Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Personal Experience of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This week is OCD Awareness Week, and here's a snippet from one persons account of their OCD:

OCD all started for me on Christmas Day 1980. I was eight years old and, after the excitement and over-indulgence of the day, vomited in the late evening. I recall my Mums' words very clearly; “you've eaten far too much and made yourself sick”. From there, I developed an irrational fear of vomiting. Every evening I would lie in bed waiting for my Mum to check on me so I could ask “I'm not going to be sick am I Mum? It's all in my mind”. OCD was born.

I look back on my childhood with sadness. A time which should be protected from fear. A time which should be carefree and without worry was a time of endless angst. I feared electrical plugs being left in and would sleep at night with the plug from my electric blanket against my face. It seemed the only way to be sure it wasn't still plugged in. I rocketed from one anxiety to another with no respite in between. Nobody recognised a child who was suffering. I was “just a worrier”.

In my late teens my anxieties receded. I was able to complete a psychiatric nursing qualification and met and married my husband aged 21. I secured a job and purchased my first house. Life was just as I dreamed.

And then OCD returned.

The fear of vomiting returned. I became preoccupied with the need to repeatedly check best before dates on food. I would seek continual reassurance from my husband that my meal was okay for me to eat. I lost count of the number of carefully prepared meals which had to be thrown away as the fear could not be quashed. I began to develop fears in my work. “What if I give someone the wrong medication”, “What if I give someone an injection which paralyses them”. The compulsion to check my work to quell my anxieties was overwhelming. I felt trapped in an endless cycle of anxiety, check, anxiety, check. It was exhausting.

It was in 1995 where I reached breaking point.
read the rest here

OCD affects about 750,000 people in the UK. For many of these, the fear of what others will think prevents them every telling anyone else, and stops them from going to their GP. Removing the sense of stigma will mean that 3/4 of a million people don't need to suffer in silence.

Short notice I know, but if you're one of my millions of Somerset readers (ok, you both know who you are) there's an event in Bath this evening. Other events later this week.

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