Today is Time to Talk day, so let’s talk.

February 7th 2019

A guest post written by Jady

From first hand experience I know that the vast majority of people think OCD means cleanliness or having your pens lined up colour by colour so it looks all ‘pretty’. I want to tell those people that it is absolutely NOTHING like that whatsoever.

From the NHS Website:
Obsessive compulsive disorder; a mental health disorder in which an individual can experience obsessive/intrusive thought’s and a need to carry out compulsions. This pattern has 4 main steps:
1. Obsession – where an unwanted, intrusive and often distressing thought, image or urge repeatedly enters your mind.
2. Anxiety – the obsession provokes a feeling of intense anxiety or distress.
3. Compulsion – repetitive behaviours or mental acts that you feel driven to perform as a result of the anxiety and distress caused by the obsession.
4. Temporary relief – the compulsive behaviour temporarily relieves the anxiety, but the obsession and anxiety soon returns, causing the cycle to begin again.

Now generally speaking people who just use OCD as a ‘phrase’ have no idea about any of this due to lack of research. My therapist had even told me that people who she works alongside with (other ‘therapists’) use OCD as a phrase to explain how they like everything to be ‘neat’. Mention a intrusive thought to someone who has no idea what OCD really is and they’ll be completely baffled.

A few weeks ago I sat down at the dinner table with my Aunt who had used OCD as a phrase, I explained to her in full the best I could what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder really is and what it can entail. I went into some deep detail to try and get it across because I thought if I did that perhaps it would help to try and explain it more. I left that dinner table with my Aunt knowing more about OCD than what she did before and she was also incredibly supportive about me having the mental health disorder.

For this post I decided to ask my Mum what she thought OCD was before she started to attend therapy sessions with me to understand what it really was, here’s what she said:

“Attending the therapy sessions definitely helped me understand what my daughter was going through as a person, and I learned to understand that it was the thought’s that was leading to her carrying out these compulsions. I didn’t even know what compulsions or intrusive thought’s were until I went to therapy and had Jady speak to me about it in detail. Attending the therapy sessions and have Jady open up to me has helped me as a Mum to support my daughter with her mental health disorder. Even though I don’t know exactly what it is like first hand, I’ve seen what it can do to a person and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. If there is any advice I can give to other parents who may not know how to support their children with OCD, If you are given the chance to attend therapy with them go for it. Do be patient with them, it is hard enough for them as it is and telling a parent what they are going through can be terrifying.

When I was first diagnosed with OCD, the last thing I wanted to do was talk about it. I didn’t want to have therapy or reach out to charities or go to public conferences or meet other people with OCD. I wanted to be at home under blankets and not be with anyone, I didn’t even want to be with myself.
However, talking about it has been the best decision I ever made. I’ve met some incredible people, had some really good coping mechanisms mentioned to me, realised I truly am not alone in any of this and been given amazing opportunities that I never could have even for a second imagined of.

As i’m writing this, I’m remembering that i’m still not ideally where I want to be. My ideal ‘recovery’ would be holding down a job, being in a stable relationship, going out with friends and being confident in myself and not letting my Social Anxiety or OCD stop me from doing things, but that’s okay because I am still better off than what I was 6 months ago and that for me, is such a huge achievement.

I’m not sitting here and telling you to go out and shout about your mental health disorder, but what I am saying is you never know what could help you until you try it. If you feel that you want to go to a conference to meet other people going through what you are and nothing is stopping you then do it, it could make a huge difference to you and you may help others by sharing your story to them.

I remember I use to see myself just being surrounded by these grey miserable clouds and I could not see a way out of it at all, whereas now I still see those clouds they just are not as grey as they once were. It took me a long time to get to here and I wouldn’t want somebody to read this and think “Wow! All I have to go and do is talk about it and i’ll feel fantastic!”. No, talk about it but also think about getting therapy or something along those lines because just talking about it won’t help, talking about it while getting professional help could. Perhaps start by sitting down with your best friend (or someone you trust) slowly mention what you feel comfortable with.

I think the one thing to remember is that not everyone is going to understand no matter how much you may want them to. It took me awhile to get my Mum to understand, it wasn’t something that happened overnight. It does help when someone is willing to help you and research what you’re going through. If you feel that reaching out to a charity would be the way forward, do that! There is some really amazing people involved with mental health charities and they could give you some really good advice on what road to go down.

You’re not alone, there are people willing to be by your side. There is help out there if you need it. If you know someone who may be fighting demons right now and you know they need someone, be there for them, take them for a cup of tea if they’re willing to go and just try to make them feel safe and not alone.

Mental health is so so important and I am so glad that I have a platform to speak about it on. Take care of yourself, you are loved.

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