Eight months ago, Scott Brown, Senior Student Recruitment Co-Ordinator at Gateshead College was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here he shares an insight into his road to recovery
Recovery and Where I am now….
Many of our staff within the college read my original story about my battle with OCD. When I wrote that in May I was 12 weeks into my recovery. My anxiety and low days had just about cleared. I guess anyone who is reading about someone’s battle with mental health wants to hear about the end goal and is recovery fully possible. When asked by the college if I could post an update I wanted to say yes. I have spoken with many staff and I know a lot of people are going through their own individual battles and for those who are feeling down or at the bottom of the hill, it’s important to know that recovery is possible.
I was lucky to be diagnosed within 3 months and with that it allowed me to research what OCD was and how could I treat this. For 3 months I dedicated my whole life to getting better, at times I was selfish and put my own health first. I would miss events with my friends to make sure that I was sleeping well, going to the gym and taking my recovery step by step and at my own pace. Those closest to me did their own reading on OCD, how they could help and encourage me. My family and friends made changes to help me as they knew for a short while I had to change.
I accepted a long time ago that the OCD condition was unavoidable but how I treat this and look after myself is entirely up to me. I did everything that was recommended to me from professionals. My recovery was mapped out by my GP and Counsellor. I ate well, I gave up drinking alcohol, exercised (within moderation), made sure I got plenty of daylight, slept to a routine, took my medication, stayed away from social media, wrote anxiety tables and diaries, lastly I attended counselling sessions which were provided by the college. I also read 8-10 books on OCD so that I had the knowledge of how to beat this. I don’t think any of these things were more important than the other and every little bit helped to increase my serotonin levels. It’s sometimes a very taboo subject for men and their mental health but I told every single one of my mates and my family that I needed help. Now I am the one offering advice, support and help to those who ask for it.
In the last 3 months I have raised £1000 for OCD action. I ran the Edinburgh marathon and Great North Run. I’m back to having a few beers with my mates and I am back travelling. I’ve got my life back. It’s not an easy journey but it’s one that is possible, but it takes time and commitment. I have no anxiety, rarely have low mood and the odd little moment of OCD, but I know what this is and how to react to this. I was told that treating mental health is just like treating Diabetes, basically you have to maintain your recovery or you run the risk of a relapse or taking a step backwards.
Recovery is possible, no one wants to feel like they are at the bottom of a hill. It takes time, effort, courage and commitment to overcome any Mental Health illness. It also takes incredible support from those around you. I encourage anyone with any mental health condition to speak out, let people support you on the road to recovery. It’s a hard enough journey to overcome without fighting it alone.
You can read more mental health stories here.