How Dela Wesst Became a Boss Despite OCD
Pretty much everyone is trying to be a boss these days. For the 1 in 5 adults dealing with mental health issues, however, becoming a boss can feel impossible.
For Catiana Edmonson, also known by her stage name Dela Wesst, finally understanding her mental illnesses allowed her to fall in love with herself and properly chase her dreams. Currently, she is a writer, public speaker and mental health advocate, but growing up she always struggled with OCD and bipolar disorder.
Catiana sat down with Galore to offers tips for dealing with any mental disorder, from the perspective of someone who deals with it every day and still handles business.
Identify and learn about your disorder.
Catiana advises that first and foremost, anyone who suspects that they are dealing with a mental illness should go to a psychologist and get a for sure diagnosis and treatment plan. You’re never weak for getting the help that you need.
“You should learn about your disorder because sometimes, you like to avoid it and hide it,” she said, “but you should learn about it just like you’re trying to learn about one of your friends or someone you want to date.”
Catiana always knew she was different. As a kid, her OCD manifested in small ways. If she got one hand wet, she needed to wet the other, or if someone punched one arm, she needed them to punch the opposite side. She’d even get up in the middle of the night to remake her bed or wash her face. Eventually, those issues manifested as anorexia and bulimia.
Even though she stood out from the rest of her family, her mother didn’t believe in the existence of mental illness, so she never sought help.
“My mom grew up on the streets so she learned to handle her emotions differently, if she handled them at all,” Catiana recalls, “so she didn’t believe in mental health issues. It’s either you’re crazy or you’re a wimp.”
Which is totally false. Mental illness is real and and learning to handle it in a healthy way is the first step to keeping it from holding you back.
Practice self love.
Self love is intentional. It involves seeing your relationship with yourself the same way you see relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend and giving it that level of effort.
“And that doesn’t just mean love your looks,” Catiana told us, “you have to put that time and energy into yourself to get to the point where you can prosper but still recognize the fact that yes, I do belong to this community of people who suffer from this.”
Some self love tips? Set your alarm with positive affirmations, start a journal and use it to write down goals and release negative emotions.
Love your mental illness, too.
Accepting your mental disorder is an important step to self love. You can’t see it as your enemy. Catiana admits that it has felt like an uphill battle, at times.
“Don’t drown yourself in wishes to be normal because your disorder is part of what makes you unique,” she claims, “Everyone is different and variations of character wouldn’t exist if they weren’t necessary in promoting a healthy world.”
Her advice? Treat it like a super power. There are ways in which you’ll see the world differently because of mental illness, and that’s a good thing. For Catiana, she feels like her OCD allows her to try new things and keep working until she masters them. Growing up with bipolar disorder helped her to better empathize with others. As a result, she advocates for others who have felt isolated or alone. She brings awareness to mental health issues and speaks out against bullying.
Take social media breaks.
Catiana really advocates for stepping away from social media. You don’t have to delete your accounts, and it never has to be for a long time, but just deleting the apps from your phone temporarily can be really healthy.
“I try not to compare myself to other people who have reached their goals before me, because that’s a really big part of social media,” she told Galore, “You’re constantly comparing yourself to these other people and their bodies and their lifestyles and the amount of followers.”
You’ll literally never know what anyone else is going through, all you see is what you perceive based on their social media feeds. And everyone is just posting their best moments, they’re not posting the struggles they went through to get to there. Nip the comparisons in the bud.
Push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and balance it with moments of self care.
This doesn’t mean putting yourself into situations that make you feel worse. If you’re not feeling up for anything, just try to do little things that show a dedication to self.
“On the days you want to just stay in bed, I recommend challenging yourself to get up and do at least one thing that makes you happy,” Catiana advises. “It can be as simple as doing some yoga or watching your favorite TV show.”
By doing small things that make you happy, you’ll be developing your relationship with self, which improves your relationships with others and your momentum to do the bigger things.
There may be instances where you won’t want to go to class or work, where you’ll feel like avoiding the things that would help propel you forward in your career. It can seem daunting, but those are times to push yourself using the momentum built from self care days.
“Even though those are very tense situations for me inside of my mind, I try to combat that,” Catiana said, “Coming out of your comfort zone is an exercise towards helping your anxiety.”
Make sure to reward yourself for a job well done and to never bite off more than you can chew. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone else. If your best that day is really just buying something that makes you feel good or spending time alone, it’s okay to recognize that.
Promote healthy thought processes.
“It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the mean words other people say, or that you might say to yourself,” Catiana says, “so it is so important to recognize when you are harming yourself and your health.”
This means watch out for urges to try crash dieting, binge eating, purging, or excessive weight training. Even if you’re getting the results you desire, those results aren’t necessarily healthy. Pay attention to thought processes that involve comparing yourself to others or an older version of yourself.
For Catiana, the key is accepting negative thoughts just as they are and letting them pass, rather than ruminating on them. Don’t try to explain your negative thoughts away. Everybody has them and according to her, trying to eliminate them just perpetuates the belief that they have power over you.
“Remind yourself that you’re constantly growing, one day at a time,” she told Galore, “You deserve to see the finished product.”