I hope at some point to write a more in depth biographical piece, to really give you an insight into the full nature and complexity of the illness, and my Obsessive
I was actually only first diagnosed with OCD in 2010, during my second year of University. I had been struggling all throughout first year, however, an incident that occurred just before Christmas in my second year sent everything into overdrive and I became completely paralysed by it.
Obviously, at the time, I was not aware what ‘it’ was, but I knew something was really wrong, I wasn’t well, and couldn’t cope; I needed help. My best friend, whom I was living with, knew something wasn’t right too. He contacted my Dad, as he was worried. I had also contacted my Mum and Dad, and told them what was going on and that I needed to get help.
Luckily, as I was a student at the time, my Dad’s health insurance policy meant I was able to be seen, almost immediately, at the Priory in North London for an assessment. I prepared for my appointment with the psychiatrist there, documenting everything I was struggling with, at that moment in time, and any problems/issues I had had, and been through, during my childhood and life up until that point.
I brought the document I had prepared to my appointment and proceeded to go through it, bit
I felt stunned, and taken aback. I expected he would just say something like, you’re under a lot of stress at Uni, you’ve just worked yourself into a tizzy, and you need to take a couple of weeks off to rest and chill out. After that, things will calm down and you’ll be fine.
He opened a book and read/showed me a definition of OCD. He asked me if I could see how my symptoms fit, and how this was what I was dealing with. Still in shock, I don’t think I really took in any of what he was saying. I left feeling bemused and confused. I felt like
I can’t remember if it was the next day, or the day after that, but a book on OCD, that I had been asked by the psychiatrist to order, arrived. I
I think there was some initial relief upon accepting this. I now knew what I was dealing with, and all the problems I had had in the past made sense now. I felt a little less like it was my fault, I had been suffering with an illness.
Once the relief wore off, I immediately threw myself head first into therapy. I began, what at that point I didn’t realise, would be an incredibly long and arduous journey. I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Exposure and Response Prevention
Luckily the University were very supportive and understanding and granted me my degree ‘in absentia’, based on all the work I had done up until that point.
This was obviously comforting news, and I was hugely grateful and appreciative, as it would have been crushing, had all my efforts to stay and succeed at Uni, while battling my OCD, come to nothing.
I didn’t really have much time, however, to think about it, as I was in such a bad way. As I had left university, I was no longer covered by my dad’s health insurance, and so I was left without support or care. After meeting for an assessment with a psychiatrist, in a building next door to my GP’s, I was referred to my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). Once again, I did not know it at the time, (Although I was in a terrible state, I was actually hopeful and optimistic. I had finished University, so now, with the right help and support, I could focus solely on conquering my OCD. I genuinely felt that I could learn to manage it, and that once I had, there would be nothing preventing me from pursuing the aims and
During this time, I was in and out of care with my local CMHT. The care they provided was sporadic, with long periods of no support in between. There were staffing issues, which meant I would see a new psychiatrist every three months, and there was no structure whatsoever. I did not have a regular psychiatrist, I never had a psychologist and I never had a care coordinator. My medication was constantly changed, and
The treatments I received were almost always non-specific, with minimal evidential backing, in terms of their efficacy and suitability in treating OCD. They were often delivered as part of a mixed diagnosis group which meant the teaching/application was even more generalised and less applicable/helpful. Some of the treatments I received, psychotherapy for example, have been proven to be totally ineffectual when it comes to OCD. In short, the CMHT did not have the funding or the personnel to effectively treat someone with severe/refractory OCD.
During this time, particularly the large periods where I was left completely unsupported, I began to develop depression. I began to feel tired all the time, had feelings of hopelessness and lost almost all motivation. I overate at times, underrate at others. Sometimes I would sleep all day and all night, other times I would be awake all day
While awaiting acceptance to an OCD specialist service “The Maudsley” (Which I had finally managed to negotiate, (it having been suggested by a private OCD expert, almost two years prior) in South West London, I became completely housebound for a period of around 8
I genuinely didn’t mean to upset or scare anyone by doing so, and I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely
Luckily, it wasn’t too long after this, perhaps a few months or so, that I was referred to Springfield University Hospital, the NHS national specialist unit in London. I was accepted onto a 6 month intensive inpatient programme for severe and refractory OCD. I am now receiving treatment from a specialist and expert team. I have made great strides already and I hope that I will leave here with the tools to manage my OCD, and the ability to do so, while pursuing the things I want from life.
I have stated as part of the About section of this blog, my journey to now has inspired me to start this blog, and to do whatever I can, no matter how small my contribution may be, to promote mental health awareness. It’s something we need to acknowledge and talk about. It should be taken equally as seriously as physical health, as it destroys and takes lives too (it is in fact the biggest killer of men under 40). It affects 1 in 4 people in the UK, and as a result, we need to ensure that, the services
Thank you so, so much, for visiting my blog and reading this entry. I hope you will continue to support me and help to promote mental health awareness.