scared to seek professional help because they think their thoughts are just so scary and irrational that nobody would ever be able to understand them.

Let’s just take me as an example. Convincing myself that I should see a therapist took me an extremely long time. Before being diagnosed with OCD, I used to think that I was just downright crazy. And honestly, I would have never thought that I had OCD because I was (and I still am) the exact opposite of any OCD stereotype.

I am sharing this post because I really hope that it will help raising awareness and that it will help those who are in the same situation that I was in a few years ago.

According to the most common stereotypes, people with OCD are addicted to cleaning and love to keep things in order.

Check out: 5 common misconceptions about OCD

Well, let me tell you that I am far from being addicted to cleaning and I have never cared about keeping things in order.

And I think the best way to show you how wrong stereotypes can be is inviting you to a “guided tour” around my room. Am I proud of the things I’m about to show you? Of course I am not. I am one of the messiest people I know and my room could be the potential winner of an “ultimate OCD nightmare” competition.

A Guided Tour Around My Room

Now, let’s take a look at what my room looks like. As I said earlier, I am not proud of it and I really think I should be a little more organized but on the other hand, I do believe that sharing these pictures will help the world understand how wrong OCD stereotypes can be. So, let’s start our guided tour!

1st Stop – “The Chair”

We all know “the chair”. Some of us have it at our place. Some of us have seen it at a friends’ place. And well, the pile of clothes on my chair is something that definitely does not fit the stereotype that most people have about OCD. For those who do not exactly know what I am talking about, here is a picture with “the infamous chair.

Not sure if you have noticed but there’s also a carpet on my chair. Please do not ask me why it is thereI honestly do not know. I just love carpets and I found this beauty last year at a bazaar but I haven’t found the perfect place for it yet so for the moment, I’m storing it on my legendary chair.

2nd Stop – Suspicious Bottles

I have never been good at keeping things in order. Another proof of my messiness is the collection of random (and often suspicious looking) bottles that one can find while walking into my room. Why do I not throw them away? Well, that’s a long story – I just love mineral water but at the same time, I always feel guilty for polluting the environment with plastic bottles and I always promise myself that I will find a creative way for reusing them. Unfortunately, I often end up throwing them to the rubbish.

And to be honest, the other reason behind my “bottle problem” is the fact that I do not really feel bothered by these bottles.

3rd Stop – My Skincare Products

Skincare is one of my hobbies and I own a huge collection of different products – and as you can already imagine, these products are not beautifully organized on a shelf. I normally just throw them into a huge box that seems to be pretty organized to me (as I perfectly know where to find the things I am looking for).

4th Stop – My Books

I have been in love with books ever since I was a small child. I just love everything about them – their smell, their texture and all the beautiful stories one can find in them. I own more than 2000 books and I try to take good care of them but it’s difficult to keep things organized when you live in a small city center flat (like I do). My bookshelf doesn’t look particularly chaotic but it’s just way too small considering the size of my “private library” – and as a result of this, I have ended up storing my books at completely random places (in the kitchen, under my bed, in the wardrobe etc.)

5th Stop – My Bags

It’s not only my room that is a complete mess but my bags too are….hm..let’s say that their content is questionable. Well, obviously nothing scary but as you have seen, I am really terrible at keeping things organized and I often just throw things in my bag – so it’s usually full of sheets of paper, books, bottles of perfume (’cause I never know which one I will feel like using..), chocolate bars, at least one bottle of mineral water, umbrella (what if it rains?) and who knows what else.

Conclusion

While many people with OCD have cleaning compulsion, it does not mean that all of us live in perfectly maintained, super clean homes. OCD is one of the most misunderstood health conditions and due to the stereotypical portrayals in the media, many people think that it’s nothing more than a cleaning addiction or an extreme love for orderliness – while in reality, OCD is a terrifying mental disorder that millions of people have.

Further Reading

Your thoughts

As you know, there’s one thing that I love more than writing my stories: reading yours. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.

4 Chronotypes – Confessions Of A Wolf

I have always had trouble waking up early in the morning. When I was a child, my parents used to tell me that one day I would get used to getting up early but here I am. 27 years old and despite the fact that I’ve been forced to be an early riser for most of my life, I still do not think that I would ever get used to the aggressive sound of my alarm going off at 7 am.

Am I just lazy? Honestly, I do not think so. And I hate when people tell me things such as “Rise and shine” – or even worse, in my country, they would usually say “the sun is hitting your tummy” and with the kind of intonation that will make you feel like you are the laziest person on earth.

For some reason, nobody would ever tease someone for getting up too early in the morning or for going to bed at 8 pm. Please do not get me wrong, I really do not mean that we should start bullying early birds, I am just saying that society should really be more accepting towards night owls.

Because at the end of the day, can a night owl become an early bird or the other way around?

Well, the internet is full of articles about how to become an early riser or how to change your sleeping habits but honestly, I do not think it is something that one can do. Over time, our bodies may change and there are many people who find themselves turning into early birds as they age. But my experience is that forcing yourself to become a morning person will not work.

And well, I may sound like a guy who has tried way too hard and failed and who just wants to find excuses for not wanting to integrate into a society that considers “eveningness” as a flaw and “morningness” as a virtue. But I think there is an explanation for my behavior: Chronotypes

What Is A Chronotype?

Every person has a master biological clock ticking away inside of their brain, and dozens of smaller biological clocks throughout his or her body.
But, unlike a normal clock, not every person’s biological clock keeps the same time or even at the same pace. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “I’m not a morning person”, well there’s a reason for that. Some people are meant to be more productive in the morning than at night, and vice versa.


Source: Michael Breus, The Power Of When

Michael Breus’s research breaks chronotypes into four categories and describes them with the names of animals:

  • Wolf
  • Bear
  • Lion
  • Dolphin

Now, what do these categories mean? That’s something I would like to explore in today’s article.

What is my Chronotype? Take the quiz here! (The Power Of When)

Wolf

This chronotype often has trouble waking up in the morning. Wolves tend to be most active in the early evening hours.

And as you might have guessed: I am a wolf. So, I will talk about this chronotype in a little bit more detail. Not because I think it is more common or more important than the other ones but I just love sharing my personal experience (hope you’ll apologize me for that.)

Being a wolf feels like having constant jet lag. I usually set multiple alarms and when they go off, I will feel like being struck by lightning. My aunt too is a wolf and she once told me that she felt like “fighting for her life” every single morning. And well, I know this may sound overly dramatic but I completely agree with her. Some people say that if I were more “motivated”, I would be able to get up more easily but believe me, that just does not help. Like when I am on holidays, I am excited to explore new places and visit all the sights but this doesn’t mean that I am able to get out of bed before 10 am.

And getting up early is just the beginning. Because then, there are the morning meetings – “’cause we all know that people are more energetic in the morning”, so let’s just schedule a meeting for 9 am. Or back at school, it was the same story with the exams – our teachers used to tell us that our brains were “more active” in the morning hours so it would be best to take all the exams at 7 am. 7 AM!!!!!! At 7 am, I usually feel like a truck ran over me.

Anyways. Over the years, I have managed to get to know myself and I have learnt that the best time for me to work on an important project is at late afternoon/early evening or at night. And I have also learnt to accept myself (I am suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), so the combination of these 2 disorders made me believe that I was a lazy person who will never be able to have a normal life and that I will get fired over my early morning sleepiness.)

Am I alone with the problems that I have just described? Of course I am not!
About 15-20 percent of the population fall into the wolf chronotype category.

Bear

Over 50% of the population falls into this category. Bears’ internal clocks track the rise and fall of the sun and they are most active and alert in the middle of the morning but often struggle with the mid-afternoon slump.

And as this is the most common chronotype, it’s no surprise that bears are likely to do best working traditional hours. I am proud to be a wolf and I think one should never want to change oneself but….secretly I have always envied bears – well, except for the part about the mid-afternoon slump ’cause that’s something that I do not have.

Lion

We could say that lions are the opposite of wolves. They may easily wake up before dawn and are at their best up until noon. Lions usually fall asleep by 9 pm or 10 pm. About 15 to 20 % of the population fall into this chronotype category.

And well….one of my best friends is a lion which means we often end up “fighting” over our schedule while being on holidays. She normally tells me that if we get up early, we will have more time to see things (and well, there’s another fantastic Hungarian proverb that’s one of her favorites “who wakes up early, will find gold – it has pretty much the same meaning as “the early bird gets the worm”) – and I obviously do not agree with this statement ’cause if we wake up early, we will need to go to sleep early, so at the end of the day we spend the same amount of time awake.

How do we manage to enjoy our time together despite our different sleeping patterns? Well, we obviously need to compromise and what we normally do is “becoming bears” – ’cause that’s exactly in the middle.

Dolphin

I just love this cute dolphin picture I’ve found on Pexels. Dolphins are just so adorable but wait, where was I? Yes, I was speaking about chronotypes.

Dolphins have trouble following any sleep schedule but they normally have a peak productivity window from 10 am to 2 pm. They are light sleepers, who are often diagnosed with insomnia. About 10% of the population are dolphins.

Conclusion

Today’s post was a little bit different from the ones I normally publish but I personally think that there’s a strong correlation between mental health and chronotypes. And that’s the reason why I wanted to raise awareness of this topic. Every one of us is different in some way and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place. I do not think we should “categorize” people but it’s important to be aware of the fact that there are different chronotypes and that we should stop criticizing those who do not have the same sleeping habits as we do. The good news is that society is becoming more and more open and there are a lot of workplaces that started to provide more flexibility.

Further Reading

May Interest You (From Mark Wester)

Share Your Thoughts

As you know, there is one thing that I enjoy more than writing my stories – reading yours. What’s your chronotype? And how does it impact your daily life? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section!

Love ❤

Mark

Tales Of The Jewish Quarter – Hidden Happiness

Yesterday, I was walking the narrow streets of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter – a place that has recently become well-known for its vibrant nightlife and its ruin bars full of life – but for me, this neighborhood will always mean more than a party district as I still remember the days before it was transformed into one of Europe’s largest open space bars.

And the story that I am telling you today took place many years ago, in my early teens – one of the happiest periods of my life. Times when I did not use to worry about money and career or about what I wanted to do with my life. However, just like any other teenager, I had other kinds of problems and one day, I felt hopeless as the guy I had a crush on did not love me back.

I have changed a lot since that day but one thing that has not changed and I think it never will is that I love going for long walks when I feel sad or melancholic. So that’s exactly what I decided to do on that summer day:

Me walking in the Jewish Quarter – picture taken by my friend who was studying photography and had to introduce one of her friends through photography as part of a school project.

Just walking the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter, cry and daydream about a life that I thought I would never have. And while wandering the streets, buried deep in my thoughts, I ran into a Jewish lady. She was a friend of my family and she immediately asked me what was wrong. We sat down on a bench and as I knew she would never judge me for who I was and that she would understand the way I was feeling so I decided to tell her everything. That I was in love and that I felt totally hopeless.

She was patiently listening to my story and she answered me by telling the most inspiring tale that I’d ever heard (a Jewish folktale):

Hidden Happiness

When Elochim (God) created universe, he wanted all of us to be happy and not to have any struggles or misery in our lives. So, He created a perfect world without any sadness or problems. But living a life free of suffering did not make people happy as they were not able to appreciate what they had.

What was meant to be a world of constant happiness and satisfaction turned out to be a meaningless place full of boredom and lethargy.

Elochim saw the world he had created and felt sad for the people living in it. So he decided to make happiness more difficult to find. A treasure that people have to look for and can only have for a limited amount of time.

Because daylight is much brighter after a long, dark night. Spring is more colorful after a grey winter. And happiness is much greater after times of misery.

Paradoxically, having more suffering in this world made people happier as they could enjoy more the things they had and feel more grateful for the gifts of Elochim.

Photo – Fabiolla Loureiro (I do not personally own this picture)

This story made me cry (again, ’cause I tend to cry a lot – even when I am happy) and made me think about the fact that despite all the terrible things this old lady had survived, she was still more grateful for everything she had than many of us had ever been. And it helped me realize that happiness does not exist on its own – we would never be able to fully experience all the wonderful feelings if we were never feeling sad or hopeless.

I could say that she is no longer with us but I believe in Heaven. And I am sure she’s become an angel who is keeping an eye on me. And she gave me something that I will always be able to hold on to. A beautiful tale that I have not been able to find in any books or on Google and that will always accompany me on my long walks – in the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter.

What If I Don’t Really Have OCD?

In most cases, being diagnosed with a disorder is definitely not a pleasant experience. But my story is different. The day I found out I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was the start of a new chapter in my life and I will always remember it as a rather happy, joyful day.

Please, please, please – do not stop reading my post thinking that I am a freaking lunatic who has completely lost his mind. Because at the end of the day, I have just told you that being diagnosed with a mental disorder had been a great thing for me – and well, I can totally understand if you find this statement alarming but!

Just to make it clear: I am not happy for having OCD and I really do not think anyone could possibly be happy for having it ’cause believe me, it’s not fun at all. However, after spending years worrying about irrational and disturbing things, it was a huge relief for me to find out that I had OCD because learning about this disorder finally helped me understand why I was having weird thoughts and why I was feeling the way I was.

But I guess you can imagine that getting my diagnosis was not the end of the story. My OCD was preparing for an ultimate attack. A new question so creative that only OCD could invent. Or we could say: a new obsession to rule them all.

What If I Do Not Really Have OCD?

Nowadays, I do not have any doubts about the fact that I have OCD. But I wasn’t always so sure about it. It took some time for me to convince myself that I really had it and to stop ruminating over the questions my OCD was asking me. I am sharing my story with you because I really hope it will help those who are struggling with the same problem.

I have had disturbing, intrusive thoughts ever since my teenage years. Back in the days, I did not use to know why I was having them so I guess you can imagine how I was feeling. Many people think that OCD is a kind of cleaning addiction but unfortunately, it is so much more than that. It can make you question even the most fundamental things in your life and make you scared of things that are, in most of the cases, completely irrational.

The list of different obsessions that OCD sufferers can have is endless. Some of us are afraid of contamination, others have a terrible fear of harming others. But one thing that can easily “give OCD away” is the “what if?” questions. Hmm.. what do they look like? Let’s see a few examples:

And well, as I mentioned earlier, it would be next to impossible to give you a complete list of all the “what if” questions that OCD can come up with, but in today’s article we will be exploring one in particular:

What if I do not have OCD?

Being diagnosed with OCD helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything starts to make sense. You finally realize that you are not the monster you thought you were and that having intrusive thoughts is something that happens to a lot of other people.

This realization will make you feel so much happier. Before finding out that I had OCD, I used to think I was insane, creepy and downright dangerous. After being diagnosed, I started to understand myself and see the whole world from a different perspective.

Being aware of the fact that I had OCD made me feel so much calmer and that’s when a new problem started to arise. I started to feel that I wasn’t worried enough about the things that I was supposed to be worried about.

I mean, how come I am no longer scared to death by the thought of accidentally poisoning someone? Or how come I am so irresponsible that I am not even hiding the knives anymore? (Was scared of losing control and harming someone I love…)

These are the thoughts that would soon lead me to the ultimate question: what if I do not even have OCD?

The fact that I started to be less anxious about the things that used to give me sleepless nights, made me question my diagnosis. I knew my psychologist was competent enough but everyone makes mistakes so I thought she might have misdiagnosed me.

And obsessions usually come with compulsions – because you just have to do something about your fears, don’t you? In my case, the most logical step (and the worst thing one could do) was simple enough: let’s just start worrying more about everything.

When I felt that I wasn’t worried enough about jumping off a bridge (one of my worst nightmares) or if I was not optimally anxious about not having locked the door, I would just force myself to worry more about these things. It was like a kind of mental ritual. A ritual that I performed in order to make sure that I had OCD.

I am a visual person, so I have decided to create a little flowchart to show you the way things happened.

So as you can see, instead of fighting against my OCD, I was actually fighting for it! Because at the end of the day, I thought that not having OCD was a scarier thing than having it.

And well, let’s not forget about reassurance seeking. Another thing that I did was buying tons of psychology books and spending hours on Google reading about OCD and checking if I have all the symptoms. Now, if I try to look at the bright side of things, I can at least say that I was learning a lot about psychology during that period.

How Did I stop Obsessing Over This Thought?

  1. The first step for me was realizing that the fear of not having OCD was an actual sign of having OCD.
    It took some time to absorb this, but once I managed to do it, everything became so much easier!
    Do I Have OCD?
  2. Personifying my OCD
    Another thing that helped me a lot was imagining that my OCD was an actual person. An annoying creature who loves harassing me with crazy thoughts and bombarding me with creepy questions.
    The Face Of The Devil – Personifying Your OCD
  3. Watching out for “what ifs”
    Now, talking about personifying your OCD – one of the major red flags is when your inner voice is asking you questions starting with “what if”. OCD simply adores this type of questions and the best thing you can do is trying not to give an answer to them. ‘Cause even if you manage to answer one, there will always be a next one…it’s like a never ending story.
    OCD – A Living Hell Of Uncertainty
  4. The Last Obstacle
    Finally, thinking about the “what if I do not have OCD” as if it was a kind of last obstacle also helped me stop ruminating over this whole question. I knew that if I managed to acknowledge the fact that I had OCD, things would soon change for the better.

Important: Seek Professional Help!
I am not a certified therapist and my blog is just a place where I share my thoughts and experiences with you in the hope that you will find them helpful. However, I do not want to encourage you to self-diagnose or to try treating your OCD on your own because without the guidance of a professional therapist, it can be downright harmful.

Further Reading

Your Story

As you know, there’s one thing that I love more than sharing my stories: reading yours. Please share your thoughts/ideas/experiences/stories in the comment section! 🙂

Love,

Mark