Managing OCD, living in the right now
Posted Friday 25 May 2012
I am a 39 year old who has suffered with mental health problems since I was 17. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depressive illness and anxiety disorder. I was given medication and counselling but continued to struggle on a daily basis, not really understanding why I acted and thought the way I did.
Over the years my mental health deteriorated. I ended up being unable to work, hold down a relationship or enjoy any kind of social event. I became very isolated and was a recluse, not feeling safe outside of my flat. It's only in the last two years that I have managed to get the help I need to manage my problems by laying all my cards out on my GP's table.
I was referred to my local Mental Health team by my GP and told about Folkestone Mind. If I'm honest, even though I knew I needed help and support, the thought of joining Mind was a scary one. New people, new place, what will they expect from me?
I attended a group for OCD sufferers organised by the Mental Health Team. There I met a lady who was already a member of Mind. After hearing about the support she had and friendships she had made from attending, I decided to pick up the phone and refer myself.
I started by going once a week to an Ecominds gardening project and I was instantly made to feel welcome. The nicest feeling was being able to be myself, no one judged me. I helped with the maintenance of the gardens and poly tunnels, planted and grew flowers and vegetables. I met a vast range of people from all walks of life, we all worked at our own pace and I found it very reassuring that I wasn’t the only one who suffered and had bad days.
After attending and enjoying Ecominds for a few months, I moved closer to the centre so that I could go there more often. Once again I found a very warm welcome, and I discovered that they offered a whole variety of services and activities.
On the bad days the support is amazing from both members and staff, and the good days are very enjoyable - playing pool at the centre and a local snooker hall, horse riding, excursions to local places of interest or sitting having a chat and a cuppa.
I have just started a Mindfulness group which is about learning to enjoy the right now, putting aside the past and the future and concentrating on whatever it is you're doing. I think with practice this will be a useful tool to have.
I’m becoming more equipped and knowledgeable to help manage my problems. A lot of this is due to Mind and those they have put me in touch with. My confidence has grown since becoming a member and I now volunteer as a driver and in the centre, and feel the benefit every time I attend.
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