OCD

Reflections on Relapse

I am currently working my way through what could be called an OCD relapse.

For the last few years I’ve felt a steadily increasing sense of wellness and confidence. My ability to interrupt my obsessions and compulsions has grown, and I’ve felt more and more at home in my body, my life, and even my mind. I’ve been practicing Exposure Response Prevention techniques, mindfulness meditation, and lots of movement forms. I felt like I was beginning to move beyond my OCD as a defining feature of my life.

And then, seemingly out of the blue, a wave of turbulent OCD thoughts, behaviors, fears, and intense anxiety overwhelmed me. I unraveled. I felt right back at square one, and like I had to basically start over. It was a huge struggle just to get through each day. I was devastated. It had felt so good to be expanding beyond my fear and mental vigilance. And now that state of expansion felt a million miles away.

And this has happened before. Many times. Periods of expansion and strengthening have given way to sudden OCD relapses over and over. And each time it’s happened, I feel like I’ve done something wrong.

Part of that feeling of wrong seems to be the OCD talking, as my particular obsessions are all about how I’ve done the worst thing imaginable and will be punished for it—usually after death. That part of the feeling of “wrong” I’m going to label as my OCD thought and not engage with it. But there’s another side to the feelings that the relapses are my fault. This side has to do with how I understand growth over the long-term in living with this disorder.

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Podcast

Story: Solome Tibebu (Anxiety in Teens)

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In episode 132 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Solome Tibebu. Solome shares her OCD story, and her initiative Anxiety in Teens

Solome Tibebu

In this episode I chat with Solome about her OCD story, the importance of psycho-education, running to help manage anxiety, advocating for mental health awareness, relapses – led to increased resilience, how parents can help support their children, and her initiative Anxiety in Teens. 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

Sheva Rajaee – Some questions can’t be answered

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In episode 131 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Sheva Rajaee. Sheva is a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other related anxiety disorders. Sheva did a Ted Talk called “Addicted to the answer – anxiety in the age of information“ which made up the core of our first podcast together.

Sheva Rajaee

In this episode I chat with Sheva about her OCD story, superstition in relation to OCD, avoidance, acceptance around unanswered questions, why the two words “So What” are the most powerful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, meditation, 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

Dr Jonathan Abramowitz – Living the CBT lifestyle

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In episode 130 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Jonathan Abramowitz. Jonathan is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Chapel Hill, NC specializing in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He is also Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina. Jonathan has written two self-help books and published over 250 scientific articles, books, and book chapters.

Jonathan Abramowitz

In this episode I chat with Jon about mini-rituals, the openness scale, tracking and monitoring compulsions, what to do if ERP doesn’t seem to be working, living the CBT lifestyle, ACT supporting ERP, ACT metaphors 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

Dr Jenny Yip – OCD Treatment

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In episode 129 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Jenny Yip. Jenny is a clinical psychologist who specilises in OCD and anxiety. Jenny runs the Renewed freedom center based in Los Angeles. She is also a clinical advisor to the nOCD app, and author of the book Productive, Successful YOU! : End Procrastination by Making Anxiety Work for You Rather Than Against You.

Dr. Jenny Yip

In this episode I chat with Jenny about her OCD story including postpartum OCD, how OCD fears are unique to each person, exercise and meditation – mindful walks/yoga, the importance of a patients belief in the process of therapy, involving the family in treatment so that the standards in therapy are maintained in the home i.e. no reassurance seeking, parents being role models for living with discomfort i.e. refusing to play into compulsions, reducing the amount we use our phones, 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

I have hope now

I’ve been anxious since before I can remember, but I vividly remember my first obsession.  I was 8 or 9, and on the first day of school, our teacher excitedly told us we would be taking a class trip to an amusement park in May that year for some sort of science day.

Almost immediately, all I could think about was dreading and avoiding the trip.  My thoughts started to fall into an obsessive pattern that’s now so familiar to me:  What if I fall off a roller coaster and die?  What if I don’t go on any roller coasters, and I become some sort of social pariah?  What if I vomit on myself or someone else?  What if someone else vomits in me?  What if I pee my pants?

I became obsessed with roller coasters and roller coaster accidents.  There was no internet back then, but I remember checking out books from my school library about roller coasters to research the probability of their failure even though I’d never been on one.  I asked my science teacher all sorts of crazy physics questions.  It’s funny to me now, but at the time, I was terrified.

My obsessions continued through middle and high school.  I was mostly Pure O at that time, but I was on the debate team and knew how to research, so I used my skills to feed my worst fears.  One year, our debate topic was Russian foreign policy—I became obsessed with the kind of treatment resistant tuberculosis that was prevalent in Russian prisons at the time.  I live in Texas.

If I got a sore throat, I was suddenly dying of TB—I vividly remember asking my family doctor for a TB test.  She looked at me like I was insane, but she never said the word “anxiety.”

Simultaneously, my debate partner and I started dating, and my STD and pregnancy fears began there.  We never had sex, but making out was enough for me to feel like I had been infected.  A girl in our class was diagnosed with herpes around this time, and I couldn’t shake the idea that I was going to get it.  I still struggle with these fears despite over a decade of marriage.

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Podcast

Dr Kevin Chapman – Recognising culture in the effective treatment of OCD

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In episode 128 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Kevin Chapman. Kevin is a Licensed Psychologist in Kentucky. He specialises in the treatment of anxiety disorders using CBT, and ERP for OCD. Kevin is a clinicial advisor of the nOCD app and is the sports psychologist for Louisville City Football Club.

Dr Kevin Chapman

In this episode I chat with Kevin about the importance of understanding the role culture plays in the effectiveness of OCD treatment. This episodes aims to help shed light on this important topic to help therapists serve their clients better, and help people with OCD get more out of treatment. 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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