Other Ramblings...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


I've been thinking about CBT for the past couple of days.

Do I want it?  Do I need it?

When I was seventeen, I began a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, after being referred (grudgingly, because apparently 'everyone' has varying degrees of OCD.  My GP has never believed in it.) by my doctor.  At that point, my compulsions were about the same as they'd been since I'd settled down at Secondary School.  Not the worst they've ever been, but definitely present.  I think I was just sick of having to put up with it morning, noon and night.  I was bored.

The CBT itself was disastrous.  My therapist wore a nasty brown cardigan and spent both sessions I attended telling me that I was 'very gifted' (I'm not).  The highlight came when, on asking me how I saw myself, I replied, 'I think I'm quite empathetic.' and she said, 'Never call yourself pathetic; it's just not true.'.

I would have carried on, I think, because there is no other way for me to access CBT and also because she probably would have been able to teach me some techniques but, as is the way of the NHS, they suddenly decided to change the way access to counselling works in England, and my sessions were delayed by a year.  By the time I was re-offered them, I was at a totally different stage in my life; going through a better patch with my OCD and tackling my final school exams, all of which left little time to be tackling compulsions and obsessions and intrusive thoughts.

My OCD, at the moment, is - I think - on a downwards spiral.  For a while, I've been managing to limit myself to mental compulsions, but I had to take the stairs instead of getting in the lift at work and I had to walk back a couple of steps so I could get onto the pavement in the 'right' way this evening.  I'm also developing a nasty intrusive thought about someone stabbing me when I get out of the lift at work, which is probably where the lift avoidance compulsion is coming from.  After a horrific Autumn last year, I really don't want to go there again.

On one hand, I'd really love to go and tackle this thing once and for all.  I'm fed up of it dominating my every thought and being scared of going on holiday in case I can't cope with the change in routine, and feeling like the odd one out amongst my friends because they're all 'normal'.  I'm also ready, I think, to tackle it.  I want to do it.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that I want to go back to the doctor's and talk to anyone about it.  I hate talking about my OCD - writing about it is different somehow - and I don't like talking to people about either my obsessions and my compulsions.  As I mentioned earlier, my doctor is most unsympathetic and doesn't really appear to believe that OCD exists.  I also don't think there's much point being referred back to the same counsellor as before.

So, my question is this: do I go and ask for more CBT?  And, if so, how?


  1. I can just relate my experience. I resisted treatment beyond medication for my OCD for many years, and I think I did a disservice to myself. I started cognitive behavioral therapy last spring, then my therapist decided I needed a specific kind of therapy for my chronic depression, so I'm doing that now. But I'm looking forward to getting back to tackling the OCD. I think the therapy can give me tools that I can use as long as I live.

    Have you read "Brain Lock," by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz? My therapist uses a modification of the steps in that book. When I read the book on my own years ago, it helped me.

    Good luck with your decision. I know it's not easy.

  2. I will definitely get hold of a copy of the book!

    Yes, I think that not getting help is sometimes the easy option: I can kid myself that I'm sane and my compulsions are normal and I can kid myself that everything's just going to sort itself out, but really the only way to change anything is to tackle it head on.

    Thankyou for sharing your experience - it makes it so much easier to know that other people are going through the same thing - and good luck with your treatment!

  3. Hi Kate!

    Because OCD (at least in my experince) has peaks and valleys, there are times in our lives when it does not bother us so much. However, there are other times when it is a nightmare.

    I went through a real downward spiral a few years ago and finally began to see a therapist for CBT and ERT and I began taking medication.

    I have improved since that time but I will not stop going to therapy and I will continue to take medication, for I believe it is these two things that are helping me so much.

    In therapy, I am learning how to manage my anxiety. I am learning how to deal with all the different types of OCD that I have. I am dealing with episodes before they overwhelm me. I think that therapy is a real life saver.