but back in 2011 I was diagnosed with OCD which stemmed from a form of OCD otherwise known as pure-o. At the time everything was very confusing. I had never experienced thoughts like this and it felt like they just erupted from nowhere and even though I know they were totally irrational, at the time, I totally believed them. I struggled to make sense of the thoughts and why I felt this way.
I did eventually go and see a GP twice. After feeling fobbed off for the first time, I went again to see a different doctor for a second opinion. The second time I was referred for assessment and from there I was referred for CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). By this time I still hadn’t told my family as I didn’t want them to worry so every single appointment had to be scheduled around lunch at university so I could avoid awkward questions from my family. At home I acted as though everything was okay when it clearly wasn’t.
It was only around two years after my diagnosis, I broke down and told my mum and she was incredibly supportive and I instantly felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and elephant in the room had disappeared.
I was re-referred again for CBT in 2016 which was definitely the right thing to do for me. With the right help and support around me, I began to feel better. CBT is hard work and it puts you in difficult but necessary situations. It taught me techniques around how to manage anxiety which have definitely helped. There is no cure for OCD, but for me the intrusive thoughts are rare and I think CBT techniques definitely helped me deal with it more positively.
Things that help me maintain a positive mindset are:
Talking to someone – This is the most important thing to do for me. I suffered in silence for so long and as a man, we do tend to feel we can be stigmatised for opening up and talking about our feelings and thoughts. This needs to stop. This, for me, is was one of the best things I did because by talking it help me to seek more support and comfort from those around me, made me feel more supported and less alone. It helped me face up to what I was going through. It’s ok to talk and not feel ok.
Running and exercise in general- I always found an escape from dark thoughts through exercise and I feel I have goals and a purpose through exercise.
Contemplating my achievements each day-This helps my head get into a positive space and that achievement can be something you may not feel like doing on a down day e.g. get out of bed.
Doing kind things for others - The act of kindness should be selfless but I know it does help us feel good to help others.
Writing how we feel - This helped in a positive way for me because it help me to plan what I wanted to say at appointments to get the right support and be as honest as possible.
Try and have different hobbies - Hobbies definitely are not a cure but doing different things you enjoy can help with a positive mindset even if it’s temporary.