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I have lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for approximately the last 17 years - although I can't quite pinpoint the onset. I went undiagnosed for a long time and went through some not so helpful therapies. Throughout the past two years I finally received the right diagnosis and started ERP therapy which has set me on my recovery journey. Throughout my therapy and recovery I have often referred to mountains - recovering from OCD can feel like climbing a mountain everyday, you wake up, your unwanted thoughts and feelings are there, then you have to just keep climbing in order to get to where you want to be - and you have your core values to guide you. I thought long and hard about how/when to put my story out there - I knew there had to be a link to mountains so I am going to climb 17 mountains (to represent my 17 years) by the end of this year (possibly with a 3 peaks challenge at the end of it!)
I am hoping that sharing my story will not only help me in my recovery but also help others feel less alone, ashamed, and guilty, because OCD has a way of making you feel like this. You are not alone, I have been there, and I am open to any conversations you may feel you want to have.
If you want to know a bit more about OCD then read on....if not then thank you for reading and donating, even by doing this you have helped me and millions of other people with this disorder feel less isolated and are making a difference.
OCD is an anxiety-related disorder where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions in attempt to 'get rid of/undo' the thoughts and reduce uncertainty. OCD goes way beyond the current perceptions from the media, although there are debilitating forms involving hand washing and checking (e.g checking switches) there are many other forms of OCD which can appear much more 'hidden'. In these forms the individual with OCD may experience an overwhelming frequency of unwanted thoughts related to things they care about. OCD can do a really convincing job and make the person with OCD believe anything so that they perform mental or physical compulsions to make themselves 'feel' better - usually this relief doesn't last longer than a few minutes. This never ending cycle of obsessions and compulsions can go on years without treatment, because OCD is so misunderstood and scary, I hope that by sharing parts of my story and facts about OCD that others will be able to seek help too - because recovery is possible.
Over the years I have had OCD it has shifted and changed into different 'themes' depending on what I most cared about at the time, OCD still affects me everyday, everyday I wake up and it's there, and I have to continue to fight for myself and my recovery, however after treatment it no longer takes over my whole life anymore, and I am working really hard to build my life back up. I used to see OCD as a bully that I wanted to get rid of, but after a lot of hard work and meeting some other incredible people going through the same thing, I am coming to terms with the fact that it is part of me, and it might always be part of me, but it's just one page in my story, not the whole book. If I can live my life by my values and do things that I care about OCD can come along for the ride.
Sharing my story is just one way that I get to find some meaning in my experience, because there was a point where I didn't know how to go on, and I felt so alone and ashamed. I never thought I would tell anyone about my experience, let alone do a challenge like this, so whatever you are experiencing right now, have hope, there are so many other people out there experiencing the same thing, and although its scary, let someone know, because I promise you it could change your life.
Thank you for reading and letting me give back something of which OCD took away from me. I hope that by sharing my story you can start to open up about yours, mental health is a shared human experience whether it is stress, anxiety, depression, OCD, BPD, PTSD (just to name a few) we can all relate to each other. We live in a society now where we can make a difference, and support each other in our own individual battles.
PS thank you to 'The OCD Stories' who provided an open space where I could share my story with others, this experience has pushed me to share parts of my experience on a more public level and I will be eternally grateful for that. (....maybe it is....maybe it isn't)
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