OCD

Conquering my battle

I want you to please know that you are never alone, there are so many people who really do understand what you are going through

I often find myself awake at night with my eyes full of tears, crying out to God asking him, “Why? Why do I have to lie here in panic, why do I have to spend every waking second of my days full of anxiety?” We can ask God that question all we want, but the whole time the answer is right there in front of our eyes. What’s the answer? The answer is that life is full of battles, hardships,and trials, life is not perfect and it was never meant to be. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can stop asking the question why and start accepting the battle that you were given to fight, even when you feel as if you can’t fight anymore. God only gives you what you can handle and with knowing that, you can know that you can conquer any hardship that comes your way.

This past year I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Anxiety, and Depression. I think I always knew from a young age that I dealt with these disorders, but it wasn’t until now that I decided to do something about it. If you let these disorders go unhelped they only get worse and you eventually find yourself crying out for help.

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Intrusive Thoughts

It started with a thought

Hello My Name is Martin Garcia and I’m 20 years old (College Student). It all started in January of 2017. I was watching the show “The Excorist” and I remember in that show there was a daughter killing her mom and it was a cliff hanger and I finished the whole season of that show. After watching that show, an hour later I was watching some wrestling and I got hungry and I go to the kitchen and now it’s like 2 in the morning and I didn’t want to get yelled at by my parents so my plan was to get something to eat and run to my room. I go get an orange, since I don’t have nails, I took a knife because I didn’t know how to peel it. I’m going to the hallway and I see my parent’s room because it’s rarely closed and I was thinking “why is it closed?” and I just had a thought, one of me killing my mom and I had this feeling where I only get it when I want to do stupid stuff like jumping from couches and doing wrestling moves, and I got that daring feeling to do that to my mom so then I got scared because I first thought I was possessed but then I shook it off because I thought it wasn’t real, so next I called my girlfriend and she tells me it’s real. That’s when it really started because I didn’t sleep that day and it just was in my mind. I was waiting for it to go away but it didn’t and it lasted a while before I told my parents, it literally lasted a week before I told my parents and then the next day was the worst ever. I ended up in the emergency room and I talked to the crisis team and they helped out a little. There were days when I couldn’t take it because I had the urge to do it and I would cry at times because my life went through hell, I would still go to school but there is times when I couldn’t because of my head hurting and thoughts but I toughed it out.

So after that I went to Psychiatrist and had offered Prozac and Olanzapine and Honestly that made me feel worst, so I told him to change it to zoloft and he did. I felt a lot of better but I ended up changing psychiatrists and she put me on zoloft but more dosage. Its been better lately because I have the support of my girlfriend, she got me through it and gave me hope.

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Podcast

OCD Charities: The IOCDF

In episode 70 I talk with Jeff Szymanski and Ethan Smith of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). Jeff is the executive director of the charity and clinical psychologist. Ethan is an ambassador for the charity and a professional Writer/Director/Producer/Actor. This interview is one of a three part series of OCD charities. The goal is to find out more about what services they have, and how you can get involved.

Ethan and Jeff IOCDF

Picture credit: Alison Dotson

We talk about stigma and how to break it down, the charity, the services the IOCDF offer, the term OCDvocate, their annual OCD conference, finding the right therapist and how you can get involved. 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

OCD recovery is a marathon

In episode 69 I share some of my thoughts on the marathon I ran recently for OCD UK and how these thoughts could inspire you further in your recovery. I also discuss the “I’m so OCD” debate – a hot topic. I “rant” about how people engage more with this debate than they do with recovery focused content that will lead them out of pain and into their best life yet. Remember this “where focus goes, energy flows” – Tony Robbins. Spend your time on content, and things that will help you recover, not make you angry. With love, Stu. 

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

The OCD Burglar

I would urge anyone that has identified with anything I’ve spoken about to seek advice and talk to someone.

MY OCD STORY

I’ll set the scene. I’m sat here in bed, slightly intoxicated, listening to Celine Dion. I’ve just read my best friend Joe’s ‘coming out’ story. Scrolling through – there is a section about his mental health and suffering with OCD. I knew that he’d had OCD when he was younger as we’ve discussed it before – we’ve joked about what our symptoms and triggers were. In his story, Joe describes OCD as a mental health disorder. I have never considered my OCD as a mental health issue because I was so young when I had it and it was never referred to in that way around me. During a time when mental health is being discussed much more openly, I feel like sharing my OCD symptoms and triggers may help other people that have also found themselves involved in it.

DISCLAIMER – WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS COMPLETELY TRUE, HOWEVER UNTRUE IT MAY SOUND. THESE WERE REAL EXPERIENCES AND ACTUAL THOUGHTS THAT HAPPENED IN MY ACTUAL HEAD.

THE BEGINNING

I don’t remember the exact age when my compulsions started but I remember it being at the end of junior school and the beginning of high school (around 10-11 years of age). I have always been terrified of being burgled. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to think back to where that fear has come from but it’s a struggle to pin point a particular event that may have triggered it. I remember watching the Danny Boyle film ‘Million’ which features a scene where a burglar comes through an attic hatch into a boys bedroom. This could very well have been the start, but I can’t blame Danny for the whole thing, I’m sure there was more to it. We also had our garage broken into a couple of times, which scared me witless, but never our house. I think the fact that it had never happened made me even more scared that it was still to come.

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Podcast

Your ERP Questions Answered – Part 1 with Shala Nicely

To get Jeff and Shala’s OCD course with 25% off, click here >>

In episode 68 of the podcast I interviewed Shala Nicely. Shala is an anxiety disorders treatment specialist in Atlanta, co-founder of beyondthedoubt.com and co-author of the forthcoming book, “Everyday Mindfulness for OCD”. 

Shala Nicely

I got Shala on the show to answer some of your ERP questions. I asked the community what their ERP questions were. 36 people answered, with a collective 78 questions. This is part one in answering these questions. Enjoy!

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OCD

I refuse to…

I am learning to trust I have the ability to deal with the worries and ‘what if’s’ if they became true.

I have OCD. Contamination OCD.

It has taken me many years to write those words without feeling crippling shame or performing a humorous apology. I have embraced the fear and vulnerability and I have found strength and power.

Today I feel healthy: managing my thoughts and doing the work to succeed in recovery. I have dug deep and swam into the dark pockets of my psyche to understand the reasons my OCD manifested. I know the theory of how to heal, so, emotionally I continue to carve a new path of newly created thought patterns. Patterns of understanding and truth and self-care. Patterns that will serve the self of today not the lost and fragile girl of the past.

Trauma and grief I believe are the cause of this dance with OCD.

I have not had any more or any less of these two emotions or experiences than the next person. I have experienced things in my life however that caused me pain and I did not know where to put the hurt that these moments created so I suffocated my grief and my shock and it became fear.

People are fragile and they break. Hearts can hold so much but there needs to be an outlet and everyone’s outlet is different and specific to them. OCD became my friend and my enemy. My protector and my abuser.

My OCD was born with the sudden death of my beloved mother.

It was fed and nurtured by a stint in a U.S jail and a horrific deportation experience, reckless drunken behaviour, leading to regret, guilt, doubt and shame and the need for there to be consequences. My OCD, in part, caused the shocking breakdown of my marriage and took nourishment from it.

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OCD

Childhood to Adulthood OCD

My name is Skyler. And I have had OCD as long as I can remember.

My dad was the first person to start calling me “OCD”. Before I even knew what it meant. With some of my compulsions being obvious to him since I was little. Such as: making sure closet doors are closed all the way, excessive and often aggressive eye blinking, excessive stretching and contorting of my limbs. Particularly my arms and wrists. Picking up pieces of paper or trash off of the carpet, repeatedly touching things or checking things, making sure adjacent objects are flush with each other, (books, dvds, cd’s, toys, cards) flipping light switches on and off and looking at the clock every 30 seconds.

Most of my compulsions I had as a child, come and go. Or have faded in intensity over time.

The only compulsions that have become more severe with age have been the stretching and especially the blinking… which causes me daily headaches and eye pain.
Now onto the real problem…. the obsessions.

As a child, my obsessions were the smaller half of my OCD. With my compulsions being in the spotlight..

But as I entered adulthood, my obsessions began to increase in severity, complexity and frequency.  Until arriving at a point where they rule my life from the moment I open my eyes.

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Podcast

Professor Paul Gilbert – Compassion and OCD

To get Jeff and Shala’s OCD course with 25% off, click here >>

In episode 67 of the podcast I interviewed Professor Paul Gilbert. Paul is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby. Through his research he created compassion focused therapy (CFT). He has written and edited 20 books and established the Compassionate Mind Foundation in 2006. He was awarded an OBE in March 2011.

Professor Paul Gilbert

I had a fun and insightful chat with Paul about Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), using breathing to tone down anxiety, how compassion can help ERP, Mindfulness and compassion exercises. Enjoy!

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OCD

Little Victories

It was an everyday struggle. It still is.

11 years old. 5th grade. That’s when it all started:

I would wake up at 5:50 on the nose. Not a minute before, not a minute after. I’d dash into the kitchen and begin making a pot of coffee for my mother. I would prepare everything the night before– the filter already filled with fresh coffee grounds, the water container already filled to the line, the spoon perfectly aligned on a fresh napkin. While waiting for the coffee to brew, I would prepare and eat my breakfast. When the coffee was finished, I’d pour it into a cup and place it to the right of my mother’s “spot” at the kitchen table, with the handle perfectly aligned to the right. By 6:05, I HAD to be finished in the kitchen and on my way to my next morning task. I’d get dressed, brush my teeth, make my bed, curl the tips of my hair, and run to the living room to start my next morning ritual. At exactly 6:30, I would turn on the television and watch QVC (the home shopping network). The show was so structured, which was appealing to me. I was fascinated as to how they could talk about one single item for an hour straight, without it seeming too repetitive or mundane. The show brought me an odd sense of comfort, which is why I let it into my life every single day. At 7:20, I would grab my backpack, head to the car, and mentally prepare myself for a day of school.

To start my day in the classroom, my pencil would be placed horizontally on the top of my desk, my composition book to the left, both perfectly aligned, of course. I sat next to the same girl all year long. She was eccentric—in both her personality and disposition. I respected her, but she was a complete mess and it drove me nuts. She’d spread her things all over her desk, would leave a mess, and fidget and chew on things. I was constantly reaching over and organizing her desk for her. Surprisingly, she never said a word. Although we were opposites, she understood me, and I understood her. We were “different”.

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