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Their One Piece Of Advice

In episode 58 of the podcast I have compiled some of my guests recent answers to the question “What would you tell someone with OCD you meet in an elevator (30 second elevator ride)?”. I hope this motivational mix inspires you, offers hope and ideas for recovery. Hope it helps!

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I am not an OCD unicorn

It is what it is and you can have a meaningful, happy, wonderful life even though you have a mental illness.

My name is Nelly. Well, not really, but that is the name I use to blog about being an OCD survivor for over thirty two years. When I first started showing symptoms, there was no actual treatment for children. I had no idea that anything was different about me except that I seemed to really have issues leaving my home (anxiety attacks) and washing my hands (to the point of them cracking and bleeding). I didn’t even realize that touching things repeatedly until they felt right, was not something that other children do. I was taken to a doctor at the age of four but the doctor said that if my parents ignored it, it would probably go away on it’s own.

He was wrong.

I am now thirty six years old and I have struggled with OCD for most of my life. Over my thirty two years of struggles, I have had many symptoms. I have read up extensively on my disorder and have had several therapies. I have tried and been prescribed several different medications over my lifetime. All of that has helped me immensely with dealing with my severe OCD and learning how to cope with intrusive thoughts, triggers, and panic attacks. I am not saying life is a breeze and I no longer have times when my OCD really bothers me. I am just saying I am now able to cope pretty well when things do take a turn for the obsessional, guilt inducing, stomach turning, fear invoking OCD triggers.

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OCD is not a disease that bothers; it’s a disease that tortures

For all the turbulence OCD brings, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully describe its impact, you never get a better opportunity to learn about the mind and indeed yourself.

Crouching down in the corner of the pub, my back to my group of friends in a bid to conceal my strange behaviour, I focused my eyes intently on the cigarette-end lying on the wooden floor. Squashed flat, it couldn’t have been further extinguished, but still I reached down and picked it up, holding the cigarette-end at eye level and slowly rotating a full 360 degrees, pausing to check at every angle for any signs it was still alight.

Satisfied it was dead and posed no danger I hauled myself to my feet, pausing to mentally replay the sequence of events to ensure all bases were covered and any possible dangers averted. The situation is dealt with, I told myself, repeating it over and over again in the hope the mantra would eventually stick. My increasingly lively mind had other ideas, urging me to just run through the inspection one more time, just to be absolutely sure.

As I stood frozen to the spot, I tried desperately to ignore the urges, pleading with myself to head back to the bar and forget about it. The obsessive and catastrophic trail of thought grew in intensity, quickly overwhelming me and attacking my ability to think rationally – years of obsessive thinking had gnawed away at the line between rational and irrational thinking anyway. Just check the situation one more time, the mind urged me, put the matter to bed and get on with my night, and my life! Powerless to resist, I bent down, resting on my haunches and once again placed the cigarette-end carefully between my thumb and index finger, rotating it 360 degrees, pausing again at each turn to ensure every angle was covered – this time longer pauses with more intense scrutiny. A couple of minutes later, I finally placed it back down in exactly the same spot I found it and turned away.

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