March 18, 2011

OCD Progress

OCD is still very much a mystery to me.  But today is one of those rare days (though becoming less rare – would you call that medium rare?) that I can actually objectively see my progress. 
Let’s do a brief run-down of the last twelve months.  This time last year I was:
1.       In a job that was incredibly stressful and demanding,
2.       Experiencing signs of my relationship breaking down,
3.       Dealing with the news that my mom’s cancer had returned,
4.       Dealing with a number of other family crises,
5.      Coping with the death of an uncle and two very close friends.
And YUP – my OCD was at its worst.  I don’t know if I can blame all of those things for my horrible OCD flare up.  My descent into OCD hell had started a year prior to that – heck – I never really learned how to deal effectively with my OCD in the first place!  I can say with all certainty though, that the things mentioned above definitely didn't help with OCD.   
For the last few days I can honestly say that I am starting to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”.  Maybe I’ll never get to the proverbial "end of the tunnel", but I FINALLY feel as though I’m on the right path.  What has contributed to this recent state of hopefulness?  I’d say a few things:
1.       I started to “come out of the closet”, and I have SO MUCH less shame about the fact that I have OCD than I had two years ago.  I have confided to some very close friends about the fact that I have OCD which has helped me to learn to accept the chronic nature of this disorder and not “deny” that I will be living with OCD for the rest of my life.
2.       Some of the external factors that were causing immense stress are no longer as “acute”.  My mom, though definitely not healthy, is also not dying tomorrow.  We are still able to have some enjoyable moments together, and she is not yet lying in a hospital bed.  I have left the incredibly stressful and demanding job and I am starting to figure out my new career.  I have grieved the loss of my uncle and dear friends – and I am working through the loss of my relationship.
3.       I have FINALLY found a therapist that I truly trust and respect.  I have read in many articles about the importance of the therapeutic relationship when facing OCD, and I guess I just dismissed that in my mind.  Don’t get me wrong – I have definitely had some very kind and wonderful therapists in the past.  But my current therapist just GETS ME.  Not to mention the level of support that he provides to me is……well let’s just say that when (notice I’m saying “when” – not “if”?) I start to win this OCD battle on a more consistent basis and I can even label myself "recovered" - I will have this guy to thank for giving me my life back.  I can now with great confidence say that the therapeutic relationship between patient and psychologist is of UTMOST importance when conquering OCD.
What’s that OCD?  Don’t get too cocky you say?  Don’t get too hopeful and confident and definitely don’t let my guard down and stop with the avoidance and rituals?  You say that you’re just lingering right around the corner waiting for a weak moment to pounce on me? 
Well thank you very much for the reminder that you WILL always be standing in the shadows of my mind.  I’ve started to accept that about you OCD.  And I’m also slowly starting to learn that you really don’t have that much power after all.  I’m going to continue with the positive steps that I’ve taken, and we’ll see where that takes us.  :o)


  1. I'm glad to read things are getting better OCD-wise!
    Acceptance is very important, since I think that the very first step in facing a problem is recognizing it for what it really is.

  2. I'm so glad you are experiencing hope! As much as my perfectionism says otherwise, I do believe that if I keep doing exposures, that I will get better and better--definitely a "when" not an "if"

  3. An OCD Fighter - thanks for the support! Though today it doesn't feel like it - I continue to move forward and hope that I will have more days/weeks like the ones before my family arrived (see new post).
    Expwoman - You must feel so strong because you've got great perspective on this disorder. You inspire me to keep trying!!

  4. Congratulations. I've been suffering from pure o ever since I've been a child I just discovered that there was a diagnosis for the bad thoughts and urges that have changed my life when I'd have flare ups immensely always putting me in a state of fear just waiting for the feelings to hit hard again. Its been a long road yet the treatment process is still fresh for me. It's awesome to hear how other people are dealing with it.
    :] seems like you know what your doing
    Having a therapist would put me at ease
    I'm looking at dr.Stephenson's office !

  5. Jade - I'm glad you found my blog! I've had Pure O since a child as well. I think getting the right therapy is of utmost importance. I'm no longer with a therapist from Dr. Phillipson's office, but I think many people with Pure O have been helped with therapists from his clinic. Keep in touch!!!