I think one of the things which sets OCD apart from other mental illnesses is the shame it can generate within the sufferer. The thoughts can be so repulsive to the person suffering that they don’t even want to admit them to themselves, let alone tell someone else. This is why so many people with OCD suffer silently for so many years on their own. Which is so sad as once you start talking about your thoughts they start to loose their ‘power’ over you.
It took me 20 years to go to the doctors and ask for help, 20 YEARS!!!!!! Even then I wasn’t sure I could. The thing that finally pushed me to go was my partner. They were having some anxiety problems of their own and instead of suffering they just made an appointment with the doctors and went, as if ‘why wouldn’t you?’ I sat there and thought, you’ve suffered for a few weeks and you’re getting help, I’ve suffered for 20 years, I need help, I want help and so I went. But to this day if they hadn’t gone, I don’t think I would have.
I can remember sitting in the waiting room at the doctors (they were running late of course) getting more and more wound up. When I finally got to see the doctor I’m not even sure what I said, I had, after all 20 years worth of thoughts to throw their way, but they understood straight away and they were very understanding.
I had some CBT therapy, (there is normally a wait for this, all the more reason to go sooner rather than later). Did CBT therapy work for me? Yes it was good (and I will go into more detail in a later post), but what helped me more then anything was sharing my thoughts, every time I talked to someone about one of my thoughts, it lost it’s ‘power’. I know my OCD thoughts are irrational and by sharing them with someone who understands OCD, that was confirmed and therefore the thought diminished. For me the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ couldn’t be more true.
OCD is quite a personal thing, what works for one person may not work for another but what will help everyone, I would guess without exception is talking about it. If you can’t talk to a professional talk to a close friend who you trust, a family member who knows you well. Just don’t continue to suffer in silence.