I haven’t been to the doctors for OCD in a long time, hit the point where it kind of feels counter-intuitive, I know what I have, I don’t want the tablets and they’re unlikely to tell me anything new. Look back nearly 7 years and I was in and out of the doctors office trying to work things out.
I’ve touched on doctors before, my first experience was positive, she was lovely, listened, passed me countless tissues and reassured me that I wasn’t crazy. Just ill.
The weeks before leading to the doctors were a back and fourth of feeling, I wanted to go, I felt crazy, unraveling and felt the safest place for me to be was locked up in some kind of asylum. But, as I would learn to live everyday, I was gripped with fear, fear of the label, fear of what might be, what they might say, laughter, judgement and worse, pity.
I made countless appointments I canceled, made them with such bravado that disappeared on race day. However eventually, it all became too much and I went regardless of consequence. The appointment passed in a blur, I can’t really remember what I said but I remember being handed a questionnaire to complete and receiving an indicative diagnosis of OCD. I was then given medication and referred to a therapist for CBT which I started seeing in a couple of weeks. All very smooth, ideal first experience. I went to CBT for several months, learnt some invaluable techniques and generally got back to me. Then my relationship broke down, I say that very dramatically, but reality was I wasn’t me anymore and experiencing my first round of cheating urges and relationship OCD. That coupled with growing up, we drifted apart and I went home.
I get home, several counties away and my experience was different. I went to the doctors, explained my situation and said I would like to continue my prescription and be referred to a therapist. The doctor didn’t care, I was in the room less than five minutes, he looked at me in utter contempt when I explained the thoughts and that I had been diagnosed with OCD. He was very much a ‘mental health isn’t a real problem’ kind of doctor. I got the tablets and was told it was a six month waiting list for a therapist. I felt defeated and without my safety net. I would eventually be referred but to someone with no experience of OCD, I felt disgusting, I felt fraudulent but mostly let down. I would go to the doctors a couple more times, as I would battle to medicate or not to medicate. I’ve also since been to a private therapist and whilst she was lovely, she too had no experience of OCD which meant I held back.
As a result I’ve relied on medication, self-help books and talking it out. It’s not the best way and essentially I exist with it, I can mostly live with it and ignore the thoughts but I in no way have a handle on it and it will flare up every few months. I also have existing coping behaviours which have just morphed into habit, herbal sleeping tablets, avoidance and excuses. It’s not a way to live so if I can teach you anything, it’s don’t be like me. The current infrastructure in this country to support mental health is shit, it’s a postcode pot luck, it’s underfunded and brushed under the carpet as something to be dealt with later but it’s only getting worse. To get help, it’s not a case of asking anymore, it’s demanding to have it, it’s knowing you deserve to live without this, the only way it will get better is if we continue to shout and demand. So shout!
I’m always happy to chat and listen to any problems you may have but I am not a mental health professional, should you need support right now, there are links on my support page.