January 24, 2018

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Here’s a free collection of resources about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Survey

We’re surveying people about their experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here will be a collection of their responses.

*This information is not meant to replace medical advice, and the information gathered via surveys may or may not be correct. Hopefully it will be helpful to you!

*Response format = Answer (Name, Age)

**Click here to share your experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder**

OCD Types

What type of OCD do you have?

  • Harm. (Joshua, 14 years old)
  • Harm. (Brandon, 15 years old)
  • Pure-O. (Madeline, 16 years old)
  • Checking, rumination, intrusive thoughts. (Emma, 18 years old)
  • Harm. (Megan, 19 years old)
  • Primarily obsessional. (Anonymous, 23 years old)
  • Pure-O, checking, harm, POCD. (Leah, 23 years old)
  • Pure-O. (Victor, 25 years old)
  • Intrusive thought. (Zach, 26 years old)
  • rOCD, hOCD, pOCD. (Beth, 27 years old)
  • Purely obsessional OCD. (Matthew, 29 years old)
  • Sexual, contamination, checking. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced?

·        Anxiety, depression, relapse, severe migraines, headaches, daily stress, agitation. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression, and false memories. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Awful, intrusive thoughts about hurting myself and about being attracted to people I shouldn’t be attracted to. (Madeline, 16 years old)

·        Checking things multiple times, needing everything to be “just right,” perfect, and equal. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Anxiety, dissociation. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        Intrusive thoughts, compulsion to ruminate and talking to myself in particular ways, disassociation, panic attacks, insomnia. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        Intrusive thoughts, compulsions to check, reassurance seeking, anxiety, sleepwalking, avoidance. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        Dreadful thoughts and ideas throughout the entire day. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Scrupulosity, sexual orientation, POCD, depression, low self-esteem. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        Intrusive thoughts, compulsions, excessive ruminating, fear and avoidance, anxiety, and depersonalization. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Harm thoughts, sexual harm thoughts, sexuality concerns, magical thinking, fear of going crazy. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        OCD staring. Change of regular clothes and washing hands and feet. Checking and rechecking work being done. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Causes

Is there anything you believe contributed to or caused your OCD?

·        No, it just happened one night. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        My childhood. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Stress and predisposition to anxiety (I have GAD as well). (Madeline, 16 years old)

·        The way I was brought up. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Genetics, stress. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        Traumatic childhood, neglect and mental abuse. I witnessed things children shouldn’t. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        Probably my childhood and some abuses and traumatic experiences I suffered. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        I come from a dysfunctional family. I believe that it stems from emotional trauma. My father caused me to doubt my own intentions and distrust myself. Despite never acting on my thoughts, I consistently doubt my character. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        My upbringing and relationship with siblings. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        It was always there, but stress brought it to the surface. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        A trigger incident as well as worrying that it is not right morally. OCD staring is traumatizing because it involves staring at others and worrying about whether people view me as a pervert or maniac. Cleanliness due to life-long habit. Checking due to memory; I’m unsure whether it’s been done before or not, hence stressing to check few times. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Facts

What are some interesting facts about OCD?

·        It is terrible to live with. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        It’s absolute hell. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        It’s not all about contamination concern or compulsive hand washing, there are so many other factors and severities to OCD. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        It cannot be treated with psychoanalysis. It can actually make it worse. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        I try not to think about my OCD. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        My OCD always shifts to whatever I care most about or whatever would cause me the most stress in my current life situation. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        It can be paralyzing. I didn’t realize there were such specific kinds categorized by obsession. Sometimes it can be treated with medications. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        It’s often the most sensitive people that have the most horrible thoughts. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        OCD hits you where you least expect it. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Stress Management

What’s your experience with stress and stress relief related to OCD?

·        Therapy and zoloft.      (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        The more I try to relieve the stress from the intrusive thoughts the more stressed I feel. I literally must force myself away and force myself to think about something else. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        It is debilitating. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        It can be agonizing and seemingly endless. Physical and social activity help. Dancing is great. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        I often need to corroborate things, do certain things in a certain way, touch objects multiple times, count to a certain number, all to relieve my stress. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Sadly, I have developed addictions to cope with OCD. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        20+ years of excessive anxiety with ruminations and compulsions which led to therapy – CBT. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        I had a breakdown attributed to depression and OCD. Taking a timeout helped reduce the severity. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        I fear that people will find out about OCD staring. I distract myself with my phone and avoid eye contact, but that can bring on another issue.    (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Difficulties

What are the hardest aspects of living with OCD?

·        The tension, depression, anxiety, etc. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Trusting yourself and living with guilt. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Acting upon compulsive thoughts and fearing that if I don’t do them then something bad will happen. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Constant doubt. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        The distraction impairs my ability to do things normal people do. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        The constant thinking, not able to control anything, the anxiety and constant fear. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        To feel I’m being judged on my actions. To socialize with people. To be on time. There’s a chance I may harm someone. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        The lack of support and understanding. I just want someone to talk to. It would improve my standard of living drastically.      (Zach, 26 years old)

·        Constant fear, the return of thoughts after you think you’ve managed them, not knowing the difference between reality and irrational thoughts, the adaptability OCD has against therapy and medications, its constant presence. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        It really messes with your sense of self, and with depression not far behind the intrusions it can really make you feel like a monster. A sense of hopelessness at times. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        Intrusive thoughts that always nag behind the back of your mind. Suffering from other sickness like anxiety and depression as a result. Feeling social stigma at how people view you after they found out about your sickness. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Advice

What encouragement/advice can you give others who experience OCD?

·        Stay strong, get help, and don’t give up. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Keep going.  (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Try to limit how often you act on your thoughts. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Be mindful, don’t let it win. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        It is treatable with meds and therapy. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        You are not alone! It will get better! (Leah, 23 years old)

·        Speak up and educate people around you. They’re not alone and they’re not bad people for having gruesome thoughts, because the thoughts do not define the person at all. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        You are not alone. Care and understanding of the issue is improving. If you can’t find a therapist you like, don’t give up. Keep looking. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        Get help, learn as much as you can, take meds if you need to, there’s no shame in it. Talk to people with the same issues – trust me, they’re out there. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        With a combination of exercise, diet, medication, and therapy one can learn to manage OCD. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        We have to give our best at trying to live on so that we don’t leave regrets and sorrow behind. As long as we don’t give up trying, OCD can be managed. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Diet and Exercise

What’s been your experience with diet and exercise?

·        I’m fat, I don’t exercise. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Don’t practice a diet, however, I do exercise. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        The more exercise I get the less severe the thoughts are. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Keeping busy and eating clean. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        They slightly control the symptoms. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        I lead a dairy-free diet, very healthy, plenty of outdoor exercise. I lost a lot of weight from being 18st to 11st in 2 years in the hope things would improve. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        Just like a normal person. Get plenty of exercise and try to eat well. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Many attempts to be as healthy as possible, but I fall off the wagon frequently. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Definitely makes you feel more positive, maybe it’s a sense of achievement in being proactive in the face of this affliction. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        I have been keeping to a simple diet. I don’t exercise because I fear of being outside nowadays as it gives me pressure facing others. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Treatments

What’s been your experience with treatments (medication, therapy, etc.)?

·        Zoloft has helped but stopped. Just started therapy. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Zoloft has been a lifesaver. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Not had any treatment. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Not very good. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        They mostly control the symptoms. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        I have had CBT therapy which initially helped but not offered any more sessions and I need to go back. But the NHS makes you wait 3 months between sessions. I also take sertraline, and propranolol to help manage my anxiety and OCD. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        I’ve been in therapy for years (8 years, but not continually) and I’ve been taking meds. The last therapy I received while studying abroad (in the USA) was rather helpful and made me understand and feel much better about myself. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Inpatient rehab was the best thing I ever did. I was on Zoloft and that did help. But I felt that it suppressed my emotions. So, I stopped using Zoloft. I believe that EMDR therapy has greatly improved my condition. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        3+ years of CBT, going on 4 months of 50mg of Zoloft a day. CBT helped some and when it stopped, I took meds. Meds feel like they do 60% of the job. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Sertraline certainly took the edge off, CBT was effective. One needs to really engage with CBT or ERP almost to the point of being one’s religion. Dipping your toe in the water will only make the condition flare up again in times of stress.  (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        Not much help so far with medication, as I become tolerant to it after a while. Trying therapy and hope it will help.  (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Recommendations

Anything you’d recommend for someone with OCD?

·        Stay Strong. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Stay true to yourself, not the you that OCD says you are. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Get ERP! (Madeline, 16 years old)

·        Seek professional help if it gets too much to cope with, talk to a trusted friend about your worries. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        OCD books. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        Psychiatry and CBT, as well as social activity, sunshine, and exercise. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        Medication and CBT and ERP therapy. (Leah, 23 years old)

·        To follow therapy and medications that are required. To educate themselves and investigate more on OCD. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Try EMDR therapy. (Zach, 26 years old)

·        Get help, learn as much as you can, take meds if you need to, there’s no shame in it, talk to people with the same issues – trust me, they’re out there. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Don’t suffer in silence. (Matthew, 29 years old)

OCD Resources

What specific resources have you found most helpful?

·        Zoloft, train of thought. (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        Music! I cannot stress this enough. (Brandon, 15 years old)

·        Distracting myself with music, going out, watching videos, coloring books.               (Emma, 18 years old)

·        Books. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        Zoloft and a gluten-free diet. (Anonymous, 23 years old)

·        Reading, especially Dr. Phillipson’s writings, Brain Lock book, The OCD stories podcast. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        Online support groups, informational articles, therapy. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Imp of the mind – Lee Baer, and the “Overcoming OCD” book. Some helpful YouTube resources. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        Self-help books and support from trusted family/friends. (Michelle, 32 years old)

OCD Stories

Share an experience you’ve had related to living with OCD.

·        Depression.      (Joshua, 14 years old)

·        All my things have to be “just right” and equal. I’ve spent ages arranging them and feeling upset if they’re not where they should be but feel stupid for thinking that. (Emma, 18 years old)

·        It’s ruined my life. (Megan, 19 years old)

·        I’ve had suicidal thoughts. I feel so hollow, despite having a fair life, being successful at work and studies. My family has always been broken. Fortunately, I have a wonderful partner who’s been with me for 8 years and has given me plenty of support. She’s a great relief from the suffering. (Victor, 25 years old)

·        For years, my obsessions have jumped back and forth from focus to focus. Started off with weather and being terrified of lightning and believing I or someone/something I loved would be struck. Then it moved to the idea that I was going to die all the time. A headache was not just a headache, but a brain tumor. A paper cut was going to get infected and slowly poison my insides. Compulsions began at this stage by checking my pulse. Several years ago, it moved to hOCD and rOCD. (Beth, 27 years old)

·        Well, it makes you safer, being so fearful of causing harm makes you seek out any sources of potential harm. (Matthew, 29 years old)

·        I become obsessed with staring at people genitals and checking out their clothing. It affects my social relationship with people and my sleep as I got disturbed after my mind replays those traumatizing experience over and over. (Michelle, 32 years old)