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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OCD

Keep strong. It gets better.

My first experience with OCD was denial and dismissal. It was not in any malicious way. As it so often is, it was a result of ignorance about OCD. When I was 12, I found religion. In finding God, I also discovered the “unforgivable sin”, blaspheming the holy spirit. I’m sure any Christian with OCD knows this well. I suddenly began to get thoughts I’d never had before. I hate the holy spiritthe Holy Spirit isn’t real and a variety of obscenities about the Holy Spirit. I was terrified. Then it began to spread, this monster. Whenever I heard of terrible stories of people dying I would be attacked by thoughts along the lines of Good, they deserved it. To this, of course, I would react hotly and repeat lines like “No, I don’t think that! That’s horrible!” Then the doubt. Do I think that?

It was through Christian forums that I discovered religious OCD. At this point I felt enormous relief. Then it changed. I became concerned that I was sexually attracted to my next door neighbours (who were six). I would feel a compulsion to check that there was no bodily reaction shall we say.

All the while I heard people say that OCD was “liking cleaning” and “ordering things in lines”; it was just a harmless personality quirk. It makes me wonder how many other people are in agony out there wondering if they’re perverse because they don’t think what they’ve got is OCD. People are supportive and well-meaning, they just have no idea what OCD is.

When recovery began, it happened phenomenally quickly. After three years of on-again-off-again rumination and intrusive thoughts, it reached its climax. Over the summer after GCSEs, I fell in love with an incredible girl, a ballerina. Almost immediately my head went for this girl. The thoughts became less obviously OCD, but the mechanism was still there. The thoughts went for the fact that she’d lost her father at a young age and picked on issues around the world (the rape of Yazidi slaves by ISIS, for instance) and showed her in this situation, in some attempt to make me feel guilty. It was strange, but that’s what OCD is.

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Podcast

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: OCD and creativity

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In episode 138 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Lucy Danser and Sam Ross about their OCD stories, their plays and creativity, all in-person from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Episode

In this episode I chat with Sam and Lucy about their OCD stories, their recovery journeys, their plays, advice for people who want to be creative or express themselves through the arts, how pets can sometimes help well-being, 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

What this person without OCD wants you to know

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In episode 137 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed my friend Eliot who attended and supported The OCD Camp. At the camp he got to spend 48hrs with many people with OCD. As he’s someone who doesn’t have OCD I wanted to get him on to find out his take on OCD, and people with OCD after getting to know many people with OCD.

Stuart and Eliot

In this episode I chat with Eliot about his experience on the camp, his perceptions of OCD before and after the camp, what he thinks of people with OCD, what he wants the world to know about people with OCD, his own mental health, how people can break down stigma, and his words of hope. 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

Dr Patrick McGrath – It’s ok to be uncomfortable

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In episode 136 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Patrick McGrath. Patrick is the Assistant Vice President of Residential Services for AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute. He is the Executive Director of the Foglia Family Foundation Residential Treatment Center and the Clinical Director for the Center for Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD). Patrick is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Conference Planning Committee of the International OCD Foundation, as well as the President of OCD Midwest.

Dr Patrick McGrath

In this episode I chat with Patrick about treating OCD and addiction together, virtual reality, mindfulness, why it’s ok to be uncomfortable, ERP, how families can get involved in treatment, 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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Psychic Scrupulosity, Evil Spirits, and Bad Vibes

Whenever I was sixteen, I was convinced I was evil. I was tormented by intrusive thoughts that took the form of “evil spirits” who I believed were attracted to me (because I was evil). I avoided certain objects because they had “bad energy” and I tried many cleansing rituals like praying, smudging with sage, carrying crystals, and sleeping with rosary beads to chase away the spirits. However, it never was enough. It never worked. I wore a cross around my neck, and at one point, I thought it was burning my flesh (because I was evil, of course!). I went to churches and visited psychics and priests. At my worst, I was unable to be alone, and I wanted to be placed into a metal institution because I could not find relief. This incredible spike went on for over 3 months straight.

I’m sharing my story because there aren’t many resources written about scrupulosity from a new age, spiritual perspective. There are predominate beliefs in the spiritual community which present an extra challenge to OCD suffers like myself. I actually sought help online in spiritual forums and had my OCD reinforced. I’m not here to make the case for woo-woo, but I can honestly say I have retained my spiritual practice and beliefs without OCD. If you are suffering right now, you do not have to give up your spirituality, you just have to recognize how OCD and your spirituality interact.

Examples of problematic spiritual beliefs for OCD suffers:

In the spiritual community, thoughts are not just thoughts. They are considered to be real and creating your reality. They are also considered meaningful visions or symbols. In addition, real-life objects are considered to have an invisible energy or vibration, which can contaminate your own invisible energy field, requiring cleansing.
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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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Podcast

Aaron Harvey – Intrusive Thoughts

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In episode 134 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Aaron Harvey. Aaron is the founder of the wonderful IntrusiveThoughts.org a not for profit website thatbrings together sufferers, advocates, professionals and loved ones of people with OCD in order to save lives. Aaron shares his OCD story in an honest and open way.

Aaron Harvey

In this episode I chat with Aaron about his OCD story, including detail into some of his sexual, violent intrusive thoughts. We talk about why rumination will never give you the answer, his recovery journey including psycho-education, therapy, joining the community, mindfulness, and surfing. Aaron shares the 478 mindfulness technique, why you are not your thoughts, getting in a flow state, his biggest insight, IntrusiveThoughts.org and helping others. 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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