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Garry ‘s Story

Hi my name is Garry and I have suffered mental health problems for a number of years. I would say I suffer from a fear of thinking about thinking. At around the age of 17 or so I was witness to be a fundamental Christian who I worked with. I was told, very often that unless I accepted Jesus I would burn in Hell forever. This made me very anxious, and subsequently made me very aware of my thoughts and the thinking process. Let me add that I am not suggesting that all Christians are bad, or all religion is bad or makes you ill, but I would say that was the effect on myself. I would say this level of anxiety pretty much kicked on and off over the next 4 years or so.

Some weeks I was fine, others not so good, but at no time did I require treatment. When I was in my early 20’s I realised that I could hear my thoughts, pretty much in a manual way rather than a automatic way. (please see note below)I remember being on the bus with my mum and asking her if it was normal to hear your thoughts, to which she said yes. Well this went on for a couple of days, with me getting worse and worse and more paranoid, at which point I was hospitalised and medicated for around 6 weeks, during which time I did recover and went home.

During the next two years I suffered about 4 relapses, with each one meaning a return to the hospital. After the fourth time I returned to employment and remained very well and fairly happy until my mid 30’s. At this time I was the victim of bullying at work which caused me to withdraw into myself and thus study more thoughts again, which of course made me ill and I felt pushed into giving up my job. I started having thoughts and images of hurting loved ones, which of course is deeply depressing. I was diagnosed with OCD and put on tablets, which helped.

However after getting better I had the thought that what if my brain chemistry changes and I carry out such harming thoughts and think they are normal. I would say that I am paranoid over my brain, with an element of fear drawn in that I might carry out some of these some these thoughts…..I still fear thinking, even normal thoughts….I would define my problems is that I don’t know if I am “me” or my thoughts, coupled with the fear that my thoughts might “make” me hurt a loved one……..still I battle on in the hope that I will truly feel safe in my own skin again……

P.S Being positive I would say that drawing and sketching takes the edge off

Note. I would define the difference between a manual and automatic thought as follows…..

An automatic thought gets you to make a cup of coffee without being aware of it With a manual thought you hear the command, “make a cup of coffee”