Browsing Tag

Therapy

Podcast

Dr Russ Harris – The Happiness Trap

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In episode 151 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Russ Harris. Russ is a medical practitioner, author of the international best-selling book ‘The Happiness Trap’, and is an world-renowned trainer of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).

DR RUSS HARRIS

In this episode I chat with Russ about his therapy story, he demonstrates several exercises, we discuss the choice point, his book The Happiness Trap, living a value led life, applying ACT principals when feeling emotionally overwhelmed, and much much more. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Jessica Emily – Littlest Lady (Redefining Trauma, & OCD)

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In episode 150 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Jessica Emily. Jessica is the creator of LittlesLady.com, and she’s kindly agreed to share her OCD and mental health story with us.

Littlest Lady - Jessica Emily

In this episode I chat with Jessica about her OCD story, abuse and trauma, therapy, her biggest epiphany in recovery, her work on LittlestLady.com, words of hope for those with OCD and experienced trauma. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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OCD

A human mental health issue

My parents shunned any type of conversation about sex. In fact, I have never seen my parents kiss even and probably saw them awkwardly hug a handful of times in my life. I lived a very sheltered upbringing. In fact, I’d purposely take off my contacts in High School health class so I wouldn’t see the board or occupy myself in a book in the back of the classroom. I didn’t want to know anything about sex. As a Muslim, Pakistani American born and raised in Connecticut and a Hijaabi (I wore the head scarf out of peer pressure from the girls at the Mosque) at the time, I had no intention of engaging in sex because it was shunned. Even at the mosque, we were separated from the men and if I saw a boy, I would lower my gaze and he’d do the same. My only interaction with boys were my cousins. And in Islam, we are allowed to  marry our cousins. When I hit puberty, I started falling for my cousin. I looked forward to weekend family gatherings just so we could chat. I felt intense emotions for him that I can still remember feeling. A handshake was everything. Perhaps this is why sex has been the biggest taboo and the biggest part of my OCD in my life.

When two lesbians were invited to be guest speakers in my 10th grade health class, I got curious. As I listened to them talk about coming out, it hit me. I looked at the girl sitting in front of me. She had a tight shirt on and her small waist looked beautiful. I fixated on that waist and it was my very first trigger into my HOCD. From that moment, the entire world flipped upside down, like I was really in the upside down (Stranger Things reference). Every woman, even my own mother made me spike. A spike is a strain in my body, like in my stomach and vagina (I still don’t know what it really is). My favorite Bollywood actresses made me spike. A beautiful voice singing, siri, an operator, the Doctor’s secretary all made me spike. What was going on? I was surrounded by women everyday and it felt like hell. I couldn’t look at them. I was analyzing them. Do I like them? Do I want to be with them? So I wanted to avoid them, isolating myself and wanting to stay home and not even go out in the world.

Before this, I only ever imagined to be with my male cousin. I thought I was in love with him. And this whole time I felt so alone, unable to express any of this to anyone. It was so embarrassing. So, I called a gay hotline that I found online and asked them what was going on with me and they made it even worse. Their triggering words were ‘You just haven’t let yourself like a girl yet, just try it.’ I remember playing badminton with my sister and suddenly fell to the floor in a massive panic attack. I told her everything. She comforted me, telling me that even she thinks about women sometimes. These words gave me ease. It was my first compulsion. I don’t remember when it disappeared but it did. Probably because my OCD content shifted to ‘weight OCD.’ I then fixated on my body. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

My HOCD came back in full force at 19. It was like the devil. I started googling ‘gay Muslims’ to find out if this was even okay as a Muslim. I found Faisal Alam, a gay Muslim activist who founded an organization for gay Muslims. I started to talk to a gay muslim man on Faisal’s forum group, and he told me that I wasn’t actually gay. Again, a sigh of momentary relief. I finally found a therapist. I don’t even know how I had the money for it. He was in Connecticut. He was an old white man. My first thought was, ‘how is an old white man going to understand a young, South Asian Muslim girl?’ I was so nervous that he’d tell me I was a lesbian and my life and my dreams of a husband and kids would be shattered. He gave me reassurance instead. He told me being gay or straight was a choice and that reassurance helped for a bit. I would continue seeking reassurance from him and he kept giving it to me, unable to truly resolve my real problem, OCD.

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Podcast

Story: Robin Roblee-Strauss (What If?)

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In episode 147 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Robin Roblee-Strauss who has kindly agreed to share his OCD story, and talk about his film “What if?”.

Robin Roblee-Strauss

In this episode I chat with Robin about his OCD story, separation anxiety, the power of hearing other peoples stories, therapy, goals and values, journaling, finding the right therapist and his documentary “What if”. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Story: David Murphy

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In episode 145 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed David Murphy who has kindly agreed to share his OCD story with us.

David Murphy

In this episode I chat with David about his OCD story, his recovery journey, OCD in Ireland, getting the right treatment, the importance of seeing a qualified therapist who understands OCD, mindfulness and meditation, being in nature, exercise and connecting with others. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Story: Kevin Putman (RUN OCD)

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In episode 140 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Kevin Putman. Kevin is known for his advocacy work with RUN OCD a grassroots movement motivated to educate, support and raise awareness about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As part of this Kevin ran ping pong tournaments called Ping Pong 4 OCD at the IOCDF conferences and other events. In 2015 he won the hero award from the IOCDF.  

Kevin Putman RUN OCD

Kevin post-run

In this episode I chat with Kevin about his OCD story, his therapy journey, Mindfulness, ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy), the helpfulness of meeting others with OCD, Kevin’s self-care: yoga, running, swimming.  We also talked about how humour can be healing, RUN OCD, helping yourself through helping others, and so much more. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Michelle Massi – ERP, Self-Compassion, and Common Humanity

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In episode 139 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Michelle Massi. Michelle is a therapist specialising in the treatment of OCD, and anxiety disorders. As well as working in private practice, Michelle also works at the UCLA OCD Adult Intensive Treatment Program.

Michelle Massi

In this episode I chat with Michelle about her therapy story, working with children, supporting parents in the treatment process, using self-compassion, the idea of common humanity, advice for when starting ERP therapy, keeping focused on the goal in therapy, relapse prevention, dealing with regret of lost time, learning to live with uncertainty, what Michelle has learned in the last few years about treating OCD, what she has noticed from her client’s who make quick progress, why it helps to connect with others with OCD, and much much more. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Story: Anna Foster

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In episode 135 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Anna Foster. Anna is a presenter for BBC radio Newcastle. She shares her OCD story for the first time. It’s a heartfelt and honest conversation.

Anna Foster

In this episode I chat with Anna about her OCD story, how OCD can change theme, how OCD affected her school life, maternal OCD, getting the motivation to work hard in therapy, how she kept her OCD secret, why there is nothing wrong with triggers, opening up to colleagues, the sense of freedom Anna got from therapy, medication, recovery is possible, lowering stress, getting to the point where the thoughts didn’t matter, the question doesn’t have to be answered, regret, advice for parents, and much much more. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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Podcast

Aaron Harvey – Intrusive Thoughts

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In episode 134 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Aaron Harvey. Aaron is the founder of the wonderful IntrusiveThoughts.org a not for profit website thatbrings together sufferers, advocates, professionals and loved ones of people with OCD in order to save lives. Aaron shares his OCD story in an honest and open way.

Aaron Harvey

In this episode I chat with Aaron about his OCD story, including detail into some of his sexual, violent intrusive thoughts. We talk about why rumination will never give you the answer, his recovery journey including psycho-education, therapy, joining the community, mindfulness, and surfing. Aaron shares the 478 mindfulness technique, why you are not your thoughts, getting in a flow state, his biggest insight, IntrusiveThoughts.org and helping others. Hope it helps.

podcast

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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OCD

It wasn’t easy but I could feel myself getting better

Looking back on my life there are times when I don’t remember my OCD – though it was there, I just don’t carry those memories – and others when my OCD experiences are the only memories I have. There are two periods in my life that I would say are the most relevant to my story of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The first was when it all started when I was 10 years old. I guess a lot happened all at once in my family: we moved house, my Mum went back to work, I started a new school. My Mum had to go into hospital and I worried (incorrectly) that it was my fault. That’s when it all started, all at once. Most of my thoughts revolved around keeping my family safe and healthy. I was unsure and afraid and I was looking for some way to gain certainty and control. I had compulsions both mental and physical that I would feel compelled to perform and I was convinced those rituals were the sole thing keeping my family out of harms way. The only time theses thoughts were almost bearable was when we were all at home, together. Safely, healthily. I still had rituals to carry out but they lacked that same sense of urgency I felt when we were apart.

The mental compulsions made it hard to focus during school and to have a conversation when trying to make friends and the physical compulsions made it hard to take part in my dance classes which I loved and again, when you’re at a new school and you don’t know anyone, hard to make friends. I don’t remember ever being made fun of but I know that the other kids, even the teachers and other parents, even my parents, would have thought that I was weird. One of my “things” was that I would go about my day with one of my hands (preferably my dominant hand) completely flexed. Which was obviously incredibly physically restricting, but also very mentally draining as it required so much focus to keep my hand so tightly stretched. In OCDs all to familiar way, the hand stretching provided temporary relief and at the same time induced so much more anxiety which came when I had to swap hands or if my mind strayed from the thought of flexing as I worried incessantly about whether or not there was a brief second where my hand wasn’t stretched and what the repercussions might be. The hand flexing was just one on a long list of compulsions, which seemingly took over my life overnight. Too be honest I don’t know how I did manage to learn anything at school, make any new friends or continue competitive dancing back then. My mind was constantly preoccupied with monitoring my hand and I don’t know how my head had any room for anything else. I would avoid certain activities which I couldn’t do with my stretched hand or I would participate while juggling the constant distraction and feared consequences of a slip. An outsider looking at me would have thought I was fine, perhaps labelling my behaviour of avoidance and distraction as laziness or self absorption but inside I was frantically clinging, believing I was looking after the health and safety of not just myself but the three people I loved most. Each day that I ritualised, I was attempting to gain certainty and in exchange, bargaining away more and more of my mental health.

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