Paul says: we are finished! But its not finished.
We made it to John O’Groats in pretty good shape. The weather was kind to us…apart from the first Saturday, ideal cycling weather. A wee bit of sun, not too hot, mostly cloudy. Lots and lots of support along the way: crucially, from Lisa who looked after us fantastically, was where we expected her to be when we needed it. She cycled several days, and would be, I suspect, the best cyclist of us all! The many people we met along the way too….Exeter take the prize for the biggest group (sorry we were late folks, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor got in the way!). Glasgow were fantastic, enthusiastic, and gave us McGowan Chews. Really cheered us up when the fatigue kicked in!
There are more than I can mention, but off the top of my head on the train to Inverness on the way home, Jonathan, Trusty Rusty, Jo Sharman, Ian Grant and Steve Flett all shared some of our efforts. The media were there sometimes, especially in the west country. We couldn’t stir media interest in Wales and apart from Grace (thanks Grace!) in Scotland.
With the very notable exceptions of Steve Flatt, David Clark and my own team in Bath and the Bath trainees (thanks folks….cheering me into the pub at Stanton Drew was a highspot of the trip) we saw a lot less therapists that we expected. Don’t know why, we did our best to get people in with the idea of networking with the charity, with service users and ourselves. Disappointing.
Lessons learned…..the trip was a weak metaphor for OCD (always was, but worth a go!). We can make comparisons about overcoming difficulties, pushing on through, taking each stage at a time, but in the end it was not really about the kind of suffering people with OCD have to endure. And when I say “not finished”…… was clearer and clearer to me the more people we met with how much the needs of people with OCD are either not being met or being met so badly as to be worse than nothing. I heard really really unpleasant stories of mistreatment and maltreatment and professional neglect. Someone was told that the only thing that could be offered to them is “palliative care”. For OCD??
I am disturbed that the specialist treatment centre in Scotland for OCD is directly linked to the psychosurgery service. Specialist treatment (of what quality? hard to tell) is only a single step away from invasive and ineffective treatment which has historically been the vehicle of psychiatric abuse. I detected some reluctance on the part of people with OCD in Scotland to access the Dundee centre, and on the information I have it is hard to disagree with this position.
Anyway, its clear that awareness of OCD and its treatment still has a long way to go. I knew this before I set out through the three countries of mainland UK, so I have simply had my previous understanding reinforced, as has my view of the fundamental kindness and supportive nature of the people we met.
Thank you so much for the financial support through sponsorship to OCDUK.
A couple of personal thank yous; Brynjar for the laughs including the horse’s head, definitely better than the asses I had seen previously and most of all….Ashley, it has been a pleasure to spend these two weeks with you and to work with you in the run up to it. Your organisation made it work, and work well.
I’m going to rest for a couple of weeks, then will get back on the bike on a regular basis. What next? Well, we did the mainland… about Ireland? It would be shorter but maybe we could zig-zag?