A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE!
Not wanting to be here anymore, that is how low my life got ten years ago. Type one diabetes at 17 years-old, a serious prostate illness at 21 years-old, and then severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder at 33. Hello, my name is Andy, aged now 43 years old, and this is my account of how I fought back from a true nightmare of a life.
My OCD truly exploded when I unknowingly sat in sick at my doctors some ten years ago. I didn’t realise though until some twenty-four hours afterwards. This meant I had spread the smell of vomit ALL OVER mum’s house. No matter how many times the house and my clothes were cleaned, the smell of sick would not disappear.
My immediate OCD response was to completely withdraw from life. I could not go anywhere because I was petrified of smelling or seeing vomit. I became a recluse I’m sad to say, yet I hated living at home because home was totally contaminated in my view. I lost all my friends, my social life and who I was as a person.
They say you must reach rock bottom before you can start to recover. I had reached this point and I didn’t want to quit on life either. Hope kept me alive through the very dark days, hope that one day I would recover and get better.
My breakthrough came when I asked my GP for a second opinion on the NHS for a Psychological Assessment. This time I got a brilliant mental health team that were so understanding and lovely. I was a broken man who wanted to get better with my OCD, I just did not know how to.
I started taking mental health medication for the first time ever in my life. It is the best thing I have ever done in my life. Up to that point, I had always found doing Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy too scary. The medication enabled me to actively engage with CBT this time.
Over the course of the next two years, I kept chipping away doing regular CBT exposure exercises. I can remember sitting down on public transport for the first time in over ten years. This was a huge win for me. I can remember regularly going out and shopping in my local supermarket, which was so scary at first. I started having a social life once more and seeing my best friends again. My baby steps forwards had indeed turned into giant strides.
I am not cured right now, but my OCD has become manageable and this is huge progress from where I once was. This year I hope for better still. I am in the middle of a Copywriting course which I hope will help lead me towards getting a job. I finally feel well enough to get a girlfriend too.
I hope my story is a source of inspiration for some of you out there. Keep fighting, never stop fighting, and I know all your dreams will come true!
Follow Andy’s journey on twitter @ScarfmanAndy