Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Contacting my doctor for OCD guidance

My blog has been written so far in chronological order with the aim of detailing the steps that I have taken on the road to OCD recovery, a road not yet very far travelled, but a road that I am determined to see through to completion.

This post will focus on how I sought professional therapy after a few weeks of practicing the self-help techniques mentioned in my previous blog posts.

I found those techniques to be extremely useful in containing some of my compulsive behaviours but I have to place a certain amount of emphasis on the word some. My quest for knowledge and understanding of obsessive compulsive disorder has lead me to believe that a fair amount of stimulus behind the obsessions and/or compulsions could stem from other personal trauma or experiences, sometimes things that are seeming unrelated.

I know that in my personal circumstances some of the events from my past have helped to shape and exacerbate my condition in the present, finding an outlet in the form of an obsession that has become my torment. I will not specify the particular details relating to me or the events from my past, but I will say that they are related to number 1 on my OCD symptoms list (found here).

I should add that OCD is an extraordinarily personal thing and each sufferer's experiences are specific to the individual, so in your case self-help may be all that you need but I strongly advise seeking guidance anyway.

The result of knowing that my past is haunting my present is that I know for certain that self-help techniques will not be enough for my circumstances and that professional guidance would be essential to combat the origins of my obsessions. So, I contacted my doctor with the aim to finally expose my hidden mental health condition (luckily I also had an ear ache at the time and a legitimate excuse to make an appointment) and practiced my wording until I was script perfect.

(The website OCD-UK has an excellent resource to help you admit your obsessive compulsive disorder to your doctor should you find it difficult to find the words yourself. It is called the 'GP Ice-Breaker' and is found on this page, or a direct link to the downloadable .pdf file here.)

Speaking to my doctor was easier than I had imagined but needless to say that my well rehearsed words did not come to mind in the order that I had practiced. After some enquiring questions to ascertain some of the specifics that I was experiencing, I was given a few short questionnaires to fill in that were to assess my psychological state of mind and to be forwarded by my doctor to the psychological specialists.

This was a big step for me as my fears when I had previously considered this step were of not being taken seriously, or being dismissed by the people who I had turned to for support, and also that my medical records would contain this 'embarrassing' mental health condition. Thinking about it retrospectively, I am proud of the fact that I am gradually breaking down the barriers that I had placed before me and am not at all embarrassed that my OCD is now recorded on my personal medical file; in fact it is a marvellous thing that it is.

Having it on file is an acknowledgement, an irreversible acknowledgment, that I am taking the fight to my OCD and am taking control again of my life. It is a statement that is completely confidential and a statement that I am no longer alone. A statement of the fact that I am now on the road to recovery.

I hope that you can join me on that road too.

Pursuing professional guidance continues here.


Kat said...

I'm glad you were able to finally take that step. I know it is a tough step for everyone dealing with anxiety disorders. I know I still have issues making appointments with my doctor let alone ones involving changing my anxiety meds,etc. I'm getting a little better as time goes by, but i know my first visit when we finally addressed my anxiety was hard. I remember that my arms were crossed tightly across my chest and my legs was bouncing uncontrollably. The doc had to move slowly toward me to listen to my heart and explain that he knew it was hard, but he really needed me to sit still for that part. LOL

Remember, ever step forward is a step in the right direction, and this is definitely a big step forward. : )

OCD Anonymous said...

Haha I should imagine that doctors are used to all kinds of reactions from scared patients and it sounds like he was good humoured about your fidgeting :)

I'm certainly glad that I took the step and I hope that people who might stumble across that post will be encouraged to take the step too, if they haven't already.

Elizabeth said...

I also tried self-help techniques for a spell and then in frustration finally sought professional help.

I saw your comment to me on unreasonably rational's blog. You mentioned some tips for me leaving comments so my ID shows up. You must have seen some of my older comments about problems with that because it's all been fixed for the last month or two. Thanks for the suggestions though :-)

OCD Anonymous said...

Thanks Elizabeth - I've tried to help everyone who has experienced comment problems (it seems many have) and I think Abigail at Unreasonably Rational had some too.

Blogger is a wonderful resource for reading other people's accounts of OCD and it is heart warming when knowing that i'm not alone.

Thank you so much for commenting and adding me!