A person’s recovery from OCD requires them to let go of the concept of certainty and embrace uncertainty.
My OCD story. I’ve made this post visible to those I feel know me or won’t judge me. I hope my story will educate those who don’t truly understand OCD.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a hypersensitive, worrisome and impressionistic person. I experienced my first OCD symptoms at the age of six. I have memories of myself lying in bed with my eyes closed, having unwanted and intrusive thoughts repeat in my mind. Most of these thoughts involved close family members, who I’d visualise as being harmed and tortured. This made me feel extremely upset, frightened, guilty and helpless.
At the age of ten I began engaging in a bizarre compulsion, one which had me spitting saliva everywhere I’d go. I’d spit mostly on my clothes and the floor, and this would be accompanied at times with a strange swallowing compulsion which I still carry to this day. A lot of my thoughts were still centred on harm and a feeling of entrapment, both of which made me believe I was evil and deserving of some sort of punishment. I felt that If I was to swallow my saliva something bad would happen to me or my family so I tried my hardest not to do this.
I had also become fixated on the number ‘four’. Everything I did was in fours and even to this day I still engage in this ‘four’ compulsion, although I try really hard not to. Some nights I would be doing actions such as turning off the light switch four times, over and over again until I felt I had got it right. It wasn’t a matter of just making sure I had done it four times, I also had to place my hand on the switch in a correct manner, with four fingers on the panel, upright and not downright. Even if I had made the slightest mistake in my hand placements I’d have to start over. This would last at least thirty minutes on average before I felt comfortable enough to move onto another action that requires the same ‘four’ compulsion to get me through my day.
In episode 42 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Reid Wilson. Reid is a licensed psychologist who run the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC. He designed american airlines first national program for the fearful flyer. He is a founding clinical fellow of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Reid is the author of many books including ‘Don’t panic’ and most recently ‘stopping the noise in your head’.
I chatted with Reid about why belief changes behaviour, the content of worry and why it’s trash, the importance of trusting the therapeutic approach and why we should act as if. We discussed why we should empower the therapeutic voice within us, how to learn acceptance, leaning in to tough thoughts and feelings, and even looking for uncertainty. Reid gave some great advice on living a good life. Enjoy.
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In episode 20 (say whattttt) of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Dr Chad LeJeune. Chad is a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. He has more than 20 years experience treating people with anxiety problems. He is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and was among the first clinicians to receive training in acceptance and commitment therapy. Chad is also the author of the book “The Worry Trap” which is reviewed at 4.9 stars out of 5.
I chat with Chad about his book, breathing techniques to lower anxiety, why caring is better than worrying, how to live a value based life that is meaningful to you. We discuss how OCD and anxiety is a spectrum, and that it can affect everyone. Chad shares some great metaphors during the talk that will bring acceptance and commitment therapy to life. Enjoy…