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Deb79

Living a "normal" life.

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Hello again all, 

 

Just wondering how many of you living with OCD manage to live a "normal" life. As in hold down a full time job, etc. 

Curious 😊

 

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Hey Deb,

I think that I have a seemingly "normal" life, if there is such a thing. I have a full time job that I like, a partner, we live together etc. Although I think that I mask my OCD well, even when I feel absolutely awful, I don't think other people realise. I talk to my family and my partner, but nobody else. I have also always used work as a way of coping with OCD, keeping busy stops me from thinking too much, although I'm trying to learn to chill out at the moment. I've had OCD my entire life and yet I was always good in school, had friends etc. I didn't know I had OCD, I didn't even know what it was until I had a bit of a crisis while I was at uni and that is when I got diagnosed. 

Now whether somebody else would consider my life, with my struggles and quirks, to be normal is another question. But then, there is no point in dwelling on that!!

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Thanks Malina, 

We sound similar in that we are both very good at masking 😊

I'm going through a bit of a blip at the moment, so I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that I can do this 😁

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4 minutes ago, Deb79 said:

Thanks Malina, 

We sound similar in that we are both very good at masking 😊

I'm going through a bit of a blip at the moment, so I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that I can do this 😁

Of course you can!! When I had this crisis that I mentioned, I really couldn't see a way out. I wanted to be better and happy but it felt as though my life had turned upside down and I didn't know how to make it better. Yet, here I am 11 years on and it all turned out well. I have been going through a relapse over the last 6 months, but it's not even a fraction of how bad it was then. So I really believe that if I could get through that particular situation, it's possible for others too. 

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Hi @Deb79, I don't know if you'd call my life "normal" but I think it fits the general question of what you are getting at :)

I hold a regular job, my coworkers almost certainly have no idea I have OCD.  Partly because its pretty well managed at this point, and partly because even when its not I'm pretty good at hiding the symptoms so unless you know what to look for you'd probably not know anyway.  I worked in a full time job back home in the USA for ten years after university, then I up and moved to Japan to teach English for two years, before returning to IT work here in Japan (my previous full time job). There was a time that if you told me I'd do that I'd have laughed out loud.  No way could I handle that kind of situation with my OCD.  Yet here I am.
Thats not to say my life is free of OCD, its still there, I still have my struggles, but honestly I think the reality is just about EVERYONE has struggles of one kind or another, but like us they do a pretty good job of hiding them most of the time.  Who knows what troubles my coworkers are dealing with.  Mental health, physical health, emotional health, etc.  We all put on a brave face in public most of the time, we see a kind of idealized version of other people, the version they want the rest of the world to see.  Capable, normal, etc.  Keep that in mind and understand that almost no one is as "normal" as they seem.

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Thank you @dksea

I love your post. 

We are just over the pond in Australia (originally UK). 

I have taken this week off sick as I just couldn't face work and dealing with new meds side effects. Back to it on Monday. 

Just getting myself into a panic that I was doomed 😳🙄

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3 hours ago, Deb79 said:

Hello again all, 

 

Just wondering how many of you living with OCD manage to live a "normal" life. As in hold down a full time job, etc. 

Curious 😊

 

Hi Deb. 

I refused to let my mental instability (as I originally thought it was) hold me back. 

I knew it was irrational to want to pull the emergency alarm on trains, to overcheck taps and doors, and have obsessions of self harm or others harming me - as my original obsessions were. 

But because I saw them to be irrational, I could avoid connecting with them (the right thing to do in CBT, as it happens). 

I was determined to have a good career, get married, own property and keep paying in the pension funds for our retirement. 

Despite the OCD getting worse, I kept going. I got CBT through medical insurance, found the forums and the charity, and was steered towards mindfulness. 

The combination worked. My wife and I are very happy in retirement, and my charitable "voluntary work" is helping people here towards recovery. 

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Thank you Taurean, 

I love reading all your posts. You are inspirational 😁

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Thank you Debs. This place helped me no end when I found it some seven years ago. 

It gave me hope to find a solution to constantly-repeating intrusions - and eventually did so. 

I found my most inspiring therapist through here. 

It gave me a creative writing outlet when I was no longer writing material for my work. 

And it enables me to give back to others, as I am now retired. 

Being additionally a member of the charity is, for me, a privileged position that I cherish - perhaps it's the best charitable organisation of which I have become a member. 

 

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1 hour ago, taurean said:

Thank you Debs. This place helped me no end when I found it some seven years ago. 

It gave me hope to find a solution to constantly-repeating intrusions - and eventually did so. 

I found my most inspiring therapist through here. 

It gave me a creative writing outlet when I was no longer writing material for my work. 

And it enables me to give back to others, as I am now retired. 

Being additionally a member of the charity is, for me, a privileged position that I cherish - perhaps it's the best charitable organisation of which I have become a member. 

 

So glad you’re here, the way you put things really cuts through. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Deb79 said:

Hello again all, 

 

Just wondering how many of you living with OCD manage to live a "normal" life. As in hold down a full time job, etc. 

Curious 😊

 

I held down a full time job until my episode 7 years ago. I was very good at it but due to my ‘breakdown’ I not only left that job but that type of work forever as reading about horrific crimes and dealing with certain types of offenders all day was too triggering and has no doubt impacted my current themes. So 1-0 to ocd there.

I recovered quite quickly from that flare up once I realised I had ocd and started treating it, but I’ve never gone back to full time work, I can only handle part time and luckily we can afford that plus I have a little girl to look after. If I can hold down a part time job with a preschooler I’m happy with that, and even after she starts school, although right now in this flare up even my part time work is a struggle.

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Just now, Black said:

I held down a full time job until my episode 7 years ago. I was very good at it but due to my ‘breakdown’ I not only left that job but that type of work forever as reading about horrific crimes and dealing with certain types of offenders all day was too triggering and has no doubt impacted my current themes. So 1-0 to ocd there.

I recovered quite quickly from that flare up once I realised I had ocd and started treating it, but I’ve never gone back to full time work, I can only handle part time and luckily we can afford that plus I have a little girl to look after. If I can hold down a part time job with a preschooler I’m happy with that, and even after she starts school, although right now in this flare up even my part time work is a struggle.

But to answer your question my life felt totally normal for the past 7 years until this flare up triggered by stress. I intend for it to be normal again as will yours.

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I live a life largely unimpeded by the disorder. But that damn 25% seems a relative constant. Work in progress. 

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1 hour ago, Black said:

So glad you’re here, the way you put things really cuts through. 

 

 

Thank you black. 

I was privileged to be able to have lots of privately-funded CBT - over time - from therapists experienced  in OCD. 

I was still however missing an important element of recovery. 

In an episode of OCD - and eventually these might last months - I found it not possible to pull myself out of the mire, as I had ongoing constantly-repeating intrusions in my mental chatter, making me debilitated, miserable, in low mood, and with continuing OCD. 

And with the fear that I might "voice" these harm thoughts in the hearing of others - not least my secretary (we dictated a lot of letters memos and notes back then) :sweatdrop:

Also, as a means of maintaining my disorder, once a current harm trigger had subsided the OCD would pull a previous one out of my memory and roll it out again, also maintaining the episode :weep:

For years I sought an answer to stopping both the repeating intrusions, and the re-running of old triggers. 

And the answer came by using mindfulness - the missing ingredient - in addition to CBT, The Four Steps from the book "Brainlock" and the concept of understanding I was not bad for having such thoughts, so learning some self-love and kindness. 

I have been pretty well free of OCD now for two and a quarter years  by having worked this combined treatment. 

I keep my ERP, exposure and response prevention, up to date and don't get involved in compulsions. And I regularly use mindfulness to keep grounded and in the present in the moment. 

I keep a structure to my week, keep involved in the community here in Northampton - to where we have retired - and keep up awareness of OCD here and have been helping others and their parents directly, as well as here via the Internet. 

It is a dreadful statistic that almost 1% of the population will suffer significant OCD affecting their daily life. 

And it is really sad that it can take so long to access CBT through the NHS. 

So what our charity does, and what knowledgeable people can also contribute here, is so vital. 

For the time being at least, a turn in the local charity shops can wait - I think some time spent here is more useful. 

It happens that there is a mental hospital not far from where we live. 

There are of course many around generally - and in the west of Ealing, London, where I lived for a long time, there was the St Bernard's mental hospital, who were able to cure a friend of ours collapse into depression after being jilted in love. 

And for many years I worked in the City of London close by Liverpool Street Station, built on the site of the original well-known mental hospital Bethlehem hospital, which became known as Bedlem. 

At least so much is understood nowadays about mental illness. And cognitive therapy - founded in the twentieth century by American Aaron Beck and developed by adding the behavioural element into cognitive behavioural therapy - is a therapy that not only works for OCD but also various other types of negative thinking, including phobias, and stress issues. 

I am happy to be active here on these forums. Currently if I do happen to get an intrusion, and it's not often, I can gently ease it away. 

So I know from my own experience that others can aspire to do that too. 

And I feel privileged that OCD-UK has chosen to hold its annual conference here in in Northampton later this year and have already bought my ticket :)

 

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44 minutes ago, taurean said:

Thank you black. 

I was privileged to be able to have lots of privately-funded CBT - over time - from therapists experienced  in OCD. 

I was still however missing an important element of recovery. 

In an episode of OCD - and eventually these might last months - I found it not possible to pull myself out of the mire, as I had ongoing constantly-repeating intrusions in my mental chatter, making me debilitated, miserable, in low mood, and with continuing OCD. 

And with the fear that I might "voice" these harm thoughts in the hearing of others - not least my secretary (we dictated a lot of letters memos and notes back then) :sweatdrop:

Also, as a means of maintaining my disorder, once a current harm trigger had subsided the OCD would pull a previous one out of my memory and roll it out again, also maintaining the episode :weep:

For years I sought an answer to stopping both the repeating intrusions, and the re-running of old triggers. 

And the answer came by using mindfulness - the missing ingredient - in addition to CBT, The Four Steps from the book "Brainlock" and the concept of understanding I was not bad for having such thoughts, so learning some self-love and kindness. 

I have been pretty well free of OCD now for two and a quarter years  by having worked this combined treatment. 

I keep my ERP, exposure and response prevention, up to date and don't get involved in compulsions. And I regularly use mindfulness to keep grounded and in the present in the moment. 

I keep a structure to my week, keep involved in the community here in Northampton - to where we have retired - and keep up awareness of OCD here and have been helping others and their parents directly, as well as here via the Internet. 

It is a dreadful statistic that almost 1% of the population will suffer significant OCD affecting their daily life. 

And it is really sad that it can take so long to access CBT through the NHS. 

So what our charity does, and what knowledgeable people can also contribute here, is so vital. 

For the time being at least, a turn in the local charity shops can wait - I think some time spent here is more useful. 

It happens that there is a mental hospital not far from where we live. 

There are of course many around generally - and in the west of Ealing, London, where I lived for a long time, there was the St Bernard's mental hospital, who were able to cure a friend of ours collapse into depression after being jilted in love. 

And for many years I worked in the City of London close by Liverpool Street Station, built on the site of the original well-known mental hospital Bethlehem hospital, which became known as Bedlem. 

At least so much is understood nowadays about mental illness. And cognitive therapy - founded in the twentieth century by American Aaron Beck and developed by adding the behavioural element into cognitive behavioural therapy - is a therapy that not only works for OCD but also various other types of negative thinking, including phobias, and stress issues. 

I am happy to be active here on these forums. Currently if I do happen to get an intrusion, and it's not often, I can gently ease it away. 

So I know from my own experience that others can aspire to do that too. 

And I feel privileged that OCD-UK has chosen to hold its annual conference here in in Northampton later this year and have already bought my ticket :)

 

Amazing that you’re giving back like this, your voice is so needed to those going though a relapse, and especially a first flare up. Like I’ve said it was voices like yours that saved me when I didn’t know what was happening to me 7 years ago, so although it wasn’t you directly that time, it was others like you,  so thank you. Without this website opening my eyes I wouldn’t have made it, I was that close to the brink and hadn’t slept or eaten for weeks through shear terror and anxiety about what I was becoming. Will never forget it, and then that process of starting to realise about ocd and slowly working my way back to life. It was the most difficult and scary experience of my life but I look at how far gone I was and how I slowly build my toolbox in that state, and I think if I can come back from that I can come back from anything.

I’m hoping I can recover quickly from this lapse since I’ve fallen into it quite quickly, have started using my toolbox straight away,  have got support on here and most crucially have told my husband everything going on in my head. Right now in this moment I feel calm and I truely know that the thoughts are worthless meaningless rubbish to be ignored. But tomorrow may be a different story. I’ve managed to still go to my dance class tonight and have started a self help cbt programme, breaking free from ocd I think it’s called, which I will commit a couple of hours to each day. And of course I’m always implementing the 4 steps. I have started meditating as well as yoga and meditation helped me last time, although I definitely need a refresher in this so hope the course I’ve signed up to is what I’m looking for and doesn’t end up being triggering. I will keep up the fight and hope to sleep well tonight, it’s evening here 😊

 

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Sounds like a good plan. Good luck with that. 

Roy 

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1 hour ago, taurean said:

Sounds like a good plan. Good luck with that. 

Roy 

Just trying to fight the good fight 

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22 hours ago, Deb79 said:

I have taken this week off sick as I just couldn't face work and dealing with new meds side effects. Back to it on Monday. 

Sometimes self care is the best thing to do.  I've done that a few times, taken some sick days for my mental well being.  As long as it doesn't become a regular thing it can be very very very helpful!  A chance to gather yourself and be ready for the fight.  After all, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint!
 

22 hours ago, Deb79 said:

Just getting myself into a panic that I was doomed 😳🙄

Been there!  Its always easier to fall in the hole than climb out of it huh?
 

22 hours ago, Deb79 said:

We are just over the pond in Australia (originally UK). 

I love Australia!  I have some friends in Melbourne and had the chance to visit them a few years back.  It was wonderful and I'd love to go back again, if only it weren't so far away from..well..everywhere else 😆 (though maybe thats part of its charm!).  Haven't had the chance to visit Europe yet, but when I do UK is on my must visit list! (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Italy, Spain, France...its a long list, lol)



 

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I’ve got a nice quiet life. I don’t owe anything either. So I suppose it’s not quite normal but it works for me. 

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Nice quiet and no debt suits we retirees quite nicely. 

All we would like to do is (for me, but new to my wife) revisit local country houses  estates and countryside. 

And for me the fishing lakes are a happy draw. 

This little bungalow in Northampton is our dream come true, and for Roy here a short stroll to the village shops café or pub is fantastic. 

To my younger friends here, normality is finding a job they enjoy, a partner, having kids and some great holidays. 

None of this involves anxiety or other mental disorders which disturb the joy of living. 

Thank goodness we have good old OCD-UK which can help sufferers overcome their difficulties and aspire to reach their own "normality" dream. 

 

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Combining CBT, mindfulness & the forum gets DBT. It’s quite useful for OCD especially for those where CBT wasn’t enough. 

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I combined CBT, the charity and its forums, mindfulness, "Brainlock" and The Four Steps, and love kindness meditation alongside a macrobiotic diet plenty of exercise and a low dose of the SSRI Citalopram (which for me balances out my mood and gives me some mental resilience). 

DBT had nothing to do with it, and I have never had it. Had to look it up on Google. 

Our charity and its forums follows the guidelines for OCD treatment of the British NHS "NICE" guidelines, and the charity's perceived benefits of CBT and other additions such as mindfulness are clearly explained on OCD-UK's website. 

 

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NHS is also experimenting with Ketamine for depression. In US they are experimenting with it for depression & OCD with great results, usually in minutes. But you won’t find it in Brain Lock because Brain Lock is over 20 years old. 

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We are not in the USA! We are a UK forum operated by a UK charity. 

By the way, "BRAINLOCK" was recently revised by Jeffrey Schwartz and re-issued. 

 

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3 hours ago, Handy said:

NHS is also experimenting with Ketamine for depression. In US they are experimenting with it for depression & OCD with great results, usually in minutes. But you won’t find it in Brain Lock because Brain Lock is over 20 years old. 

Link to a reputable source?

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