Podcast

Chrissie Hodges and Jess discuss OCD

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In episode 144 of The OCD Stories podcast my guest interviewer (Jess) interviewed Chrissie Hodges. Chrissie is a Mental Health Advocate & Public Speaker, Peer Support Coach, Author of ‘Pure OCD: The Invisible Side of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder’. Chrissie was awarded the Hero award at the 24th IOCDF conference.

Chrissie Hodges

In this episode Jess talks to Chrissie about an her story (an update on it), working through trauma, dealing with emotions beyond anxiety, breaking down stigma, how friends and family can support their loved one with OCD without giving reassurance, tips for starting advocacy, peer support, handling the “What if this is not OCD?” intrusive thought, raising awareness in schools, feeling self-compassion, and much much more. Hope it helps.  

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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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Podcast

Lori Johnson – OCD and Substance Use Disorders (Ep143)

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In episode 143 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Lori Johnson. Lori is a therapist based in the Denver area who specialises in OCD, anxiety and addiction. Lori runs a private practice called In Focus Counselling.

Lori Johnson

In this episode I chat with Lori about her therapy story, what getting life into focus means to her, we discuss ERP (Exposure and response prevention) therapy, substance use disorder alongside OCD, what her clients that recover much quicker do, self-are and much much more. Hope it helps.

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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

OCD is a superpower

Many of those living with OCD can trace their mental health lineage back to a moment, or at least a vague, indiscriminate period, when Obsessive Compulsive first became a problem for them. It makes its grand debut in a loud, emotional, difficult to navigate, and all-round shitty opening number.

Perhaps not a specific point in time when Obsessive Compulsive reared its ugly head and strode with confidence and swagger as an unwelcome guest into their lives, but at least an inkling in retrospect of how and why those three letters came to leave such a stamp on how they live today. I, however, am not one of these people. I can’t tell you why I am obsessive, there is seemingly no explanation why I have to satisfy my compulsions, other than the unnerving feeling that aspects of my environment need to be “just right” in order for me to feel comfortable. “Just right” – I feel like OCD sufferers should have that slogan printed on business cards.

While I can’t explain where, when or how I’ve found myself where I am today and as a proud member of the mental health community, I am very aware of the social factors which have lead me to this point in my life.

At the age of six, every child in the UK is dressed in a formal shirt and tie, top button tightly done up, backpack buckle fastened, shoes polished, blazer ironed and generally made to look like they’re sweaty, middle aged businessmen commuting into work on the tube. We then spend the next ten years teaching children, teenagers, young adults what success looks like. We explain that hard work leads to good grades, that academic excellence then leads to a well-paid occupation, that job leads to career ladder progression, which all in turn leads to money, friends, family and happiness. We tell students to sit up straight, to stand up straight, do their top buttons up, adjust their ties – we even give them a uniform.

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OCD

Wedding Bells or Alarm Bells

I thought I wouldn’t write this until I was recovered, but I realized that “recovery” isn’t an end point; it’s learning to manage every day. For anyone wondering, I will state, up front, that I still don’t have “answers” to my OCD questions. But recovering is being able to accept that fact.

My OCD didn’t come to a head until I got engaged. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, right? And yet, I felt trapped in a nightmare for months.

But before that happened, I believe my first signs of OCD were in high school, and I had no clue that’s what it was. I was a lover of romantic comedies and silly romance novels. I felt a desperate need to be in a relationship and probably thought about boys constantly. You see where this is going right? Of course, OCD latched onto relationships.

Despite the fact that all I wanted was a boyfriend, dating brought on intense anxiety for me. What if I was awkward? What if I didn’t know what to do? What if he wasn’t right for me? What if our friends judged us?

This continued through college, obsessing about boys and relationships constantly, but also being overwhelmed with anxiety when anything became slightly serious. If my compulsion was breaking things off, I gave into it every time.

I also spent inordinate amounts of time thinking about what was wrong with me that I couldn’t make a relationship work. I agonized over it, cried over it, and seriously questioned myself worth.

Then my OCD took another turn. What if I couldn’t make a relationship with a guy work because I was actually gay?

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OCD

OCD Realization the long story

When I look back, OCD had gotten its sinister hooks into me when I was a teenager and was fully eating away at what confidence I had. I had no idea why I would continuously check things or make sure I at least looked presentable to be in class. I was heavy into cannabis and alcohol back then and when I later became an adult I would blame my youth for causing me to feel this away I became strongly anti-drug in my 20’s in the last few months with the dawn of legalization in my country (Canada) and some input from my Psychologist I realize that this was just placing blame and that alcohol and drug use is generally typical adolescent behavior to a degree. In all truth the drug use didn’t make me have as many bad experiences as alcohol.

If you want to know the recipe for destroying a young mans self esteem it goes like this some social rejection, failure and sadly hairloss when I think about the last one and having a shaved head now it feels so trivial but at the time it felt devastating in high school.

The self esteem issues causing OCD had led me to have jealous and judging tendencies with the opposite sex both in my teens and has returned fully even now in my mid 30’s despite being married for a long time. The OCD has pushed itself into ROCD right now truly a nightmare in the darkest parts of ROCD you start to wonder if you would be better off alone rather than inflicting pain on the one you love most and the rumination trap your own mind falls into. The ROCD is going to be something I bring up again during therapy yet again this week. Hearing from my wife about my jealousy and issues fills me with shame and guilt as this feels so different than who I want to be as a person.

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Podcast

Ashley Annestedt – Treatment Ready

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In episode 142 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Ashley Annestedt. Ashley is a  Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in OCD, Anxiety, and Neurobehavioral Disorders. Ashley is licensed to provide therapy in 6 US states.

Ashley Annestedt

In this episode I chat with Ashley about her OCD story, why she got licensed in so many States, the idea of being treatment ready, Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), dealing with challenging emotions that may arise when compulsions reduce, Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), how lack of sleep can affect OCD, living with uncertainty, self-care strategies and much much more. Hope it helps.  

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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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Podcast

Alejandro Ibarra – OCD Treatment (Tratamiento de TOC)

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In episode 141 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Alejandro IbarraAlejandro is a psychologist from Seville, in Spain. He specialises in treating OCD, and if you speak Spanish you may recognise him from his wonderful youtube channel where he talks about OCD and OCD treatment.

Alejandro Ibarra

In this episode I chat with Alejandro about his therapy story, what treatment of OCD is like in Spain, raising awareness in Spanish speaking countries, words of hope for people with OCD, his YouTube videos, working with families, training the mind 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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Podcast

Story: Kevin Putman (RUN OCD)

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In episode 140 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Kevin Putman. Kevin is known for his advocacy work with RUN OCD a grassroots movement motivated to educate, support and raise awareness about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As part of this Kevin ran ping pong tournaments called Ping Pong 4 OCD at the IOCDF conferences and other events. In 2015 he won the hero award from the IOCDF.  

Kevin Putman RUN OCD

Kevin post-run

In this episode I chat with Kevin about his OCD story, his therapy journey, Mindfulness, ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy), the helpfulness of meeting others with OCD, Kevin’s self-care: yoga, running, swimming.  We also talked about how humour can be healing, RUN OCD, helping yourself through helping others, and so 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

Life Along the Path of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I can vaguely remember a time when “it” wasn’t there.  The “it”, which for twenty-two years, I didn’t know actually had a name.  Somewhere around age seven or eight it set in.  (“Did it follow a strep infection?” I would be asked decades later by a doctor, but I couldn’t remember by then with certainty.) Slowly, but very definitely, my mind began to work against me.  It was confusing and became terrifying.

My first unwanted impulse was to constantly clear my throat, much to the annoyance of my family and those around me. Settling down to sleep at night was overwhelming — “Mom!  She’s doing it again!  She won’t stop,” cried my younger sister who had the misfortune of sharing a bedroom with me.  I would fight the compulsion each night sometimes for an hour.  The next compulsion which presented itself was the urge to roll my eyes up and back.  Some people asked what I was doing, but I couldn’t explain that not doing so filled me with incredible anxiety.  I would repeat the action so many times in a day that my eyes began to ache tremendously. I hated this; but it was as if a demon in my head was telling me notto do so would result in a greater discomfort.

Listen to Julie’s story here

“Is the muscle not tight enough and that’s what’s happening?” my mother asked anxiously. I didn’t know how to tell her that I did this eye-rolling willingly, yet at the same time against my will.  When I heard Mother mention to Dad that perhaps they should take me to a doctor, I got nervous and was careful never to perform the action when my parents were in the room.  One by one my strange compulsions came, usually for an average of about three weeks at a time, and each self-aggravating compulsion only left upon the arrival of a new one.  I never got a break in between.  As suddenly as one visited me, it would leave but only when something equally or more vexing took its place.

Another urge which overtook me was to momentarily shake my head.  It was as if I was tossing my hair back — except that I had short hair.  I did this so many times in a day that eventually my head ached with each twitch. Still, ignoring the urge left me thinking of nothing else but repeating the action!   And thus the endless cycle of responding to the relentless demands which my own mind placed upon me was well established by my ninth birthday.

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Podcast

Michelle Massi – ERP, Self-Compassion, and Common Humanity

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In episode 139 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Michelle Massi. Michelle is a therapist specialising in the treatment of OCD, and anxiety disorders. As well as working in private practice, Michelle also works at the UCLA OCD Adult Intensive Treatment Program.

Michelle Massi

In this episode I chat with Michelle about her therapy story, working with children, supporting parents in the treatment process, using self-compassion, the idea of common humanity, advice for when starting ERP therapy, keeping focused on the goal in therapy, relapse prevention, dealing with regret of lost time, learning to live with uncertainty, what Michelle has learned in the last few years about treating OCD, what she has noticed from her client’s who make quick progress, why it helps to connect with others with OCD, 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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