OCD

On The Road To Recovery

But with the right help and support I know I can get better.

I was always been a different child, I obsessed over a lot of things that other kids wouldn’t. I believed that if I didn’t pray a certain amount of times, someone I loved would die. This was scary to deal with at such a young age. I would obsess over things and get worked up about things. Eventually my OCD grew, it manifested itself into everything in my life. As I started high school my OCD got unbearable. It took up my life I couldn’t function normally, I couldn’t even walk into a room without my mind telling me “don’t go in that room or someone will get hurt”. Things that I used to love became meaningless, I didn’t find joy from anything anymore.

I started going to therapy and soon started CBT. It was hard at first to open up to someone and let them know about my thoughts. I struggle with intrusive thoughts, these thoughts are so real to me sometimes I can’t tell what’s real and what’s in my mind. These thoughts revolve around harming people I love. I believed that once I had this thought it would come true. This is so scary for me because I take responsibility for everything. I started self harming because I felt worthless, like I needed to punish myself for being a bad person. I got sent away to a psychiatric hospital when I was 14, this was so scary. I didn’t like it at all, I felt alone and my self harm got worse after being in hospital. I ended up being discharged from hospital as they believed it wasn’t the right environment for me.

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Podcast

Liz Atkin – From Compulsive Skin Picking to Compulsive Charcoal

In episode 60 of the podcast I interviewed Liz AtkinLiz is an award winning visual artist and mental health advocate. She is known for her free 1 minute compulsive charcoal drawings. These drawings are inspired by and as a coping mechanism from compulsive skin picking, also known as dermatillomania.

Liz AtkinCharcoal Drawings

 I had a good chat with Liz about compulsive skin picking. She shared how she has transferred the energy of skin picking into art, how her drawings act as randoms acts of kindness for strangers. She talks about how art can be an conversation starter for both awareness of the condition and helping others who live with other conditions. Liz shares some tips for stopping skin picking, and offers some good advice for living an amazing live. Enjoy!

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OCD, Uncategorized

Early Memories of OCD

I continue to look for an edge, not a cure, for dealing with OCD.

I can recall doing drills in after school soccer practice during elementary school. During this time period, it was common for kids to wear tee shirts with college logos and names printed on them. My mind became engrossed with the number of syllables of each school. Over and over I would say these names to count and recount the number of syllables in each school. Schools with a particular even number of syllables were grouped together and labeled as good or acceptable. My mind seemed to thrive on this type of counting activity. Around this same time frame, I can remember being transfixed by the alphabet which hung over the chalk board in the front of my grade school class. Almost endlessly, I would look at the letters and make patterns and count the number of consonants between vowels. My mind did not know how to shift gears, I would fixate on my mental gymnastics and frequently not pay attention to other more appropriate class room activities. As I understand OCD, onset is usually in the late teens and early twenties. There is usually a lag between first engaging in repetitive mental gymnastics and having overt symptoms severe enough to qualify as full blown OCD. This time period can be considered the prodrome phase. I often wonder if proper early intervention would have prevented the continually spinning wheels of OCD I came to endure in later years.

Other events during this period of life seemed to help shape the form my OCD would take in future years. I recollect rifle shooting out in the desert near our home. I enjoyed shooting tin cans and bottles with a 22 caliber rifle. My aim was often true and I found the activity exhilarating. One Saturday, a small propeller plane flew over the area where we were target shooting. With a quick thought I wondered if I could hit the plane and bring it down. On one hand, it was a moving target and would be a challenging feat. On the other hand, I was morally revolted by how I could use a vehicle transporting humans for target practice. Was I lacking a conscious? The thought provoked extreme anxiety. How could I think of such a gruesome thing? What was wrong with me? I must be the most heinous person alive. In my religious upbringing, thoughts were nearly as important as actions.For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs. I really believed these teachings. Somehow I had become an irredeemable murderer. In later years, I would learn about the cognitive distortion of thought/action fusion but as a 12 year old I lacked this understanding. Murder was unforgivable. No need in asking for forgiveness. I was a lost soul. Many times I tried to push this thought away and force it from my mind. Yet, the more I engaged in thought suppression the worse my anxiety became.
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Podcast

Storytime – OCD, Trichotillomania And My Success Story

It’s storytime… Fotini shares her OCD story with us. Fotini talks about her harm obsessions, checking compulsions and religious OCD. Fotini also talks about trichotillomania. She offers hope and inspiration through her story, Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of Fotini’s story: OCD, Trichotillomania And My Success Story.

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This podcast is also brought to you by nOCD. Download the app for free and they will donate $0.50 to an OCD charity on your behalf: http://m.treatmyocd.com/ocdstories

Enjoy,

Stu

Podcast

Rob Willson – Overcoming OCD and BDD

In episode 59 of the podcast I interviewed Rob Willson. Rob is a therapist and author of many books including “Overcoming OCD” which you co-authored with David Veale and “Managing OCD with CBT for dummies” which you co-authored with former guest Katie d’Ath. He is the chair of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation, the world’s first charity exclusively devoted to BDD. Rob worked at the Priory hospital north London for 12 years and has trained many CBT therapists at Goldsmiths college, University of London.   

Rob Willson

I had a good chat with Rob OCD and BDD recovery. We discussed why it’s good to know your values, why you can overcome and not just manage your condition, the comfort of knowing you aren’t the only one, applying recovery techniques systematically and consistently, getting creative in therapy, if you understand how a problem is maintained you can understand how to beat it, adapting ERP to your strengths, giving the thoughts less attention, and how to support a loved one with OCD/BDD. Enjoy!

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Podcast

Storytime – My Road To Recovery

It’s storytime… Hillary shares her OCD story with us. Hillary talks about her harm obsessions, and offers in a candid and hopeful way how she started her recovery. Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of Hillary’s story: My Road To Recovery.

Share your story >

This podcast is also brought to you by nOCD. Download the app for free and they will donate $0.50 to an OCD charity on your behalf: http://m.treatmyocd.com/ocdstories

Enjoy,

Stu

Anxiety, OCD

Pit of Despair

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It is addictive, gives momentarily pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”- John W. Gardner

As someone who suffers from a mental illness—I can tell you right now how easy it is to fall into the slippery slope of self-pity. It becomes almost second nature to compare your own brain function to how you perceive everyone else’s to be. You begin to make excuses for yourself, followed by self-loathing due to the realization that “other people have it worse,” or “at least you don’t have to face ____ issue.”

At least you don’t have to face the issue of the Syrian Crisis.

At least you don’t have cancer.

At least you don’t have financial complications.

At least you don’t have a poor relationship with your family.

At least you don’t have to face the darkness of unemployment.

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Podcast

Storytime – February Fifteenth: My Obsession With Obsession

It’s storytime… PJ shares his OCD story with us. PJ talks about about how his compulsions went from overt physical ones to more internal compulsions. He shares his journey towards recovery. Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of PJ’s story: “February Fifteenth: My Obsession With Obsession”.

Share your story >

This podcast is also brought to you by nOCD. Download the app for free and they will donate $0.50 to an OCD charity on your behalf: http://m.treatmyocd.com/ocdstories

Enjoy,

Stu

Podcast

Living With Uncertainty

Support our videos and get rewards by becoming an The OCD Stories patron: https://www.patreon.com/theocdstories

In episode 57 of the podcast I talk about how living with uncertainty can help you overcome OCD. I discuss some ways to accept uncertainty better, and how to live with the open question. To be ok with not knowing if the thought is real or not. This is really tough, but in time it’s a skill that will kick OCD’s butt. I hope it helps.

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