ERP to Peer Advisor: My Journey From OCD to NOCD

3 min read
Kerry Osborn
By Kerry Osborn

The road I took to become the peer advisor at NOCD was one that I could never foresee. My journey began with a car accident I was involved in at the age of 17. I survived the crash, but several months after the incident my parents said that they had a completely different daughter. I ended up with a severe case of OCD. Three therapists later, I was not getting any better.

My OCD was heavy with physical compulsions, and it specifically affected my hygiene. OCD told me that my hair would fall out if I brushed it. It got more extreme over time, telling me that I couldn’t  do certain things without some type of dire consequence. I was afraid to step on cracks in the ground. I had to go up and down the stairs many times. Sometimes, my OCD told me to drive on the wrong side of the road in exchange for a damaging event not coming to fruition. 

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My social life was the part of my life that was the most affected because I was completely outcast. As a freshman in college, I needed dreadlocks because of my hygiene issues. I couldn’t shower or walk normally. Sometimes, I avoided a certain color, so if a food that I liked had that color in it, I couldn’t buy it. Random events and activities carried a different meaning to me because of my OCD, and it made life unbearable.

I couldn’t be around the color red for over a year.

I didn’t get the help I needed until 2010. My OCD was severe enough to get into intensive outpatient therapy. It took me two hours to drive to the three-week ERP-intensive program. The plan was to do sessions every day for several hours. At first, I thought ERP was a joke, but after a few weeks, something clicked for me. Suddenly, my OCD felt like a complete waste of my time.

I began to ask myself: Is OCD real? All of this time, has my OCD been a complete lie? And it was. It took a lot of work and consistency within that work to come to those realizations. I faced my intrusive thoughts head on without giving into them. To put things as succinctly as I can, it was here that I broke my belief system surrounding my OCD, while breaking the foundation between my obsessions and compulsions.

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The main reason why I choose to work for NOCD is because I understand the lengths NOCD goes to when vetting its therapists. ERP was the only therapy that worked for me, and with ERP now proven to work for all OCD subtypes, NOCD is committed to ensuring that all of its therapists understand ERP techniques and know what they’re doing. 

I will admit that ERP was scary at first, but you have to put in the time to build up the courage and confidence to beat OCD. You’ll be uncomfortable for a short time. The key is to not look at ERP therapy as a short-term solution. Have faith that your efforts will bring success and help you to  desensitize your OCD. Eventually, once you’ve finished ERP therapy, you can look back and see the improvement you’ve made, which benefits you more than merely seeking success from the beginning.

For anyone hesitant to start ERP therapy with NOCD, reach out to one of our peer advisors. Listen to their story and how they succeeded in reaching their goals through treatment. Peer advisors are the pillars of support, by your side through your treatment when you have questions. They want to help, and they want you to get your life back from OCD. 

If you are living with OCD and want help please reach out and schedule a 15 minute call to learn more about OCD, ERP therapy and how our trained staff of experts can help you.

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Taylor Newendorp

Taylor Newendorp

Licensed Therapist, MA

I started as a therapist over 14 years ago, working in different mental health environments. Many people with OCD that weren't being treated for it crossed my path and weren't getting better. I decided that I wanted to help people with OCD, so I became an OCD therapist, and eventually, a clinical supervisor. I treated people using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and saw people get better day in and day out. I continue to use ERP because nothing is more effective in treating OCD.

Madina Alam

Madina Alam

Licensed Therapist, LCMHC

When I started treating OCD, I quickly realized how much this type of work means to me because I had to learn how to be okay with discomfort and uncertainty myself. I’ve been practicing as a licensed therapist since 2016. My graduate work is in mental health counseling, and I use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy because it’s the gold standard of OCD treatment.

Tamara Harrison

Tamara Harrison

Licensed Therapist, MA

I have personally struggled with OCD and know what it's like to feel controlled by intrusive thoughts and compulsions, and to also overcome it using the proper therapy. I’ve been a licensed therapist since 2017. I have an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and practice Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. I know by experience how effective ERP is in treating OCD symptoms.

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