It took months for me to finally understand the breakdown. I’d had some counselling at university, but there was no specialised help for the OCD. The support from university was mainly designed to get me through my final weeks at uni. So, when I returned home, I decided it was time to visit the GP and get some professional help. I know that hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I truly wish I’d sought medical help earlier. OCD affects so many aspects of your life, it makes everyday activities so difficult and time-consuming to carry out. I very nearly dropped out of university, I became so detached from my life that I could barely hold a conversation with people, I spent every moment of the day trapped in rituals. I was in such a mess. I try not to think about it, but I know that my university experience would have been so much more enjoyable if I had just sought help sooner, before I’d reached crisis point.
It’s hard opening up and talking to someone about your mental health, but this crucial first step will help you tremendously. It started me on my path to recovery. So far, it has involved CBT, medication and various support groups. I’m still on this journey, I don’t know if I’ll ever be free of the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours for good. But one thing I do know is that without professional help I wouldn’t now be able to manage my symptoms more effectively.
I know that I am far from alone in the struggle of living with OCD. So many people live with OCD for years before seeking help. Standing up to the OCD bully is terrifying but getting professional help can be life-changing. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for OCD, but speaking to a professional can help you establish a treatment plan that works for you.
Lottie is a PhD student in Classics at the University of Bristol. She has been struggling with OCD and anxiety for several years, and is very passionate about raising awareness of mental illness and challenging stigmas. She regularly blogs about her own experiences with mental illness here.