On 12 August, last year I celebrated my 45th birthday, along with this it was also the marking of my 30 years living with a disease called OCD -Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The 30-year marking of this illness was not a celebration, but a mourning of the years lost to an illness that robbed me of life and is continuing to do so.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a psychiatric illness that consists of Obsessions, intrusive thoughts that comes into the brain causing anxiety and is followed by compulsions and ritualistic behavior that must be performed to alleviate the anxiety. This illness is aptly called the “doubting disease” due to the repetitive nature of the obsessive thoughts and ritualistic behavior.
As I am dealing with the illness, I am fully aware that the obsessions and compulsions serve no purpose, but I am unable to stop the behavior. Over the past 30 years the intensity and complexity of the obsessions and compulsions have escalated and is having an increasing negative effect on my quality of life.
There are different forms of OCD i.e. Fear of germs, checking. Mine is counting.
I count everything I do. Absolutely everything is based on certain numbers that are acceptable, This includes everything from how I brush my teeth, the amount of sips of a drink I may take, the amount of steps I may take to the volume of my radio. Some are therefore rituals that are visible to others, but a huge part of my compulsions happens in my head. Along with this comes the calculations that must be done should something around me not adhere to an acceptable number. The counting will then become a calculation of counting the same thing with calculations made to get the item i.e. a picture against the wall with flowers with an unacceptable[ST1] number of flowers. Calculations subtractions and multiplications will be done to get to an acceptable number to alleviate the anxiety it causes.
The above explanation of an OCD ritual should make no sense to the reader of this document, as it makes no sense to the person with the illness, the behavior cannot be stopped however bizarre the obsessions and compulsions are. This illness started with a simple thought on the tennis court that I cannot step on a line or my mother will die to the monster that it is today and that is becoming hungrier and hungrier and must be fed, robbing me of time, energy and effectively living my life. The normal day to day activities that are normal and automatic for most people, for me is a daily struggle as nothing comes normal and automatic to me, as everything I do is dictated by obsessions and compulsions.
In my case over the past 30 years I have been on basically every medication possible. Have had cognitive behavioral therapy, shock therapy, countless hospitalization and sadly also suicide attempts. None of the above have alleviated any of my OCD symptoms. This is now compounded with depression as I see no way out of the hollow existence that I am currently living in.
I work in the insurance industry as an underwriter ensuring that clients are correctly insured. I am in the fortunate position that I work in a small office, where my colleagues understand my bizarre behavior.
I earn a basic salary with no alternative income and most of these funds goes towards my medical aid plan payment, medication costs, psychiatrist and psychologist costs, hospital accounts and medical accounts being paid off due to not being settled by my medical aid plan as my day to day funds are very quickly depleted by the above mentioned costs.
I cannot take on a second job as I work a full day from 8am to 4h30pm with overtime most days, which we are not compensated for.
I live with my elderly parents that live off a limited amount of funds and are not in the position to assist with medical costs or the DBS operation costs.
As the DBS operation has not been approved by the FDA my medical aid will not cover the cost of the hospital, doctors, the apparatus, or any other costs affiliated with this operation. This procedure will be seen as “off label use”.
I have seen Dr Slabbert (other doctors in his team as well psychologist, psychiatrist, and neurologist) that are all strongly of the opinion that this operation is the only way forward.
I therefore on a humanitarian basis request assistance with a donation for the operation as I do not have the funds to pay for it myself.
This operation will not only address an illness but will give me my life back that I lost 30 years ago.
I therefore humbly request funds as this is where my hope for the future lies, with a life worth living, without an OCD monster to feed.