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Medication

Podcast

Story: Anna Foster

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In episode 135 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Anna Foster. Anna is a presenter for BBC radio Newcastle. She shares her OCD story for the first time. It’s a heartfelt and honest conversation.

Anna Foster

In this episode I chat with Anna about her OCD story, how OCD can change theme, how OCD affected her school life, maternal OCD, getting the motivation to work hard in therapy, how she kept her OCD secret, why there is nothing wrong with triggers, opening up to colleagues, the sense of freedom Anna got from therapy, medication, recovery is possible, lowering stress, getting to the point where the thoughts didn’t matter, the question doesn’t have to be answered, regret, advice for parents, and much much more. 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

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

Dr David Sherman – Medication

Disclaimer – This episode is not a replacement for medical advice. When making choices around medication please speak to a psychiatrist. 

In episode 123 of The OCD Stories podcast I chatted Dr David Sherman. David is a psychiatrist practicing in New York City for around 15 years, and for much of that time he was also an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Centre. He has kindly agreed to come on the show to answer your questions around medication.

Dr David Sherman

In this episode I chatted with David about medication for OCD. He answers 17 questions around medication all submitted by listeners of the show. 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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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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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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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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OCD

Facing my fears with CBT

So for anyone out there, in darkness with no hope. There can be and is a small light at the end of the tunnel if you look hard enough.

Im 40 now and have had Emetophobia for as long as I can remember. Throughout my life the severity has fluctuated and other illnesses such as OCD have become entwined.
From as young as primary age I can recall being afraid of vomit. Looking back there were tell tale signs from a very early age. In primary I convinced myself I was ill when the assembly had to sing “The lords prayer”. I have no idea why that particular song, but every time without fail my grandmother (whom adopted me) would be called up and off home I went. I would get home and instantly feel fine.

Other times I would stay up all night pacing around as my grandmother slept upstairs, worrying I was about to vomit. I never ever told her, but I think she was aware that I just hated it.

By secondary school my main aim was to get through the day without vomiting. It was constantly on my mind and I was analysing every situation. This is where OCD struck and I would have a series of rituals I would need to complete in order to stop myself and family from being sick. My number at the time was 3 but with 1 for luck. So effectively 4. I became slightly religious in which I had to say the same prayer over and over to satisfaction 4×4×4 times and so on. If my grandmother dared call me or interrupt, I would despair as the whole thing needed to be done again. I was missing out on time with friends due to the amount of time it took me to complete my rituals.
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OCD

just another day and new realities

I have a pretty firm hope that the more I act the way I want to be, the more I’ll become exactly that.

The first time my OCD played a role in daily life was when I was in middle school. I was at a friend’s house and we were going to watch a movie. Before he was able to open to DVD case and put the disc into the player, I insisted that he wash his hands. I didn’t want to get anything from his hands on the case. Begrudgingly, he said OK and went to the bathroom. One of the worst episodes of OCD I’ve ever had was about a year ago. I was getting out of bed and checked my phone for the time. As soon as I tried putting the phone down, I felt off, worried, out of control and obsessed. I couldn’t stop touching it, moving it, pressing on the surface. After about ten minutes of this I went outside to catch my breath, though I knew I wasn’t finished with the compulsion. Out on that porch I began breathing heavier and quicker. I started sweating, even though it was a brisk day. I squinted my eyes and held my eyelids closed, trying to psych myself out of what I knew was coming. Then, panic attack time. I spent the next 30 minutes on the couch, listening to Guns N’ Roses, trying to will myself out of it. Nothing worked, though, which I knew would be the case. I just had to manage and ride it out.

The loose point to my OCD story is that you can always make it out to the other side. In the moment, you’ll never get any clarity. Nor will you find any solace. People close to me always try to remind me that I’m not crazy, I’m not the only one who experiences this stuff, and it’s not as bad as I think it is. None of those observations help. Or they don’t help me. I’ve had to find ways to deal with my OCD on my own, because, let’s face it, OCD is a very private thing. I, for one, am not quite embarrassed to show it to people, but I am very hesitant. The judging, confused eyes are unnecessary. And the fast, five cent “advice” from those who don’t have this disorder is often painful.

Wisdom from those who know nothing about a topic is rarely useful, and bordering on useless.

I write about, share on social media, and talk with others about various mental health issues because I want to. Because doing so sometimes sheds light on the issue. It sometimes erases just a bit of the stigma around certain ones. And it helps me sleep at night and function throughout the day; knowing I did my small part in informing, educating, or just plain sharing.

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OCD

90% better from OCD

Now, I consider myself 90 percent better from OCD.

I am 38 years old and have been suffering with OCD for the past 17 years. When I look back in retrospect on my teenage years, I now realize I had small signs of OCD back then. I remember that I was very obsessed with making my homework perfect and doing a whole math project in pencil and then instead of erasing a mistake I would redo the whole assignment. I remember having the fear that I wasn’t perfect and what people would think of me if I made a mistake. Fast forward to 17 years ago because that’s where my OCD really started to get extreme. The event that triggered my OCD was when my father had his heart attack and almost didn’t survive. I was 21 back then. I then began to get the intrusive thoughts that if I didn’t do something my father would die. For example, if I didn’t put the turning signal in when I made a turn I thought something bad would happen to him. If I put the radio on a bad number (which I have issues with numbers) I would think my father would be injured or fall ill. My whole daily life became surrounded by numerous obsessions and compulsions about my father being ok and focusing and doing everything “right” to keep him alive and safe. This went on for 15 years. I would text him repeatedly throughout the day to see if he was ok. I then, for a period of about a year, went to therapy. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was seeing a therapist due to my fear of that negative stigma that I’m so called crazy.

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OCD

Embracing Uncertainty in OCD Recovery

A person’s recovery from OCD requires them to let go of the concept of certainty and embrace uncertainty.

My OCD story. I’ve made this post visible to those I feel know me or won’t judge me. I hope my story will educate those who don’t truly understand OCD.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a hypersensitive, worrisome and impressionistic person. I experienced my first OCD symptoms at the age of six. I have memories of myself lying in bed with my eyes closed, having unwanted and intrusive thoughts repeat in my mind. Most of these thoughts involved close family members, who I’d visualise as being harmed and tortured. This made me feel extremely upset, frightened, guilty and helpless.

At the age of ten I began engaging in a bizarre compulsion, one which had me spitting saliva everywhere I’d go. I’d spit mostly on my clothes and the floor, and this would be accompanied at times with a strange swallowing compulsion which I still carry to this day. A lot of my thoughts were still centred on harm and a feeling of entrapment, both of which made me believe I was evil and deserving of some sort of punishment. I felt that If I was to swallow my saliva something bad would happen to me or my family so I tried my hardest not to do this.

I had also become fixated on the number ‘four’. Everything I did was in fours and even to this day I still engage in this ‘four’ compulsion, although I try really hard not to. Some nights I would be doing actions such as turning off the light switch four times, over and over again until I felt I had got it right. It wasn’t a matter of just making sure I had done it four times, I also had to place my hand on the switch in a correct manner, with four fingers on the panel, upright and not downright. Even if I had made the slightest mistake in my hand placements I’d have to start over. This would last at least thirty minutes on average before I felt comfortable enough to move onto another action that requires the same ‘four’ compulsion to get me through my day.

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