Mary was relieved to have a diagnosis for her unwanted recurring uncontrollable thoughts.
She had been disturbed by her behavior for the past few months. Dr. Jones had asked specific questions about her habits and thoughts. She found that she could not help herself but to check the stove over and over again. Just one more time, she thought.
She believed that these obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors were irrational, but she felt unable to resist them and break free. She did not realize to what extent that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was affecting her life until the doctor pointed it out. He said that obsessions are involuntary, seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind.
Dr. Jones asked if there was any worry about germs and if she thought of herself as germ-phobic. She was amazed with his insight. After cleaning the stove over and over again, she would then wash her hands an average of eight times. Mary’s husband had been the reason why Mary came to see the doctor. He would see how obsessed she was becoming and how it was affecting their life together. She seemed completely preoccupied with these obsessions.
Dr. Jones started Mary on a medication to normalize the repetitive behaviors. He said it would take a few weeks to build up in her system before she would feel the effects.
Mary and her husband, Stan, started looking to the internet to see what they could find out about OCD. They both were astounded at the amount of information that they found. Stan wanted to support Mary all the way to a recovery and beyond so he called the Canadian Mental Health Association. They found out that Mary could come to Peer Support Services (PSS) to talk and be supported. Mary dropped into PSS and found the volunteers friendly and insightful. She also found out about Mental Illness Family Support Centre (MIFSC) in People Place, where Stan could go to get support for learning how to be part of Mary’s support team. Both of them found the support reassuring. All the way through they had support from PSS and MIFSC. While it took awhile to find the right medication for Mary, Dr. Jones was always cognizant of his patient’s mental health and found a medication that helped her to normalize. She was very thankful to everyone — she had her life back.
Elisheva Benjamin is the assistant to the coordinator at Peer Support Services for the Canadian Mental Health Association.