I’m Back !


After a bit of a long break I have returned – a great deal has happened since my last post but I’m hoping to update and start writing new stuff soon ! I really wanted to just add that my new website is almost finished – there are a few pesky things to have sorted … Continue reading

a little bit OCD


a little bit OCD

It’s loon week on channel 4,and following on from Ruby Wax’s very good documentary on mental health and people having the courage to come out about their disorders and mental health issues to work colleagues, was the very good A Little Bit OCD  with Jon Richardson. 

Jon Richardson was trying to discover whether he also had OCD – the conclusion being that he had some OCD behaviours but they weren’t causing him distress,which seems to be the major factor in determining a diagnosis.  Because he is a very personable and nice young man his eccentricities were rather charming though it’s obvious that in earlier years he’d found them much more distressing,causing him to sleep in his car rather than face the chaos of his shared flat.  Interestingly the woman who feared germs and contamination seemed freer and happier outside the house with her rescued animals, unlike Gemma who seemed to be trapped in her flat by a relentless cycle of list making about cleaning.  Saddest was the animal lady’s son who despite being academically hugely successful was unable to deal with his OCD and killed himself with ground up yew. 

I hope the 16 year old featured gets treatment before he wears himself out with compulsions and rituals – good treatment including CBT can save him I’m sure.  

As I’ve said before I feel I now live fairly normally – thanks to treatment and coping techniques. A few very deeply entrenched anxieties make life difficult but I am not ‘stuck’ in the depths of crippling rituals as I have been in the past. At it’s very worst I could imagine dying because it would be a relief to no longer have to wash and check, so the yew tree poisoned man touched me. I’m ashamed to say too that the thought of having breast cancer also seemed preferable to having OCD. 

Do catch up with the programme if you can.

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new month, new specs and new work


Can’t believe it’s July already ! I’m working away at private commissions but am expecting a new book job to come soon, which will be wonderful. I love doing my pictures and cards but the challenge of a book job is a very different thing  - I’m restricted to black and white and it’s an … Continue reading

off line


I am so scarily dependent on my internet broadband access that I was at a complete loss today without it. The pesky router had packed up and we’re now using an old one until the replacement arrives.   Tomorrow I am hoping to get to grips with a new picture having completed 2 so far … Continue reading

a gap in between jobs


I’ve finished the pieces of work that I can do and am now waiting for reference and information for several new jobs.  I expect to get started again almost immediately but feel really quite lost when not occupied – as if I should be doing something anyway (I don’t mean housework or cleaning- those things … Continue reading

OCD & mental health in the news


http://www.channel4.com/news/mp-shows-human-face-of-mental-illness

Very pleased to read about MP Charles Walker speaking about his history of OCD. 

I have been very lucky in finding help for my difficulties-some has been private treatment- but the NHS provision I’ve encountered has been excellent.

 I do know that getting on a waiting list (and this is only once you’ve been through your GP and had a psychiatric assessment – usually a 2 hour marathon of questions) means a long wait for treatment like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This treatment,in conjunction with antidepressant medication, is quite the best thing for tackling OCD in my opinion because it’s really about rewiring ones responses to the anxiety triggers which spark OCD. The medication takes the edges off the anxiety very effectively.

When I had my course of CBT quite a long time ago it was a very intensive experience- much of it involved dealing with my main anxieties about contamination and checking.  It’s hard to train yourself to not give in to the compulsions – especially as on the surface,some are sensible things to do- like checking you’ve turned the gas off or locked the back door. The OCD mind won’t allow you to believe that you have done these things,or that you may have not done them satisfactorily and so follows a chain of scenarios where burglars climb in and fires start or kitchens explode. And when you do check again the relief is momentary and the doubt returns to torment you and so on.  

As I’ve said before, I deal with it by keeping everything in order- I do certain rituals each day which mean that I can get on with things I want or need to do,like working or doing something nice. These are really token things which make me feel a sense of relief when they’re done, though the prospect of getting through them feels like a burden.

To not do them would cause much unease and I know that I would then need to compensate in another displaced way. The brave thing would be to not do them at all and live through the extreme anxiety and feeling of discomfort and therefore learn that the world hasn’t stopped spinning and no one died. This is the essence of CBT.

I get up at just before 7 and am ready more or less to function at a bit after 10 am – to be fair I spend about half an hour or so online,checking emails,facebook etc -and that in it’s own way is quite a compulsion. The rest of the time is spent washing up,washing,cleaning the bathroom and dressing. The waste of energy is upsetting- think how much more creative stuff I could be doing !

 

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