Sunday, April 1, 2007

Living With OCD

Out in the Open
I don't generally talk about this in a public Internet forum (okay, never), but I started to think maybe my experiences could benefit others in similar positions. I may one day put my story in a self-help-slash-memoir, which I have had the title for for the past 5 years, but have only ever written a rough outline. I do rather like the title though, as it expresses a sort of a personal mantra: Over Coming Difficulty.

My OCD History
I have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since I was around 7 or 8 years old, and showed symptoms well before that. Most people don't develop OCD until puberty...not me. By puberty, though, I had gotten most of the compulsive actions under control, and just had to deal with the obsessive intrusive thoughts.
I continue to struggle with the "bad thoughts," sometimes to a greater or lesser degree-- I have my ups and downs with it. I've had a hard time since 2001, which was a confluence of many stressful events in my life and was also when my medication (Prozac) I'd been on since a child stopped its effectiveness. Unfortunately, my OCD has also manifested itself in other ways the past couple of years. On and off ticks, such as blinking unneccessarily has happened on and off (mostly off right now). The worst is the symptoms that may be an indicator of trichotillomania : I pick at my fingers and scalp until they bleed. Yes, it is painful, and sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it, but when I do, it is still sort of hard to stop. I have been wearing hats and other head-covering as a stop-gap measure until I figure something else out.

I have been running through the gamut of medicines since the Prozac ceased to be effective (I guess I just built up an immunitiy to it). These have included Celexa, Effexor, and more that I can't remember now but will do a write up on later as to the side effects and benefits. Currently, I am taking Cymbalta.
I am also looking into alternative medicines. The one that I am most intrigued by is Bach Flower Remedies. One of the flower essences, White Chestnut, holds promise:

Flower Remedy- White Chestnut
For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not
desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the
moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and
still remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle
round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant
thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the
work or pleasure of the day”
- Dr Edward Bach

That's all for now. Next: A reading list, a medicine and therapy rundown.


No comments: