An incredible year that was .. Thank You !

Thought i would write a small article about the year and the OCD / Mental Health work i have done during 2017

I was fortunate enough to have worked alongside some of the best teachers of CBT via various University’s across the Uk. sharing my lived experiences of OCD and Recovery , and engaging with future therapist’s who will go onto hopefully fix people with ocd and go onto lead a life free from the debilitating disorder.

I was a keynote speaker this year at the first Maternal Mental Health Alliance conference , and what a great experience that was. I also got to meet some truly incredible people too , at last .

I have been along to Parliament on three occasions , focusing on getting Fathers better access to treatments during the Maternal stages , an ongoing project which is moving forwards rather swiftly , thanks to my good friend Mark Williams , from father’s reaching out .

I could go on and add further (much more lol) , but i won’t , but what i would like to say to everyone who has engaged with me this year , and asked me to be a part of it all , a massive thank you , i really do appreciate it a lot , and sometimes i have to pinch myself to check that its all real !

2018 looks like it is going to continue in the same way , which is awesome

Once again , i am honoured to have been involved , thank you thank you thank you !

 

Ash ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anxious about not being anxious .. .

Yes ! Title says it all.

A common theme that crops up in OCD. is where people are , or become very anxious about the irrational thoughts they are having , because the thoughts themselves no longer are bothering them with anxiety , but remain , which leads onto the person becoming petrified by that fact !

Therefore if they are NOT making you  anxious , it must mean i want them , they must be true = Doubt , fear , anxiety , guilt etc = this is ocd at work itself .

So if you do have the thoughts that remain “stuck” but they don’t give off any anxiety , its normal, but also be prepared for OCD to take another devious route , of asking you , with crap doubt , and causing further angst .. BUT implement good CBT , or self help work !

 

Heads up

Ash.

 

 

 

The needless safeguarding procedures ……OCD.

Alas , here i am writing a blog about why people are still going through needless safeguarding procedures, after disclosing their harmless thoughts that are torturing them, if anything they are sharing them because they are requiring help , help which if implemented well can be a life changer that is Cognitive Behavioural Therarpy , and ERP.

Do those that are implementing safeguarding procedures , know about OCD at all ? Do they know that there are no reported cases , EVER , of any person with OCD acting on their unwanted thoughts ! They never do , never have , never will !! No reported cases anywhere in the world ….. So lets look at who decided its a need !!! it isn’t !!!¬† is it !

On two different occasions recently , during lived experience teaching with IAPT i have heard that some are told to automatically report thoughts of harm/sexual nature to safeguarding protocol , which leads onto unnecessary  angst , wasting of time , resources and  money , which could be put towards resources that help people get better , not making them feel like shit !!! If anything it could actually cause huge damage to a persons well being , and take them back to a worse place than they were before !

Then you hear of people being advised , be careful of who you disclose to , as it can cause pathetic responses of safeguarding by ill informed professionals .. REALLY ?? one would of thought that with the knowledge around about OCD , these are really not required, alas it appears not !!!

Maybe OCD disclosure of thoughts has become a victim of past mistakes that were real , as where in OCD there isn’t a threat , they just want help and support , not another swift kick in the nuts , it hurts , its scary and i speak from lived experience of !!

I was kind of apprehensive of writing this , as i though it might put people off seeking help , but why should i not say it as it is,¬† its wrong , very ! So please don’t delay if you need advice or support ocd action are fab¬†http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

 

*Footnote , there can be case of OCD having impacts on those that live with , eg where over usage of chemicals, could impact on others wellbeing , and support should be offered straight away (in an ideal way)

Importance is with the correct help and support ocd is very treatable

Maybe , just maybe if you are unsure as a professional , get one in who knows about ocd rather than needless knee-jerking of safe guarding. Here is a Risk Assessment in OCD a fantastic resource and important article too http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/15/5/332

 

Ash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extreme OCD. Channel 5. Review

Hi !

Thought i would write a review on the programme re “Extreme OCD”

Firstly “Extreme OCD” title kind/could of ¬†portrayed ocd in it’s “extreme” so for some , people watching ¬†may of been put off seeking help , if they felt that their OCD wasn’t as severe , or could lead onto a comparison , and of course sometimes people do have OCD and are able to hold down full time jobs , often called “high functioning” and do have difficult , severe OCD , but “can” be palmed off for treatments because they are “high functioners” = can’t be that bad , you are working full time

The programme itself , touched on many variations , and types of OCD that effects a sufferer , and also covered well the impact it has on all those that live and care for on a daily basis. It didn’t stereotype , but we must not put OCD into stereotypical boxes , it has a huge impact , whatever the flavour of the obsessions , same meat just different gravy

Positives of programme , was it gave a good insight into how ocd can manifest itself , and from that i hear reports of people seeking help for the first time, which is fab

Negatives ? Not much really , but very difficult to get it right with such a mix match of variations and types of Ocd , flipping from one person to another .

Thats all really .

 

ash

The importance of diagnosis in ocd , maybe .. ..

I thought I would write a personal view on why it is important to have a diagnosis when you are struggling from a debilitating disorder that is OCD.

For me personally ,after 30 odd years of struggling , without a diagnosis, I had reached rock bottom , the lowest point in my life , I thought I was mad, dangerous , did not deserve to live , due to the abhorrent unwanted thoughts that I may have harmed my children when they were babies , some of the thoughts we of a sexual nature also , it was horrific …. to the point of suicidal ideation ….. I wanted answers and certainty that I had not done these things, I tried many ways of trying to get certainty that I had not done these things , and also I tried many types of compulsions to try and rid myself of the thoughts along with disgusting feelings ….

I could not tolerate it anymore so in desperation I took myself to A/E and requested to be locked away , forever to protect people from the evil person¬†I was lead to believe I was …THIS is where the importance of DIAGNOSIS was critical for me !! The on duty Pysch. sat me down and explained what was happening to my poorly brain , and how OCD manifests itself !!! BANG !!! he also explained I would never have done these things , in the past , it was that I had horrid fears that I may have , and the uncertainty feelings make it feel like you have

SO the importance when a person presents with OCD in thee first instance (often at crisis point, as it can take up to 11 plus years before people seek help) being to told by a well informed professional about OCD is vital !

Diagnosis in Perinatal/Paternal OCD is vital too. Too often it is missed, or even misdiagnosed which is wrong , and leads onto further unnecessary suffering for all that are involved with the Disorder. Diagnosis gives all a good insight into the disorder , and importantly accessing correct evidence based treatments for OCD , that being CBT.

I recently did a poll on twitter and over 97% agreed that being given a diagnosis of OCD was beneficial in the sense that they could then go onto obtain information about the disorder , and use self help tools/books to work towards recovery , and importantly direct them onto good treatments , to help them regain their lives back

SO if you are a critic of diagnosis, take time to listen to those who have lived experiences, and yes OCD is a real disorder , but a very treatable one at that … and maybe just maybe with a diagnosis on board, it may help prevent further suffering and many more, unnecessary lost years …..

Ash

That’s all folks …. #AskAshOCD

Yes … that Is all folks … !!!

Tonight’s was the last #AskAshOCD twitter chat ….

It all started over 2 plus years ago , Diana from Maternal Ocd came up with the¬† suggestion, why not start a tweet chat and call it #askashocd ¬†…and it went from strength to strength , the awareness of it all has been fantastic ,¬†some¬†great knowledge sharing ,¬†and Therapists engaged and learnt from it too , some even using it as requested research tool … It was also¬†a recognised hash tag by the charity Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/mental-health-hashtags-on-twitter/#.WR4Y4IWcFjo also …….

The Uk’s leading¬†Ocd Charity ,¬†OCD ¬†Action ¬†charity have always supported me along the way , for which I am grateful too , they are fantastic charity of which I’m proud to continue to work alongside and volunteer for http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

 

SO why end ~ #AskAshOCD you may ask … ? because I feel that it has served its purpose , awareness has changed hugely over the last 2-3 years , and that’s brilliant !!¬†so , time now for me to work at focusing on getting better help for people with ocd … talk is good , actions are better…

So a massive thank you to EVERYONE that has engaged with #askashocd over that time , And a HUGE HUGE thanks to an incredible lady , who has been my double act , of batman and robin , who has given up her time as a carer’s perspective , that is Annie Cairns from twitter ! and a ocd action volunteer x > https://thesecretillness.com/2015/09/22/annie/ @cairns1ann

 

Take care , it’s been an incredible journey . Thank you .

 

 

The Marathon for “mental health”

YES !! I am running the London marathon on the 23rd of April 2017. It will be my 3rd in 4 years !!

You may have noticed the¬†media coverage this year is¬†, and has been focussed on “mental health” through the the charity “heads together” which is a “good” thing , aiming it towards people to “open up” about mental health, it is good to talk !! Lets reduce stigma too !! Yes yes yes …… many of us have been doing this for years also !! BUT no only getting people to talk , the importance I and others have done is to focus on the real issues and that is being able to access correct support, evidence based treatments , looking to increase better outcomes for people that have already “talked” !! because for many , it has been atrocious , very !!!

So yes , TALK ! REDUCE STIGMA , but lets not keep putting a sticky plaster on a broken leg , because it doe not work ever !

Going back to me personally , re the marathon itself , I am really looking forwards to it (although training has been difficult due to nasty virus) and I will give it my best shot , because running for such an incredible charity, Tourette’s action , gives me pleasure in knowing the money raised will really benefit those that live and care for , re support groups, support, research , and as a sufferer myself I know how difficult the syndrome can be , but it must never stand in your way EVER

 

Ash.

What has been going on ??

Thought I would update , and blog about what has been going on in the last couple of months …

Apart from Marathon training , for the London Marathon on the 23rd of april , it has been a busy year so far in regards to Mental Health/ocd awareness.

In January I was proud to have worked alongside one of the worlds leading Bdd/OCD experts , Rob Wilson at Surrey University.

The day involved training/teaching IAPT therapists ,¬†using my lived experience, and as Rob quoted “The Encylopedia of knowledge” of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , that I allegedly have ! The day was great , and Rob is a fantastic teacher. I hope they all went away equipped with good knowledge , so that they can help to change peoples lives for the better. What was also pleasing to hear , was Rob is keen on me becoming a therapist , which is a work in progress !

Last month I was asked to be on the panel of experts , for a debate , about taking Mental Health into the 21st century , working alongside MP. Norman Lamb, Liz Fraser (founder of Headcase) Danny Bowman, Chair from Parliament Street, lived experiences of Bdd/OCD , and Jonny Benjamin.

It was a great event and I was able to put across many aspects /knowledge/important information about OCD. It went down very well and Norman Lamb , said that he loved my input.

3 Days later !!!

I was back in London , doing a talk about OCD and Tourettes Syndrome , at the London Tourettes support group, collaborating with Liz Atkin , a world famous visual artist , which she has used as a platform of change to help her with the Compulsive Skin Picking/Dermatillomania. Liz is often seen on the Underground doing Charcoal drawings and passes them onto passengers, its also a great way of sharing awareness of the debilitating disorder. She has recently been working in Singapore. Her Presentation on the day , was incredible , and very informative. You can follow Liz on twitter @lizAtkin and her webpage is here  www.LizAtkin.Com

My talk involved sharing my lived experience of OCD and TS. and the sharing of information with those in the audience , which was followed up by a Q/A which went on for a good 30 minutes

What was so pleasing to hear, next day was the fantastic feedback I received, one person in the audience said it has been like¬†a light switch going on , and it has given him hope and inspired him , and that you can go onto lead a great life, and don’t let TS stand in your way. “One day I want to be like ash , doing talks/presentations” I said at any time he wants to be alongside me , to do a talk , he is more than welcome

I also got the pleasure of meeting up with Jess the “tourettes superhero” she is awesome, and so was Sophia too , was lovely to meet you as well

The support group all round is fantastic , huge credit to all involved !

So that’s it really . Looking forwards to running the Marathon on the 23rd of april with the tourettes action running vest on , and the “heads together” headband , because this year its the “marathon for mental health”

Thanks for reading. Much love

Ash x x x

 

 

“Oh that’s just Ash. That’s just the way he is …. ! “

Thought I would¬† write a blog about my experiences of Tourette Syndrome and why I have chosen to run the London Marathon 2017 for the wonderful charity that is Tourette’s Action, all details can be found here > https://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/

My Fundraising Page is here > http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=AshCurry007&faId=764934&isTeam=false

So , how many times have I heard “oh that’s just Ash , that’s just way he is !” probably 100’s because that is how people describe my Tourette’s syndrome of which I was “eventually” diagnosed with , aged 35 … during my diagnosis of OCD. which is or can be co-morbid with TS.

Why do they say that though ? I suppose,¬† if people are unaware of my TS , which at times can be innapropiate¬† , its a way of saying that’s him , some are even kind enough to explain TS to those who aren’t fully knowledged of how it can manifest itself !

It probably started around the age of 6 , mainly saying things out loud (and not swearing , only a small % actually do) it could be words , noises , burping , yelping as eg. It did impact on my ability to focus and education , but I was ok with the things that interested me !

I also went through stages of punching myself in the face .

Age 15 I left school early and found a job at my local barbers , of which I took to like a duck to water !! and I now run my own business , which has been successful for over 22 years ! The job I feel is a great distraction , and in my workplace I find the TS not so strong , except when it gets busy !! The TS it seems for me , spills out oddly as very funny ,like a sudden pun … although it can be offensive , its intent isn’t meant to be, and nor can I help that.

Once Diagnosed with ocd , I learnt lots about it , and 9 months afterwards I made a full recovery , and have remained ocd free for the last 12 years , which for me has helped with TS , as that , thankfully has lessened as I have got older (currently 48)

Currently the TS takes the forms of repeating words and what other’s say. Mimicking peoples voices and accents, apparently I would make a great impersonator !

I personally feel that in a TS sense of impact , compared to others , mine¬†is mild to moderate, sometimes it’s¬† there , sometimes it isn’t , but to be honest I don’t really care !

So i’m running the London marathon for the super Tourettes Action , they help people with and care for, and also do some great work in the research field.

So although its not big blog , I’m not the greatest of writers , I do hope you gain from this and please do sponsor !!

Most importantly . People love me for who I am, I have an incredible wife of 25 years and 2 two superb kids , who I am very proud of. Don’t ever let TS stand in your way .

 

Ash ūüôā X

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Fat ? ?

One of the question’s that my misfiring brain asked me , when I was poorly …

You are getting fat , the intrusion was , I recall .. I automatically responded by checking my belt , to see if anything had changed there , I then looked into the mirror , looking for signs of …. maybe I am , maybe I am getting fat , overweight people die young don’t they , people will comment on it , they will say “god you have put weight on” what are you doing sort yourself out …….

Bring in the weighing scales , the mirror checking , looking for signs … weighing myself up to¬†and over 15¬†times a day , checking the mirror , looking for signs of weight gain … then I started to check foods for fat content and calories , I also then used the fatal reassurance seeking , asking people if I looked fat , and of course that never works , never a solution , solutions to unwanted thoughts never work , do they …..but when undiagnosed you don’t understand , but then again when you are diagnosed , you do understand , but still fall into that behavioural pattern, of checking … looking for 100% certainty , avoiding things , checking , ruminating , feeling anxious, low self esteem … add to the list if you wish

I don’t know how I stopped the behaviours , but I did , like a lot of my pre diagnosis unwanted obsessions , I kind of learned that , or told myself that it isn’t working

Looking back , WAS I FAT ? ? Irrelavant , what was relevant was that I was under the grip’s of what I believe was an OCD episode , which lead me to believe I was ….

 

Hope it might help someone. Please do seek help though , if you are struggling , I am not an expert ,  just share my own personal story .

 

Ash.