anxiety and OCD journey
I had suffered with anxiety for many years but it became unmanageable during the first part of the covid 19 pandemic and was seriously affecting my daily life and relationships. I sought professional help through my GP who prescribed medications and a referral for speaking therapies. I didn’t take the medications but knew waiting any longer could have resulted in a further decline in my mental health. I was warned the wait for NHS help was 6 months, so I decided to seek professional help though private speaking therapies; it actually was a year before I was contacted with NHS help.
Through an assessment, I was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD and therefore CBT was the suggested treatment option. The diagnosis of OCD was a huge shock to me as I had always thought OCD was to do with being tidy and clean and lining things up in order. However, the behaviours I had which developed before the pandemic, became much worse during the pandemic and had resulted in multiple checks of electronic sockets, taking pictures to prove I had turned things off, double/triple checking everything I did that caused feelings of anxiety. During the pandemic I had to follow a strict shower and hand washing routine in the same order and certain number of times.
I started the CBT journey with a different therapist and service, which unfortunately closed down after around 5/6 sessions. However, I had started to make some progress with the OCD behaviours but not really tackled the anxiety or the root cause of it.
The service closed down but my therapist referred me on to a NOSA therapist who I then continued the rest of my journey with. I found the change difficult as it felt I was starting again and had to explore all aspects of my life to understand where my thought processes had come from and to find my belief system. However, after the first few sessions we had created a really good therapeutic working relationship and I trusted him in the process and the prescribed behavioural activities.
Over the course of the next 9 months or so I worked hard to trust the process and undertake the behavioural experiments, which exposed me to things that caused me anxiety to prove that my anticipated theory A outcome didn’t happen and that theory B was the more likely outcome, I undertook various written activities and even to created my own anxiety monster to recognise what it was doing to me.
The journey was not always straight forward and there were bumps in the road. One was work related (front line NHS work) where my job showed to be a trigger for my anxiety and heightened sense of responsibility. However, my therapist recognised this straight away and we worked through some strategies to overcome this, which I put to the test and have worked since.
I honestly feel whilst the journey was longer than most the outcome has been life changing. I am now living with anxiety but not allowing it to control my life, I fell lighter and free of the burden it was having on my life and had been for over 10 years.
Whilst the pandemic has not gone away, the way in which I am able to live with it is now manageable. The OCD behaviours are massively reduced, and I am able to recognise when anxiety is spiking and deal with the OCD behaviours knowing this is the anxiety monster trying to take back control and I don’t allow it too. I am now able to socialise again and live in the moment to fully enjoy life.
I would highly recommend CBT treatment to anyone who is suffering from anxiety and OCD; the effort you put in will pay off in the results you get at the end.
This client’s information has been anonymised to protect confidentiality.