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Mindfulness

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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OCD

My OCD Story Part One: Living with OCD

OCD formally entered my life two years ago, but in hindsight, OCD has virtually touched every aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of it is when the influenza virus finally made its way to my home country Venezuela. I was probably around 6 years old. I had heard the news on the radio that people were getting very sick and even dying from this and all I could feel was this paralysing anxiety and dread that I was going to also get it. I kept asking my parents for a surgeon’s mask to wear until the virus subsided and they kept refusing, laughing that I even wanted to wear such a thing outside. The only thing they said when I kept asking if I could get the virus was “you’re too young to be worrying about this” and while they moved on with their lives, I was trapped in endless overthinking about whether or not I could get seriously sick and if I would die soon.

Throughout all my education, I excelled in my courses at a great cost. Behind my straight A’s, top of the class achievements, and published papers at university level was great anxiety, panic attacks, self-punishment for not doing enough, and endless exhaustion from overexertion. I now know OCD was the one making me practice literally all the math problems (not one could be left undone before an exam!) because otherwise there was a slight chance I wasn’t prepared enough for the test. I saw my friends practicing five of them at the most, getting them all right like I did, but they knew when to stop; whereas I had to keep going because I could never feel confident enough until they were all done. And even then I didn’t feel confident enough – it was never enough. I now know OCD was the one keeping me in the library everyday (including weekends) until 11pm at night, prioritising staying on top of the class over all the friendships and connections I was starved from, being a student overseas away from family and friends. I now know OCD was the greatest obstacle in my education career, the one that beat me up so hard for not being perfect enough that I couldn’t finish my dream degree, a Masters in Research in Sexuality and Gender studies at my dream university. OCD didn’t let me finish my dissertation because it was never ‘good enough’, even though everyone told me I was a great writer, my destiny was academia, my research was exciting. None of this mattered because OCD kept drilling at me “you can’t do it, it’s never going to be perfect, so you might as well not do it”.

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Podcast

Mark Freeman – Getting curious about anxiety

In episode 97 I interviewed Mark Freeman. We recently ran a workshop together in London, so we took some time to reflect on the event, and talk generally about OCD recovery.

Mark Freeman book signing

In this episode I chat with Mark for the 4th time! We talk about our recent workshop in London, dealing with uncertainty, learning from difficult situations, questions Mark got asked on his workshops, how compassion and empathy can help, awareness for building empathy, putting a price on compulsions, straight forward mindfulness, getting curious about anxiety, and trusting yourself. 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

Zoe Gillis – Disconnect to Reconnect

Find out more and register your interest in TheOCDCamp.com

In episode 96 I interviewed Zoe Gillis. Zoe is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who runs nature and mindfulness wilderness retreats.

Zoe Gillis

In this episode I chat with Zoe about nature feeling like a safer place to release emotion, overcoming fears in nature, focusing on the beauty of nature, how nature can benefit mental well-being, sensory mindfulness, putting the phone down, journal writing, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, noticing beauty around you, advice for the anxious hiker, and nature for beginners. 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

Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely – Everyday mindfulness for OCD

This week’s episode is sponsored by the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. If you are in the Baltimore area and are looking for treatment head over to http://anxietyandstress.com.

In episode 90 I interviewed Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely. Jon Hershfield and Shala Nicely talked about their new book “Everyday mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully”.

Everyday mindfulness for OCD

In this episode I chat with Jon and Shala about mindfulness, meditation, the importance of self-compassion, a self-compassion coping statement, writing a new contract with OCD, the JOY acronym, the newspaper headline game, and silver linings. 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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OCD

Present Moment – A poem

I wish I could stress
A little bit less
I can be a mess

I love to have fun
Just ask anyone
I’m queen of the pun

But pain in my chest
Breathe, I do my best
Body put to the test

Bad thoughts in my head
Sometimes I am led
Believed what they said

I know they’re untrue
Thoughts can’t make me do
Intrusive, not you

So, fight compulsion
Though feel revulsion
Hold back impulsion

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Podcast

Eric Kupers – The Dharma of OCD

In episode 62 of the podcast I interviewed Eric Kupers for the second timeEric 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 Kupers

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!

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Harm OCD, Relationship OCD, Religious OCD

The OCD Nightmare

What I’ve learned from therapy is that I shouldn’t feel guilty for having these thoughts or feelings, because they do not define me.

My name is Lorena and I have been fighting OCD for 2 years and a half. I was 18 years old when my “first” intrusive thought made its appearance. I put “first” because it turned into an obsession, but since I began therapy I know everyone has intrusive thoughts here and there, but, us OCD sufferers, take them seriously.

My first obsession came after I had a nightmare, as soon as I woke up my body was filled with anxiety and my mind with a fear of being possessed by the devil. You see, “The Exorcist” wasn’t exactly one of my favorite movies.. and the OCD sure had a great time replaying countless of all the exorcism scenes I’ve seen. I went to talk to a priest who reassured me that it was nothing of that nature, but the thought still didn’t leave. I lived with this obsession for almost a year. I felt horrible because I would always pray, and if my prayer didn’t feel right or if I didn’t feel God’s presence I was doomed. I had to pray again.. It had to feel right. Continue Reading

Podcast

Shala Nicely Answers Your OCD Recovery Questions

In episode 41 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Shala Nicely. Shala is an anxiety disorders treatment specialist in Atlanta and author of the forthcoming books, “Is Fred in the Refrigerator?” and “Everyday Mindfulness for OCD”. Shala is also co-founder of BeyondTheDoubt.com.

Shala Nicely

I chatted with Shala and asked her your questions, she gave some great answers. Shala answered questions on sleep, dealing with mental checking, advice for starting ERP, how obsessions have changed over time, medication, accepting risk, depression and imaginal exposure. 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.

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

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Podcast

Mindset and Mindfulness in OCD Recovery

In episode 40 of The OCD Stories podcast I talk about mindset and mindfulness. I was away on business this week so I didn’t get time to interview anyone. I wanted to take this break in interviews to share a key learning I have from doing the last 39 episodes.

Stuart Ralph

I talk about the importance of mindset in OCD recovery. I discuss why we need to believe in OCD recovery, and why we need to take control over what we have control over in our recovery. I also talk about a recent flight I had where I was anxious and how I dealt with that anxiety using mindfulness. 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.

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

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