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Relationship OCD


Sheva Rajaee – Relationship themed OCD

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In episode 218 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 relationship to relationship OCD, some obsessions and compulsions of this theme, types of exposures (and response prevention) for this theme, when the romantic partner comes into the therapy room, psycho-education for the partner, the fear of being cheated on and the fear of cheating on the partner, philosophy of relationships, words of hope, Sheva’s book and much much more. Hope it helps. 


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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Summer 2015

I had relapses and I still do but the thoughts are so much weaker, they disappear over time faster.

My story could be a bit unique in it’s own way. I’m not a native speaker and I’m from Russia myself but I’ve been following the topic of OCD for year and a half to help myself. My sources for any kind of OCD knowledge had been purely in English because I find it has much a diverse information on Pure OCD and Russian sources happen to be quite limited on it. I’m 27 year old male, I’m a freelance worker and my story begins.

Growing up I did not really notice I might have a mental issue such as OCD, but looking back now, I could say it has been with me since I can remember myself. I had problems with high level of anxiety, but as I thought back then, it comes from the point of me being a very emotional person. But the Pure OCD revealed itself in its full power much later in my life, when I was the happiest I’d been.

It happened 2 years ago and to this day I still can’t believe I had to deal with it, even tho my Pure OCD did not go away fully (and never will), I learned how to manage it.

My story begins on summer 2015 when I met a woman that I fell in love with, as deeply as one can imagine and my strong feelings were mutual as she felt the same. But it’s not as easy as it sounds because we happened to live in different countries and we met online. She is from Germany and I am from Russia.

I don’t want you to think that I’m writing a love story here and not about OCD, but trust me, it’s more like an OCD story with love being a main part as an activating point of my Pure OCD that had been with me all my life but was not bothering me as much until I’ve got somebody I care about and not just myself.

Since we met, we’ve been inseparable as much as distance allows. That summer was my happiest time of my life, and when Pure OCD hit me deep, it felt like for these unbelievably happy moments I had to pay by dealing with it. By going into details of meeting this woman, which I will refer in this story as J., I want define how I was getting into the worst state of OCD I had ever experienced in my entire life, which was not limited only to emotional distress, due to overdose of positive and happy feelings.

But let’s keep the story in order.
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Lessons learned from Relationship Focused OCD

I encourage you to find a therapist who you connect with, and fight to get to the other side! You are worthy!

My first day of my first experience in intensive therapy I was asked to write down my thoughts one day from wake to sleep. I kid you not, by 9am I wrote “exhausted and yawning” (I had gotten up at 6:30). I looked at the journal and realized it was literally one page of thoughts already (probably more but I didn’t want to write it all) and it had only been 2.5 hours. These thoughts consumed about 95% of my day, and were draining me. I felt like I needed to find answers, but at the same time I didn’t know where to go, knew there weren’t actual answers, and part of me didn’t even feel like I needed any. I was trapped.

“Who do I want to be with? What if she isn’t the right person? What if I should be with a guy? But, wait, I have been with guys… How did I feel? Is that who I see myself with? Was it different from this? Should I try again? It’s expected of me. How should I feel? What if I doubt this and can’t commit? Does this feel right? Am I sexually attracted? But emotional means more to me…but you just doubted sexually so what about that?…  What is life? Do I want to be here? What if that car hits me as I get out of my car to get the mail?  Would I care? This is too much to deal with. What if my family never accepts me being with a girl? If they doubt it, maybe I am wrong. How do I know? What makes me happy? Should I move or try to go out more? No but that’s not who I am, but who am I? But wait, I want to be with her but do I need to explore myself more before committing? How do I know? I want to be with her. I had never acted this way with anyone else: losing track of time or had 7 hours feel like 1, sharing as much as I did with someone, yet my brain kept fighting me! I wasn’t used to this feeling. Comfort, calm, connection, and oh wait love–no, never! With a girl…was this right? Did I really feel this way? What if I am wrong?”

This is maybe two minutes of a day’s worth of thinking. Believe me it went on and on, uncontrolled, exhausting, circuitous, torturous circles of mental rumination. It tore me to pieces. I could go on and on, but you get the point. The answers weren’t there; the internal dialogue and questioning never ceased, and I couldn’t escape.

Our brain loves uncertainty and just following human nature, if you feed it, it gets hungry for more. OCD hits ya where it matters most (for me: relationships). I was tortured, stuck in my head, silently screaming so loudly that some days you could hear it through my smiles. I would ask friends, talk incessantly about the topic, but that was only temporary reassurance and fuel for the OCD cycle. The thoughts would only return a few minutes later, leaving me right back to where I started (fun, right?).

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Jeff Bell – When in doubt, make belief

In episode 33 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Jeff Bell. Jeff was on episode 11 of the podcast with Shala Nicely. Jeff is the author of “When in doubt, make belief” and “rewind, replay, repeat”. He is also a radio news anchor in San Francisco and public speaker on OCD. Jeff co-founded adversity to advocacy and

Jeff Bell

I chat with Jeff about his book When in doubt, make belief and pull out some of the strategies in it. We discuss how to tell what is reasonable doubt and what is an OCD doubt. I love Jeff’s use of index cards to measure and track compulsions and obsessions. Both helping him limit them and over time see his progress. He talks about how radio helped him be in the present moment, and at that time be free from OCD. We discuss cure vs recovery, and the silver linings. Jeff shares his passion for purpose and service and how these two things can help us and the world. Enjoy.


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!

You can also listen on Android and over devices through most podcast apps, such as Stitcher.

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University, Rugby and Sexual Orientation OCD

OCD sufferers can make significant progress towards recovery.

The first time I realised something wasn’t right with me was in my first year at University, I was smoking a lot of weed and had been since I was 16. The weed only added to the confusion, I was having problems sexually and the only reasonable explanation at the time seemed to be that I was gay. Perhaps a more rounded conclusion may have been the fact I was smoking weed everyday or that dabbling quite regularly in cocaine and ecstasy wasn’t helping the situation. However, as sufferers know deep down, their irrational doubts are exactly that, irrational.

So there it began, I had just broken up with the girl I was seeing, due in part to my unwillingness to talk about the problems I was having, and out of nowhere came the desperate urge to prove my sexuality one way or another. Every waking moment was spent ruminating about whether I was gay; searching google for answers, watching porn to prove my sexuality, comparing myself to friends who were gay etc. All aspects of my life began to suffer, from sports where I had played to quite a high level to relationships with friends and family. My studies also suffered immensely, I would sit in the library desperate to take in the information that I was reading, unfortunately, the tape I had running in my head would give me no respite. The only logical solution at the time, was to smoke even more weed which as you might imagine, contributed to the disorder snowballing.

I was in a constant state of anxiety throughout that summer, I had failed an exam and was absolutely terrified of the prospect of a resit in August 2012. I knew how difficult it was going to be to even scrape a pass, my family were worried about the extent of my drug use and tried on many occasions to help me. I responded by shutting them out, too scared to talk about what was going on inside my head and perhaps still unaware of the fact I was experiencing a mental health problem. I was still golfing and playing rugby, however, I was starting to lose my love for the sports which I was once so passionate about. I continued to socialise with friends, mainly to take drugs and escape the internal struggle I was experiencing.

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