Browsing Tag


OCD, Relationship OCD

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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A day in the life of Stuart Ralph

In episode 46 of The OCD Stories podcast I was interviewed by Chetna of The East Bay Behavior Therapy Center. Chetna asked me some great questions about recovery, OCD, what the behind the scenes of The OCD Stories looks like and motivation.

East Bay Behavior Therapy Center

Correction: In the episode I talk about becoming a CBT therapist in the UK. I was not completely accurate. You can become a CBT therapist without becoming a councellor first – check out the BABCP website. 

Chetna asked me about many topics, including what a day in life of me looks like, motivation in OCD recovery, rOCD advice, telling a partner about OCD, meditation, what motivates me, service to others, detaching from work for positive mental health and cure or recovery. 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.

This podcast is also brought to you by nOCD. Download the app for free:

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Dr Guy Doron on ROCD and the ROCD App

In episode 27 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Guy Doron. I first interviewed Guy in January for episode 5. Guy is one of the leading researchers in relationship OCD (rOCD), and along with his team he his uncovering important information about this subtype of OCD. He has recently co-created an app for ROCD recovery. (links to download it below). This episode offers general OCD advice, so don’t worry if you don’t suffer with ROCD. OCD is OCD.

ROCD researcher Guy Doron

In this episode Guy explains the how the belief in change is important to achieve change, if we associate self with positive statements we adopt them, and seeking other potential alternative partners even only for comparison may make ROCD worse. We discuss what suffers have in common, relationship OCD beyond romantic, relationships including relationships to parents and God. He shares some great advice for life – letting experiences come in without too much analysis – to experience and be curious. Enjoy!

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My girlfriend, and I, And Relationship OCD (ROCD)

In episode 16 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed my girlfriend – Nami. Nami is an artist and illustrator. She designed the logo for The OCD Stories. She has had her own battles with the mind, recently with anxiety and before with clinical depression. I thought it would be a good idea to get her on to discuss my relationship OCD and her relationship anxiety.

My girlfriend and I

We talked about my ROCD story, mixed with my girlfriend’s own relationship anxiety. We talk about relationship OCD in dating as it doesn’t get much media coverage. We chat about what helped me recover, what helped our relationship grow stronger, and what to do when you relapse. I enjoyed recording this episode (even if I look bored in the video) and I think you’ll get a lot out of this whether your OCD is attacking your relationship or not. Enjoy…

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Dr Guy Doron Talks About All Things ROCD & How To Beat It

In episode 5 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Guy Doron. Guy is one of the leading researchers in relationship OCD (rOCD), and along with his team he his uncovering important information about this subtype of OCD.

ROCD researcher Guy Doron

Guy is doing great work in figuring out all the ins and outs of rOCD. Relationship OCD isn’t just about romantic relationships it can also include relationships with God and parent-child relationships, however, we focus on romantic relationships. Guy offers a lot of great advice for those suffering with relationship OCD, and also solid information for any therapists who listen too. Enjoy!

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Contamination OCD, Harm OCD, OCD, Pure O, Relationship OCD

Beating The OCD Bully, After 21 Years Of Torment

OCD has been such a big player in my life. It has taken much. As I recover, I realise it has also given me much. This is my story!

Ah man, where do I start. I’ve had OCD since I was 7 years old (or at least, in hindsight that is my earliest memory). I remember being on holiday in Florida. There were two key instances on this trip that stuck out to me. The first was the night we landed my Dad wasn’t well. So he stayed in the hotel, while my brother, Mother and I went out to get some food. I remember being at the restaurant and feeling anxious about my Dad being bitten by a tarantula. My visions would go in all weird directions, like him dying from the bite or us coming back to the room to find him in that state. I just remember going over and over these scenarios in my head – involuntarily. These visions stayed in my mind, and I remained anxious until I saw my Dad. Of course, my dad did not get bitten by a tarantula. The second instance I can remember is being by the swimming pool. I was petrified to go in. Why? Because I was certain there were ‘sharks’ in the pool. And as soon as I went in I would be attacked. Deep down, I knew this was rubbish. But something in the back of my mind told me ‘what if’. I would jump in and swim across a corner going diagonally. I was swimming about 2 metres, I would then propel myself out of the water and away from the edge, making sure no sharks could reach me. My family and everyone around me found this hilarious. For me however, being in that water shot my anxiety levels up. In hindsight, I see the funny side.

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