OCD

Overcoming OCD is not a fight, is an act of love

Overcoming OCD is not a fight, is an act of love.

Hi,

My name is Marco. I come from Italy.

I struggled with OCD (pure O) since I was 10 years old. But I don’t want to start my story from there. I am sure most people reading have heard a million of times this story about dealing with intrusive thoughts, repetitive behaviors, counting and all the suffering and relative problematics this pathology leads to. I want to start this story from my favorite part: Recovery.

Two years ago I had the impression that overcoming OCD, for me, was impossible. Although OCD didn’t impair completely my social and professional life, I was at the mercy of a mind that when hit, hit very hard. I tried almost everything: since I was little I keep bouncing between psychologists and psychiatries but never did a real treatment that lasted more than a year. At the time of University I did more than 3 years of psychotherapy and then, completely unsatisfied by that, went to a psychiatrist whom treated me with meds for the following 6 years. At the same time I was doing behavior therapy. My experience with meds was pretty unsatisfying too as my feeling was that doctors were throwing darts into the night. I have to say also that I was particularly sensitive to meds and that I couldn’t reach high dosages without having strong side effects. Anyway, for sure the slight improvement for me wasn’t worth all the side effects.

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Podcast

Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely – Everyday mindfulness for OCD

This week’s episode is sponsored by the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. If you are in the Baltimore area and are looking for treatment head over to http://anxietyandstress.com.

In episode 90 I interviewed Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely. Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely talked about their new book “Everyday mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully”.

Everyday mindfulness for OCD

In this episode I chat with Jon and Shala about mindfulness, meditation, the importance of self-compassion, a self-compassion coping statement, writing a new contract with OCD, the JOY acronym, the newspaper headline game, and silver linings. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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