I was diagnosed with GAD and OCD in 2013 and finally, at the age of 55, my life started to make sense. I have been obsessive ever since I can remember – other people had interests, I had all consuming passions that totally took over my life. But I think it was when my dad dropped dead when I was 13 that the OCD kicked in. From then until my diagnosis, I basically lived in fear. For me, it was never about hand washing, although I did obsessively worry about being ill and constantly checked myself for signs. There was the counting thing (if I see three red cars on my way home, everything will be ok). Later, when I started work, I used to get panic attacks in meetings which was awkward if I happened to be conducting a one to one interview as part of my job! But, after I left work and moved to the Highlands of Scotland to be close to my husband’s brother, my OCD manifested itself in food. I became convinced that I would choke to death and as a result, every meal was a nightmare. I plucked up the courage to speak to a GP but he told me to “pull myself together”. That led to three more years of hell. I tried homeopathy, hypnotherapy. I bought “cures for anxiety” at great expense from the Internet. Eventually, during Easter 2013, my body said “enough” and I took myself up to bed in the middle of the day, shaking, cold, scared. I thought well this is it, I am going mad. This is the end. Luckily for me, it wasn’t. Although I didn’t eat for two weeks after that, I struggled on but went to my GP (a different one) about my stomach problems. Anyone who has had chronic anxiety will know it wrecks your insides. She took one look at me, prescribed Sertraline and sent me for CBT. I know for a fact that this saved my life. Three years on, I am still on the Sertraline and although I still get the intrusive thoughts, I am much much better. In fact, I think I am better than I have ever been. So, that’s my story and I really hope it helps someone.
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