Quarantine Quarrels: Anxiety, Obsessions and Compulsions


the unquiet mind

Here I am. It’s 6am and I write this after a good night’s pondering; not that the time matters anymore during this period of self-quarantine, and in South Africa, a nationwide lockdown.

When I get better, I won’t induce sleep with 50mg of Psyquet at 11am as a result of feeling grossly overwhelmed by my obsessive thoughts; without it, I lie awake, sometimes I cry, sometimes I claw at my skin wishing for my mind to hush. Until then, until I’m a little better, I’ll tell you what’s going on right now.

night, cosmos, fairy tale

Obsessing over a diagnosis

So my therapist suspects, quite strongly I would assume because of how much it comes up, that I’m suffering at the hands of various forms of anxiety disorders; given my character and childhood experiences, not too much of a shocker. However, the other day during a session with her, in which I expressed a fear that perhaps I’m suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder after a few nights of wheels turning and skin burning. No, you’re very likely not a Borderline, she assured me. In her explanation of the spectrum of personality disorders, she mentioned that I’d more likely be suffering from OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) if I am indeed suffering from any personality disorder at all.

Cue the questions and obsessive thoughts.

what i’m being treated for

For some background, I’ve been diagnosed by two psychiatrists with Bipolar Disorder, likely because of the genetic component. I’m being medically treated for Bipolar Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and, although it’s kind of tied to the speculated bipolar, Major Depressive Disorder. I’ve questioned the Bipolar diagnosis for a few years and recently, it feels as though my psychologist questions this diagnosis as well. I know I’m severely, clinically depressed if my psychiatric records mean anything, but I can’t help but stupidly obsess over getting a concrete diagnosis of whatever the hell the issue is with me and my psyche. Have you ever experienced this? Questioning what’s wrong with you? Because there has to be.

troubles with timelines

I have all of these plans for my life, plans that have a timeline. The problem right now seems to be that I can’t, no matter how hard I try, lift this timeline. It’s an obsession. The problem is, with the worldwide pandemic, quarantines and lockdowns, the world and time itself seem to have stopped. Nothing can continue. I won’t get my degree next year will I? I won’t get a job, make enough money to buy my first house, get married and have children by 2023. It’s easy for others to tell me to take my time isn’t it? Perhaps you’re about to as well. 

I’m 20 and I just can’t simply let myself enjoy each moment. And I’m terrified I’ll look back and regret the time I’ve wasted. 

what’s wrong with me?

The question now remains with me: is it several forms of anxiety coupled with crippling depression? Is it bipolar disorder paired with severe anxiety? Is it OCPD and depression? Why the hell do I sleep so much? Why am I so obsessive over everything? Who the hell even am I?!


Perhaps a little dramatic. 

I spend all of the hours of the day that I’m awake fighting away obsessive thoughts and compulsions of anxiety. Sometimes solutions to my sorrows come to me in the dark of the night, like getting a puppy to help me with my depression, moving into my own apartment would supposedly solve the anxiety that’s coupled with living on a university campus, and finding a job would spare me from the guilt of being a financial burden on my mother (more on that soon). 

I’m sure it sounds illogical to juggle all of that while juggling the ever-present stresses of university, what with the political atmosphere at a university like Wits University. Sigh. 

This dear country of mine, as much as I love the beauties of the South African landscape and the potential there is across the nation, my previous hopes and dreams of single-handedly turning the political climate around have been greatly outmatched by my cowardice. I even constantly think of migrating to another country once I finish studying in order to find a chance for success; well, the international pandemic subsides. I’m waiting for somebody to tell me I’m being unreasonable and to stick it out until things get better. 


Maybe that’s the peril of obsessions and anxiety. Knowing logically that things like puppies and beautifully serene apartments in the city aren’t going to solve anything, but drowning in the cesspool of the darkness in your mind, so much so that a puppy promised to fix it. Even for a second. I’m sure I sound stupid, maybe pitiful even. Or does it feel like this for anybody else? Let me know. I’m starting some forums on this site, share your stories of anxiety there if you’d like!

23 thoughts on “Quarantine Quarrels: Anxiety, Obsessions and Compulsions”

  1. Melissa Goba

    Love love love your candor…i wish i had the bravery to put myself out there when i was your age…could have saved me a lifetime of unanswered questions….

    1. Peter Rademeyer

      Beautiful story, first of many i hope can’t wait for the next one I’ll stay tuned

    2. I know what those nights are like. If you have medication take it. Without good sleep we don’t have the energy we need to continue on our journey. My fight is physical (MS) and mental (depression and anxiety). For me sleep is key.

      I love this blog. We are both on a journey. God bless on this Easter Sunday

  2. You are so brave and such an inspiration to those around you! There is hope together with prayer and faith – you are an overcomer!

  3. WOW my baby…I’m so very proud of you! I love you with everything in me. I know yhis hasn’t been easy but i pray it will be worth it for you and others myself included as your mom. Thank you for sharing with us. I pray for healing and ‘when you get better’ in my heart this reassures me that you already are better and for that I’m thankful. Bless you my child!

  4. Wow, I’m amazed b your boldness, your courage to tell it like is, without fear ( well that’s what I’m getting from your blog). I’m much older now, 41 to be exact, when I was your age when I was initially diagnosed with severe clinical depression. For the past 21 years I’ve been fighting that my state of mind does not affect who I am. But it hasn’t. Some assume it’s something you snap out of, you’re negative, self isolation. I’ve been lucky enough to understand who I am, what I’m living with, and I take it one day at a time. My children are my life, and I let them know what’s happening with me. They both suffer from severe anxiety, so it’s lighter for them because I may have prepared them indirectly. To be honest, it’s a struggle, daily struggle…I have made the decision to let it happen. I’m fortunate enough to take medication, I can only imagine what those without the diagnosis, medication go through every day. I’m okay, some days more than others, in the end, I know me.

    Truly inspirational, being the voice of the unheard.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story! You are truly an inspiration and a hero for opening lines of communication for so many other people who are going through what you are going through. What truly matters in life, is the difference you can make in other people’s lives and you are that difference. May God guide you, protect you, bless you and give you inner peace.

  6. Zingisa Motloba

    Congratulations on owning your story Baby Girl. I often tell young people that when they write the story of your life, make sure you are the one holding the pen. Your courage, honesty and openness is going to give a voice to so many young people facing similar challenges and feel so very alone. You are not Broken, you are rebuilding. And remember the words of Rumi… The wound is where the light enters us. So continue letting your light shine through!!!!
    Well done!

  7. Well done baby girl, you are such an inspiration to some of us. Your bravery will make a difference to the world. Continue to do a good job. May God be with you in this journey.

  8. Wow thank you for sharing your thoughts. When I was your age I always asked myself who am I it took me years to find out. Only in my forties, four kids later I found out who exactly am I. I hope you get that answer sooner than I did.

  9. Nthabiseng Dikobe

    This is really beautiful. Thank you for opening up and sharing your journey with us. Definitely can’t wait for your next post. Well done!

  10. Such a bold and brave post! I’m inspired by how honest you are and so proud of you. I can’t wait to see more from you!

  11. Privileged to be on this journey with you. Your writing is magic!

    And, speaking to your question, when things you thought would make you happy don’t make you happy the expectation they will makes you feel worse. So I agree!

  12. Wow, Matshii, i hope it only gets better from here. You have taken the first step of healing by dealing with the issue hands on. It takes a lot of courage to put what you feel and questions on paper and be very honest about it. It can only get better from here, with time you will definately heal. Love, light and prayer

  13. Nosipho nkosi

    I love love the way you express yourself nana, you have me tearing up actually I’m a cocktail of emotions. You are a beautiful soul inside and out, well done this is absolutely beautiful 💕🌹. By the way anyone brave enough to be this open is already a winner. Riiiiise African child💝👏🏾I’m in awe😊

  14. Sipo Lentsa

    You are such a brave little madam, I am proud to know your mom and I know she will walk with you every step of the way. And as we go thru your posts we walk with you. And this is your journey, don’t put no timelines on it…. take your time you will get wherever u plan to be. You are your own competition forget how fast everyone will move…take your own pace😍. And thank you for teaching us as well… I definitely will be reading your post. And everything will OK remember that always

  15. Wow baby girl, I’m really impressed by how courageous and bold you are in sharing your story,I hope you’re proud of yourself as you’re taking the first step in not only helping yourself but others too.

    I used to suffer from depression&anxiety and depended on prescribed medication as a coping mechanism, there were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed or speak to anyone, and some days I’d feel great about myself. Until I turned to Christ and started centering my life around Him, equipping myself with the word and being prayed for.
    God mentions that we will go through much suffering, His only son whom He loves so much also suffered, He was despised, beaten, ridiculed, humiliated. No servant is better than his master, meaning if Jesus didn’t have it easy, what more with us? I’ve come to realise that, no1 is fully happy or content, not even the rich. We all go through difficulties, all of us. The only person that can fill our void is God our creator.
    God has been my light and is helping me understand so much.

    I’m so happy to see how you’ve grown to be this beautiful shining star, you will indeed get better and you won’t go through it alone. Love you

  16. The Truth With No Identity: Many Years of My Life

    Matshepo, Matshepo, Matshepo….

    You remind me so much of a seasonal time In my life when I went through such a period… twice to be exact… However, I could never write. I was too afraid to speak of something I myself couldn’t understand…. It crippled me… So much, so much that…. so much that seeing you blog about it heals me, inspires me… all because I relate. I wish I could share how or rather where it all ended but before I get there, allow me to put it on paper, just maybe, maybe I’ll be able to utter those words of how it all ends. How beautiful is was to see it fade in acceptance of who I am…!!! A purpose yet so beautiful but troubled me.

  17. This was beautiful. You are so brave, and I love that about you!🥺
    I am looking forward to your journey ahead and be able to grow together.

    Love you so much ❤️

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