Posted on June 18, 2012

OCD & mental health in the news

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 !


Continue reading