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  1. Hi Guys Just an update on the radio appearance to mark World Mental Health Day and OCD Awareness Week. As I wrote before it took place, on Hallowe’en night, Thursday October 31st, I was given a 12 minute slot on the “ShoutOut” programme that networks out on eleven local radio stations from studios in Bristol and is also podcast on various platforms, to the tune of around 40,000 downloads a week. I was joined by a Counsellor and Mental Health professional who work for the Hope Project aimed at reducing male suicide in Bristol. We spoke about OCD from my point of view as a sufferer and also about the need for people to seek support if they are struggling with their mental health. Key points made included that: · Men need to learn to unpack their mental heath issues with friends, family and professionals. · Women have better mental health outcomes than men partly because they talk with girlfriends, relatives and professionals. · Voluntary sector organisations like OCD UK lobby for better funding for mental health services. · Self Help Organisations and Mutual Support Networks are of enormous help to many people. · Sometimes you have to lobby the NHS hard for the treatment and support you need. Be strong, get friends and family to help, and use the support of groups like OCD UK. · Hold the hope – or if you cannot hold it, have someone else hold it for you, like a family member or a friend. Or even a support group. The message is that people do achieve their goals and dreams, have relationships, jobs and contribute to society, even though they have or have had, OCD. · Recovery is possible and desirable! That was the positive message that we wanted to convey. All in all, a successful appearance on the radio, and something that hopefully will touch people who need to know that there is help for their own , or someone else’s, OCD. Best wishes Tez
  2. Hello Dave Your post got my attention on a couple of levels. Firstly, because it is not at all uncommon. Indeed, I think it is the (rather informative) OCD entry on Wikipedia that quotes some researcher as noting that (and forgive me, I am paraphrasing here) that OC anxiety about sexuality can appear sometimes to be a crisis of identity. However, it is not, it is just OCD. just that, OCD. An anxiety disorder. Secondly, because I have worked in sexual health I like to think that I have had some experience in working with people with different gender identities and sexualities, although I would never profess myself to be an expert in the field. Most of my gay friends would tell you that they knew they were gay at an early age. What you are describing is very different and seems to me to be a clear case of anxiety. Honestly, mate, if you were gay you’d know you were gay. This dialogue that is going on in your head is because you have OCD. I am going to try not to offer you reassurance, because in the long run, this can form its own cycle of OCD thought. But I will offer you my observations, for all they’re worth…… firstly, you never experienced any sexual tension towards men until you were older and had a “freak out”. It’s easy to misinterpret anxiety for something else – lots of people do it. I tend to interpret my anxiety as a special awareness that I am at risk and have to therefore perform my compulsions. But it is just anxiety. Lots of straight guys experience some kind of tension in a situation like the one you described at the beginning of your post, and lots of gay guys experience some kind of tension if they were leaning over a female person. I think this is simply a human reaction to being in someone else’s personal space – it does not reflect the core identity of the person. You refer to bullying at school. I am sorry to hear this, kids can be cruel. A lot of people – straight or gay – are picked on, for any perceived difference. I know I was for a while for being socially awkward. However, it doesn’t reflect your sexuality. Damon Albarn from the band Blur told the New Musical Express that he was bullied and called gay because he was a good looking and intelligent boy. Doesn’t mean anything. Do you have a therapist? If you do, I would imagine that they would try and cultivate a sense of non-reaction to these intrusive thoughts and anxieties. So what they might say, buy a gay magazine and have it in your bag. That kind of thing. You might even go to a gay pub or club and just let yourself be there. When I was ill in 2001 with lots of superstitious fears, my therapist had me carry and pentagram in my bag as a form of exposure therapy. There was a good essay I once read by a gay man who was also a psychologist. His piece was published in a science journal and was called “I’m Gay, But You’re Not!” and gave a good low down on what “HOCD” is and how it manifests. (Although we shouldn’t really call is HOCD – it’s just plain old OCD and follows the usual pattern). I did a quick search for it on Google, but cannot locate it. Lots of other resources come up though….. much to read through, but I would suggest you don’t – because we obsessives love to read and overanalyse everything and it can just become a form of reassurance seeking. Well, I am no expert but those are a few of my observations. Perhaps they are of use to you. Try not to seek reassurance and instead reframe the internal discourse as “this is just OCD”. I hope you start to feel better soon!! Kind wishes Tez
  3. Hello All Just spotted this interesting article today from the LGBT newswire Pink News on a young gay man's book on living with OCD and seeking help and support. Nice to see that the editors have popped a link to OCD-UK on their website for any readers who are experiencing OC symptoms. https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/11/03/ocd-gay-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/ Kind wishes Tez 🏳️‍🌈
  4. Hello All I spotted this well written and reasoned article in Monday's "Guardian" and thought it might interest people. There has been some interest in recent years on the use of cannabis derived medicines for the treatment of a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety driven states such as OCD. Now a new report suggests that there is not enough evidence of beneficial effects, and some contrary evidence of less welcome occurances, which means that for the time being, use of these medicines is not evidentially supported. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/28/risks-of-cannabis-use-for-mental-health-treatment-outweigh-benefits My personal experience of this substance dates from around 2000 when I was first formally diagnosed with OCD (although I had done my own research and knew what I had some years previous to reaching that crisis point). I was in a lot of distress and found that taking cannabis did reduce the driving factor in my OCD - a chronic and terrible anxiety. For a few days I did get relief from my symptoms, but I was pretty whacked out generally. It was not a recipe for functioning normally! Eventually, after many years of struggling on, in 2009 I was put on a dual course of medication: citalopram for depressive symptoms and olanzapine (an anti-psychotic) for my obsessional thoughts. The combination has worked very well. Kind wishes Tez
  5. Ah, hi Ashley. It gets the better of us all at times. You have my sympathies. I hope you are feeling a bit better now. I still struggle after 30 years, although I have never had proper CBT! I've had what Professor Salkovskis calls NVGCBT! Well, I have some good news - kind of! Unfortunately, my big moment was deferred because of a live discussion on Black History Month. However..... Steffi apologised to me that the show ran out of time and has instead given me more than twice the airtime (12 minutes) on Thursday 31st October. Hallowe'en night! I will be on the air with Hans, a counsellor who specialises in work with men experiencing emotional distress and who is very knowledgeable as well about mental wellbeing and health issues. So, October 31st it is. Gives me more time to elaborate on OCD and how we can work together as sufferers and activists to alleviate the condition. I will be there with my message of hope - and so will Hans. I am also selling OCD wristbands and lapel pins at work for clients and staff. So expect an order from me at the shop soon!! Will keep you all updated!
  6. Hello Guys Thanks very much for your ideas!! I am getting from your responses that we need to get across that the phrase "OCD" is often misunderstood and misused by wider society - an inadvertent consequence perhaps of the fact that the condition is talked about much more these days. I think I will get it across by comparing it to the way in which a lot of people misappropriate the term "depression" (which of course, can also be coterminus with OCD). People say "I was so depressed last night" but what they mean is "I was feeling down last night". Clinical depression is so much more than that - it is consistent low mood and often is debilitating. Well, the same is true of clinical OCD. I think I will use an example that Professor Salkovskis has used on his TV appearances (I think I am right in remembering this) that everyone can relate to OCD feelings - how many non-clinical people have gotten half way to the bus stop and had a very strong intrusive thought that "Have I locked the front door?". It can be briefly be quite a strong urge to go back at check, but "normal" people can easily dismiss such an idea, as Roy states. I also intend to get across the web address of OCD UK. The show is live at 7pm and will then be podcast on various platforms. You can read more about it at: http://shoutoutradio.lgbt/ Thanks again for your support. Have a great day and hope that OCD Awareness Week is going well for you! Best wishes Tez
  7. Hi There I agree with dksea - it's definitely just OCD. I worked with a HIV prevention charity for many years and put simply, head lice bites do not transmit HIV or Hepatitis. I know I should not be offering any reassurance, as this can add to the cycle of OCD, but I have also worked with lots of homeless people: they no more have head lice than do anyone else. Hope you feel better soon. Kind wishes Tez
  8. Hello Everyone As some people on the Forums might know, I have been involved in radio in different capacities for a long time. I started as a teenager on a local pirate radio station (the UK did not legalise community radio stations until the Labour government of Tony Blair, after decades of civil disobedience), have done hospital cable radio (Aberystwyth's Radio Bronglais - still going and marking its fiftieth anniversary this autumn), and then joined local community radio when it was (legally!) introduced to the city of Bristol. I thought I would pull a few strings to see if I could get some airtime for OCD Awareness Week and I am delighted to say that my dear friend Steff has invited me to go on the West Country's largest magazine programme for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. This is broadcast from station B.C.F.M. in Central Bristol and is networked out to a grand total of eleven radio stations, including Bradley Stoke Community Radio in North Bristol, Gloss FM in Thornbury, Glastonbury Community Radio, Frome FM, Tiverton Community Radio in Devon and Radio Tircoed in Greater Swansea. The show boasts around 40,000 weekly podcast downloads, and the audience listening on conventional radio is estimated to be several times larger. I am very indebted to Steff to allow me the airtime. I have five minutes and will be joined by one of my friends who is a radio presenter and a counsellor. I have spoken about Living with OCD on community radio before, and was once also able to appear on the regional BBC station, Radio Bristol. Because I just have five minutes, I want to make sure that I get the key messages across about OCD and the help that is offered by OCD UK. Does anyone have any nuggets of advice, support, wisdom, insight I can include in my little presentation? Your ideas are welcome! Stay tuned, as they say. Tez 🏳️‍🌈🎧
  9. Hi Guys Just a little piece for the Media monitoring page of the Forum, which I've been meaning to pop up for a while. Comic and raconteur Tom Rosenthal was given a full page spread in the daily free newspaper "Metro" on Friday August 30th, to talk about his new show "Manhood". Journalist Ashley Davies writes "Tom's Show contains lots of funny stories about his life, and he talks a little about having OCD - something he's dealt with in more detail in earlier shows. He often has a compulsion to touch things and people a specific number of times, and the disorder is exacerbated by stress". I understand that the comedian is touring through the Autumn. He will be at Swindon Arts Centre on October 3rd. All the best Tez 😊
  10. Yes, Koala. I do I do!! I am often engaged in what i believe is called "metacognition" by pschiatrists, when you analyse and dissect the thoughts that are plaguing you. And then, when you think you have sorted one aspect of them out, another doubt will appear in your mind and the cycle starts again! I am often thinking about my thoughts and comparing them to others i have had, to make sure that they are just OCD..... it goes on and on! Tez
  11. Hello All I have just popped back from my local newsagents, where I bought a copy of today's "Guardian". There is an article inside on research that has been published claiming that brain stimulation procedures can assist people experiencing very severe and refractive OCD. Thought I would mention it so that you can visit their website for the full article. Best wishes Tez
  12. Hi Guys As someone who has always a read a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, I was interested to pick up a copy of the African-Caribbean newspaper The Voice this week and see that the lead article was an appeal from the "Time to Change" Mental Health coalition for black women to speak out about their mental health experiences. Nikki Llewellyn, speaking for the coalition, said that black British women were statistically more likely to experience anxiety disorders and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. She said that "being a strong woman does not mean staying silent" and encouraged black women to get involved in campaigns to end stigma around mental health needs. Nice to see The Voice newspaper putting such an important appeal on its front page. Tez
  13. Hello All I know that the website lists 7th to 13th October in 2019 as Awareness Week.... is there anything taking place this year? Many thanks! Tez
  14. Hi All Just popping this here because the man affected is disabled by OCD, anxiety and a range of other mental and physical health issues. It's a story from the Disability News Service, a useful web portal that I consult regularly. Mr Keith Morgan has gone on record to detail a veritable litany of obstructions and maltreatment that he has experienced in claiming benefits. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/atos-assessor-told-gay-man-he-was-defective-and-needed-to-be-cured-by-god/ The homophobic aspects of Mr Morgan's treatment have also been picked up by the gay newswire Pink News: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/06/15/man-offered-gay-cure-therapy-by-his-disability-benefits-assessor/ Kind regards Tez
  15. Hello All Issue 3180 of the New Scientist magazine (a UK based weekly popular science and technology magazine) [issue dated 2nd June 2018] reports that some interesting side effects have been reported amongst a small sample group of people who have undergone surgery for intractable and severe OCD and have implants in their brains designed to stimulate parts of the circuitry believed to be deficient in people with severe OCD spectrum illness. Apparently, it can regulate and help overcome diabetes. The article is in the print edition of the magazine, but you have to pay for it on the New Scientist website. Kind regards Tez
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