ocd

Me, me, me me me.

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After reading through i few advanced personality tests i did at Uni for my masters,
they seem to conclude that i’m ‘extrovert’.  What does this mean?  I’m not entirely sure, but i figure it means you like to bounce your ideas off people and are generally outgoing and like external stimuli.

Please educate me if you know more about it.

The ‘Rise of Reason’ is coming along.  I haven’t read a book in about a year, so i’m going to get reading which should help me get a feel for how long my book is going to be and its structure.

I suppose it will be a self help book, but a decent one.  There’s too many cheesy ones out there.

I purchased a digital piano yesterday, I have a secret musical talent I am about to unleash.  Music production is now one of my hobbies, it used to be restricted due to my OCD.  It would severely get in the way.  Now i can enjoy things sooooooooooooooooooo much more.  My new hobbies are: writing, meditation, kung fu, music production, and online poker.

All of which can help me in this exciting phase of recovery.  The thing that has helped me up to now the most is meditation; it is self-therapy.

Be well,
Walks

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Self worth.

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The ‘Rise of Reason‘ seems like a natural title for the upcoming book.  There’s certain things happening for me at the moment, the killing of automatic thoughts, whether it be OCD or gambling being the affliction.  I can reason with myself out of it.  My whole entire life i was a victim of both things.   Only now do i have sufficient self worth, now i can reason with it all.  There’s a few things which i am going to do now… they will be unveiled in coming chapters.  Be well.

Wellness. What is?

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I’m really well at the moment.  I don’t really have OCD anymore.

How do i cope?  Well i meditate.  Then meditate some more.

It’s not always possible, but because i never gave up, I have made it.  I wish to those still recovering to keep at it.

I will possibly always need medication, I don’t feel restricted in anyway though.  It’s there to prevent relapse.

So what is wellness, well for me its just being normal in the present moment! the way others can watch TV, read, converse.  Normal living.  no such thing as normal? true but you catch my drift.  There is a certain amount of wellness we all deserve.  Go get it, put yourself first for a change.

Chapter 2 – Seeking Help, Finding?

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Labels… diagnosis… is it really all true? Is it really all necessary? Is the rise in mental illness on the planet due to more efficient diagnosis and therefore treatment, or is it due to ‘modern lifestyle’? Or something else?

 

I first went into hospital when I took myself off medication. The conclusion was a disaster. It was partly the withdrawal symptoms, but mostly the illness. Why would I do such a thing? Well I was getting cocky. Wanting to forget it all, I felt ashamed too, ashamed of my illness and also my existence. I decided to fix up and realised that the professionals are not the enemy. Rather, the illness is the enemy. I realise that I wasn’t under section. I could walk at any time, but what would I do if I walked? I was suffering with untold amounts of anxiety, and couldn’t concentrate for any significant period of time. The psychosis was constant, but they didn’t pick up on this then because I was so obsessed with other things like gambling sequences and things I could do with a knife, (mostly to myself but to others also). People who suffer from OCD do not act on their intrusive thoughts, well I’ve never heard of anyone. We are terrified of our own thoughts, which do come from a place of anxiety and doubt, not from desires.

In many types of mental illness, taking medication is a much better option than doing nothing.  It seems to be protocol for people to have huge doubts though regarding medication and its effectiveness.  But how true is that assumption?  True to a certain extent.  It’s likely that antidepressants are over-prescribed.  How well can a GP tell the situation?  They may see something wrong, or miss something. For instance, I was miss-diagnosed by a GP.  This caused a lot of wasted time going to counsellors who were not really helping. Well they helped other aspects of my life, but I was too ill to take it all in. The answer is, that if you are seriously debilitated, incapacitated or anxious beyond belief, you have to go and see a consultant psychiatrist if you are overly concerned that you have an illness.  If you have anxiety or depression on their own, I would probably suggest trying other options first – join the gym, try a new hobby.  There may not be the need to prescribe yourself onto antidepressants.  Because they do suck the energy from you.  Naturally get your chemicals flowing and you’ll do well my friend.

It does in fact treat it; Clomipramine and Olanzapene. An anti depressent shown to be effective with obsessional thinking, and the latter a relatively standard new anti-psychotic. They do seem to work. How? It’s hard to explain, I don’t think psychiatrists can really explain. The psychosis? It wasn’t miss-diagnosed when I was first diagnosed with OCD, however, i was over-looked when it came to my detachment from reality and psychosis type anxiety. Whether I am psychotic or not, as long as I’m making progress its fine; I’m on the highest dose now… which feels superb. So, medication: a myth? I’ll come off one day and on that day I will let you know if it was all worth it.  I currently have no doubts of their effectiveness…  The side effects are worth it.

My first experience of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was at the Priory in Hayes. On hindsight it wasn’t very effective. There were two of us. The other guy had more common OCD obsessions and compulsions; Fear of contamination, fear of bodily fluids, and perfectionistic traits. And I was kind of overlooked by the psychologist there. We went through a book and set goals. The other guy was able to create a ladder of exposures. My exposure was writing the thoughts down and coming to more sensible reactions, doing this in real time as well and, of what I mentioned earlier as the mental argument (being a compulsion) letting go of finding the answer. The reason why I don’t think this first bout of CBT was particularly effective is because 1. My anxiety was too high (the meds hadn’t kicked in yet) and 2. My OCD is not like others’ OCD. Although you will relate to the rumination even if you don’t relate to the obsession. It’s within the rumination where we get so messed up. My downfall is that I appear quite well superficially. So, the obsession, did it have anything to do with music? No, it didn’t. Did it have everything to do with needing certainty and fear of loss of control? It’s probable, although I would argue that there was too much anxiety to have any kind of clarity on why I had the obsession in the first place. I did do a music technology course I dropped out of, so the content of the obsession does relate to that, but it’s completely out of any control or want or desire. Like I said earlier, this obsessional thinking comes from a place of anxiety doubt and confusion, not from organic wants and desires. Like I mentioned, my condition back then was more severe than more recent years (of ‘Harm OCD’), which is ironic because the content of the obsession was benign.

So I got some relief from my first glimpse, ever, of freedom in 2008 as still a young adult. Shortly after my first CBT the same thing came along on the NHS. Now then, I was determined to express just how bad the so called benign obsession was. Of course there were other mini obsessions and general anxiety. In 2009 I was introduced to a beautiful diagram (thanks to my therapist for having the knowledge to find it and thanks to Professor Paul Salkovskis who wrote it). Understanding this diagram was key to recovery. The only bit of the diagram I disagreed with was ‘a catastrophic event’. I did not have a catastrophic event that kicked off the OCD, I feel we could argue that my interpretation of stress due to being a very deep thinker was a cause. But professionals aren’t so clear about what the cause is anyway. What we need to focus on is the here and now. I will share the diagram here:

Down in Brighton consisted of a strict detox, relaxation sessions, CBT, addiction sessions, new people, and lovely food.  Strict time management too, whilst taking and reviewing medication.  I was only there a short time but it was like a strict and extremely thoughtful retreat. What else would you expect from the Priory. I thanked my lucky stars I was sent there under the NHS. (and got to stay for so long, after all people pay thousands to be there).

They then had me a bed back in Bromley, not much support, no CBT sessions, boredom, and somewhat unhealthy interactions with other patients.  As a society, how on earth are we treating our mentally ill? I don’t know; it must be severely underfunded in the NHS. Well that much is clear.  There needs to be much more civilized ways of dealing with our mentally ill in the NHS!  Nevertheless I stayed in hospital for some time still, as I needed to be there.

More recently I was an informal patient at Woolich, Oxleas House, where I had time to recover from a suicidal episode, and learn to meditate. At first I thought that the interactions with other patients was unhealthy, but after a while I thought it was cool that we had something in common. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel that way if I were downstairs on the high security ward. So I learned to meditate once again. This will be key to my recovery now.

Chapter 1

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Hey everyone, check out this revised introduction and let me know what you’d like to hear more about.  Its 755 words, i don’t know how long is best.

….

 

In the beginning, I always had benign topics. By this I mean the obsessions were about everyday things like courses I had given up, or girlfriends I’d lost.  Theres only one obsession that has been there all along; an ‘existential phenomenon’.  It has been there since approximately year 9 and I will discuss it throughout.  Even though I say ‘approximately’ I have a vivid recollection of it suddenly afflicting me.

My OCD was constant, it wasn’t really triggered by anything. Intrusive thoughts seemed to come from nowhere. I used to love skiing as a kid.  I remember being on a ski slope and thinking ‘‘what the fuck, why am I feeling so caught up with this thought’’  Sometimes I could let go and ski well, other times I would be stiff and caught up;  Entangled.  Enslaved.  I also remember playing the piano.  I’m very musical but my OCD stopped me.  It is another example; I could play really well when free of the intrusive thoughts, but when they were strong my playing would suffer in a huge way. The non-sufferer can reject thoughts as tomfoolery and go about their business.  The OCD sufferer, or indeed other mental illness’ too, suffer severe amounts of anxiety from what are best described as ‘intrusive thoughts’.  Normal thoughts are sponteineious and organic, whereas these get stuck in a loop.  Here’s some examples; Do I want to stab myself in the neck? Do I have the capability?

How is there something rather than nothing atall?

Should I be doing the music?

How did I appear to that friend of mine? Was I weird was I really odd?

How did I appear to that family member? Did I say everything I should have said?

Do I need to stab myself in the neck? Is it just a thought?

How on earth am I supposed to clean up this flat, with these thoughts and depression on top?

I feel worthless, yes I am worthless.

It is clear, that we suffer a catastrophic misinterpretation of the significance of our own thoughts; That’s one observation.  Another observation is that they are fuelled by ‘doubt’.  Doubt is a huge symptom of OCD especially.  You may wonder what on earth this all has to do with OCD, you thought it was all washing and cleaning right?  Well it can be, but even then it is likely the sufferer is doing those things because they are terrified of contamination.  Things become contaminated beyond reason.

Compulsions are safety rituals acting off a sort of delusion. My compulsion was the mental argument and the finding of an answer.  Many sufferers are scared something bad will happen if the compulsion is not carried out as anxiety overwhelms us.  At the core is a feeling of responsibility.  As we drop the story we can see that the content of the obsessions is ambiguous.  With mindfulness we can sit with the anxiety until it dies down.  Peer right into it.

I imagine it must be hard to grasp that ‘should I be doing the music’ was a threat. Well if I really think about it, that’s how bad my OCD was.  The truth is it was worse even than more common themes.  The finding of an answer was so overwhelming that it took my attention away constantly.  As you can imagine, I’ve always had concentration issues, but back then in 2008 it was on another level.  If we look at Eminem’s lyrics in his song ‘The Monster’: My OCD is conking me in the head, keep knocking nobody’s home, I’m sleep walking. I don’t think the man has OCD but that’s a good brief description of how I may appear sometimes.  We can’t just snap out of it either, before you presume it is all nonsense.  At first, it takes exposure response prevention therapy (ERP) which desensitises your brain, and then understanding of the cognitive model to really ‘get’ what is going on.  OCD can’t really be of any benefit.  Some may say it helps them clean, or it helps them get work done…  Sorry but if that’s the case you may have anxious tendencies, but you do not have OCD.  Like the ‘Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners’ I think only one of them actually had a diagnosis, the others just had anxious tendencies; the show did a lot to insult real sufferers and did not help stigma.  This book is a positive force for all mental health warriors.

At the core of it all is a horrible feeling. I relate and sympathise with you all.

Initial Blurb

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I’m not a writer.  I suffer from a psychotic and obsessive compulsive disorder.

I can present well superficially and attempt to mask my symptoms so that i will feel accepted.

Being used to struggle to contain the symptoms such as severe anxiety, it would result in me having to leave jobs and not complete courses.

After using things like alcohol and a fix from gambling to self medicate my entire adult life,

I now present to you my recovery.