So, my name is Beth.
On paper, I’m a 22 year old Psychology Graduate with a lovely boyfriend and a supportive family. I spend about 90% of the time in fleecy PJ bottoms, have very high maintenance eyebrows and am an absolute cake addict. However, what many people don’t know about me is that I face a daily battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety.
For those of you who don’t know, OCD is an anxiety disorder made up of obsessional thoughts. These obsessional thoughts cause the individual to carry out compulsions in an attempt to reduce the uneasy feeling. For example, with myself, I have a constant dread something awful is going to happen. When this unwelcome and, quite frankly, terrifying thought pops into my head, I find it far too difficult to just ignore. My brain tricks me into thinking if I don’t want this awful thing to happen, I must complete a routine to prevent it. It seems irrational even writing this down but the OCD makes it seem so real.
In my final year of university, the anxiety became too much for me to cope with. It spiralled into depression and I faced a really difficult few months. I find it fascinating when people can recall their experiences with depression through blog posts and autobiographies etc because I really cannot reflect nor can I vividly remember my own. When I look back on this period of my life, I see an empty, dark tunnel where time crept by slowly. Until, I eventually did find the exit.
It is my recovery from depression that I can remember. My family were the ones who encouraged me to seek help which I am so grateful for. At a time I wasn’t present myself, they were there to recognise this. I ended up being prescribed medication (sertraline) and received regular counselling, both of which helped me immensely. However, I do still have good and bad days. I don’t think my OCD will ever completely go, it’s something that will forever accompany me through life. But I’m still pushing on and I will not let it stop me. So take that you wanker.
It feels that now is the right time for me to write a blog about how I have dealt with mental health being such a massive part of my life. The help I have received for both depression and OCD has driven me to help others who are also struggling and I hope that I will be able to do that through writing about my experiences.
Alongside this, I have recently been accepted onto a Counselling Psychology masters which starts this week (eek!). I want to use this blog to share my journey of being an individual who has, and still does, receive help for their mental health difficulties to becoming a qualified Counsellor myself. I also hope to share with others self-help books that I’ve found useful, to discuss the different forms of help that is available and to share my wisdom (hindsight) as a graduate during that weird period of not being a student but not quite being ready to adult either.
Follow me through my year of being a trainee Counsellor with mental health difficulties to becoming a qualified Counsellor with mental health difficulties. Watch this space. I promise you, it’s going to be riveting.