I have had OCD and anxiety problems for as long as I can remember. Looking back now that I have more knowledge of OCD its interesting to see how much it did affect my life and the life of those around me.
I was first diagnosed with having OCD back in 2011 and as a result went through a course of CBT also known as cognitive behavioural Therapy. It went very well and even though theres no cure for OCD I was given many tools to help keep it some what managed.
Like many others I had good days and bad days but it wasn’t until after I had brain surgery that my mental health again started to deteriorate.
The Basis of OCD is when you have obsessive thoughts or images in your head. Usually when this happens to your average person they can just acknowledge that its not “real or that its not going to happen and move on, but for those that struggle with OCD instead of moving on our anxiety increases and then a compulsion would then follow to reduce the anxiety.
Not all people with OCD will have the same thoughts or compulsions so its different with each individual. My OCD is based around harm and safety. Both physical and mental. So for example I would need to excessively check things like windows and doors, plugs and cookers as if I didn’t check them someone would break in and cause harm to me and my family or the house would catch on fire.
Ok so you might be thinking well thats not too bad even I check that the front door is locked or that I didn’t forget to turn the cooker off, but the problem is when the checking is done excessively to reduce the anxiety. For example my anxiety was so bad at one point that after checking the cooker before leaving to start a night shift at work I would continue to stare at it for perhaps half an hour, so I was sure that the cooker was defiantly turned off. There was also a few times that even after all the checks and the staring, before I arrived at work I would have to turn around and walk back home to check it again.
Other situations where I would struggle with my OCD would be in social situations. I would be constantly looking and accessing people and places. Whats going to to happen next and how am I going to protect myself and others or escape from the situation. This would prevent me from enjoying myself and I would sometimes avoid social events all together.
Jump ahead to today. I’ve been working really hard to heal both physically and mentally for both myself and my family and I now think that I’m finally starting to get somewhere.
I have done another course of CBT that lasted on and off for 12 months which included ERP (exposure response prevention) which is kind of like facing your fears but then refraining from ritualisation and in the last few months of that I was doing a lot of self discovery and learning on “Buddhist” way of thinking and it has really helped me put things into perspective. Of course everyone has good days and bad days but I’m now finding that my anxiety levels have dropped dramatically and I am a lot happier. I am hoping to share a lot more of my thoughts as I progress
Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope to see you in the next post.