I am nowhere near completely recovered, and new compulsions arise as I treat the old ones, but I am certainly closer each day to being OCD-free.
It all started when I was three years old and my family was going on a three-day road trip. My older sister was eating a brownie, drinking apple juice, and reading all while the car was moving. So, she threw up. I had no idea that a person could do that, and I didn’t know if she would live. That was the first time I remember having a panic attack, and from that point onward I have been terrified of vomiting or having anyone vomit near me.
When I was younger, my main compulsion was to control what I and my family ate. I couldn’t eat chocolate at all, and my family could only have one dessert item each day. No one could eat more than one snack between lunch and dinner, and if anyone tried to break that rule, I would forcibly steal the food from their hands and put it in the garbage. I could not (and still struggle with) eating in any restaurant that is too dirty or dark, and I cannot go through a revolving door, drink a whole glass of water (especially after 8:00 pm), ride a roller coaster, or use a public restroom without anxiety and intrusive thoughts about vomiting.
As I got older, I became more aware of my surroundings, and I was introduced to the concept of alcohol. The idea of not having complete control over my executive function completely petrified me from the start, and as I had more experience being around drunk people, I decided that I would never drink alcohol. That, coupled with the reality that drinking too much often makes you throw up, caused a new obsession to surface for me. This obsession is with coming into contact with alcohol, getting drunk or addicted, having to interact with a drunk person, driving drunk myself, and being in the car with a drunk driver.
Telling someone isn’t going to ‘fix’ the problem, but it is the first step.
For me, the scariest moment as a person with OCD is when I didn’t know what it was. It was a time I wasn’t even very aware of mental health itself.
Like many others at a young age, I had heard the word depression in various conversations, and on the television. I had even heard of OCD, but my symptoms were nothing like those I was aware of.
My room was untidy, my clothes did not have to be in a specific order, and my desk did not have to be arranged a certain way. My obsession was all in my mind, it was all thoughts, and worries. Constant buts, and what ifs?
Eventually these thoughts subsided, they no longer sat at the forefront of my mind. They were not the first thing I thought of when I woke up, and I no longer dreamt they were true. But that didn’t mean they were gone. They reappeared in new forms, in new obsessions, coming and going as they pleased. During both the most stressful times, as well as the happiest.
In episode 39 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Ashley Fulwood. Ashley is the CEO of the charity OCD UK which aims to serve the 1 million people affected by OCD in the UK, and I’m sure their work has helped you wherever you are in the world.
I chatted with Ashley about breaking down stigma, dealing with life areas beyond OCD, the idea of going beyond normal to get to normal and why OCD doesn’t make us do anything, it makes us feel like we should do the compulsion. We discuss why setting deadlines are important to getting things done in recovery, why working on the cognitive part is also important in recovery, and why we need to be kind to ourselves. Enjoy.
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Get the right help, and the world will look like a different place
In episode 26 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Ed Renshaw. Ed first wrote his OCD story for the website in 2015. I’ve since got to know Ed well, and wanted to get him on the show to share his journey and inspiration with you.
In this episode I chat with Ed about his OCD journey, his relapse and what is helping him in recovery, including therapy, medication, playing the violin and writing. We go into some deep topics around stigma, getting the help you need and positive distractions. Enjoy…
In episode 21 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed, myself. I wanted to talk about mental health stigma and how to stop people from saying “I’m so OCD” because they’ve lined up their shoes, or straightened a pencil.
In this episode I explain why “I’m so CD” isn’t stigma, and how it shields OCD sufferers from stigma. I talk about the benefits of combatting stigma around OCD. I offer some approaches you can take to overcome stigma in your own life and answer some listener questions. Enjoy…
You have a choice. You do not need to let OCD stop you!
I interviewed best selling author Bob Burg on his OCD story, his improvement and his advice for how you can succeed despite OCD, not because of it.
Bob is a remarkable guy. He has written 9 books including The Go-Giver which has sold over 500,000 copies. It is a parable about the power of giving and authenticity in business. It has had a profound impact on my life, so it was an honour to chat with Bob and hear his OCD Story. I hope you enjoy!
I couldn’t even brush my teeth without hearing these things
Hello everyone, my name is Todd and I am a grad student at Clemson University. This is my story of my experience with Religious OCD (Scrupulosity). Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Topics and advice that come up in the video:
- Blasphemous thoughts
- Worry of becoming schizophrenic
- What is OCD
- Compulsions as a way to combat intrusive thoughts