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OCD

I worked hard every single day

My OCD started when I was a four year old child. For some reason,whenever I touched something, a door handle, a light switch, I had to lick my hands to ‘clean them’. Strange, as now I know it was doing the opposite than cleaning them, but for some reason I had to do it, or I’d be left feeling cripplingly anxiety for the rest of the day. From there, everything turned into a compulsion. By seven, I spent hours repeating phrases to everything I looked at in a room, I checked my bedroom door dozens of times a night to check it was closed until it felt ‘just right’.

As much as this was distressing, it wasn’t half as bad as what was to come. At nine years old, I developed a form of OCD called ‘pure O’ , a type that has no visible compulsions, which eventually sent me into a breakdown when I was thirteen. Pure OCD made me question everything I did. If I moved my hand a certian way, it had meant I’d sworn at someone, if I’d had a dream where I’d said something mean about someone else, if I said something mean about someone else, OCD would grasp onto this and morph it until the only way to get rid of the thought was to tell someone exactly what had happened.

I was misdiagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder at first, so by the time I was twelve, I was completley consumed by OCD. It made me believe I was a dangerous criminal. I was certain I was a dangerous criminal. I could go into details about these thoughts but you’d be reading this for hours. By thirteen, the intrusive thoughts got so bad, I attempted on my life. I spent the next year in a cycle of self destruction and self hatred. I was utterly consumed by my OCD. It controlled everything I did,or didn’t do. I was trapped. I spent a year in cognitive behavioural therapy, but I was so ill that I couldn’t properly engage. I started to get nightmares. I was put on medication which reduced my anxiety a little but didn’t make that much of a difference. I tried to hand myself into the police multiple times. By fourteen, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

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Podcast

Kirsten Pagacz – Leaving The OCD Circus

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In episode 125 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Kirsten Pagacz. Kirsten is author of the book “Leaving the OCD Circus” suffered a traumatic childhood which included on-set OCD at only 9 years of age. Kirsten’s undiagnosed OCD escalated for the next two decades until her complete mental collapse in her early thirties. Until then she didn’t even know that there was a name for what she was experiencing. Today Kirsten is a happy and successful business owner living a very full, well balanced, joyful life with very little to no OCD symptoms. She has dedicated herself to healing through Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention, Mindfulness, Meditation and several other wellness tools.

Kirsten Pagacz

In this episode I chat with Kirsten about her OCD story, what helped her get better: CBT, Medication, and more. We discussed the idea of illness to wellness, her idea of soul nutrients, making choices, being in nature, exercising and many more topics. Hope it helps.

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!

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OCD

Our thoughts do not define who we are

I’ve shared my story before. Back when I was suffering and didn’t know much about OCD. But it’s been a year with severe ocd. It’s been a year and I’m in recovery. So I’ll share my story in more and better detail.

All I did was have a off day, I walked into my kitchen and thought “what if there’s no spark in my boyfriend and I’s Relationship?” I panicked. “What if I lose feelings? Is this losing feelings? But I love him. Why would I?” My first OCD attack. I’ll never forget it. For weeks after that I was okay. I didn’t have obsessions or compulsions and life was well. Until I began to fall for him more. My anxiety spiked and peaked to new levels, I was having more thoughts about us which I didn’t quite get. I’d time myself on my phone and reassure myself for that amount of time. The thoughts still returned, rookie mistake. After that I’d google things like “am I lying to myself?” And one night I had an anxiety attack so big I almost left him from having intrusive thoughts . The day after it happened, I was anxious. I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t know why. It progressed and got worse and I realized.. I had ROCD.

I remember wanting to seek treatment the day I found out I had it. I could resonate with some of the symptoms and found that the deeper I got into it, the more and more I could relate to this little diagnosis I put on myself. So fast forward about 2 months and I’m struggling deeply with various obsessions. A thought popped out of nowhere. “What if I’m gay?” I freaked, and took an online test. It said I was straight, I knew I was. I couldn’t understand the deal! I was just worrying if I loved my boyfriend or not the day before, why the sudden sexuality issue? So I obsessed, the same way I did with my partner. And uncovered my HOCD the day I began obsessing.

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OCD

Taking OCD for a drive

OCD has been apart of my life since I can remember, but it wasn’t always apparent until I received my official diagnosis two summers ago and started to reflect on how it had affected me. In hopes of shedding light on the mental health stigma, I present my story to the OCD community.

Let’s call my OCD a creature. An elusive being; not one that slinks about unnoticed in the shadows, but not one that rears its head and cries for all to see. My OCD is a creature that merely sits on its haunches and waits for an opportunity to act. Unseen by many, it ponders carefully in the furled bracken of my mind- observing, adapting, and striking out to permeate into the physical world when the time comes. Barred back by reason, my creature claws tenaciously at the barriers my mind puts up in an effort to control the beast. But every so often, it breaks through. Every so often, my OCD takes hold of me.

As a six-year-old, my thoughts should have been a whirl of care-free illusions. However, it was then that my creature decided to forego this construct and lash out. Upon seeing something intriguing, my mind told me that if I wanted to remember it, I would have to stare at the image for no less than three seconds and say the phrase “Okay, now, good.” This compulsion is the earliest symptom of my OCD that I can accurately recall. If I did not perform this ritual, something would go wrong. Of course, my parents were unaware of this until I began my Cognitive-Based Therapy years later and revealed all the compulsions I had accumulated over the years. Eventually, my rituals and tics would evolve from psychological to physical as the creature grew over time and began to control my movements.

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OCD

At the age of 7

My OCD began to develop around the age of seven, around the time of my Grandmas death. I have always had a happy and fun family life, my parents have always worshiped me and my younger brother and I have very happy childhood memories. I have been very lucky with my upbringing as I have a very loving mother and father. I have always had a strong relationship with my Mum, she is my best friend and my main support network – she has been and always will be my rock. I can remember at a young age shouting down stairs to my mum and dad every night to make sure they were still there and that they were ok, even from being young I worried about my parents health and wellbeing.

My Grandma passed away before my younger brother was born. Back then it was just me, my mum and my dad, I have very faint memories of this but I am told that once my Grandma passed away I used to order the coats on the stairs every night. My mums would be at the bottom I presume so she was the safest, and then mine in the middle and my dad’s at the top protecting us. I have fond memories of Primary School, although there is one that sticks out. I must have been in the first year of school, I remember it was parents evening that night, so as you do you get your trays out ready for the parents to see your work when they arrive in the afternoon. I remember needing the toilet, I had my hand up as you do at the age asking for permission to leave my seat, the teacher at the time refused and asked me to wait, before I knew it I had an accident. I remember feeling so embarrassed and ashamed of myself, even at 9 years of age I was horrified. To make matters worse, I remember having to change into a P.E kit for the rest of the day. I cannot remember how quickly it developed but for a long time after this, I was obsessed with going to the toilet. Before leaving the house, I would go to the toilet at least 3 times to prevent this from ever happening to me again. It got to the point where I would sit on the toilet to just see if I needed to go, long car journeys with my parents meant frequent stops at service stations, in the end my Mum took me to see somebody about the problem and that is as far as I can remember. Looking back it is clear to me that it caused a lot of anxiety for me at the time, and I was trying to prevent the problem from happening by constantly going to the toilet. There is nothing else poignant for me that happened during this time. I remember being on holiday with my Mum, Dad and younger brother in Spain, and there was people on the streets selling drugs – whether or not this was due to anxiety I hated it – I remember thinking what if my dad took them? I remember shouting that I wanted to go home. I think it was at this point I started to develop fears of harm coming to my family.

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OCD

Recovering from Postnatal OCD

I’m Renee, I’m 33 years old, married to a wonderful man, am the mother of a beautiful two year old daughter, own a sweet little mini fox terroir and a hold a successful career. Underneath this wonderful life though, I live with a significant fear of abandonment, generalised anxiety disorder and OCD. I want to share with you my story which focuses on my recovery and how I live my best life despite having anxiety and OCD.

I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional home, my dad an alcoholic, with undiagnosed mental disorders and my mum who was stuck in a cycle of trying to help and save my father. Most of my childhood memories consist of my dad going on benders for months at a time. Mum would contact different establishments trying to locate him and hide money so he wouldn’t gamble and drink it all away. After he had finished his benders, usually because the money had run out, he would return home and he and my mum would carry on as normal. My father was very physical towards my mum and verbally abusive towards me, my other siblings (all of whom lived out of home) and my mother. Some of my earliest memories are filled with anxiety and panic.

As a result of this childhood, I inherited a fairly sizeable fear of abandonment that would present throughout my life in varying degrees. I sought help throughout my 20s, where I was able to really delve into my anxiety and fear of abandonment. I had therapy for many years but still turned to relationships and other unhelpful methods to help fix what ‘was wrong inside’.

When I reached the age of 27, I met my husband and by this stage, I’d developed techniques where I would lie about things that happened to me in order to seek reassurance from him. By doing so, it would reinforce in my mind that he wouldn’t leave me, which brought my fear of abandonment down to a manageable level.

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Podcast

Catherine Benfield – Perinatal and Postnatal OCD

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In episode 114 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Catherine Benfield. Catherine runs the blog Taming Olivia, where she blogs about her experiences with OCD, focusing on perinatal and postnatal OCD.

Catherine Benfield

I chatted with Catherine about her OCD story, the content of her intrusive thoughts, intrusive impulses, how to encourage your loved one to seek help, Recovery: Medication, CBT, ERP. We also discuss the importance of self-love, self-compassion and self-care in recovery. We discuss some ideas of what to do if you are afraid of having a kid because of OCD, how to keep a healthy lifestyle which can be important for mental health when you have a kid, overcoming roadblocks in recovery, her blog Taming Olivia, and what Catherine wish she would have known at the start of recovery. Hope it helps! 

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

Dr Jonathan Grayson – Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Get exclusive podcasts and content by becoming a member of the podcast find out more here >>

In episode 113 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Jonathan Grayson. Jon with his wife, Cathy founded the LA treatment centre for anxiety and OCD. Jon has been working with people with OCD for 35 years and is the author of Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He founded the support group GOAL and is also known for his idea virtual camping.

Dr Jonathan Grayson

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OCD

My still “undiagnosed” OCD story

I know things will only get better, even though right now as I’m typing these words in my computer my brain is telling me, “are you sure about that?”

I consider my childhood a very happy one, always smiling, happy to have a family that was very stable.  I always admired my parent’s relationship growing up, and would pray that one-day I’ll marry someone like my dad and have a happy life. When I turned 13 I started liking boys my age, there were many guys who were impossible to get and I would pray (no joking when I said praying) every night so they can notice me, but the minute they would start showing interest in me I would immediately feel not attracted to them. My mind would immediately start thinking, “his nose is big, his head is big, and his shoes are old and things like that. I never saw this as an issue, I just thought I was being an adolescent and being immature was part of it.  I began dating this guy who was a really good guy, but I always felt like I was never “in love” with him, because I didn’t feel those butterflies and things I used to feel with the guys that were not interested in me, we became really good friends and I decided to give him a chance. We were young and I knew I was leaving the country in a couple years, so anxiety and obsessional thinking was never an issue because I had an “exit door”. We dated for 3 years and to be completely honest it has been the best relationship I have ever had.  We eventually broke up because I moved to the U.S.

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Podcast

Dr Jonathan Abramowitz – Getting over OCD

In episode 109 I interviewed Dr Jonathan Abramowitz. Jonathan is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Chapel Hill, NC specializing in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He is also Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina. Jonathan has written two self-help books and published over 250 scientific articles, books, and book chapters.

Jonathan Abramowitz

In this episode with Jon we discuss treatment resistant OCD, intensive ERP vs weekly ERP, increasing tolerance to uncertainty, ERP questions from listeners of the show, how OCD research has progressed over the last 20 years, what has been the key research in the last two years, and much much more. 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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