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Now, I consider myself 90 percent better from OCD.

I am 38 years old and have been suffering with OCD for the past 17 years. When I look back in retrospect on my teenage years, I now realize I had small signs of OCD back then. I remember that I was very obsessed with making my homework perfect and doing a whole math project in pencil and then instead of erasing a mistake I would redo the whole assignment. I remember having the fear that I wasn’t perfect and what people would think of me if I made a mistake. Fast forward to 17 years ago because that’s where my OCD really started to get extreme. The event that triggered my OCD was when my father had his heart attack and almost didn’t survive. I was 21 back then. I then began to get the intrusive thoughts that if I didn’t do something my father would die. For example, if I didn’t put the turning signal in when I made a turn I thought something bad would happen to him. If I put the radio on a bad number (which I have issues with numbers) I would think my father would be injured or fall ill. My whole daily life became surrounded by numerous obsessions and compulsions about my father being ok and focusing and doing everything “right” to keep him alive and safe. This went on for 15 years. I would text him repeatedly throughout the day to see if he was ok. I then, for a period of about a year, went to therapy. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was seeing a therapist due to my fear of that negative stigma that I’m so called crazy.

After working hard on the obsessions and compulsions with my father and becoming successful in beating that daunting obsession, I began obsessing about the safety and well-being of my spouse. I would always text to make sure she got to work ok and then would text throughout the day numerous times to make sure she was ok and I always had to text her to “be careful” on her way home to make sure nothing bad would happen to her. In therapy I addressed that obsession and after hard work I was able to beat that obsession and its compulsions as well. Currently, when she texts me that she is on her way home I still say to be careful but that is the extent of the OCD. It had become minimized greatly to where it is almost nonexistent. About 4 years ago I met a nice woman and our personalities clicked. About a year ago we started a friendship. However, due to my OCD and insecurities, I made mistakes and my obsessions came out. She therefore, no fault or blame on her, stopped all communication with me. I was too overwhelming for her and my constant messaging and worrying that I said something wrong when she didn’t answer became too much of a demand of her time and gave her too much stress. I was very angry and disappointed in myself that I ruined a friendship because of my OCD and insecurities. I had started taking lexapro right around that time which completely changed my life. After our friendship was over, I started to go to therapy and work on my OCD and insecurities again, this time combining it with the lexapro which allowed my brain to calm down, therefore allowing me to absorb more of the therapy. I worked very hard on myself for a few months and reached out to her again. She acknowledged my contacting her with hesitation but was willing to speak with me. It took months for her to trust me and feel comfortable opening up to me, but thankfully due to my efforts and willingness not to give up, we currently have a very solid friendship. I no longer worry or second guess if I said something wrong or if she doesn’t respond I don’t get upset thinking she doesn’t want to talk to me. It took many long hard talks to get an understanding of each other and learn what we each have to offer the friendship. Now I am proud to say that she is one of my favorite people and we talk about everything. She encourages my hard work and efforts and is always there for me with advice when I need it and support when I need it and vice versa. If I hadn’t met her, I wouldn’t have made such a great recovery from OCD. Her positive words of encouragement made me want to be a better person.

Now, I consider myself 90 percent better from OCD. I’m not perfect by any means but I have come extremely far in the past year especially. I use coping mechanisms when I get stressed. I have learned that coping mechanisms relax the racing in my brain as I call it. For me, listening to music and  writing poetry are 2 coping mechanisms that work best for me. CBT also played a big role in my recovery as well as ERP. I have exposed myself to certain fears and forced myself to feel uncomfortable and eventually after time has passed, the uncomfortableness would minimize and the realization that nothing bad happened would pop into my head. I have rid of many fears and obsessions using those techniques. I owe a lot of my recovery and success to my friend I mentioned earlier. She really gave me the inspiration to get better and improve myself. Between her encouragement and support, as well as therapy, hard work on my part and the lexapro; I am happy to say that I am very content with the progress I have made. It was a long tough journey, especially living in secret with OCD for 17 years due to the negative stigma OCD still has, but life is about looking forward and making ourselves the best people we can be. Currently, I attend therapy every other week and am still on the lexapro but I am doing quite well. I hope others with OCD read this and realize that there is hope for recovery with hard work and dedication and the right help and support system. Thank you very much.