Yikes, what a big step

In my last post I mentioned how angry I was feeling with my OCD, and wondered if it was time to seek some solutions, probably therapy, and likely CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

 

Confused thinking about OCD

 

Well I’ve only gone and got that ball rolling at long last!!

I spent hours trawling information on numerous websites, and (everyone’s favourite) Google searches, looking for the differences between therapists, psychologists, counsellors, psychoanalysts – what did I need?

  • Do I want to understand why I have OCD?
  • What life experiences could have increased the likelihood of me developing OCD?
  • Is the cause relevant to the treatment?
  • Do I want to delve into the why, when my belief has always been that this doesn’t matter it only matters how it can be treated to remove it?  Don’t look back just look forward is what I’ve always said.

I think I know the process for treatment if I visit my doctor and ask for help via the NHS, but also knowing that it could take months on a waiting list, I wanted to “strike whilst the iron’s hot” and go down the private route – after all it’s been 11 years since I apathetically, and therefore unsuccessfully, visited a psychotherapist for about 5 sessions of an hour.  I’ve had OCD for 28 years, with unsuccessful medication trying to help for half of that period, so it is hard-wired and severe (in my humble opinion).

I then thought maybe if I look at the possible treatments available it may lead me to the title and necessary credentials of the person that could adminster it and ….   I really hope to find someone that specialises in all the different traits of OCD I have e.g. contamination, checking, rumination, worry, (mild) hoarding, reassurance etc.

One thing I know I am not interested in is ERP (Exposure Prevention Response) Therapy – I will not be told to look at a toilet with the end goal to be coaxed to lick the toilet seat, as seen on television programmes about treatments!!

However cloudy that research was, it was then confused further by where that professional was based in relation to my home location – London is clearly the place to be to get the best help but as I find it difficult to leave home for more than a couple of hours because I need my own toilet, it is out of the question.

I found out:

  • There are websites out there that you can add your postcode and email address to and they will find the nearest professional to help you – some charge a small fee that will include an initial discussion between you, the OCD sufferer, and the professional involved.
  • Distance counselling (via phone and email) is available for those unable to leave their home, however it isn’t ideal because body language cannot be taken into consideration.
  • A great many professionals treating OCD provide an initial discussion to see if you think you will ‘click’ and feel comfortable to continue receiving their help/advice/treatment.

 

Help needed for OCD

 

There was a massive amount of information to sift through, but I didn’t find anything worth pursuing (unfortunately I think?) but at least I could say that I’d spent several hours exploring treatment.  However …..

The next day whilst chatting with my daughter I tearfully admitted that I had recently been coming around to the idea of therapy and that I’d made the big step to look at what treatment I could have, and who would need to provide it, but had not come to any conclusions.  She works in a mental health facility and studies psychology and had been waited for decades to hear those words come out of my mouth.

Within an hour she had sent me a detailed email.  She had found no less than a PROFESSOR to treat me, he has all the experience and credentials I could wish for, he is based in my local town, and at a cost within budget.  As a bonus the consulting room shown on the website link she sent me even has leather seats (a huge relief to me as you’ll know if you’ve read my previous posts).  What possible excuses do I now have?  All my boxes to start therapy are ticked.

The pace of change is faster than I anticipated, but strangely I am surprising myself at how calm I am about these speedy developments.  I keep thinking of wise words like “A long journey begins with the first step” and “Change is not a destination but a journey” and I am a big advocate of change is good as I used to be a Change Manager.  I don’t know if these are accurate quotes to be able to attribute the originator/author, but …

Change, journey, steps are all words that are helping me to summon up the strength to pick up the phone and call the practice to start dialogue about making an appointment with a professor that could change my life for the better, and could help me become the person I was before the bully OCD took over.

 

OCD help

Safe Sofa Zone

Does anyone else with this frustrating OCD condition have certain clothes for their ‘safe zones’?  My favourite comfy clothes are saved for my Safe-Sofa-Zone – an oasis in the house that no one else (not even my gorgeous grand-children) can go near.  This is my living area to relax in and the OCD bully has a job to reach my thoughts.

Safe Sofa zone
Safe Sofa Zone

The cushions and throw on my safe-sofa are welcoming, cheerfully bright, and only ever been marooned on my white leather sofa.  If, and it’s a big if, they should drape or fall off the sofa, they are immediately swooped up into the washing machine, and then dried on my own clothes-dryer, in my bedroom.  No one touches these items, and I always wash my hands before touching them, or sitting on my sofa.  There is one other Safe-Zone, and that is my white leather bedroom chair, next to my desk where I write this blog.

This obviously presents problems when I have guests in the living room because I have to guard my sofa to minimise stress and cleaning/washing.  However it is so worth it!  I can sit on my sofa with my safe-items at hand on a small side-table – they have all been scrubbed clean, such as my iPad, note book, pen, box of tissues, hand sanitizer gel, and hidden behind my large cushion, a packet of anti-bacterial wipes (just in case of an emergency contamination such as someone touching me or my sofa and it’s clean contents).

The above ritual is complicated by the fact I can only wear my safe-sofa-clothes in this area, so housework has to be done in another set of clothes, and then going outdoors is yet another set of clothes, with bedtime meaning a further set of clothes (usually pjs).  This can even play with my mind, let alone the people around me.

So often my family look baffled when I nip upstairs to change my clothes after making them a drink upon arrival, but if we’re to have a relaxing chat on sofas in the living room …. well it’s all explained above.  However, if we then move into the dining room to sit and eat, or decide to visit the shops or pub, it will mean another change of clothes (or two).

Family (but not friends) know of my indoor/outdoor clothes rule, and bless my children for abiding by this rule since they were small (I think it started when my son began school and wore a uniform), but over the years a third category has infiltrated my ritual – indoor AND safe-sofa clothes.

It is a bizarre world I have manufactured for myself but I do obviously blame the OCD bully and envy the simplicity of normal changes of clothes e.g. when they NEED washing.  Another thing I am jealous of is when people enter their home after a long day, put the kettle on, and then flop down to enjoy a cuppa whilst kicking off their shoes.  My routine is enter, take off outdoor shoes, wash hands, upstairs to change clothes, wash hands, make cuppa, wash hands, then flop down.

Always be alert for germs
Always be alert for germs