From Canada: I have been struggling with mental illness since I was 15 years old. I had been diagnosis with O.C.D and depression at first, but when I turned 19 I started to have severe panic attacks whenever I was in public. This resulted in me dropping out of college and spending all my time at home. I’ve been Agoraphobic for over one year now, rarely leaving my house. My O.C.D mainly results in me being consistently washing my hands, but lately I been having intrusive thoughts.

All of my family are Christians and I am one as well. My thoughts tell me that if I do a certain activity, then I will go hell. These thoughts are so bombarding and constant, that I have given up most of the things I used love doing because of them. I’m very afraid and I have talked with my mom about them, and she says they are from the devil. This makes me terrified. I also have blasphemous thoughts while reading my bible.

I’m afraid to talk to my psychiatrist about them because I’m scared he’ll think I’m crazy. It also very hard to bring up the subject in conversation and awkward because I’m extremely shy.

A: The most important thing you told me is that you are being treated by a psychiatrist. That means you have help available to you that you aren’t using. Self-report is the primary source of information for mental health professionals. We can only work with what our clients give us. If we don’t know what’s going on, there’s little we can do. You have serious symptoms that need to be addressed and he’s clueless! However much he may want to help, he can’t — or at least he can’t do as much as he could if you were more forthcoming.

Please — take your letter and this response to your psychiatrist. You don’t have to say a word. You just have to hand him the letter and he’ll take it from there. Your treatment will then have a chance to move forward.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie