Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by the presence of obsessions (persistent and intrusive thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed to alleviate distress or prevent a dreaded event). OCD can be debilitating, affecting various aspects of a person’s life, from work and relationships to overall well-being.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, while highly effective for many individuals struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), may not be suitable or equally effective for everyone. The success of ERP therapy can be influenced by various factors, including an individual’s readiness, willingness to engage in treatment, and specific characteristics of their OCD symptoms.
It is essential to recognize that therapy, including ERP, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each person’s experience with OCD is unique, and the effectiveness of ERP therapy may vary from person to person.
Success in ERP therapy often depends on several factors, including:
1. Motivation: A person’s willingness to engage in ERP therapy, actively participate in exposures, and resist compulsions plays a significant role in the therapy’s success. Motivation and commitment to the process are key factors.
2. Therapist Competency: The expertise and experience of the therapist delivering ERP therapy can influence the outcomes. A skilled and knowledgeable therapist can tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs and provide crucial guidance and support.
3. Co-occurring Conditions: Some individuals with OCD may have co-occurring mental health conditions that can impact the effectiveness of ERP therapy. These conditions should be carefully considered in the treatment plan.
4. Individual Differences: OCD symptoms and their severity can vary greatly among individuals. The specific nature of obsessions and compulsions, as well as their intensity, may affect how well ERP therapy works for a particular person.
5. Readiness for Change: A person’s readiness to confront their obsessions and resist compulsions can evolve over time. ERP therapy may be more effective when individuals are in the right frame of mind and ready to commit to the process.
Understanding ERP Therapy
ERP therapy is a specialized cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to treat OCD. It’s considered the gold standard treatment for this disorder due to its effectiveness. The primary goal of ERP therapy is to help individuals confront their obsessions (exposure) and resist engaging in compulsions (response prevention). By doing so, ERP therapy aims to reduce the distress caused by OCD and enable individuals to regain control over their lives.
How ERP Therapy Works
Assessment: ERP therapy typically begins with a comprehensive assessment to identify the specific obsessions and compulsions that trouble the individual. This step is crucial for tailoring the therapy to their unique needs.
Exposure: The exposure component involves intentionally confronting the obsessions that trigger anxiety. This can be done through various techniques, such as imagining the feared scenario, exposing oneself to the feared object, or directly encountering the feared situation.
Response Prevention: The response prevention part of ERP therapy involves resisting the urge to perform compulsions that would typically follow an obsession. This may be challenging and anxiety-inducing at first, but it is crucial for breaking the cycle of OCD.
Hierarchy Development: Therapists work with patients to create an exposure hierarchy, ranking situations from least anxiety-provoking to most anxiety-provoking. This gradual approach helps individuals build confidence in their ability to face their fears.
Repeated Practice: ERP therapy requires consistent practice. Individuals are encouraged to repeatedly face their obsessions without engaging in compulsive behaviors. Over time, this helps reduce the anxiety associated with these thoughts and allows individuals to gain control.
Benefits of ERP Therapy
High Success Rate: Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of ERP therapy in treating OCD. Many individuals experience significant symptom reduction or even complete remission after completing ERP therapy.
Long-lasting Results: ERP therapy equips individuals with the tools to manage their OCD symptoms independently. This means that the benefits of ERP therapy tend to persist over time.
Improved Quality of Life: As OCD symptoms diminish, individuals often experience improved overall well-being, enhanced relationships, and increased productivity at work or school.
Reduced Reliance on Medication: While medication can be helpful in managing OCD symptoms, ERP therapy offers an alternative or complementary approach, reducing the need for long-term medication use.
Challenges and Considerations
ERP therapy is highly effective but can be challenging for individuals with OCD. Confronting obsessions and resisting compulsions often induce significant anxiety, especially at the outset of treatment. Therapists play a crucial role in providing guidance, support, and encouragement throughout the process.
Additionally, ERP therapy may not be suitable for everyone. It may not be recommended for individuals with certain co-occurring disorders or those unwilling to commit to the therapy’s demands.
Given these variables, it is crucial for individuals seeking treatment for OCD to work closely with qualified mental health professionals. These professionals can conduct a thorough assessment and help determine the most appropriate treatment approach, which may include ERP therapy, medication, or a combination of treatments.
Furthermore, individuals and their loved ones should maintain open communication with their healthcare providers and therapists throughout the treatment process. Adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary based on progress and individual needs.
While ERP therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating OCD for many individuals, it is not a guaranteed solution for everyone. Success in ERP therapy depends on various factors, including personal readiness and the nature of OCD symptoms. It is essential to explore all available treatment options and collaborate closely with mental health professionals to find the most suitable and effective approach to managing OCD.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy can help sufferers living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It offers a structured and evidence-based approach to confronting obsessions and breaking the cycle of compulsions. With the guidance of a trained therapist, individuals can regain control over their lives and experience significant improvements in their mental health and overall well-being.
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, consider seeking help from a qualified mental health professional who can provide ERP therapy or recommend appropriate treatment options. ERP therapy offers hope and a path to recovery for those affected by this challenging condition.
Understanding Paranoia: Causes, Symptoms, and Coping Strategies
Paranoia, a term often used colloquially to describe excessive and irrational distrust or suspicion of others, is a complex mental health phenomenon that can have a profound impact on an individual’s life. While paranoia is often portrayed in popular culture as a symptom of extreme mental illness, it can manifest in varying degrees and affect people from all walks of life.
What is Paranoia?
Paranoia is characterized by an intense and unfounded belief that others are plotting against, deceiving, or intending harm to the affected individual. These beliefs are often irrational and disconnected from reality. While some level of wariness and suspicion can be a natural response to certain situations, paranoia takes these feelings to an extreme and persistent level.
Causes of Paranoia
Paranoia can arise from various factors, including:
Mental Health Conditions: Paranoia is commonly associated with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. In these conditions, individuals may experience hallucinations and delusions that contribute to their paranoid beliefs.
Trauma: Past traumatic experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, can contribute to the development of paranoid thoughts. Individuals may develop a heightened sense of mistrust as a way to protect themselves from perceived threats.
Substance Abuse: The misuse of drugs or alcohol can lead to paranoid thinking. Some substances can alter brain chemistry and amplify feelings of paranoia.
Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can make individuals more prone to paranoid thoughts. Stress can distort perceptions and make it difficult to distinguish real threats from imagined ones.
Personality Factors: Certain personality traits, such as high levels of suspicion and mistrust, can predispose individuals to paranoia.
Symptoms of Paranoia
The symptoms of paranoia can vary in intensity and may include:
Suspicion: A pervasive belief that others are untrustworthy, even without concrete evidence. (Accusing your partner of cheating, believing you are being watched or followed or someone is out to get you).
Delusions: Fixed, false beliefs that are resistant to reason or evidence. These can involve conspiracy theories, thoughts of persecution, or grandiose ideas.
Hallucinations: In some cases, individuals with paranoia may experience sensory perceptions that are not based in reality, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there.
Social Isolation: Paranoia can lead to social withdrawal as individuals may fear interacting with others due to their suspicions.
Anger and Hostility: Feelings of anger and hostility toward perceived threats or conspirators.
Living with paranoia can be challenging, but there are coping strategies and treatments that can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life:
Seek Professional Help: If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of paranoia, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include therapy and medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals with paranoia by teaching them to challenge and reframe irrational thoughts and beliefs. It can also provide strategies for managing anxiety and stress.
Medication: In some cases, antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms of paranoia, especially when it is associated with psychotic disorders.
Supportive Networks: Building a support system of trusted friends and family members can be crucial. These individuals can provide emotional support and help counteract feelings of isolation.
Stress Management: Engaging in stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can help individuals manage anxiety and reduce the intensity of paranoid thoughts.
Education and Awareness: Learning more about paranoia and its causes can be empowering. Understanding that paranoid thoughts are a symptom of an underlying condition can help individuals feel less isolated and stigmatized.
Connection Between Paranoia, Intrusive Thoughts, and OCD.
While paranoia, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are all distinct mental health conditions, they share some common features and may co-occur in individuals.
Exploring the connections:
Intrusive Thoughts in OCD: Intrusive thoughts are a hallmark feature of OCD. People with OCD often experience distressing, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts or mental images that are repetitive and difficult to control. These thoughts can be disturbing and may lead to compulsive behaviors as a way to alleviate anxiety or prevent feared outcomes. For example, someone with OCD might have intrusive thoughts about harming a loved one and engage in compulsive rituals to counteract these thoughts, such as repeatedly checking locks or avoiding sharp objects.
Paranoia and Intrusive Thoughts: Paranoia involves irrational beliefs and suspicions that others are plotting against or intend harm to the individual. While intrusive thoughts in OCD are typically self-generated and revolve around fears of causing harm or experiencing a negative event, paranoid thoughts often involve suspicions about external individuals or groups conspiring against the affected person. However, in both cases, these thoughts are intrusive, distressing, and difficult to control.
Overlap and Comorbidity: It is possible for individuals to experience both OCD and paranoid thoughts simultaneously. In such cases, the intrusive thoughts in OCD may fuel or exacerbate paranoid beliefs. For example, someone with OCD who has intrusive thoughts about contamination may develop paranoid beliefs about a conspiracy to contaminate their surroundings or harm them through contamination.
Common Cognitive Processes: Both OCD and paranoia involve disruptions in cognitive processes. In OCD, individuals often engage in compulsive behaviors to reduce the anxiety caused by their intrusive thoughts. In paranoia, individuals may develop elaborate coping strategies to protect themselves from perceived threats. These strategies can sometimes reinforce the persistence of paranoid beliefs.
Treatment Implications: When OCD and paranoia co-occur, treatment approaches should address both conditions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, including exposure and response prevention (ERP), can be effective in managing intrusive thoughts in OCD. Additionally, therapy for paranoia may involve addressing underlying mistrust and working on reframing irrational beliefs.
Paranoia is a complex mental health phenomenon that can have a significant impact on an individual’s well-being and relationships. It is crucial to approach paranoia with empathy and understanding, recognizing that it often stems from underlying mental health conditions or past traumas. With the right treatment and support, individuals experiencing paranoia can improve their quality of life and learn to manage their symptoms effectively.
It’s important to note that while there can be overlap between paranoia, intrusive thoughts, and OCD, not everyone will experience paranoia, and not everyone with paranoia will have OCD. Each person’s experience with mental health is unique, and a thorough assessment by a mental health professional is crucial to determining the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan for any individual struggling with these issues.
If you or someone you know is struggling with paranoia, seek professional help to address the issue and work toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Disclaimer: This article is sensitive and mentions suicide, anxiety, and depression.
OCD The Demon Inside My Head
The Complex Link Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety & Depression
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by intrusive, distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive, ritualistic behaviors (compulsions), OCD can significantly disrupt an individual’s life. While OCD is often discussed in isolation, it is crucial to understand its intricate relationship with anxiety and depression, two prevalent co-occurring conditions that can exacerbate the challenges faced by those with OCD.
The Basics of OCD
OCD involves a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, distressing thoughts, images, or urges that repeatedly invade a person’s mind. These thoughts often provoke significant anxiety. In an attempt to alleviate this anxiety, individuals with OCD engage in compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts. While compulsions may provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying anxiety and can even worsen the condition over time.
The Connection with Anxiety
Anxiety is a central feature of OCD. The anxiety triggered by obsessions is a key driving force behind the compulsive behaviors. People with OCD often engage in these rituals to reduce the intense anxiety caused by their intrusive thoughts. For instance, someone with an obsession with germs may repeatedly wash their hands to alleviate their anxiety, while another individual with intrusive violent thoughts may engage in mental rituals to neutralize those thoughts.
The relationship between OCD and anxiety is bidirectional. OCD can increase overall anxiety levels in a person’s life as the obsessions and compulsions consume time and energy. Conversely, pre-existing anxiety can make a person more vulnerable to developing OCD. This complex interplay between OCD and anxiety underscores the need for comprehensive treatment addressing both conditions.
The Link to Depression
Depression often accompanies OCD, compounding the emotional toll of the disorder. The chronic stress and frustration associated with OCD can lead to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair. Additionally, individuals with OCD may become socially isolated due to the secretive nature of their compulsions, which can further contribute to depressive symptoms.
Moreover, the cyclical nature of OCD, with its repetitive and intrusive thoughts, can lead to rumination—a hallmark of depression. Rumination involves obsessively thinking about problems and their possible causes, consequences, and solutions, often leading to a worsening of mood.
Effective treatment for OCD often involves addressing both the obsessive-compulsive symptoms and the associated anxiety and depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a widely recommended therapeutic approach for OCD. ERP helps individuals confront their obsessions without engaging in compulsions, ultimately reducing anxiety. CBT can also address negative thought patterns that contribute to depression.
Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often prescribed to help manage OCD symptoms, as they can reduce anxiety and, in turn, alleviate depressive symptoms. However, medication alone is rarely sufficient for comprehensive treatment.
Support groups and individual therapy can provide invaluable emotional support and coping strategies for individuals with OCD. It is essential to involve loved ones in the recovery process to enhance understanding and provide a network of support.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a complex mental health condition, closely linked with anxiety and depression. Recognizing this intricate relationship is crucial for providing effective treatment and support to those affected by OCD. A holistic approach that addresses both the obsessions and compulsions of OCD and the associated anxiety and depression can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals battling this challenging disorder. With the right support and treatment, individuals with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and regain control over their lives.
A real sufferer true-life story.
I would first like to introduce myself I am a disabled entrepreneur. I have been in business for the last 30 years. I have decided to stay anonymous as I do not want people to judge me. I suffer from OCD (germ contamination and intrusive thoughts). Contrary to belief I do not spend hours washing my hands or cleaning. I used to and now I counteract this by using latex gloves. I found washing my hands (in undiluted Dettol) dried them up and made them crack. My mother would go through a full tank of hot water. I also used to have a thing where I could not mention certain names or words, namely my ex-boyfriend. I used to also have an issue with numbers but have overcome this. For example, I avoided the number 13 (unlucky for some), by coincidence it happens to be my birth date (don’t laugh). I believe my OCD is my security blanket so to speak, protecting me from harm.
Just because I have a mental health disability does not make me less intellectual than anyone else.
My OCD started to manifest about 35 years ago when my ex-boyfriend (P.E., I would have taken a bullet for him), decided to act suspiciously. I got curious after I found him a job working at a local Bank. In those days we did not have social media and these jobs were not always posted in the local paper. So when I visited the job center I applied on his behalf, I even chased them up after he had not heard from them and thanks to me he got an interview and the job.
Not Knowing – Dead or Alive?
From his LinkedIn profile, he is a regional manager for the West Midlands. Plot twist after reading what I thought was his obituary I contacted the bank and they said no one by that name is working in the West Midlands. I did try reaching out to his sister and seeing she hadn’t even opened up the message decided to delete the message completely. Maybe I should put an ad in the personal column of the local newspaper. Why do I need to do this?, basically speaking because I want closure. Yes, he hurt me emotionally more times than I care to remember but I loved him and I thought he was the one, my soul mate. However, looking back we were like chalk and cheese.
He would always make plans and then cancel at the last minute. Sometimes I would wait for him all night and eventually, he would turn up early hours and I would send him packing.
I met him on a blind date and his sister hated me from the start because the blind date was supposed to be for her boyfriend who changed his mind and asked her brother to take his place.
We were together for a year, he came from a middle-class family, whilst I came from a working-class background. His mother in particular did not like me because I sensed I did not meet with her approval and made remarks like “You could do much better than my son“, what mother says that unless she has an ulterior motive?
Moving on after he started to act suspiciously and after I found a lot of adult magazines and brothel brochures under his bed, I started to go through his pockets and found telephone numbers with girls’ names. I phoned the girls and each one of them confessed they had gone out on a date and the common denominator was they all were customers of the bank and had never given their number out. This would be a sackable offense if it was done in this day and age.
I kept the information quiet, I did not want to lose him, I loved him no matter what and would have done anything for him. If you can imagine Tom Cruise in the Top Gun movie that’s what he looked like and his LinkedIn profile picture now makes him look like David Cameron.
As time went on he would be less and less interested in being intimate. I tried to arouse him in my sexy underwear whilst he was putting his multigym together and his reply was I will never forget it to this day “Who would want to go near a fat walrus like you“, on the contrary, I was not fat, I was slim and I was modeling. I started to question myself if was I really fat and unattractive, I started to have self-doubts that I was not good enough. This should have been my opportunity to break up with him but I continued to stay in the hopes something would change and that he would love me as much as I loved him.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does appear to have a genetic component, meaning that it can run in families. However, the inheritance pattern is complex, and multiple genetic and environmental factors likely contribute to the development of OCD. Here are some key points to consider:
Family History: Research has shown that individuals with a family history of OCD are at a higher risk of developing the disorder themselves. This suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition.
Twin and Family Studies: Studies on twins and families have provided evidence for a genetic component in OCD. Identical twins (who share 100% of their genes) are more likely to both have OCD if one twin has it compared to non-identical twins (who share about 50% of their genes). Similarly, first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, and children) of individuals with OCD have a higher risk of developing the disorder than the general population.
Specific Genes: While researchers have identified some specific genes that may be associated with OCD, the genetic basis of the disorder is complex and not fully understood. Multiple genes are likely involved, and their interactions with environmental factors play a role.
Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as childhood trauma, stress, and infections, may also contribute to the development of OCD. These factors can interact with genetic predisposition to increase the risk of the disorder.
Neurobiological Factors: OCD is associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function, particularly in areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and behavior. These neurobiological factors may be influenced by genetics.
It’s important to note that having a family history of OCD does not guarantee that an individual will develop the disorder. Many people with a family history of OCD do not develop symptoms, and conversely, some individuals without a family history of OCD do develop the disorder.
Overall, while genetics play a role in the development of OCD, it is a complex and multifactorial condition influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors.
“I believe genetics plays a factor in the development of OCD and there is a link in family history, because my grandmother suffered from it, my mother, my uncle and now me”.
Traumatic Event No 1:
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he had to have medication for genital crabs. It was this that repelled me and started my OCD and even though I knew it was from his flings I still was willing to forgive him as long as he stopped doing what he was doing and committed 100% to me. Not long after, we broke up. He admitted he had found someone else that worked in the bank, I was devastated to the point I believe I had a nervous breakdown.
I remember that evening as I sobbed in my parent’s house and after my dad had gone to bed, raging at me to shut the f#ck up or he would kick me out. This caused an argument between my mother and father as she took my side and stuck up for me stating that no one was kicking me out.
As morning came around I tried to make an emergency appointment with my local GP to get something to calm me down and when the receptionist asked what was wrong with me and I declined to say she said “There is nothing wrong with you as your mouth is in working order”. I do not believe I was rude I was insistent that I needed an appointment, and I was feeling suicidal. I changed my doctors and got seen at a different surgery that very same day.
The days went into weeks and I could not get him out of my head. My OCD had taken over me and I could not touch things other people had touched before me without disinfecting things first.
I then decided to move away thinking a break would do me good. I moved to London but it was short-lived before returning home again. No sooner I was home I got a phone call from my ex saying he needed to see me. Like an idiot, I went to find his mantlepiece and TV strewn with engagement cards. Oblivious of what was around him he told me he missed me and wanted to have sex with me one last time. This was my cue to run and never return as I demanded he phone a taxi for me. He humiliated me again and kicked me in the teeth metaphorically speaking when I was feeling down and he was the reason my mental health declined.
Traumatic Event No 2:
I decided to leave home for good and found a job many miles away. This is where I met my husband who rescued me from a sexual assault, which caused my OCD to go through the roof. No sooner than the shops were open I bought 6 litres of Savolon Liquid, they did not stock Dettol so went to the bath and completely covered myself with the orange liquid. I felt dirty and humiliated again. It was my husband who pulled me through. He showered me with gifts took me out to fancy restaurants and put me on a pedestal.
My OCD was manageable but my husband would always complain that I refused to hold hands.
Trauma Event No 3:
Five years after meeting this man in shiningarmorr we got married and we started a business together. On the second day of what would have been our honeymoon a woman phoned wanting to speak with my husband, joyfully I said you could talk with his wife and that I would pass on the message. Her response was what caused my husband and I toarguet, two days into our marriage, she refused to give her name and said she wanted to speak to him on a private matter. My husband said she wanted to pass on security codes, so why did she not say that?
This caused my OCD to play up and I would make him have baths in Dettol and would be repelled at him touching me. Our marriage lasted three years after the company that I had financed was milked dry, by the manager and my husband. Both were to blame as both had access to the money. If I could turn back time I would have done things differently, knowing what I know now. There was about £120,000 missing from the business that I could not account for.
My depression then became bad I guess when my first relationship went south and I felt my whole world had collapsed around me there was nothing left to live for. In hindsight he did me afavorr otherwise I would be a boring housewife, it was the end of my marriage that finally broke me. He left our business in a mess whilst I was six months pregnant for the woman who by coincidence had phoned the office two days after we got married. Does that not scream alarm bells?
Traumatic Events No 4, 5, 6, 7, 10:
The passing of my loved ones. I won’t go into detail as it is too painful to recollect.
Traumatic Event No 8:
Whilst abroad a boy who was known to my daughter stole my daughter’s keys to my flat I knew nothing of this until I was woken at 5 am by a phone call from the Police saying that the door to my fat was wide open and the lights were on and music blaring asking where was I. I said I was abroad and when I returned, my home had been trashed and all my valuables stolen. The insurance company did not pay out because it was not a break-in. I lost £40,000 of camera equipment, computers and jewelry. To add insult to injury and as an added measure my landlord threatened me with eviction because my neighbors had phoned him and did not bother to notify me there was something suspicious going on.
Traumatic Event No 9:
I was involved with a guy who no longer lives in the UK who physically and mentally abused me. I do not want to go into what he did as I am not strong enough to talk about it. All I will say is he dislocated my knee by kicking it seven times, hence why I have problems with it now.
Traumatic Event No 10:
The obituary of not knowing if he is alive or dead. I lost touch with all his friends and his family. His parents and uncle have passed away and I do not know who else to ask other than do a press release.
Coping with grief.
No 1: P.E: The Traumatic Breakup
No 2: Barry Island: Sexual Assualt
No 3: The Divorce
No 4: J.M: Passing
No 5: L.M: Passing
No 6: B.R.M: Passing
No 7: A.B: Passing
No 8: The Robbery
No 9: E.S: Abusive Relationship
No 10. P.E: Passing
When people close to you die, you are left feeling hopeless living in an empty void.
I am constantly sad. I keep myself busy not to ‘THINK’ about all the hell I have gone through and how I miss the people who are no longer in my life. No money or anything you do can bring them back; all you are left with are photos and memories. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy and I have tried this as well as ‘exposure response therapy (ERP) again you need to be in the right frame of mind to resist your urges to make your anxiety subside. (I was mad to touch things that would cause a trigger and resist washing and disinfecting my hands) I resisted long enough the the therapist to leave and immediately went to wash my hands. For me this was a waste of time and no stranger is going to be my friend for me to confide in, hence CBT & ERP cannot help me and I prefer to use online journalling therapy or talk to Bing AI to write how I am feeling. Even journalling people can be judgemental but if you turn your comments off that sizzles that. I think I can handle a little criticism but will back off the moment any negativity becomes overwhelming.
I have intrusive thoughts: If I do not do things a certain way something bad will happen to me. Or if I do not do something fast enough I am convinced something bad will happen.
I have anxiety: When I have to wait for people to make a decision and play God with me, I get anxious. I worry a lot. This manifests into depression where I am sad and feel like crying. I get depressed when people take advantage of me and scam me. I get depressed when greedy people think they are better than me and put my rent up exponentially above the rate of inflation and against government rent cap guidelines. I get depressed when people show me no respect. I get anxious when I get judged and scrutinized. My anxiety finding more business and believe me I have done nearly everything other than sell my body on ‘OnlyFans’, just joking. Despite all the trauma in my life I still have some humour.
Fear: I am afraid of being judged. People think they are better than you and often can come across as condescending. Just because I have a mental health disorder does not make me stupid.
Germ Contamination: I cannot touch things with my bare hands that have not been disinfected first (food is in packaging and cooking at high temperatures kills germs. I cannot sit where someone else has sat, thinking they have not cleaned their posterior properly or have farted (pathogens).
Dog Poo and Dog Hair: When I was going through my breakup with (P.E) a woman where I worked said she had to clean dog poo with her hands and then touch the swimwear in the factory I worked in. This caused my OCD to be problematic as I refused to talk to her and avoided any garments she had touched. This dog poo manifestation stuck with me as my mother also had OCD and had an obsession with dog poo. Animal hair like cat hair is also an issue and even though I do have a cat, I smooth him with latex gloves but won’t let him anywhere near me. Furthermore, I cannot be around people who own dogs including family that I do not see often but when I have to, I find it difficult to interact. An instance was last Christmas when I stayed in a cottage that my brother rented on Airbnb a few days earlier and I had to sleep in the bed. I could not wait to come home have a bath and wash and disinfect my clothes. I have not put my Cavali boots on again that I only wore once and am fighting the demons not to throw them away. Anything I cannot disinfect I normally bin.
Personal hygiene: I cannot sit on my own toilet I have to hover. I must ensure my bath is germ-free before I get into it. I cannot share a bath after another person has used it. Or sleep in a bed that someone has slept in. My bathroom has to be quarantined. If I am vacuuming and the air blows out of the vent on me I have to change my clothes and disinfect myself.
I do not like socializing: Is socializing going to put food on the table or drain my bank account? Wasting time talking about nonsense and the weather makes no sense to me, whilst making someone else richer and you get poorer. Brushing past people and touching things they have touched is impossible for me (Germs I cannot get the thoughts out of my head). My grocery shopping I touch with latex gloves and the contents are fine as most of the time they have not been touched by humans but by machines. Takeaways are fine as they have been cooked at high temperatures. I do not buy from places like Subway (e-coli). I am wary of my surroundings.
Accidents: If I touch something by accident I have to disinfect that area and if it is my clothes I have to change and wash my clothes with detergent and Dettol. If a splash of dishwater ricochets on me it sends my OCD to overdrive. I have learned from CBT to try and fight my thoughts and sometimes it works and other times it does not, this all depends on how stressful my day is.
My Rituals: I used to spend hours cleaning, but now I have quarantined areas, this in an office environment would be impossible to contain.
Anger Management: I have a short fuse and will speak my mind, anyone who tries to rile me will feel my wrath. I have little patience for people who are condescending, rude, and lazy. I used to be a happy person but am not now. I have lost near enough everything that was important to me. I am now trying to rebuild my life one step at a time.
My therapy: I have tried CBT (constant reminder, talking about my feelings and my past) and hypnotherapy but I cannot fight my thoughts. Hypnotherapy works to a certain degree but you have to be consistent with it on a daily basis. I also find journaling helps get things off my mind. It is not a cure but it helps ease anxiety and depression. My medication is a godsend, it sends me to sleep which is good but makes me really drowsy during the day, so to counteract this I drink two to three energy drinks a day. Ideally, I want to be medication-free and find another way to help overcome my OCD.
My PPE: I wear latex gloves for everything I do and double up under rubber gloves when doing washing up. Every product I use has to be antibacterial, hand soap, washing up liquid, and bubble bath.
I have distanced myself from humans and have little interaction in the physical sense of the world because too many people have taken advantage of me and hurt me in one way or another. I do not trust people easily. I have no problem interacting virtually but face to face is extremely difficult. Removing negativity from your life and socially disconnecting can be a powerful step toward personal growth and well-being. By consciously distancing yourself from toxic relationships, environments, or habits that breed negativity, you create space for positivity to flourish. This process involves setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting influences. While it may seem daunting to disconnect from certain social circles, it can ultimately lead to greater emotional resilience, mental clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose. Embracing this journey allows you to foster a more positive and fulfilling life, where your mental and emotional health take center stage.
“People have done this to me and caused me emotional distress to the point my mental health has declined.
I am trying to rebuild my life and perhaps if sharing my story will help someone, it will make me feel I am doing something right and worthwhile.
I am constantly learning about OCD and dealing with my health one day at a time. I do not need to speak with a therapist because everything I need can be found online or on this website. I have decided to share my story so the people who need to know can reference this.
I am not looking for sympathy or pity I just want to let people know that you do not know what is going on in someone’s life and everyone has a story to tell.
All I want is for my life to change for the better, that’s all I am asking.
Breaking the Stigma: Mental Health Challenges Among MPs
The conversation surrounding mental health has gained significant momentum worldwide, gradually breaking down the barriers of stigma and encouraging individuals to speak openly about their struggles. This shift has not been limited to society at large; it has also permeated the corridors of power, where even elected officials are sharing their experiences with mental health disorders.
Kevan Jones: Challenging the Notion of Weakness
Labour MP Kevan Jones made headlines when he delivered a heartfelt speech in the House of Commons, revealing his personal battle with deep depression. In a powerful moment, Jones broke down emotional barriers and shattered the stereotype that mental illness should be seen as a weakness in politics.
Jones’s story resonates with many who have faced the burden of mental health issues. His courage in sharing his journey not only highlights the prevalence of mental health challenges but also advocates for a more compassionate and understanding approach within the political arena.
Dr. Sarah Wollaston: A Tory MP and Former GP’s Struggle
Dr. Sarah Wollaston, a former GP, and Conservative MP, shared her own harrowing experience with mental health issues. In a poignant revelation, she disclosed that she had felt suicidal after the birth of her child. Dr. Wollaston’s story serves as a stark reminder that mental health challenges can affect anyone, regardless of their background or profession.
Her courageous admission brings attention to the often-overlooked issue of postpartum depression, showing that even those with medical expertise can grapple with the complexities of mental health. By speaking out, Dr. Wollaston has paved the way for a more open dialogue surrounding mental health issues faced by mothers and parents everywhere.
Charles Walker: A 31-Year Battle with OCD
Tory backbencher Charles Walker revealed his personal battle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which has persisted for an astonishing 31 years. His condition manifests as a compulsive need to do everything four times. Walker’s candor about his ongoing struggle serves as a testament to the persistence required when managing a mental health disorder.
Walker’s story highlights the importance of long-term mental health care and support. By sharing his experience, he helps to destigmatize OCD and other persistent conditions, making it easier for individuals to seek the assistance they need.
Winston Churchill: Depression
Winston Churchill, the renowned British statesman and Prime Minister during World War II did suffer from bouts of depression throughout his life. Churchill’s struggle with depression is well-documented, and he often referred to it as the “Black Dog” that haunted him.
His depressive episodes were characterized by periods of profound sadness, pessimism, and a sense of hopelessness. Churchill’s depression was not a constant state but rather came and went over the years. It is believed that his bouts of depression were linked to personal and political setbacks, as well as the immense stress and pressure he faced during his long and tumultuous career.
Despite his struggles with depression, Winston Churchill is celebrated for his leadership during World War II and his unwavering determination in the face of adversity. His ability to overcome personal challenges and lead his country through one of its most challenging times is a testament to his resilience and strength of character. Churchill’s openness about his own mental health challenges has also contributed to reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and has inspired others to seek help and support when facing similar issues.
Breaking the Stigma
The stories of MPs like Kevan Jones, Dr. Sarah Wollaston, and Charles Walker have an enduring impact on society. They demonstrate that mental health disorders do not discriminate, affecting individuals from various backgrounds, professions, and political affiliations. Moreover, these MPs challenge the perception that mental illness equates to weakness, emphasizing that courage can be found in sharing one’s vulnerabilities.
Their experiences also underscore the necessity of creating a supportive environment within the political sphere and society as a whole. Acknowledging the prevalence of mental health challenges and fostering empathy are crucial steps toward a more compassionate and inclusive society.
The bravery shown by MPs like Kevan Jones, Dr. Sarah Wollaston, and Charles Walker in sharing their mental health journeys is an essential part of the ongoing effort to destigmatize mental illness. These individuals remind us that mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of their stature or profession. By breaking the silence and challenging stereotypes, they contribute to a society that is more understanding, empathetic, and compassionate toward those facing mental health challenges. Their stories serve as a beacon of hope, encouraging others to seek help, share their experiences, and work toward a world where mental health is treated with the same gravity as physical health.
This article serves as a lesson for DWP & Personal Independence Payments (PIP) that people with mental health disorders can be intellectual and also have disabilities.
“A person can be intelligent and also have a mental health disorder.The heightened sensitivity of your brain can enhance your perceptiveness and creativity, but researchers have discovered that it’s a double-edged sword”.
Can Someone Have OCD and Still Be Intellectual?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) performed to alleviate the distress caused by these thoughts. OCD is often misunderstood and misrepresented in popular culture, leading to misconceptions about the individuals who live with it.
One common misconception is that people with OCD are not intellectually capable. However, this stereotype couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Before delving into the relationship between OCD and intellect, it’s essential to understand the nature of OCD itself. OCD is a complex and debilitating mental health condition, and it can manifest in various ways. Common obsessions include fears of contamination, unwanted aggressive or taboo thoughts, and the need for symmetry or exactness. To cope with these distressing obsessions, individuals with OCD engage in compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand washing, checking, counting, or repeating certain actions.
OCD and Intelligence: The Stereotype
The stereotype that individuals with OCD lack intellectual abilities likely stems from the portrayal of OCD in popular media, where characters with the condition are often depicted as overly focused on trivial details or consumed by irrational fears. Such portrayals tend to emphasize the outward manifestations of OCD, leading to the misconception that people with OCD are unable to think rationally or logically.
Debunking the Myth
OCD Does Not Define Intelligence: First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that OCD is a mental health condition and does not define a person’s intelligence. People with OCD can be found in all walks of life, and their intellectual capabilities are as diverse as those without the condition. Having OCD does not inherently diminish one’s intellectual prowess.
Many Accomplished Individuals Have OCD: In fact, many highly accomplished individuals have been known to have OCD. These individuals have excelled in various fields, including science, literature, art, and mathematics. For example, famous author Charles Dickens is believed to have had OCD, as did renowned physicist Isaac Newton, and Howard Hughes, Aviator, Entrepreneur, and Filmmaker. Howard Hughes suffered from OCD, became a recluse, and used to obsess over the size of peas. These historical figures certainly do not fit the stereotype of being intellectually deficient.
The Brain of Someone with OCD: Research into OCD has shown that the brains of individuals with the condition can be both hyperactive and hyperconnected in certain areas. This unique neurological makeup does not undermine intellectual abilities; rather, it can lead to intense focus and attention to detail, which can be assets in various intellectual pursuits.
Coping Mechanisms: Moreover, individuals with OCD often develop exceptional coping mechanisms to manage their condition. This includes developing strong problem-solving skills, discipline, and determination. These qualities can enhance intellectual abilities.
Intellectual Variation Amongst Individuals: It is essential to remember that intellectual abilities vary widely among all individuals, regardless of whether they have a mental health condition. People with OCD, just like those without it, can fall anywhere on the intellectual spectrum, from average to highly gifted.
The Surprising Link Between High IQ and Mental Health: Insights from Ruth Karpinski’s Mensa Study
Ruth Karpinski, a researcher at Pitzer College, embarked on a groundbreaking study that explored the intriguing relationship between high intelligence and mental health. Her research focused on members of Mensa, a society whose membership is limited to individuals with an IQ in the top two percent of the population, typically around 132 or higher. The study delved into various aspects of the lives of these exceptionally intelligent individuals, uncovering a surprising and noteworthy link between high IQ and mental health.
The Mensa Study
In a society where intelligence is celebrated, it’s natural to assume that individuals with exceptionally high IQs would lead relatively stress-free lives. However, Ruth Karpinski’s study challenged this assumption by examining the mental health of Mensa members in depth.
The study involved surveying more than 3,700 members of Mensa, offering a comprehensive look into their lives, including their mental health. Karpinski and her team wanted to determine whether the stereotype of the brilliant, but emotionally detached genius held any truth.
Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders Among Mensa Members
The findings of Karpinski’s study were both surprising and thought-provoking. One of the most remarkable discoveries was the prevalence of mood disorders and anxiety disorders among Mensa members. Contrary to the assumption that high intelligence is a protective factor against mental health issues, the study found that these disorders were extremely common in this group.
Nearly one in three Mensa members reported having been formally diagnosed with a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder. Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder, were also highly prevalent, with approximately one in four members reporting a diagnosis.
Understanding the Link
While the study’s results may seem counterintuitive, there are several potential explanations for the connection between high IQ and mental health challenges among Mensa members:
Overthinking: Highly intelligent individuals often engage in deep thinking and self-reflection, which can sometimes lead to overanalyzing situations, rumination, and heightened anxiety.
Perfectionism: Mensa members may set exceptionally high standards for themselves, which can result in increased stress and anxiety when they fail to meet their own expectations.
Social Isolation: The study also found that some Mensa members struggled with social interactions and felt isolated due to their exceptional intelligence, which can contribute to mood and anxiety disorders.
High Expectations: The pressure to excel academically or professionally can be more pronounced for individuals with high IQs, leading to increased stress and mental health challenges.
Lack of Support: Ironically, despite their intelligence, some Mensa members may have difficulty seeking or accessing mental health support due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Implications and Future Research
Ruth Karpinski’s Mensa study challenges our understanding of the relationship between high intelligence and mental health. While this research sheds light on the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders among Mensa members, it also highlights the need for further investigation into the factors contributing to these issues.
Future research could delve deeper into the specific stressors and coping mechanisms of highly intelligent individuals. Additionally, efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in high-achieving communities may encourage more Mensa members to seek the support they need.
The notion that someone with OCD cannot also be intellectual is a harmful stereotype that does not hold up to scrutiny. OCD is a complex mental health condition that affects individuals from all walks of life, and it does not determine one’s intellectual capabilities. Many highly accomplished individuals have had OCD, showcasing that intellectual prowess and the presence of OCD are not mutually exclusive. It is crucial to dispel these misconceptions and foster a more accurate and compassionate understanding of OCD and the people who live with it. Instead of making assumptions about someone’s intellectual abilities based on their mental health, it is far more productive to recognize their individual strengths, talents, and potential.
Ruth Karpinski’s study on Mensa members has provided a unique perspective on the mental health challenges faced by highly intelligent individuals. While it may seem counterintuitive that those with exceptional IQs would be more susceptible to mood and anxiety disorders, the study’s findings underscore the complexity of the human mind.
Understanding and addressing the mental health needs of Mensa members and other highly intelligent individuals is essential. By doing so, we can help these individuals thrive, harness their potential, and overcome the unique challenges they face on their path to success. Ruth Karpinski’s research serves as a valuable starting point in this important conversation, reminding us that intelligence and emotional well-being are intricately connected.
Scrapping Sickness Benefits for Those Able to Work from Home: A Controversial Move in Challenging Times
In recent years, the debate surrounding sickness benefits has gained momentum, with increasing attention given to the notion that these benefits should be reconsidered for individuals who are well enough to work from home. The push to reassess these benefits has stirred a complex dialogue, particularly concerning Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a crucial source of financial support for people with disabilities, including those dealing with mental health issues.
The Debate Over Sickness Benefits
The call to end sickness benefits for individuals who can work from home is driven by several factors. Advocates argue that it can save significant resources and ensure that the support system is primarily directed toward those who genuinely cannot work due to their health conditions. This perspective asserts that with the advent of digital technology and remote work opportunities, many individuals can contribute to the workforce without needing to leave their homes.
However, critics argue that this approach may oversimplify the complexities of health conditions and disabilities. They contend that not all individuals with health issues can easily transition to remote work. Furthermore, they caution against making sweeping decisions that may inadvertently harm vulnerable populations.
The Cost of Living and Mental Health
One key factor influencing the debate over sickness benefits is the rising cost of living, which has had a profound impact on people’s mental health. As the cost of housing, food, and other essentials continues to increase, financial stress has become a significant source of anxiety and depression for many individuals. This stress can be especially acute for those relying on sickness benefits or disability allowances, as these payments often fall short of covering the rising costs of living.
Reducing or eliminating sickness benefits for those capable of remote work could further exacerbate the mental health challenges faced by many. The pressure to work from home, even when dealing with health issues, may lead to increased stress and reduced well-being, ultimately hampering overall productivity.
Mental Health Disabilities and the Inability to Function in the Outside World
It is crucial to recognize that not all disabilities are visible or easily accommodated by remote work. Individuals with mental health disabilities, such as OCD, often face unique challenges that make working outside the home exceptionally difficult. OCD is characterized by intrusive and distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions).For people with severe OCD, these symptoms can interfere with their ability to function effectively in a traditional workplace setting.
The concept of scrapping sickness benefits for those who can work from home may inadvertently overlook the struggles of individuals with mental health disabilities. These individuals may require specialized support, therapy, or reasonable accommodations to manage their conditions and maintain employment. Eliminating their access to sickness benefits could have dire consequences, including worsening their mental health and reducing their chances of successful employment.
The debate over whether to scrap sickness benefits for individuals who can work from home is a complex and contentious one. While it’s essential to ensure that public resources are allocated efficiently, it’s equally important to consider the diverse needs of people with disabilities, especially those facing mental health challenges like OCD.
In addressing these issues, it’s vital to strike a balance between fiscal responsibility and compassion for individuals who require support to maintain their mental health and employment. A more nuanced approach, taking into account the specific circumstances of each case and providing tailored support, may offer a more equitable solution in a world where the cost of living continues to rise, and mental health struggles are increasingly prevalent.
This article mentions the wording about self-harm and suicide.
Understanding the Complex Relationship Between OCD, Anxiety, and Stress
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and stress are three interrelated mental health conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Each of these conditions has its unique features and challenges, but they often coexist and exacerbate one another.
I. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) aimed at reducing distress. These obsessions and compulsions can consume a person’s life and become incredibly distressing.
Obsessions: OCD often begins with intrusive and distressing thoughts or mental images, which are irrational and unwanted. Common themes include fears of contamination, fears of harming others, or an intense need for symmetry and order. These thoughts can be incredibly distressing and lead to anxiety.
Compulsions: To cope with the anxiety caused by obsessions, individuals with OCD engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts. These compulsions are performed to alleviate anxiety or to prevent a feared event. For instance, someone with contamination obsessions may engage in excessive handwashing.
II. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders encompass a range of conditions, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and others. While the specific symptoms vary among these disorders, they all involve excessive and chronic worry, fear, or nervousness.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety about various aspects of life, often without a specific trigger. Individuals with GAD may experience physical symptoms like muscle tension, restlessness, and fatigue.
Panic Disorder: This disorder involves recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and intense periods of fear and discomfort. Panic attacks can lead to further anxiety about having more attacks, creating a cycle of fear.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety is marked by an intense fear of social situations and interactions. Individuals with this disorder may avoid social events or endure them with extreme distress.
Stress is a normal response to challenging or threatening situations. However, chronic stress can have adverse effects on both physical and mental health. It often results from various life stressors such as work, relationships, finances, or health issues.
The Body’s Stress Response: When we encounter a stressor, our body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This “fight-or-flight” response prepares us to deal with the threat. However, chronic stress can lead to an overactive stress response, which can negatively impact health.
The Complex Interplay
The relationship between OCD, anxiety, and stress is intricate and multifaceted:
OCD and Anxiety: OCD inherently involves anxiety, as individuals experience distressing obsessions and engage in compulsions to alleviate this distress. The obsessive thoughts generate anxiety, and the compulsive behaviors offer temporary relief.
Stress and Anxiety: Chronic stress can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders or exacerbate existing ones. Stressful life events can trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms, making it challenging to manage.
Stress and OCD: Stress can also trigger or worsen OCD symptoms. When individuals with OCD face high-stress situations, their obsessions and compulsions may intensify, further reducing their ability to cope with stress.
Managing OCD, Anxiety, and Stress
Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), particularly exposure and response prevention (ERP), is the gold standard for treating OCD. CBT is also effective for many anxiety disorders. Learning to manage stress through relaxation techniques can be beneficial.
Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used for both OCD and anxiety disorders.
Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can help reduce stress and anxiety. Mindfulness and relaxation practices, such as yoga and meditation, can also be valuable tools.
Editors Final Thoughts – My Symptoms, Treatment & Therapy
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, anxiety disorders, and stress are interconnected conditions that can have a profound impact on an individual’s well-being.
Recognizing the complex relationship between these conditions is crucial for effective treatment and management. With the right therapeutic approaches, support, and lifestyle adjustments, individuals can find relief and improve their overall mental health and quality of life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with these issues, seeking professional help is the first step towards healing and recovery.
As a sufferer of OCD, (germ contamination), I am the first to admit that OCD can be very overwhelming especially when I am under a lot of stress. My way of coping is to disinfect things around me. I have been a sufferer for over thirty years and I do believe OCD is inherited as my mother, grandmother, and uncle all suffered from the disorder. I also block out all negativity in my life to try and protect my mental health from deteriorating. Everyone has different ways of coping with grief, stress, and negativity. I choose to socially disconnect.
I conduct my own self-help therapy as my GP is as useful as a chocolate fireguard. I have reached out to them on multiple occasions and have evidence they put my letter on the system but never bothered to get back to me at all, other than to discuss my medication only once in the last 3 years and then was told the pharmacist read my letter to the GP.
I quarantine certain areas in my home which are a no-go to anyone visiting, although I do not socialize or entertain and the only people that come into the property are either the landlord or the contractors/engineers, which I keep at arm’s length.
My OCD has worsened in the last few years. I have socially disconnected myself from the physical world because not only would my OCD be embarrassing wearing latex gloves out in public but also the fear of being touched or touching something that I could not disinfect. My OCD has worsened because of events that have happened in my life, that I am trying to heal from.
I do have intrusive thoughts and sometimes if I do not do something fast enough I am convinced something bad will happen (also known as magical ocd). I try to override my thoughts by thinking this is just BS, I am stronger than that but sometimes it is hard to think this way which leads me into a dark spate of depression.
Some days I struggle to get through the day, and I tend to procrastinate. I have obligations and know I cannot abandon them, hence forcing myself to carry on, but is difficult when I overthink or worry. My medication works wonders when I need to go to sleep as it stops my mind wandering, I am usually out like a light within 30 minutes. Does it help with my OCD, not really.
When things get so overwhelming I tend to vent on my online journal, which does help to a certain degree because I am able to vent and release my anxieties to the world and know someone out there is reading it.
I am now a recluse entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong in a medical emergency I would have no option but to leave my home and worry about the consequences of being germ contaminated afterwards. Where I have not been able to disinfect things in the past I have simply thrown things away.
“I can function in my home by adapting my disability around my life”.
I have everything delivered to my door so there is no reason for me to leave my home. In all I have in the last five years left my home twice and both times caused me so much anxiety and distress, I am dreading the next time I have to leave.
I really could do with my own transport so that I could avoid public transport such as taxis, or buses. I have never been comfortable getting on buses and having to be cramped up like sardines sitting next to dirty people. Having my own transport would help with my disability.
I go through about 800 -1000 pairs of latex gloves a month and 6 liters of Dettol disinfectant. It has to be the Dettol brand as I am not confident in my head that any other brand could do a better job.
I do have a category about OCD and have pointed www.ocd.cymru to the 73+ articles and pages. I also have the domain www.germawareness.co.uk which I am in the middle of writing a series of superhero books for kids relating to germs.
I am now anxious about my PIP assessment due on the 11th of this month. I am anxious about the questions, with one in particular which could be a trigger. Even if you have never had thoughts of harming yourself, planting the seed could be dangerous. Has it ever crossed my mind? At my lowest point if I am being totally honest, yes, but I have always tried to reason with myself that these thoughts are BS and I am a stronger person. I have plenty of things to live for even though living is not as ideal as I would want it to be but I carry on. I am anxious, will I be judged?
I have endured grief over 19 times in my life, if I am being totally honest, and have for all intents and purposes tried to block the events/incidents out of my life. If I have made reference to grief in the past and omitted anything, it is because I have forgotten parts of my past, although some are more difficult to erase.
I want to bury my past!
Do I need to be reminded why my OCD has got worse and the measures I have taken to try and heal?
As Rose says she feels she can never be totally free from OCD but has learned to manage it.
Personal stories of OCD help to analyze why we develop this disorder and how to overcome it.
Rose is a mental health advocate, Made of Millions cofounder, creative director, screenwriter, and the author of Pure, a memoir turned Channel 4 TV show. Her 2013 article titled Pure OCD: A Rude Awakening helped launch lesser-known manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into the mainstream.
My OCD is germ contamination thatstarted 38 years ago but was diagnosed in1992.
In the beginning, I started to adopt unusual habits I did not understand what it was or why I was doing it other than I had to release the impulsive urge otherwise it would torment me. There was no internet back then so could not google it.
Looking back now my mother had similar traits but not as bad as me and some were a little different.
When I tried telling my mother in her later years she was in complete denial. My father was not happy because he did not know what OCD was and did not like me whipping out Dettol Surface Spray every five minutes and simply thought I had a screw loose.
What is OCD
OCD is a common debilitating condition affecting individuals from childhood through adult life. There is good evidence of genetic contribution to its etiology, but environmental risk factors also are likely to be involved. The condition probably has a complex pattern of inheritance. Molecular studies have identified several potentially relevant genes, but much additional research is needed to establish definitive causes of the condition. Genetics of OCD – PMC (nih.gov)
My mother had OCD, for example, when we came home from school my mother would make us stand in a small area in the kitchen to take our shoes off, we would then have to go upstairs immediately and stand on a newspaper to take our uniform off and get changed.
My mother had a habit of checking the soles of our shoes or even guest shoes as no one could come into the house without taking them off in the corridor. I reckon if anyone caught her doing what she did they would be mortified.
All grocery shopping would have to be washed with detergent before it could go in the cupboards. Obviously, some foods such as bakeries would have the outer packaging wiped with a dishcloth.
My mother had problems with newspapers and mail (just like me), she was careful how she opened them, everything had to be in a certain place and could not be touched unless it was in a certain area of the house and we would have to discard the outer envelopes and wash our hands.
My father’s jacket would always be inspected for dirt, especially on the hem and sleeves after he hung it up. I think her OCD put a strain on their marriage, although I think they had problems way before she developed the disorder which I believe was a direct consequence of how my father treated her.
Ongoing studies point to a genetic defect in the way the front area of the brain communicates with deeper areas. These deeper structures use serotonin, a chemical messenger. Images of the brain in some people with OCD show that these defective communication circuits work more normally with serotonin-based medications or cognitive behavior therapy. OCD Causes: Is OCD Genetic, Hereditary? | HealthyPlace
The start of my OCD symptoms.
I was 21 when I started to develop OCD traits, it was whilst I was in a relationship with someone who took advantage of his position in a Bank he worked in, and any attractive-looking female customers he would look for their names, addresses, and phone numbers up and phone them to ask them out for dates (obviously this would never be allowed to happen now because of GDPR but as I got more suspicious that he was playing away I phoned the numbers that he would leave lying around and the women would confirm that they went out with him. It is amazing no one reported him because he is now a regional bank manager thanks to me finding the job in a job center and applying on his behalf somewhat 38 years ago.
The straw that broke the camel’s back.
I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was when out of the blue with no notice at all he said it was over between us. To be honest I was madly in love with him (he looked like a young version of Tom Cruise a spitting image of Top Gun Movie 1 and now looks more like David Cameron MP (Yes I have looked him up and blocked him). I would have taken a bullet for him (my ex not the MP), regardless of what he did.
In my heart, I forgave him as long as we would stay together, but pressure from his parents especially his mother did not approve of me as the daughter of a working-class immigrant who wanted her precious son to have a more upper-class suitor. His sister was also never a fan because it was her boyfriend that arranged a blind date that got us together and at the last minute bailed only to ask her brother to take his place. I was not aware of how much grief this would cause, and I would have been pissed if the roles were reversed and it happened to me, so did not blame her for being angry. She ended up breaking up with her boyfriend after that.
I knew at heart of hearts there was something very seriously wrong in our relationship (with my ex) and that he was a player. I started to wash my hands and body in ‘Dettol Antiseptic Disinfectant’ liquid, which either would be undiluted on my hands or mixed in my shower gels and shampoos because I believed I wanted to wash the other women’s scent off me when he was intimate with me.
To this day I will only use Dettol Brand, I use it when I bathe and also when I wash my clothes. It cannot be any other brand other than Dettol.
I think what escalated my OCD was when I found out he was visiting brothels and he caught an STD, by that time we were not having sex but the thought of him having crabs grossed me out. It’s a long story about how I found out and it will be in my autobiography when I publish it.
I then started to be very vigilant about my surroundings, I started to have the shower curtain outside the bath, which would cause the floor to get wet and also get him angry, which in turn caused arguments. I could not stand the shower curtain clinging to me as I was showering and to this day I have not changed this habit. I now have a glass folding door fitted in my own bathroom.
After we broke up I think I must have had a nervous breakdown. I thought my life was over and I so desperately wanted him back, I realized why he no longer wanted to be with me because he met someone that worked at the bank (I believe everything happens for a reason, had I not found him that job, things would have maybe turned out differently) but looking at it now he did me a favor. I then decided to move away so that I would never bump into him again. I have since blocked him on all social media so if he was ever to look me up he would never have a hope in hell of ever speaking to me.
Coping with OCD over the years.
Over the years and depending on what was going on in my life I have good days and bad days but I learned to cope and adapt.
I did keep my OCD hidden for many years as I was very embarrassed to admit there was something wrong with me.
It was when people in public places bumped into me (busy towns) I started to have an issue with social connection. When using public transport I hated people sitting next to me. It got to the stage I would avoid buses altogether and it really rattled me when someone would push past me or if they bumped into me (say sorry) my argument would be if I was a car and there was a collision they would be doing more than apologizing.
I would find it hard to go to restaurants and cafes and have my own set of cutlery. I became vigilant about how the server served the drinks and how close to the rim of the glass their fingers would be. I ended up drinking from straws. I have been known to clean the seat before sitting down, this would get people to give me funny looks. Imagine sitting on a seat where the previous person has sat who may have tram lines in his or her undergarments.
My OCD is germ contamination. My impulse is not to touch unsanitized objects and my compulsion is to clean and disinfect whatever I am in contact with.
I have now opted out of socializing, it’s embarrassing to wear latex gloves in public. There is a stigma attached to people that behave differently from the rest of the batteries in the matrix. The chances of being judged or ridiculed are too much for me to bear.
I prefer to live behind a computer screen than interact with the outside world.
Don’t get me wrong I would venture out if I had to, but try to avoid it as much as possible. I would take extra precautionary measures and try to overcome my anxiety.
I have all my groceries, prescriptions and shopping delivered. There is nothing I cannot do but it all has to be done online. All statements and invoices are online.
I also have a problem with flies (fruit flies in particular) but flies in general that sits on dog poo and then sit on your surfaces really turn my stomach. In the summer months, I am armed with fly spray by the dozen.
My compulsions, I do try and fight as much as I can, say, for instance, if I have touched something by accident, I will go and change my clothes. However, there have been instances where I have not been able to sanitize expensive things and have had to through them away. I remember when my daughter was little and she stepped in dog poo, I ended up throwing out her shoes.
I cannot share my bath with anyone else other than my daughter. I cannot let anyone touch anything that belongs to me such as a laptop, books, or that kind of thing.
I cannot have someone sit next to me or touch me. Even my daughter’s cat knows not to jump on my seating area, although if he has brushed himself by accident against me I immediately have to take my leggings off to be washed.
I go through about 1000 pairs of gloves per month and use two bottles of 750 ml antiseptic disinfectant a week. I spent about £800 on this alone last year (I know this from doing my tax return).
The more stressed I am the worse my OCD gets. If people put pressure on me and cause me stress and anxiety the more it flares up.
Reminders of the trauma and grief I endured
My Personal Belonging Being Touched
Being Touched (Hugs)
Dog Poo (cat poo or bird poo is not so bad, it is dog poo that is a trigger for me)
Animal Hair (especially dog hair)
Shaking Hands (how many people actually wash their hands when they go to the toilet)
Sharing Plates of Food
Public Places that are not sanitized
Half-finished projects or errors that need correcting (I cannot leave an error for another day I have to correct it there and then)
Keeping grief hidden can be a survival strategy after suffering a bereavement. New research shows that the social disconnection caused by concealing feelings of loss can increase psychological distress.
Social Disconnection is not always about OCD it could relate to other psychological distress disorders.
Every person on this planet will endure grief at some point in their lives. It will depend on how they cope which will determine the final outcome.
I find that scripting in a journal helps (I do it online but you can do it in a book, it’s down to personal preference at the end of the day) to get whatever off my chest. I have also tried meditation and hypnosis and you need to stick to it and do it religiously for it to work.
I have tried psychotherapy and CBT therapy and it only works in the short term. Speaking to shrink every week having to talk about the things you would rather forget is counterproductive. As for CBT, it is a therapy to change your thought process and resist the urge of the compulsion, the only way this kind of therapy works is under hypnosis which the NHS does not provide, and if you try and do it yourself you have to religiously work at it (miracles do not happen overnight).
I have self-hypnotized myself successfully although it is short-lived because I have to do it every day or a few times a week, in which I do not have the time for, considering I am working all day I am too tired and just want to go to sleep.
I also take prescribed medication, not that it helps my OCD in fact all it does is help me fall asleep. I would not mind doing clinical trials of magic mushrooms (Psilocybin) which I have heard can help sufferers with OCD. It is illegal to harvest or use them, without medical supervision. They are considered Class A drugs.
I keep myself busy and I am constantly learning about my disease so that I can not only help myself but help others like me.
I try to resist my urges as much as I can.
I am very vigilant about germ awareness and cross-contamination.
Motivating & Empowering & Advocate of OCD
I am an advocate for people with OCD. This is one of the reasons why I built this site to help people not only with mental but physical disabilities.
My daughter has Multiple Sclerosisand there are certain things she finds difficult to do so I arrange her appointments and respond to her every whim at least five hours a day. I am her personal assistant and care for her needs. I support her not only as her mother but also as her carer. Just because I have OCD does not stop me from doing things inside my home, with PPE. I can help her with getting in and out of the bath, just like any nurse wearing PPE clothing, such as disposable gloves and disposable hygiene coats. I can also cook and clean for her and help with anything she needs. Because of her immunosuppression, it is an added bonus that I keep our home sanitized and germ-free.
She is the assistant editor of this site. She suffers from excruciating pain which is one of the symptoms of (MS). and she is on the highest dosage of medication possible to be prescribed on a monthly basis.
In fact, altered functional connectivity between the cerebellum and cerebral networks involved in cognitive-affective processing in patients with OCD provides further evidence for the involvement of the cerebellum in the pathophysiology of OCD & MS and is consistent with impairment in executive control and emotion.
My daughter has a problem with symmetry and even numbers.
Just because you have a disability you still can strive to follow your dream even though you may have limitations there is usually a solution to every problem and you can overcome obstacles. There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it.
Many neurodevelopmental conditions can often co-exist together, although can be treated in different ways.
OCD rears its ugly head when you find it difficult to cope with life, OCD can be the onset of trauma and grief.
Stress, Anxiety, and everyday struggles can cause your OCD to get worse especially when people try to undermine, humiliate, and judge you. Try to not let anything get to you and if you want your own space to write your own personal story, just drop me a line below and I will create a landing page, free of charge. Whatever your disability may be mental or physical you can write to your heart’s content about yourself and your daily struggles. People love reading stories they can relate to.
Since coming out as an OCD sufferer I have been made to feel as if I am bonkers by Personal Independence Payments (PIP). They have made me feel like I have no authority to speak on disabilities even though I am the Editor of this website and have a Diploma in OCD hypnotherapy. I do not practice hypnotherapy and only took the course to help me. As I mentioned previously for hypnotherapy to work it is a process that has to be done religiously on a regular basis. You cannot just hypnotize yourself in one session and expect miracles.
Whilst practicing hypnosis I have got myself into a very relaxed state.
It has helped me to a certain degree to resist my compulsions but has not eradicated my germ contamination obsession problem.
Furthermore, another day comes with more added stress and anxiety and I feel all my hard work has been a waste of time whereby I have just gone back to square one. I really should practice hypnotherapy every day for it to make some difference, yet never seem to find the time. My business comes first, as that is what pays the bills and brings food to the table.
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