Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE SEARCH FOR HOPE

This is a study entitled 'Allotment #1' of my beloved allotment I made where, for the past year, I've been able to care LESS: A good thing for an OCD sufferer like myself who is hypervigilant much of the time!

I'm on the cusp of beginning self-directed Exposure and Response Prevention. For an explanation of what this means, please visit this page on the International OCD Foundation's website: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/treatment/erp/

Right now, my OCD is so severe that I can barely differentiate my 'OCD' fears from reality, and so I recently compiled this list of affirmations to myself based on the hard work I've already put into my recovery. I have them displayed on the wall of my office so that I can re-read them whenever I feel the need:

BREAKING FREE FROM OCD:
  • Life is not about 'losing' or 'winning'.
  • Breathe and the anxiety will lessen.
  • I can trust myself to protect myself and others.
  • I am able to remember very clearly what has happened to me.
  • I am no longer as vulnerable as I once was.
  • If I break free, I won't feel as shackled to this 'other person' that is OCD.
  • I am a strong, resilient, intelligent woman.
  • If I break free, I shall be able to look to the future instead of the past.
  • If I act on my compulsions, the underlying anxiety will remain.
  • I need to (in a healthy way) make myself feel more 'complete'.
  • I can remain in control of my life without OCD.
  • I can believe in good things.
  • I am a lot less self-destructive than I was.
  • I am able to reason with my OCD.
  • If I break free, I will be able to live in the present more - or if I am able to live in the present, I will be able to break free.
  • Work on rescuing myself rather than others.
  • I am naturally careful and thorough and so am unlikely to miss / lose vital pieces of information.
  • I make mistakes and that's OK.
  • I am an inspiration to others.
  • I am capable of overcoming massive obstacles.
  • If I break free, I will be more at peace with the unpredictability of living.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • If I break free, I will free my partner from my need for repeated reassurance. 
OCD is a bully, and because I'm fighting it, (not uncommonly), the symptoms have been intensifying: I used the toilet at the allotments on Friday and when I'd finished, found myself checking a number of times that I hadn't locked the black and white cat that roams the plots, inside, upon leaving. I asked my partner, Jan, for reassurance that I hadn't / wouldn't do this, and was so tempted to go back and check that the toilet was empty - but I resisted. It was a while, though, before I could shake the intrusive thought of the poor cat dying horribly through my having trapped it in the toilet: I know that if I'm not careful, this 'toilet checking' will develop into another OCD to add to my already extensive list, and that having PMT at the time made the experience significantly more difficult to handle - but handle it I did.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

INTRODUCTION

Hello!

My name is Gemma Boyd. I live in London, England, and am a musician, freelance writer, poet and gardener. I have suffered with chronic Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for 10 years and have a dual diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for which I made an informed decision not to take medication. For more information about me, please visit my website: www.gemmaboyd.com

If you're unsure of what OCD is, you'll find everything you need to know about it and how it can be treated, here, on the International OCD Foundation's website: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/ 

I made the video below for OCD-UK (http://www.ocduk.org/) coming up to three years ago. It will give you an idea of the symptoms I continue to face as a result of OCD, which have unfortunately got worse recently due to a succession of personal traumas and stresses, plus, up until January last year, I've continued to prioritize my career over my health.


Since I made a concerted effort to confront my OCD head-on, I've decided not to go down the 'NHS' route for help, and can't afford / am yet to find a private therapist - so I've plumped to help myself by working through the acclaimed and highly recommended book, The OCD Workbook - Third Edition: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Bruce M. Hyman, Ph.D. and Cherry Pedrick, RN.

Right now, I don't feel hopeful that I'll ever be free of my symptoms, which are now, as I'm getting older, beginning to impact on my physical health, but I'm 100% willing to give self-help a go and am excited to see where this journey may lead, knowing that the fantastic 'EverythingOCD' community (https://www.facebook.com/EverythingOCD/?fref=ts) on Facebook will be behind me all the way.

I invite you to join me on my journey which will candidly document my progress - or lack of progress, as the case may be, and will hopefully inform and help fellow sufferers / healthcare professionals / those interested in finding out more about OCD, along the way.

All the very best,

Gemma