Hello, and welcome to this blog.
My name is Karen Robinson. I am a mental health researcher based in Bath in the UK, and the theme of my current research is: ‘Seeking help and receiving appropriate treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)’.
An important motivation for wanting to do this particular research was my own personal experience of OCD. I am 57 now and had OCD for most of my adult life. I delayed 24 years before seeking help. Although my OCD was very frightening and disabling I was even more scared of the mental health system. My initial experiences of seeking help were painful. However, I later reached a clinical psychologist at a specialist NHS clinic who was both expert in specialist cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for OCD and an incredibly compassionate human being. Most of my CBT sessions took place at the clinic but the therapy also included two very powerful intensive CBT sessions in my flat where my OCD was most severe. Over time the CBT proved completely life-changing.
When I realised what an unbelievable change in my life the therapy had brought about, I was elated. Partly because the change was so remarkable, alongside the elation I also experienced intense regret that I hadn’t sought help earlier. The delight combined with the regret motivated me to begin to speak and write about my experience of OCD and CBT, and to train as a mental health researcher.
In the past I kept my OCD almost entirely secret, especially at work. I am now in the somewhat unusual position of regularly drawing on and referring to my personal experience of OCD and CBT, as part of my work. This might be while doing my research, being asked to give feedback on other people’s research, helping to train mental health professionals, contributing to a video, writing an article, or speaking at a conference. In this blog I am hoping to begin to gather together these different strands, reflect on them, and explore new ones.
I also hope that in this blog I will be able to capture something of the wonder and joy and huge gratitude I feel at not having to struggle with OCD any more. It’s extraordinarily difficult to find words to express what it is like to be given years of my life back; years that I would otherwise have spent living in the grip of my OCD. The words ‘thank you’ seem woefully inadequate. I wondered whether pictures might help and so I plan to include photos I’ve taken as part of this blog.
Thanks very much for reading. I’d be really interested in any thoughts or comments you might have.
Wishing you all the best,
Photo Credit: Creative Process / Daniel Day