Mark has named his obsessive-compulsive disorder Eddy. Here he explains how humanising his OCD helps him tackle his intrusive thoughts.
Let me introduce Eddy. I have known him all my life. We have been through some good times and we have been through some bad times. When I was very young Eddy pushed me down the steps, and he tried to set fire to our house. He’s not very good with anxiety and when he is stressed, he takes it out on me. More recently he wanted me to harm my wife and my dog, but more about that later. Eddy has had me on the brink of taking my own life. Why is he still your friend I hear you ask?
Eddy isn’t a friend. He isn’t a family member. Eddy is my OCD
Well, Eddy isn’t a friend. He isn’t a family member. Eddy is my OCD. I have named my OCD because I need to talk to him.
I am currently suffering my second episode of debilitating OCD in six years, and this time Eddy is angrier than ever. He will put intrusive thoughts in my head, I will carry out my rituals, this will raise my anxiety and remember “Don’t stress out Eddy” and so the wheel keeps turning.
One thing I would ask you to take away from reading this is, to me these intrusive thoughts are real. Whilst to a non-sufferer it might seem strange, I will act out the scenarios in my head from start to finish. They scare me so much and I want them to stop.
I had CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) six years ago and it helped so much. This time there is a ten month waiting list so until I can get the help I so desperately need I will have to do self-help.
I am reading a book, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder second edition written by Dr Frederick Toates and his wife Dr Olga Coschug-Toates. Frederick has OCD and he tells you about his life and gives you practical, tried and tested strategies to overcome it.
I am on medication and sleeping tablets so Eddy and I can get a good night’s sleep.
I am also using Mind to understand what other sufferers are going through. I am very angry about the waiting list and would love to write to Theresa May and complain. I am currently off work and I need to stay away from stressful environments like supermarkets and crowded areas. I am on medication and sleeping tablets so Eddy and I can get a good night’s sleep. I have three contacts on speed dial: a councillor service provided by my wife’s company, the crisis line, and the Samaratan’s text message service.
I have cried so much over the past year but none so more than when my wife replied to me when I opened up to her about my intrusive thoughts. I told her I wanted to hurt her and Molly (our dog). She replied “Please if you think you are going to hurt Molly will you leave the house and go for a drive.” Priceless. I love them dearly.
Speaking about my intrusive thoughts has made me feel so much better.
Speaking about my intrusive thoughts to my work's HR department, my GP and my wife was so hard to do because I thought I would be reported. But it's made me feel so much better. I find that the more I tell people the less real it seems. turning. I have been asked a number of times if I would carry out my intrusive thoughts or harm myself and my reply has been no on every occasion. Carrying out my self-help and the medication has strengthened my reasoning. No harm will come to anyone. That’s what I keep telling myself. Oh yes, and of course Eddy.