OCD and Friendship.


Friendship has been so important in fighting my Mental Health condition.

Friends who have been there for me through the worst parts of my illness have been many, but those who have answered distressed calls and texts in the middle of the night are rare and epitomise a wonderful quality; that of selflessness. Those who support us often do so at great risk to their own wellbeing and that worries me. After all, who cares for the carers of OCD sufferers?

When was the last time that you sent someone who has supported you a card or letter telling them just how much they mean to you? Have you ever sent them a gift to demonstrate your gratitude, or more importantly have you tried to give them a break, some respite from your obsessions and compulsions? Our loved ones need respite from listening to us talk about OCD. When we are in the grip of our condition we talk about it a lot, did you know that? I’m not a selfish person per se, but OCD is selfish. In the grip of a severe OCD crisis, I have stolen hours from my support network and destroyed their peace of mind at the same time.

There are forums on the OCD Action and OCD UK websites for our family and friends, but have you told your loved ones that there is somewhere for them to vent their frustrations? I have told my husband, but not my friends. I’m not really sure how to tell them to be honest; maybe because I don’t want them to think that they can’t cope. Who am I to suggest to them what to do, with my background of not coping?

What could you do tonight to give a loved one some respite from your OCD?

 

 

 

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Manchester’s OCD Heart.


Manchester is a city of firsts, a city that prides itself on its ability to support the disenfranchised. Yet for all its innovation and explosive creativity, it does not have a Centre of Excellence for OCD.

In an interview for BBC 2, Noel Gallagher pointed to his heart and said:

The thing about Manchester is…it all comes from here.’

Emmeline Pankhurst also noted that:

‘Manchester is a city which has witnessed a great many stirring episodes, especially of a political character. Generally speaking, its citizens have been liberal in their sentiments, defenders of free speech and liberty of opinion.’

We are an empathetic community and those with OCD need our help.

OCD is a condition that starts in the heart and spreads to the mind. Love is the cause of this condition. If we did not love so strongly and show such compassion, then we would not feel such great fear. This fear then mutates into complex rituals and compulsions to protect our loved ones. Our fears grow into beliefs that we may become ill and unable to protect others. We begin to believe our fears that we may accidentally hurt someone or magically think an event to catastrophe. Consequently fear eventually challenges love and we test those who care for us, maybe even irrevocably.

Yes OCD ends in the mind, but it begins in the heart. Those of us with OCD in Manchester need help to heal our hearts and our minds, but we want specialist help. After all, you wouldn’t send a person who literally had a broken heart, to see an eye surgeon.

George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier, called

Manchester….the belly and guts of the Nation.

Well the time has come for this great city to become the ‘belly, guts and (MIND) of the Nation.’

We need improved Mental Health services in the North West. In April 2015 it became possible choose our Mental Healthcare provider, when we are first diagnosed with OCD. However, what is the point of this initiative if there isn’t a specialist provider near to where we live?

I hope that hosting the OCD Action conference here helps. Maybe it will spur those in charge of our Mental Health Services to lobby commissioners. We need funds to create a Centre of Excellence for OCD in Manchester. If we can build the first computer, then surely we can tackle OCD.

For Manchester is the place where people do things…. ‘Don’t talk about what you are going to do, do it.’ That is the Manchester habit. And in the past through the manifestation of this quality the word Manchester became a synonym for energy and freedom and the right to do and to think without shackles.

From “What the Judge Saw” by Judge Parry, 1912.

 

Let’s not be anonymous at OCD Action’s 2015 Conference


OCD Anonymity
@stokpic

Do you really know who I am? 
Am I a logo on a blog or a tweet on a Twitter feed?

Do I sit starkly amongst the other anonymous accounts that you have collated over the years?

If, for example, you were attending the 2015 OCD Action Conference this weekend, would you be able to pick me out in a line-up?

I thought not, because I have chosen to remain anonymous.

Female writers over the centuries have done exactly the same thing. Two of my favourite novels were written by sisters who knew that if they were to reveal their true identities, no one would take them seriously because of their gender. 

Have you heard of Currer and Ellis Bell? Possibly not. But I am certain that you will know them by their real names: Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Writing under pen names they produced ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’, two of the greatest novels of all time.

Charlotte Bronte might not have been able to voice her opinions as a woman, but there was no holding back her character Jane Eyre:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

I am not a bird either. I am wilful and independent, but I am trapped. My trap is called stigma. Unlike Jane, my net, the internet, has given me a voice. 

This month, PSHE programmes on Mental Health have been released to all schools in the UK. Wonderful people such as Pooky Knightsmith, have worked tirelessly to ensure that teaching about Mental Health is made a priority in Education. Yet this teacher still blogs anonymously. Why? OCD is misunderstood and its impact underestimated. I have felt the thorns of stigma first hand. 

So, in a brave move, I suggested recently to Olivia Bamber at OCD Action, that those of us who are blogging and tweeting anonymously, could write our usernames on our conference badges. We should wear our anonymity with pride! For if we can’t reveal our true selves at the conference, where on earth can we do it?