Browsing Tag

OCD

Sexual Orientation OCD

The millions of intrusive thoughts that took over my life

almost one year after beginning recovery, but I have learned to discard them and accept them for what they are—OCD.

Before my onset of OCD, I had suffered from debilitating depression and a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a common trend for a recent college graduate without a clear path. Covering up depression was something I had done for years, while my panic attacks followed a near-perfect circadian rhythm as I laid down to sleep, out of earshot from any potential listeners. Nobody knew about the depression and GAD, but when I got OCD, the effects were immediate and painfully obvious to everyone around me.

Two Christmases ago, I went on a trip with my best friend and her family. We were eating out at a wonderful Italian restaurant, gabbing and laughing with my second family. Suddenly I look across the table at my best friend, thought about how nice she looked, then suddenly the thought hit me: she looks beautiful. I must be a lesbian. I immediately dropped my fork and sat there paralyzed while all the blood drained from my face and my stomach began tying itself into knots.

These feelings simmered unrelentingly for the next six months while my OCD thickened everyday. Every detail, conversation, action and relationship in my life leading up to that point was examined endlessly through this new lens. Here are just a couple of the millions of intrusive thoughts that took over my life, dictating my every word and action.

I can’t step in my closet to pick out clothes because then I would officially be “in the closet” and therefore I am secretly gay. 

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Sexual Orientation OCD

OCD caused me to…

OCD caused me to do many things:

OCD caused me to not wear blue, my favorite color; because blue is for boys and boys like girls, therefore I like girls.

OCD caused me to throw my clothes around my room because going into my closet was symbolic and meant that I was “in the closet”.

OCD caused me to not be able to not be able to walk around my house, cook in the kitchen or go to the bathroom out of fear of seeing my three girl roommates.

OCD caused me to never go to the gym or do any physical activity because this was a “butch” thing to do and meant that I was gay.

OCD caused me to take the long way home from school everyday because on the main route, there was a house where a “most likely gay couple” lived over 30 years ago (before I was even born).

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Podcast

Storytime – My 40 Year Journey With OCD

It’s storytime… Eric shares his OCD story with us. Eric talks about how he observed the OCD cycle, and how he found a way out of that cycle. Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of Eric’s story: My 40 Year Journey With OCD.

Share your story >

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

Enjoy,

Stu

Podcast

Storytime – On Avoiding Writing This Essay

It’s storytime… Morgan shares her OCD story with us. Morgan talks about perfectionism and how OCD got worse in college. Morgan offers hope and an example that you can achieve your goals even if OCD is present. Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of Morgan’s story: On avoiding writing this essay and Morgan on the podcast.

Share your story >

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

Enjoy,

Stu

OCD, Uncategorized

Early Memories of OCD

I continue to look for an edge, not a cure, for dealing with OCD.

I can recall doing drills in after school soccer practice during elementary school. During this time period, it was common for kids to wear tee shirts with college logos and names printed on them. My mind became engrossed with the number of syllables of each school. Over and over I would say these names to count and recount the number of syllables in each school. Schools with a particular even number of syllables were grouped together and labeled as good or acceptable. My mind seemed to thrive on this type of counting activity. Around this same time frame, I can remember being transfixed by the alphabet which hung over the chalk board in the front of my grade school class. Almost endlessly, I would look at the letters and make patterns and count the number of consonants between vowels. My mind did not know how to shift gears, I would fixate on my mental gymnastics and frequently not pay attention to other more appropriate class room activities. As I understand OCD, onset is usually in the late teens and early twenties. There is usually a lag between first engaging in repetitive mental gymnastics and having overt symptoms severe enough to qualify as full blown OCD. This time period can be considered the prodrome phase. I often wonder if proper early intervention would have prevented the continually spinning wheels of OCD I came to endure in later years.

Other events during this period of life seemed to help shape the form my OCD would take in future years. I recollect rifle shooting out in the desert near our home. I enjoyed shooting tin cans and bottles with a 22 caliber rifle. My aim was often true and I found the activity exhilarating. One Saturday, a small propeller plane flew over the area where we were target shooting. With a quick thought I wondered if I could hit the plane and bring it down. On one hand, it was a moving target and would be a challenging feat. On the other hand, I was morally revolted by how I could use a vehicle transporting humans for target practice. Was I lacking a conscious? The thought provoked extreme anxiety. How could I think of such a gruesome thing? What was wrong with me? I must be the most heinous person alive. In my religious upbringing, thoughts were nearly as important as actions.For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs. I really believed these teachings. Somehow I had become an irredeemable murderer. In later years, I would learn about the cognitive distortion of thought/action fusion but as a 12 year old I lacked this understanding. Murder was unforgivable. No need in asking for forgiveness. I was a lost soul. Many times I tried to push this thought away and force it from my mind. Yet, the more I engaged in thought suppression the worse my anxiety became.
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Podcast

Storytime – OCD, Trichotillomania And My Success Story

It’s storytime… Fotini shares her OCD story with us. Fotini talks about her harm obsessions, checking compulsions and religious OCD. Fotini also talks about trichotillomania. She offers hope and inspiration through her story, Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of Fotini’s story: OCD, Trichotillomania And My Success Story.

Share your story >

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

Enjoy,

Stu

Podcast

Rob Willson – Overcoming OCD and BDD

In episode 59 of the podcast I interviewed Rob Willson. Rob is a therapist and author of many books including “Overcoming OCD” which you co-authored with David Veale and “Managing OCD with CBT for dummies” which you co-authored with former guest Katie d’Ath. He is the chair of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation, the world’s first charity exclusively devoted to BDD. Rob worked at the Priory hospital north London for 12 years and has trained many CBT therapists at Goldsmiths college, University of London.   

Rob Willson

I had a good chat with Rob OCD and BDD recovery. We discussed why it’s good to know your values, why you can overcome and not just manage your condition, the comfort of knowing you aren’t the only one, applying recovery techniques systematically and consistently, getting creative in therapy, if you understand how a problem is maintained you can understand how to beat it, adapting ERP to your strengths, giving the thoughts less attention, and how to support a loved one with OCD/BDD. Enjoy!

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Podcast

Storytime – February Fifteenth: My Obsession With Obsession

It’s storytime… PJ shares his OCD story with us. PJ talks about about how his compulsions went from overt physical ones to more internal compulsions. He shares his journey towards recovery. Hope it helps.

This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.

Here is the written version of PJ’s story: “February Fifteenth: My Obsession With Obsession”.

Share your story >

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

Enjoy,

Stu

Podcast

Professor David Veale – OCD Psychiatry and Research

In episode 55 of the podcast I interviewed Professor David Veale. David is a consultant psychiatrist in cognitive behavioural therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS trust and the priory hospital North London. He specialises in OCD and BDD among other things. David is a visiting Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He is the author of the book “overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder” and is a trustee of the charities OCD Action and the BDD Foundation.  

Professor David Veale

In my conversation with Professor Veale we discussed how to maximise results in therapy, how to get more out of ERP homework, advice on becoming an OCD therapist, Compassion Focused Therapy, and his research in OCD. Enjoy!

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