Tag Archives: thoughts

Great Article about Louise Casemore

Ghost River's solo show, OCD, brings affliction out into the light

Writer, director and performer Louise Casemore is adamant conditions like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and addictions are no laughing matter. She does concede, however, that they can be approached with humour if handled carefully.

In 2015, Casemore created and performed in a show called OCD for the Edmonton Fringe. It was awarded Edmonton theatre’s Sterling Award for outstanding new Fringe work and was Theatre Alberta’s pick of the Fringe that year.

Casemore says her goal in creating OCD was always “to bring a light touch to a heavy subject.”

She said she was prompted to create the show when she noticed a growing trend of treating mental illness and addiction far too casually.

“I noticed a T-shirt that defined OCD as Obsessive Christmas Disorder.

“A friend who had battled alcoholism said he was annoyed that people threw the term addiction around so lightly when he understood what it really meant,” recalls Casemore who had battled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when she was a teenager.

“I wanted everything to be perfect, which produced some tics and compulsions that were pretty annoying for other people. Back then, sitting down to a meal with me could be pretty exasperating. I’d be rearranging everything on the table.”

She also knows people battling OCD who can’t drive a car and can’t sustain a relationship “which is why I was very cautious in creating my show. It needed to respectful and honest.”

Her solo show is based one-third on her personal experiences. Another third was created from extensive research on the disorder, including interviews with doctors, therapists and sufferers.

“The final third is pure fiction and that’s where I could really bring in a comedic touch.”

She says her show is “much more than me just standing on stage speaking a diary. It’s storytelling and performance and it has some poetry in it.”

She also points out, though there is definitely structure to the show, it is loose enough to allow people to react or even interact if they feel the need to and they definitely have.

Casemore jokes that since its premiere at the 2015 Edmonton Fringe Festival, she has toured OCD to “dirtbag bar basements,” cavernous concert halls and everything in between.

“I’ve wanted to bring it to Calgary, but I just haven’t had any breathing room.”

Casemore has been busy as the artistic associate for Ghost River Theatre, as well as the artistic director for her own company, Defiance Theatre.

Ghost River and Defiance will present Casemore in OCD at the West Village Theatre (2007 10th Ave. S.W.) Feb. 1-10 with a pay-what-you-can preview on Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. nightly. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 3 and an 8 p.m. student performance on Feb. 6 with a talkback following that show.

Tickets are $25 with $20 tickets for artists and $15 tickets for seniors and students.

Tickets and further information are available on ghostrivertheatre.com

Letting Go

I have been having a bad month of anxiety & OCD, I feel like I have completely relapsed and the intrusive thoughts have become so intense that I am back to square one. My intrusive thoughts have caused me so much grief and sadness that all my tools I have learned have somehow slipped my consciousness and I have been in the belly of the beast.

At times I feel in control, and other times I feel completely overwhelmed by anxiety and worry. I thought to myself if this continues I don’t think I can function properly, and the urge to want to just stay in my room indefinitely provides me with comfort. As if quarantining myself would somehow lead to me being free of anxiety.

I forgot that I have dealt with this monster many time before, and the idea of  a quick fix or a “cure” just does not exist. I forgot that in order for this to become easier and better I have to force myself to face it head on and push myself through hard work. I forget that I now have to incorporate this into everyday life, it has to become a lifestyle change. Just like going to the gym is hard work, I have to exercise my mind and implement all my tools that I have learned.

The thoughts become so loud, that it can become self consuming the key is to not have any judgment NO MATTER how intense and unpleasant the thoughts may be. It is the balance between accepting the discomfort and loving the self that will ultimately free the grip of anxiety.

Anxiety exists regardless if it is invited in, and my fundamental flaw in my current approach is that I have re-entered the cycle of wishing and praying that my anxiety could just vanish. The notion of that is counterintuitive to my growth, because it assumes anxiety is capable of vanishing everyone has anxiety it is part of being a human being. The sooner I accept that as truth the less power anxiety has. The sooner I embrace anxiety, and stop going to war with myself the sooner I can feel a beautiful inner balance.

Discipline is so important when dealing with anxiety, the discipline to know that it is just anxiety, and the discipline to proactively use tools such as meditation, journals, mindfulness etc. will ultimately create an automatic thought response to counteract anxiety.

Going back to the example of the gym, at the beginning the idea of going to the gym can be so daunting,  especially if you have not gone in years.  The first few weeks seem excruciating, and many people quit never to come back because of the intensity and emotional obstacles they face. But if you stick through it eventually you’ve created a habit and your routine automatically incorporates going to the gym as a natural part of your day. You also start to feel better, enjoy it and even desire to go. This is the same idea for anxiety, the beginning will be so much work, and extremely uncomfortable and intense but eventually it will become an automatic part of your natural life.  A big lesson I learned is during good times I have to keep putting the effort in, just because I feel amazing does not mean I can just revert back to not working hard, that was my downfall this time and I have now been able to catch it. It is easy to slip back into old ways of thinking especially when things have settled down. The motivation for change decreases as the intensity of suffering decreases.

Consistently working on being present and mindful will create a beautiful inner happiness that glows and circulates throughout the entire body. The simple yet complicated practice of letting go…without fear or ruminating.

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing OCD Podcast!

I came across a beautiful couple Julie and Andy, who both dedicate time out of their life to host a podcast around OCD and Anxiety. This has been a wonderful resource for many people, and makes you realize that other people are also going through what you are. The stories of the guests will leave you inspired and encouraged. I really love their podcasts, not only do they interview people who personally are suffering with anxiety, but they speak with professionals and loved ones of sufferers giving a broader understanding of the disorder.

The link to the podcast is:

http://coldflyer.com/

 

Video Journal

 

I suffer with anxiety and to elaborate more I suffer with OCD. In my previous blogs I speak about what OCD is, how it impacts someone, and what tools may help to combat the crippling anxiety. This week has been a tough week for me, I was experiencing a big spike in my anxiety, once the anxiety passed after a few days I was able to recalibrate and ground myself again. In this moment I wanted to create a reference point for myself for when my anxiety spikes again. I thought about how I was going to capture my ideas, and really communicate to myself in a rational way. I decided I was going to make a private video journal, in this video I would speak to my future self. I found this extremely effective because now I have a moment in time where I can refer back to and guide myself through my anxiety. Seeing myself so grounded and resilient to anxiety is truly empowering and has snapped me out of anxiously thinking. In the video I talk about my past few days of being suffocated by anxiety, I then move on to explain why it is so important to just accept the thoughts for what they are and not allow myself to label or “argue” with my anxiety. I go on to say how important it is to realize that I will never know anything with complete certainty, I wont even know what will happen 5 minutes from now. This was important for me to capture because a huge aspect of anxiety is the “what if” this happens and constantly wanting 100% certainty that it will not happen. Once that certainty is achieved at a level that my anxiety is content, it moves on to another subject matter and there in lies the vicious cycle of anxiety and obsessively wanting to achieve reassurance. In the video journal I remind myself of all the tools I have to tackle my anxiety, and I also address what anxiety is and why I am actually the one in the drivers seat not my anxiety. When anxiety takes over essentially “I” as the driver become the passenger, and it becomes very difficult to reassume the position of driver in these moments. I would highly recommend creating a video journal as a guide to help during times of anxiety provoking situations. It not only helps with combating anxiety, but it also is a great catalogue of showcasing personal growth.

Eighteen

I wanted to share a beautiful piece my younger sister wrote. She too has struggled with anxiety, and this year in particular has been extremely challenging for her, as she tried to navigate life after high school. At the age of only 18 we are somehow supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our life, and what path we must take to get there…please enjoy my sisters beautiful words.
Eighteen
By Gabrielle:
This is something I’m writing on the spot, as these words flow through my head, it might not make sense or mean anything and jump from one point to the other but I hope you enjoy it
I took a year off this year, I took a year off and I learnt so much about myself, in more ways than I could have ever imagined- lots people frown upon gap years and such behaviour, but as a “honour student”, “valedictorian”, “leadership activist” if those prestigious, meaningless labels even meant something than I probably wouldn’t be writing this; People seem so perfect and posh, life is complicated and why can’t it be? I needed time to figure out my life… because the truth that so very few of us will admit is that we have no idea what we are doing in our life, we have no clue what we want from this strange world! And we are so afraid of being “wrong” and being imperfect that we place so much pressure on ourselves to become this person so far from who we truly are… that we don’t even recognize ourselves. We live each day with these constant expectations, this checklist that we must succumb to, these obligations, this “perfect life” when in reality we are all walking around dealing with life as it comes, because the truth is life is hard- we are dealing with our own problems, our own battles and making decisions that determine our “future”, and I say that in quotations because our future is yet to be determined- when I was in Australia one practice I hold so dear to my heart is this idea that you only have right this second, you can’t control yesterday or what is to come! You can plan the shit out of your life and make this agenda of your daily life events, but I can promise you life is unpredictable! Go back to a two weeks ago, when you were stressed about that thing you never thought you would ever make it through… now fast forward to the present, isn’t it amazing that you survived! Haha, you as a human being are an incredible species and all I have wanted is to inspire and motivate individuals to be happy, but you can’t teach people how to be happy it’s a skill someone must learn on their own! My dad always use to say to me, “your face looks ugly when you’re sad” and I use to get deeply offended, but as I have grown and matured I realized wow that is so true, it feels so good to smile and to laugh! When has laughing after been a painful experience? When you feel good, you look good! when you embrace the very essence of who you’re as a person you are more in control of yourself and your life! And I have noticed that by being okay with the unknown and living so freely in the moment without this perfect picture of my life ahead, sure I have goals as do we all, but Im not this perfect person, I am weird and ridiculously passionate, and extroverted and talkative but i love who I am because these are the things that make me who I am… I share pieces of my story with you all in hopes that you’ll feel inspired- deep down I think we all have a vocation, a passion that bubbles in our blood- a light that exudes off  of our skin, so powerful that being without it is truly like attempting to breathe without air… it’s impossible. I think that if we turn our backs on what we truly want in life and our dreams we are already setting our selves up for failure, a life fulfilled by materialism an a vicious cyclic void of deep pitted emptiness.
I think, in the little wisdom that I have gathered in my 18 years of life I have come to find that happiness is an essential part of of life- and I truly think happiness is extremely maintainable and attainable,
Being happy isn’t as complicated as people make it sound- it’s actually quite simple, when you do things you love you’re naturally a happier person, when you do things you don’t enjoy you’re unhappy-
People tell me, but Gabby, You don’t understand its a lot more complicated than that, I have no motivation to be happy-
These people are the type of people who are so afraid of their mind, and allow their thoughts to manifest and take over who they are as a person that they become so incapable of producing happy thoughts, because their mind has so much power over them- “gabby, you spam so much on istagram and write so many pointless things that no one reads”, instead of getting upset and sad and living in this vicious victim state I say I don’t  care tiny voice in my head because I love sharing my thoughts on life, I don’t care if people take something or absolutely nothing from  it because I wanted to write this
Another thing is reminding yourself to be motivated and ambitious, your motivation could be small things, the great little things that you enjoy or look forward to everyday! Like for me I love watching the sunset, or just looking at the sky…  when your allow yourself to feel good and take it in your body thanks you for that 🙂 it’s not a coincidence that we get sick when we are stressed… when it comes to life doing the things that make you happy, choosing a career path (even if it seems extremely impossible to do what you love- SO?? If you don’t who will?!) that makes you feel excited and brings joy to you is important for your own wellbeing!
I can’t stress how many times I have seen people forget that each day is a blessing- when I say people are facing their own battles each day it’s true… I have been blessed with an opportunity that allowed me to view life in a way of greatness and opportunity, rather than “what the world owes me”… I constantly would sit around waiting for signs and something to guide me in the direction I’m suppose to be in! Because I wished so badly to have some sort of control over my life and answers! Have a sense of direction- but when I started to be faced with certain challenges in my life I started to realize holy hell, life is a blessing and I’m grateful for even existing, I’m grateful to be able to travel, and see the world and to have my family and friends and to educate myself and stay humble and have the opportunity to take the steps towards fulfilling my dreams and reaching my goals…
I believe in empowerment and that humans can inspire each other in thousands of different ways and I truly believe that we are so capable of anything in this world- taking a year off was the best decision I have made in my life, and I am proud of the person I have become as I transition through the various phases of my life; through this all I was afraid, felt useless and allowed the fear within me to take over, but I persevered and created myself this year, built my life and have continued to throw bricks on my back to build the roof over my head. I have embraced who I am, and I accept who I am in my story and I have learnt to love and forgive and show sympathy and empathy for those around me. I have learnt not to judge- for I don’t know other people stories and their experiences, and I’m not entitled to attempt to understand who they are… people are complicated, life is complicated and we are all just finding our way day by day.
If you take anything from this, I hope it is this:
I hope you remind yourself that you’re an amazing person, whether you don’t agree with it, we all make mistakes, we are all weird and emotional and have flaws and are different but we have our own deep rooted aspirations and if you don’t go after that- for your self no one will for you!
Do what you love and inspire those Around you, life is meant to be lived ❤

Extinguishing the “WHAT IF”

Anxiety in the simplest definition is the idea of not knowing what will happen, and the fear of scenarios coming true. People with anxiety need to know with 100% certainty the outcome of a situation, an interaction or their future. The easiest way to combat anxiety is to come to terms with accepting that you will never know 100% and that is okay. In actuality no one will know a future event with certainty and the more we accept this notion the more manageable anxiety gets. I try and start my mornings by telling myself “today is going to be a good day, and I am okay with anything that happens”. The less attention I give my anxious thoughts the quieter their voice becomes, they want to steal the spotlight, and cripple your day by casting a shadow of doubt across all your thoughts. Sometimes anxiety can’t even be pinpointed to a specific event or thing but being anxious alone can trigger “why am I anxious now?”, “nothing is happening, I shouldn’t be anxious…is it because….this or this..”.

You may for example be thinking about an email your boss sent you asking to meet, rather then just simply waiting to meet anxiety strikes by casting fear and plays vivid scenarios of everything that could possibly go wrong in this meeting. These intrusive thoughts don’t stop until the meeting takes place and you get relief from knowing your meeting was not as intense as you played it out in your mind. This way of thinking intrudes on every interaction throughout the day, and can really send a sufferer into a spiral of intrusive thinking. The issue here is that so much time and energy is consumed by anxiety, and it really takes a toll on a person’s life. The next time intrusive thoughts pop up about all the terrible things that can happen try and combat it by saying, “I actually don’t know what will happen, and that is okay”. What I find most interesting about anxiety is that I build up scenarios so much in my head that when the reality happens for example- meeting the boss, the difference is profound. I magnify the outcome so much that it becomes extremely disproportionate to reality, I find relief when I have the reassurance of seeing what the real outcome is; however, I know that will only last a short moment before my mind jumps to the next unknown.

I am okay with not knowing what will happen, I along with everyone else in this world am unable to predict the future so when anxiety strikes and tries to tell me I can somehow control the outcome of the future I now realize how inaccurate that is.

 

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotte

24 Comics That Capture The Frustration Of Anxiety Disorders

A great piece shared by BuzzFeed enjoy 🙂

[Editors’ note: Anxiety affects everyone differently. These comics represent the experience of the artists and not necessarily the experiences of every person who deals with anxiety disorders. Anxiety is deeply personal, but we hope you find some solace in these comics.]

1. The way our restless minds consume us.

The way our restless minds consume us.

Art by Spencer of heymonster.tumblr.com

2. The unique experience of having a panic attack.

The unique experience of having a panic attack.

Art by Rachel Poulson.

3. The seemingly superhuman power our minds has over us.

The seemingly superhuman power our minds has over us.

Art by Natalie Dee.

4. How little things can add up.

How little things can add up.

Art by trixibelle.tumblr.com.

5. Our weird ways of coping.

Our weird ways of coping.

Art by Beth Evans.

6. The way anxiety becomes a constant companion.

The way anxiety becomes a constant companion.

Art by Claire Jarvis.

7. The difficulty of communicating our anxiety to others.

The difficulty of communicating our anxiety to others.

Art by boggletheowl.tumblr.com.

8. The way the littlest things can feel like huge accomplishments.

Art by Beth Evans.

9. The hard truth that it’s not something we can run away from.

The hard truth that it's not something we can run away from.

Art by Claire Jarvis.

10. The constant worry that we’re the only ones who think about the big questions.

The constant worry that we're the only ones who think about the big questions.

Art by Kate Leth.

11. The way anxiety can keep us from reaching our potential.

The way anxiety can keep us from reaching our potential.

Art by Beth Evans.

12. The crippling overanalysis of everyday interactions.

The crippling overanalysis of everyday interactions.

Art by socialanxietycomics.wordpress.com.

13. The fear.

The fear.

Art by L.B.

14. How anxiety stops us from being social.

How anxiety stops us from being social.

Art by Sam Brown.

15. The unfortunate fact that anxiety can strike at any given second.

The unfortunate fact that anxiety can strike at any given second.

Art by Cassian.

16. The way anxiety interferes with our ability to exist normally.

The way anxiety interferes with our ability to exist normally.

Art by virtualgirlfriend.tumblr.com.

17. The different forms anxiety can take.

The different forms anxiety can take.

Art by Bethany Rose.

18. The art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories.

The art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories.

19. The terror of owning up to our anxiety.

The terror of owning up to our anxiety.

Art by Nervous Comics.

20. How anxiety manifests itself physically.

How anxiety manifests itself physically.

Art by Nervous Comics.

21. The way anxiety can overshadow the positive aspects of our lives.

Art by Elena of elena-the-alter-ego.tumblr.com.

22. The endless cycles.

The endless cycles.

Art by ourlittlehappyplace.tumblr.com.

23. The inescapable discomfort.

The inescapable discomfort.

Art by Sean Clark.

24. And the constant feeling of being out of control.

And the constant feeling of being out of control.

Art by everybodyhasabrain.tumblr.com.