It’s storytime… Morgan shares her OCD story with us. Morgan talks about perfectionism and how OCD got worse in college. Morgan offers hope and an example that you can achieve your goals even if OCD is present. Hope it helps.
This Wednesday version will only be on itunes and other podcast apps. It will not be on YouTube like the interview episodes. You can also listen here through the audio player below.
Here is the written version of Morgan’s story: On avoiding writing this essay
and Morgan on the podcast
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In episode 23 of The OCD Stories podcast I talk about my motivation for starting The OCD Stories, and share Ed’s story with you.
I talk about the benefits of sharing your story, how community is important for recovery, I share Ed’s story with you which offers some great advice, and I ask for you to tell me who you want me to interview on the show?! Enjoy…
I don’t have OCD anymore. It is gone, gone. Of course, that wasn’t simple. Many different factors went into getting rid of it: working with a couple of therapists, practicing Exposure & Response Prevention, learning Acceptance & Commitment Therapy techniques, experiencing so much anxiety it felt like my brain was going to jump out of my skull, etc. But now that I’m much more involved in mental health communities, there’s two factors from my recovery experience that I don’t see discussed very much, so I thought it would be useful to share those.
And the first is very simple: Nobody told me OCD is chronic.
I didn’t know I had OCD. Even when the symptoms were worsening in severity and I would be stuck in front of my stove watching it to make sure it didn’t spontaneously turn itself on, I didn’t think there was anything weird about that. I had totally rational reasons for all of my compulsions. So I never went online to research OCD or join a support group or anything like that. I didn’t know anything about OCD. But that also meant I didn’t hear this myth that often gets mentioned online or in groups that OCD is chronic.
This was the breakthrough moment. For the first time I felt at ease, a man walking out of prison, wondering what was next.
I spent years suffering in silence. How could something so big be so easy to hide? Was it the guilt, the shame or merely not knowing the true extent of what was going on? Was it the fear of being labeled, or was it thinking that this was a natural part of “growing up”? What ever it was, obsessive-compulsive disorder has had a profound impact on my life, muffling my school grades, discontinuing my social life and even forcing me to drop out of university.
One of the ways in which my OCD manifests itself is through the fear of being contaminated by germs, where actions such as touching an item belonging to someone else, would lead to obsessive thoughts of myself coming to harm.
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.