*Trigger warning – this blog discusses suicide*

I am a 45-year-old old male who has suffered with mental health issues for most of my life. I started taking medication to help when I was 27-years old and have remained on various medications ever since. My diagnosed condition is severe OCD which takes the form of intrusive thoughts which are extremely distressing and unpleasant. I also have a lower form of OCD around order and structure and become very unsettled by change.

I have managed to lead a largely normal life with periods where the thoughts lessen to such an extent I barely notice them. These periods can last for around four years, however literally overnight the thoughts can return and this latest episode has been the worst.

I woke on the 6th of May (I always remember the date) and the thoughts had returned, which make me believe I am monstrous person to have such thoughts. They go round and round endlessly, literally 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. For the first time I was unable to work and haven’t done so for almost 4 months.

I ‘test’ myself constantly to ensure I can’t be the person these thoughts make me consider I am. That’s what OCD is. On the 15th of August it all got too much and I attempted Suicide by hanging. I lost consciousness and was convulsing when my wife came home and found me. I was rushed to hospital and clearly survived, however by a very fine margin. I was indifferent to being alive at that time.

I was then admitted to the Nightingale where I have remained to this date and will do so for a further two weeks. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that I have the most amazing wife who I have had the privilege of being with for over 16 years. She is my soulmate and has been with me every day since my admission. She has the resilience I currently lack.

The Nightingale has quite literally saved my life. The medication has changed and the therapy makes you realise you’re not alone and the love and understanding in these sessions is incredible.

That said, it is easy to think you’ve recovered more than you have and I found this yesterday when I attempted an overnight stay back home. I couldn’t cope with the emotions and my OCD triggers returned with a vengeance. I was bitterly disappointed, however have since come to look at it as the first step on my recovery to accept living in my home again. Again, my wife by my side constantly. An ever present, reassurance.

It is easy to become cocooned in the love and safety of this wonderful place and I have realised I must venture out more and face my fears. I have been hiding away I suppose. This I will now do in the remaining 2 weeks I have here.

My journey and recovery is far from complete but I feel hope and even an element of excitement for the future. I will accept the lows that will probably always come, however know that life is always worth living and there are people who will always help and understand. You never have to feel alone.

Life is precious and I came so close to ending mine. The thought of never looking at my wife’s face again scares me and I won’t go back to that place again.

I will recover and the Nightingale will be a huge part of that, but mostly the love and understanding of my wife will see me through.

Written by Stuart

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