Sheila fights the disruptive voices inside her head

View to a brighter future - Sheila Evenden. Picture by Jim Holden

View to a brighter future - Sheila Evenden. Picture by Jim Holden

  • OCD sufferer takes a courageous step
  • Study has provided a new confidence
  • ‘I wish this therapy had been available 30 years ago’
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A Seaford woman has bravely taken part in clinical research to help manage the voices in her head.

Sheila Evenden’s disturbing illness, caused by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), had got her to the point where she was struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

She decided to get involved in research because she was interested in “giving something back”.

The study 59-year-old Sheila took part in is called Relating to Voices (R2V) – looking at the effect of Relating Therapy for people who hear distressing voices.

She had previously had more than 40 sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Research.

Taking part in the study has given Sheila a new confidence in herself.

Friends have said I’m a lot easier to be with and a lot happier

Sheila Evenden

She said, “Research has given me a different view on life. I have a feeling of self-worth now and the confidence to go out and revisit old friends.

“I have even joined Facebook, something I wouldn’t have dreamt about before.

“I wish this therapy had been available 30 years ago and I would have had a better outcome in life.

“I hope that by taking part in this research if someone down the line is having similar problems, they won’t have such a rough ride because of my taking part.

“It’s a great honour to have been chosen to take part in this research. I have been very lucky to have access to therapy that others don’t have.”

She continued, “I still hear voices but the therapy has helped me to manage them. I know how to handle them and I am learning every day.

“The therapy has given me the confidence to go out and do more, I’m not using all my energy to fight OCD. Instead of calling the Samaritans – which I did quite often – I can catch up with old friends. I have found out that people like me – and when you don’t like yourself that can be surprising.”

Sheila added, “Friends have said I’m a lot easier to be with and a lot happier. They tell me they can see I am now doing things that I simply wouldn’t have done two years ago.”

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) is promoting positive clinical research stories from the perspective of patients, carers or members of the public.

By increasing public understanding of how and why patients get involved in research the campaign hopes to increase the number of people who will take part if given the opportunity.

Find out more at www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/news/have-you-got-a-positive-story-about-clinical-research/