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Ink

Is harm OCD misunderstood? (ended up in a&e)

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I won't go into the long story of what I've been going through over the last few days but I am sure I have been experiencing self-harm OCD. 

After speaking to out of hours nurses and doctors over the weekend, only 1 recognised it as OCD intrusive thoughts, the others didn't know what was going on with me. I ended up in A&E staying in Majors for hours as 'high risk' with "periods of dissociation". I do have bipolar disorder and currently feeling low and I did actually give in to the urge and held a knife to my neck (although I was heavily sedated on lorazepam and I think I was actually trying to prove I had control) so I can understand it's difficult to know what it might be.

The reason I think OCD: The thoughts and urges were unwanted and they caused crippling panic immediately afterwards. The more I examined them the worse it got (obsessions). I stayed away from danger and kept seeking reassurance I was not actually wanting to self harm (the compulsions).  I had a diagnosis of OCD as a child so it's not like obsessions and compulsions are a completely new thing to me (usually contamination though).  I have never self harmed and am actually quite squeamish!

Obviously only a psychiatrist can diagnose (didn't see one over weekend, waiting for referral) but does this sound like harm OCD, and is it common for it to not be recognised?

Thanks for any thoughts

 

Edited by Ink

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Hi Ink,

I have been in hospital for other medical things, and had harm/suicidal OCD thoughts. Every regular doctor and most of the nurses recognized it as my OCD. Nobody ever over reacted, but did check my intents were ok. My OCD themes are in my medical notes from a psychologist though.

I don't think the knife incident would of helped you, I can understand why you did it, but from their point of view, I can see why they put you as high risk.

How are things now??

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Hi Bodger, thanks for the reply.

Bipolar is the only diagnosis on my file as an adult and I don't think hospital staff had all my psychiatric history.  The last time I saw the psychiatrist they discussed OCD meds and I'm currently on fluvoxamine.  

I took quetiapine (prescribed for prn) when I got back home and slept for 12 hours. Since then I've been low but anxious and very much so when I reflect back to the events. Almost like flashbacks. I decided myself it was OCD and since then I have been OK around the knife. Almost like telling myself to get a grip and carry on. I'm really not used to intrusive thoughts like this, I think I drove myself to dissociation with the sheer terror!

p.s ... a GP I saw last Thursday at the start of the episode didn't think it was OCD. The knife didn't even feature at that point but her reasoning was that there was no compulsion. I personally felt that avoidance was a compulsion.

 

Edited by Ink

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Update. I had an assessment with a therapist for over an hour and she said it sounded like OCD so I have been put on the waiting list for CBT with some ERP included. In the meantime I hope I get an official re-diagnosis of OCD as I think it would help other medical staff understand. 

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That sounds positive Ink. Are you being assessed for OCD alongside bi polar, or were you misdiagnosed?

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I'm being assessed alongside the bipolar. I'm struggling with that too!  Depression since January with a brief spell of hypomania when I started the antidepressant in September. I haven't felt 'normal' for a while! 

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