Something must have changed the chemical imbalance in my brain to make me respond differently to anxiety. I wish it was just as easy to change it back.
My very first session of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helped me realise what life event changed the chemical imbalance for me but it is something I am not willing to share.
My treatment for OCD currently consists of medication and therapy. Most of the time, when you are unwell or ill, the doctor will fix you. Generally speaking; plenty of rest and fluids, a balanced diet and a prescription medicine will usually make you feel better and have you on the mend. Can you remember the nursery rhyme Miss Polly had a dolly? At the very end, the rhyme quotes ‘he wrote on a paper for a pill, pill, pill. That’ll make you better yes it will, will, will.’ Maybe Polly’s dolly had some kind of cold/virus that could be treated with paracetemol/anti-biotics. In a few days, her dolly will feel much better and stop screaming the place down. A quick fix all round!
With OCD, it’s not that simple. There is no quick fix. Treatment can take months or even years depending on the severity of it. OCD sufferers have to notice their symptoms first before they seek help (for many, this can take years and alot of courage as their intrusive thoughts are embarrasing to them) because the doctor can’t guess the symptoms. Then they have to try and understand the diagnosis and how it matches up to their symptoms and thoughts. They’ll maybe go through a phase of denial which is horrible. They can’t rest in a bed and get better (although proper rest does help!).
In my case, I got worse before I got better (The Verve – “but the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse”). With SSRI anti-depressants, they take a while to kick in and they make anxiety worse. A side effect of my SSRI’s is clenching my teeth when anxious/stressed/sleeping which has resulted in a painful clicking jaw. I’ve also experienced trembling/waking up shaking, panic attacks, nausea, loss of appetite, depersonalisation, sleepless nights and vivid dreams.
I attend therapy on a Saturday morning and during the week, I expose myself to the things that make me anxious so that I can try respond to it in a different way other than lists or controlling it through order.
Exposure and Response Prevention is tiring; mentally and physically!
I have to treat this on my own. Nobody can do it for me.
What I’m trying to say is, I wish there was a miracle cure for OCD… one that requires no effort. One where I just wake up the following day, with my life back.
Last night, I had a heart to heart with my Mum. It made me realise that we all need to cherish the life we have, make the most of it and live it to the
full. It really got me thinking and quite motivated to cram a lot of living into the next 10 years. Life isn’t plain sailing – there will always be waves.