I have OCD, but am not medicated. No real reason–I just never wanted to deal with the whole psychiatry thing, and I tend to get the worst possible side effects for pretty much everything. I was prescribed Zoloft in high school, but never took it. I did talk therapy, which definitely helped. It sucks that you can’t afford it. I wish I could do some booster sessions right about now, but my insurance doesn’t cover it and I definitely can’t afford it. (Going to the free therapist in college = best decision ever.)
I don’t know anyone else who has it (aside from my father, but he’s in denial–he keeps insisting he has Asperger’s, not OCD/PTSD, but won’t go to a therapist, even though his insurance does cover it) and I don’t know anyone with OCD who’s medicated. I would recommend giving it a shot, though. It’s so tyrannical to live with, and any relief you can get from meds would be a good thing. You can start talk therapy later if you get the money, but medication could make life NOW better.
But, but, but: if the meds don’t seem to help, and/or you have a psychiatrist you don’t like or who doesn’t seem to be listening when you talk about the side effects, SWITCH SHRINKS. If your GP is prescribing, make sure you read up on the drug or drugs. GPs often have minimal psych training at best, and you may very well know more than they do about side effects or drug interactions. Also, your pharmacist can be a great resource–they do nothing but drugs all day, so they can have good thoughts on them. (Be careful, though. If you ask, “Can this drug cause X?” or “Can I take this drug with Y?” and they hem and haw instead of answering right away, they probably don’t know enough to be helpful.)
I say all this as somebody with OCD (repetitive, intrusive, irrational thoughts of death are my main thing, and they suck, and talk therapy helped, a lot, with that and with the trichotillomania), a master’s degree in psychology with a special interest in behavioral neuroscience (did my concentration in it), who’s just beginning the process of med school applications. So. Take it for what it’s worth–I’m not an expert, but I’m not a complete layperson, either.
And, just as a side note, exercise can be really helpful with mood stabilization. It acts through indirect blood-glucose related pathways to increase positive mood and decrease mood lability. If you don’t have a regular workout, I would STRONGLY suggest developing a reasonable one with cardio exercise. I would NOT recommend it in place of meds, but in addition to.