OCD

just another day and new realities

I have a pretty firm hope that the more I act the way I want to be, the more I’ll become exactly that.

The first time my OCD played a role in daily life was when I was in middle school. I was at a friend’s house and we were going to watch a movie. Before he was able to open to DVD case and put the disc into the player, I insisted that he wash his hands. I didn’t want to get anything from his hands on the case. Begrudgingly, he said OK and went to the bathroom. One of the worst episodes of OCD I’ve ever had was about a year ago. I was getting out of bed and checked my phone for the time. As soon as I tried putting the phone down, I felt off, worried, out of control and obsessed. I couldn’t stop touching it, moving it, pressing on the surface. After about ten minutes of this I went outside to catch my breath, though I knew I wasn’t finished with the compulsion. Out on that porch I began breathing heavier and quicker. I started sweating, even though it was a brisk day. I squinted my eyes and held my eyelids closed, trying to psych myself out of what I knew was coming. Then, panic attack time. I spent the next 30 minutes on the couch, listening to Guns N’ Roses, trying to will myself out of it. Nothing worked, though, which I knew would be the case. I just had to manage and ride it out.

The loose point to my OCD story is that you can always make it out to the other side. In the moment, you’ll never get any clarity. Nor will you find any solace. People close to me always try to remind me that I’m not crazy, I’m not the only one who experiences this stuff, and it’s not as bad as I think it is. None of those observations help. Or they don’t help me. I’ve had to find ways to deal with my OCD on my own, because, let’s face it, OCD is a very private thing. I, for one, am not quite embarrassed to show it to people, but I am very hesitant. The judging, confused eyes are unnecessary. And the fast, five cent “advice” from those who don’t have this disorder is often painful.

Wisdom from those who know nothing about a topic is rarely useful, and bordering on useless.

I write about, share on social media, and talk with others about various mental health issues because I want to. Because doing so sometimes sheds light on the issue. It sometimes erases just a bit of the stigma around certain ones. And it helps me sleep at night and function throughout the day; knowing I did my small part in informing, educating, or just plain sharing.

Continue Reading

OCD

90% better from OCD

Now, I consider myself 90 percent better from OCD.

I am 38 years old and have been suffering with OCD for the past 17 years. When I look back in retrospect on my teenage years, I now realize I had small signs of OCD back then. I remember that I was very obsessed with making my homework perfect and doing a whole math project in pencil and then instead of erasing a mistake I would redo the whole assignment. I remember having the fear that I wasn’t perfect and what people would think of me if I made a mistake. Fast forward to 17 years ago because that’s where my OCD really started to get extreme. The event that triggered my OCD was when my father had his heart attack and almost didn’t survive. I was 21 back then. I then began to get the intrusive thoughts that if I didn’t do something my father would die. For example, if I didn’t put the turning signal in when I made a turn I thought something bad would happen to him. If I put the radio on a bad number (which I have issues with numbers) I would think my father would be injured or fall ill. My whole daily life became surrounded by numerous obsessions and compulsions about my father being ok and focusing and doing everything “right” to keep him alive and safe. This went on for 15 years. I would text him repeatedly throughout the day to see if he was ok. I then, for a period of about a year, went to therapy. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was seeing a therapist due to my fear of that negative stigma that I’m so called crazy.

Continue Reading

Podcast

Dr Courtney Paré – Homeopathy and OCD

In episode 89 I interviewed Dr Courtney Paré. Courtney is a naturopathic doctor who specialises in the treatment of mental health conditions, with a focus on anxiety and OCD.

Dr. Courtney Paré

In this episode I chat with Courtney about meditation, what is homeopathy, how homeopathy can work alongside SSRIs, how homeopathy is personalised, the importance of therapy, why intrusive thoughts stick around, being mindful, being compassionate with yourself, and 3 homeopathy case studies. Enjoy!


podcast

To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

Continue Reading

Podcast

Jon Hershfield – When a family member has OCD

In episode 88 I interviewed Jon Hershfield. Jon is a pyschotherapist based in Maryland who specialises in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He is the author of three books “The mindfulness workbook for OCD” and “When a family member has OCD”. And the soon to be released “everyday mindfulness for OCD” which he co-wrote with Shala Nicely. This podcast is packed with tips and advice for the family members of those with OCD. 

Jon Hershfield

In this episode I chat with Jon about stigma within the family, the importance of remaining a family member, why it’s not your fault, the 4 I’s, reducing compulsions as a family, why it’s ok to help them relax and comfort them but not engage in the content of their obsessions, establishing contracts for when reducing compulsions, mindfulness and coping with frustration within the family. Enjoy!


podcast

To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

Continue Reading

Podcast

Ryan Dumont – The Missing Peace: A Patient’s Guide to Recovery

This week’s episode is sponsored by CBT Solutions. They are based in Maryland. Find out more here –CBTBaltimore.com

In episode 87 I interviewed Ryan Dumont. Ryan is an OCD wellness advocate, CEO of Dumont Innovative Technologies, and the author of the forthcoming book, “The Missing Peace: A Patient’s Guide to Recovery” that details a holistic, systematic approach to treat OCD. He also works with nOCD, a sponsor of this podcast.

Ryan Dumont

In this episode I had a good chat with Ryan about his OCD story, how helping others can help recovery, advice for getting the most out of being an inpatient, lifestyle changes, the nOCD app, Ryan’s book, the importance of being patient, not letting OCD decide, making note and keeping track of progress. Enjoy!


podcast

To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

Continue Reading

OCD

Learning to give thoughts less attention

To this day I still get Intrusive Thoughts, but I’ve learnt to pay them less attention

We all have them – little explosions in our minds catching us off guard. Thoughts that are out of character, unusual, maybe even a little disturbing, “Where did that come from?” We ask.

Estimates vary, but the average person has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. Our minds are complex beasts and it can feel like we’re at the mercy of some of these thoughts. We’re not good at controlling our minds either; a familiar test – for the next minute you’re not allowed to think of a big pink elephant no matter what. Go… Wasn’t easy was it? And that’s what OCD Intrusive Thoughts can be like. When your mind fixates on a thought or a particular idea and just won’t stop going over it. It’s beyond your control. It’s in control of you – at least that’s how it can feel.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was fairly well portrayed by Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. His character, Melvin Udall, had to bring his own plastic cutlery to a restaurant because of a fear of germs and has to use a new bar of soap each time he washes his hands. Hand washing, flicking light switches, counting, avoiding cracks in the pavement… These are almost anecdotal ways that OCD presents itself. Certainly not to be downplayed, for sufferers at the mild or extreme end of the spectrum, these obsessions and compulsions can be one of the most horrible experiences to go through. According to the charity OCD UK, the World Health Organisation has listed OCD as one of the top ten most disabling illnesses of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life.

Continue Reading

OCD

My OCD Struggle

I think the biggest piece of advice I have received over and over again by my therapist is that to beat the doubt disease you have to trust and have faith.

Hi everybody,

First I would just like to say thank you to Stuart and The OCD Stories website/podcast for helping me feel less alone during some very hard times. I have had OCD my whole life but it wasn’t until this past year that it has really incapacitated me. My earliest memories of OCD are from my​ childhood where I can remember feeling extremely guilty for small things that most other little kids probably wouldn’t even think of. I would have some thought like “maybe I love my mom more than my dad” for example and then I would spend hours dwelling on it and crying and confessing to my parents and begging them to forgive me. Another example is that sometimes when I was walking through the grocery store with my family I would see the cover of a swimsuit magazine or a pretty girl and I would feel interested in it (which is obviously very normal for a kid who is curious about the opposite sex) but that simple feeling of being interested in pretty girls would produce so much guilt and disgust inside of me that I would spend days on end thinking about what a terrible person I was and how I was going to go to hell. I come from a big Irish-Italian family so we went to Catholic church a lot when I was a kid and it was something that was important to my family so I bought into the whole idea of guilt whole-heartedly and it caused me a lot of anguish even though the things I was guilty and ashamed of were very normal. But I had no idea. I simply thought I was evil and that I had to go to confession every time I did something I considered bad. Despite these early feelings of extreme guilt and shame, I was still a pretty happy kid and it didn’t keep me from becoming a popular kid who was a very good athlete.

As I went on to become a varsity captain in baseball and basketball in high school it seemed like those early feelings of guilt and shame about weird, small things subsided a bit but what I didn’t realize was that my OCD had just transferred to a different theme. I got a girlfriend my Sophomore year in high school and we stayed together for three years. While there were good times with her, I was in pain for a lot of the relationship and often for very small reasons. I would see her talk to one of my friends and then get a thought like “what if she likes my friend” or “is she cheating on me” or “we’re not right for each other” and I would dwell on these thoughts for days and we would fight all of the time because of my doubtful thoughts. The relationship caused me so much pain because for some reason I could never trust her because of my thoughts and it looked like I was just an insecure guy but what nobody (including me) realized was that I was suffering from OCD.

Continue Reading

Podcast

Sheva Rajaee – OCD and anxiety in the age of information

This week’s episode is sponsored by The Gateway Institute. They have locations in Orange County, San Francisco and Phoenix. Find out more here – GatewayOCD.com 

In episode 86 I interviewed Sheva Rajaee. Sheva is a psychotherapist at the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Sheva specializes in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other related anxiety disorders. Sheva recently did a Ted Talk called “Addicted to the answer – anxiety in the age of information”.

Sheva Rajaee

In this episode I had a great chat with Sheva about many topics. We discussed the importance of giving yourself permission to have what you need, mindfulness, sleep, exercise and alone time. How increased access to information can cause anxiety, going on an information diet and learning to watch emotions until the urge decreases. We also discussed living with uncertainty, turning pain into growth, gratitude practices and dealing with intrusive thoughts. Enjoy!


podcast

To listen on iTunes click the button, or go to iTunes and search “The OCD Stories“. If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe and leave a review. It helps us reach more people who need to hear these remarkable stories of recovery!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

Continue Reading

OCD

Free at last

This is what specifically worked for me and still does to this day (it’s been like 10 years!)

Okay relax dude, you’re not gay, trust me. This is just a hurdle you’re going to conquer. I did it and you definitely can too.

So I had this HOCD for like, I don’t know, 5–10 years!!!…It was horrid!..I even went to a ‘coming out’ group but was asking ‘how do I really know if I’m really gay?…This one gay guy was like if you look at another man’s ass and are like yeah…check that out.. But I was like, well that doesn’t do it for me but I’m still stressing out. I even made myself look at gay porn but still was not with it. I was seeing dicks everywhere at times, I was like Jonah Hill in the movie Superbad, it was not fun at all. Kind of funny now though.

I mean we can condition ourselves to like fucking anything really if we wanted to right? I’ve slept with many women since an early age so if anything I was like I could be possibly bi but it just didn’t seem genuine. I’m kind of an artist and my dad wasn’t around so much when I was younger so the mind tends to look for reasons and connections to tie into especially about everything you’re scared of. I went to multiple therapists, took self-improvement seminars…I wanted to be done with it!! Until I finally came to something that worked!! Here it is my lucky friends. Hope this frees you!!!! FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST…Try this shit out and welcome aboard of leaving that nonsense behind you…

Continue Reading

OCD

Embracing Uncertainty in OCD Recovery

A person’s recovery from OCD requires them to let go of the concept of certainty and embrace uncertainty.

My OCD story. I’ve made this post visible to those I feel know me or won’t judge me. I hope my story will educate those who don’t truly understand OCD.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a hypersensitive, worrisome and impressionistic person. I experienced my first OCD symptoms at the age of six. I have memories of myself lying in bed with my eyes closed, having unwanted and intrusive thoughts repeat in my mind. Most of these thoughts involved close family members, who I’d visualise as being harmed and tortured. This made me feel extremely upset, frightened, guilty and helpless.

At the age of ten I began engaging in a bizarre compulsion, one which had me spitting saliva everywhere I’d go. I’d spit mostly on my clothes and the floor, and this would be accompanied at times with a strange swallowing compulsion which I still carry to this day. A lot of my thoughts were still centred on harm and a feeling of entrapment, both of which made me believe I was evil and deserving of some sort of punishment. I felt that If I was to swallow my saliva something bad would happen to me or my family so I tried my hardest not to do this.

I had also become fixated on the number ‘four’. Everything I did was in fours and even to this day I still engage in this ‘four’ compulsion, although I try really hard not to. Some nights I would be doing actions such as turning off the light switch four times, over and over again until I felt I had got it right. It wasn’t a matter of just making sure I had done it four times, I also had to place my hand on the switch in a correct manner, with four fingers on the panel, upright and not downright. Even if I had made the slightest mistake in my hand placements I’d have to start over. This would last at least thirty minutes on average before I felt comfortable enough to move onto another action that requires the same ‘four’ compulsion to get me through my day.

Continue Reading