In episode 64 of the podcast I interviewed Donald Robertson. Donald is a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, trainer, and author who specialises in the treatment of anxiety and the use of CBT and clinical hypnotherapy. He is the author of many books including “Stoicism and the art of happiness”, “Build your resilience” and “The philosophy of CBT”.
I had a good chat with Donald about Stoicism and OCD. We talk about what Stoicism actually is, the birth of CBT, advice for exposures, how broadening your scope of attention can help dilute anxiety, defusing from thoughts, meta-cognitive therapy, effective meditation, how to become more resilient. Enjoy!
In episode 62 of the podcast I interviewed Eric Kupers for the second time. Eric is Associate Professor, at Cal State University East Bay, in the Department of Theatre. He is also Dance Co-Director, at the Dandelion Dance theatre.
Eric emailed with a long philosophical piece of writing (see below) for the site. It’s called “The Dharma of OCD”. Eric has taken one aspect of his understanding of the world and applied it to OCD to make sense of it. I liked this approach to tailoring understanding of treatment and recovery from one’s own perspective. In this talk we chat openly (and philosophically) about his piece, including what is Dharma, why is buddhist philosophy a good framework for understanding OCD and how does treatments such as ERP and ACT link in with it. Enjoy!
In episode 44 of The OCD Stories podcast I talk about 4 ideas for OCD recovery that have been on my mind.
I talk about why I started the podcast, and its aims, why it can be good to bolt on new ideas to your existing treatment approach, using ERP throughout life not just OCD, changing your focus from the problem to the solution, silver linings and the importance of community. Enjoy.
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.
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
I feel recovered from my OCD.
I am a medical doctor and have had issues with anxiety probably for the past 20 years. My anxiety went through the roof about 2 and a half years ago and I began experiencing panic attacks. I didn’t know I had OCD at that time. Eventually I saw a psychiatrist and began the process of diagnosing what is going on with me. I wanted to get help but I didn’t know how to describe what I was feeling inside. I was feeling ashamed of the thoughts that I had in my head. I had lots of harm and violence related images. I was feeling ashamed because I am a doctor and I had tons of intrusive violent images, I was getting scared with thoughts like: “What if I do that? What if I harm someone?”. I was beginning to feel disgusted with myself for having such thoughts and images in my head. And I didn’t know how to tell my psychiatrist. I thought that I probably just belonged in jail. Because I was feeling miserable and I wanted to get help I gathered all of my strength and talked to my wife and one of my friends, who encouraged me to talk to my psychiatrist. That is what lead to my diagnosis of OCD. I was started on a medication- clomipramine. And it helped with me become able to accept what is going on in my head. I began my own research on the internet and came across the book “The mindfulness workbook for OCD” and also the “OCD workbook”. I really liked the mindfulness workbook and read it few times to learn the concepts and start applying them. I also read through the OCD workbook mainly on the topics of ACT and ERP. I noticed a significant improvement with doing my own ERP. My OCD gradually quietened down and began to be just part of me but not controlling me.
I now embrace uncertainty
I’ve been battling with OCD for as long as I can remember, though now it’s not nearly as bad as it once was.. I’m 21 years of age.. Have been on and off medication as an early teen…. Some of the compulsions I struggled with include, stove top, door locks, lights, driving a certain way, being obsessively aware of my breathing 24/7, intrusive thoughts (pure o), that’s just to name a few.. These compulsions seemed to be ruling my life at the time I was about 18 and finishing school, I always had rational reasons for acting out the compulsions the way I did… All the things I did value in my life became to much and I lost interest in all my hobbies, sport, socialising, reading..
This went on until half way through being 20, when I found some interesting videos Mark Freeman put out on his YouTube channel, basically the opposite to what your taught at therapy.. ERP and ACT, this literally saved my life and my relationship with my partner as well as killing off those horrible OCD monsters in certain areas of my life.. Since applying ACT and ERP I cut out all my physical compulsions. I no longer check the stove or door locks and I no longer question my relationship or seek reassurance from my partner… Applying ERP and ACT are not easy and may be some of the hardest things you do in life but as you practise it and get better at it you show your brain it’s okay to feel whatever your feeling..
I was finally going to be able to live my life instead of just fantasizing about living it
When my older brother pointed out more than five years ago that we both show symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, I immediately dismissed the idea. At the time, the only knowledge I had of OCD came from bad TV. I’d never experienced contamination-based anxiety, and so I didn’t understand where my brother was coming from. When he explained that there are many manifestations of the disorder, I felt defensive. After all, I’d always harbored fantasies of winning the argument against my mind; why did he have to bring logic into this?
While my compulsive behavior is pretty fluid and has allowed me to enjoy a variety of the various different themes over the years, the one constant source of anxiety for me has been “Pure O”. I get feelings that my life is going to be somehow incomplete or even outright meaningless, and this train of thought causes me to constantly perform mental checks to ensure I’m living the “correct” life. I have to keep in mind what I perceive to be the official meaning of existence, and in moments when I fail to do this I feel like my actions are “unofficial”, that they don’t count as a part of my actual life. Because of the nature of these thoughts, I assumed for years that this was some sort of ongoing philosophical/spiritual crisis; it never crossed my mind that I was ill in any way.
“It’s not me, it’s the thought”
In episode 22 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Mary Samson. Mary has been an OCD advocate since 2006. She is a co-facilitator with Paula Kotakis of the San Francisco OCD Mutual Aid Support Group. At the 22nd annual OCD conference last year in Boston Mary facilitated a support group called “Overcoming Obstacles During Treatment and Beyond” with Dr. Joan Davidson, and she is a contributor to Joan’s latest book: “Daring to Challenge OCD”. Mary recently participated in Dan Fenstermacher’s photo exhibit “Overcoming Challenges Daily”, a photo series featuring a variety of people with OCD and their personal stories.
In this episode I chat with Mary about contamination OCD, emotional contamination, the importance of finding a therapist that gets it, practical advice for leaning into the fear, how flow helps her cope, finding the resources to beat OCD, and how your brain is creative enough to find a way out of OCD. She also shares the importance forgiving yourself. Enjoy…
In episode 20 (say whattttt) of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Chad LeJeune. Chad is a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. He has more than 20 years experience treating people with anxiety problems. He is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and was among the first clinicians to receive training in acceptance and commitment therapy. Chad is also the author of the book “The Worry Trap” which is reviewed at 4.9 stars out of 5.
I chat with Chad about his book, breathing techniques to lower anxiety, why caring is better than worrying, how to live a value based life that is meaningful to you. We discuss how OCD and anxiety is a spectrum, and that it can affect everyone. Chad shares some great metaphors during the talk that will bring acceptance and commitment therapy to life. Enjoy…
In episode 12 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Lily Bailey. Lily is a writer and model. She is the author of the book Because we are bad: OCD and a girl lost in thought.
*At times in the podcast there are small burst of clicking noises. Just a recording issue our end, nothing wrong with your headphones 🙂
Photograph: Mauro Grigollo
Lily has a fascinating story and was fun to chat with. We talked about different therapies, keeping lists, religious OCD and what the book is about. Lily is very relatable, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot from her story and the advice she gives in this podcast. Enjoy!!!
In episode 4 of The OCD Stories podcast I got the honour of chatting with Dr Steven C Hayes. Steve is the founder of Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He has written 35 books and close to 600 academic articles.
Steve is an engaging, funny and enlightened man. In our conversation he goes into a lot of detail around his research showing the validity of ACT as a therapy for OCD. We talk about the ins and outs of applying ACT for OCD. He explains how his own pain has driven his compassionate research. It was a real pleasure to talk with Steve as ACT has helped my own recovery from OCD but also because he’s a great guy who has a lot to offer. I know you will get a lot from this podcast. Enjoy and start accepting!