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Exposures

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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Podcast

Epifania Rita Gallina – Taking back your life through ERP

In episode 66 of the podcast I interviewed Epifania Rita Gallina. Epifania is an Italian/American Masters student at Columbia University’s Clinical Psychology program. In September of 2015, she created the online private Facebook support group called “Living on Edge: Taking back your life through ERP,” which now holds 147 members and she peer supports both online and in person. She also plans on becoming an OCD and anxiety disorder specialist and a neuropsychologist.

Epifania Rita Gallina

I had a wonderful chat with Epi about ERP, mindfulness, how to lower stress, living by your values, not underestimating student therapists, loving yourself more, book recommendations and OCD advice. Enjoy!

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