My OCD Journey
Something that has helped me along the way is no matter the content of the intrusive thought/feeling, I will ask myself “and then what”....you see, the story must go on. Play it out. Play out the worst case scenario. And then what happens… it always comes back to I just don’t like how it feels, and we know that life will go on.
Stacy Quick, LPC
Your journeys are both powerful and empowering
OCD can feel really isolating. We want to highlight the real experiences of members of the OCD community, so that no one feels alone. Have an experience to share?
Let us know.
Suicidal Theme, ROCD, Existential
Living in the maybes
While compulsively googling, I found an article about harm-themed OCD. It finally clicked. I now knew that I was dealing with OCD and had been for a long time. It had gone undiagnosed. It was then that I realized that what I had thought were actual suicidal thoughts previously were actually a form of OCD called suicidal-themed OCD. OCD had been causing confusion and disruption throughout my life. The article I found linked me to NOCD. I set up a call right away. I have now been working with my NOCD specialist for 6 months. This decision was life-altering. I am now living in recovery with OCD.
Perfectionism, Hit and Run OCD, Harm OCD
Survivor, not a victim
After college, I went back to school to become a nurse. I remember being so excited about starting my career and looking back at all the hard work I did to get to where I was. It wasn’t until I started working as a nurse that my OCD decided to take the stage. I would excessively check to make sure I didn’t make a medication error and make sure I completed all my documentation. OCD thrived on my fear of losing everything I worked so hard for.
Harm OCD, ROCD, Sexual Themes
OCD will not stop me
There may be other people suffering in silence, just like me 2 years ago, who can't find a way out and who don’t understand what’s wrong with them. I want everyone to know, no matter how tough you are, no matter what the circumstances, please speak up if you are struggling with thoughts like mine. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to get past many obstacles in the process. But you will get there. Don’t let mental health get in the way of your hopes and dreams, I know I certainly won’t.
Checking, Just-Right, ERP
Trusting the unknown
Try and understand, and educate yourself about what OCD is all about and what it isn’t about. Too many people have the wrong idea about this very debilitating illness. If you are struggling, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Reach out to those around you. Talk to people, and get the help that you need. You don’t need to suffer alone. I did that for too long. There is hope. I feel so happy now, even after having some bad days still. I know that the word “therapy” may sound scary to many people, it is trying to trust the unknown. It is unpredictable. It is uncertain- everything OCD hates.
Pedophilia Theme, False-Memory, Real-Event
Debilitated by OCD before I found ERP
Three years ago I was in the thick of the worst experience of my life. I was constantly scouring the internet trying to find someone with the exact same issues I had. I was haunted by the idea that it must be something else. I want people to know that you can get better from this. There is hope. I have been told
Perfectionism, ROCD, SO-OCD
Consumed by OCD until I found hope with ERP
I think that it is so important to have a community around you. Having people who are readily available to talk to you and not provide reassurance, to let me know that I am not alone has been a tremendous help. I feel like that is what has helped me from going off the deep end. The community of people brings me hope. I am learning that the more you apply yourself to ERP, the more it works.
SO-OCD, ROCD, Harm OCD
Healthy control of my life and happiness
I was a very creative young black girl inspired by everything I consumed from cartoons, music, and television. As I grew older I was belittled for certain things that I loved due to generational trauma and societal norms. One thing I found truly essential and true to my core being was how much I valued my attraction to the opposite sex.
Pure O, Harm OCD, Health OCD
I didn’t know my own strength
This year I’ve been looking forward to expanding my advocacy for the OCD community in any and all ways possible. When this opportunity presented itself to share my OCD journey I immediately jumped on it. I truly believe that it’s something that was meant to be, to share my story. Ever since entering my recovery stage, I’ve always expressed that if I could help even one person who could relate to me in any way, shape, or form, then I would genuinely, love that. Having this opportunity to share my story will hopefully help as many people as possible and that’s important to me. Not only for just this year but for the rest of my life.
Existential, ROCD, Health OCD, Religion
OCD, faith, and freedom
During this time in my life, I was at my worst. Every time I thought I found the truth it would quickly shift. It was like sand, slipping through my hands. I would run to the next “truth”, only to be disappointed. I was in despair. Each day my emotions drastically shifted from happy and hopeful to feeling depressed, and angry, back to feeling content, and then back to feeling nothing. My emotions cycled with my intrusive thoughts and I chased each one to their end, spiraling for hours and hours. I truly hated myself and I hated the world. I did not take care of myself. I felt that I was without hope. I could not see a future for myself past where I was.
Just-Right, Perfectionism, Contamination, PTSD
Learning to thrive: Getting off and on the struggle bus with OCD, MDD, PTS
Lisa de Guzman, LCSW, PPSC
I grew up in a culture where you were supposed to “save face” and where you didn’t go outside of the family to ask for help. I also didn’t know how to ask for help within my own family. Living with perfectionism, I could not admit when I made a mistake or when I struggled. I compared myself to my peers and even more crucially, to my siblings. My thoughts were about my failures. Other times, I just avoided my thoughts in maladaptive ways.
Harm OCD, Sexual Orientation OCD, Advocate
Harm OCD, sexual orientation OCD, model, influencer, and OCD advocate
My name is Shaun Flores. I have OCD. OCD changed my life. It was the worst thing to ever happen to me, but I continue to be the worst thing to happen to OCD. Looking back at life, I took my mental health for granted. I was chasing every single opportunity provided to me. I was raised on the bedrock of ideas that I must succeed regardless of the cost.
Just-Right, Perfectionism, ROCD
An imperfect journey
I have learned how important it is to let thoughts be there. Let them be there and I don’t need to respond, I don’t need to do anything with them. For me, medication paired with ERP has been beneficial. ERP has helped me learn so much. One of the most helpful things, for me, has been finding balance. At first, everything was black and white, all or nothing. I needed to learn not how to not go from one extreme to another, to live in the in-between. I had to learn that nothing is certain.
Scrupulosity, Sexual Orientation, Just-Right
Trapped: Like a bird in a cage
OCD tries to make you think that you don’t get to choose what you want to do with your life, that instead, your life will just “happen” to you unless you fight for certainty and control. Recovering from OCD allows you to recognize that YOU get to choose to live life according to your values. YOU get to choose to be true to yourself, instead of true to your OCD fears. I get to choose how to live my life and stay true to the things that are important to me personally, like my marriage, family, and faith. OCD can’t take those things away from me.
Suicidal Theme, Emetophobia, Pedophilia Theme
I went to therapy to get help. Within the first few minutes of my session, my therapist knew I had severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This was the very first time I had ever been diagnosed. After so many years of suffering, it finally had been given a name. Prior to my diagnosis of OCD, I had been misdiagnosed with Panic Disorder, lactose intolerance, hormone issues, and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). I had no idea how to convey my symptoms to the numerous doctors I had seen, school personnel, or even my family. I couldn’t put into words what I was experiencing.
Just-Right, Perfectionism, ROCD
Hope is the true voice…OCD lies
OCD will attack what you value and fear the most. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. Anyone who judges you is not worth your time. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and want the best for you. This matters so much. You need to know that you are not alone in your fight.
Post-Partum, PTSD, Harm OCD
Finding my voice through trauma and OCD
I felt completely trapped and lost in my own mind. I barely slept that night. I couldn’t stop ruminating over the idea that, not only wasn’t my life orderly and perfect anymore, but even my own thoughts weren’t perfect. I became convinced that my thoughts were making me sick and was petrified by the fact that I could not control them.
Addiction, Harm OCD, Suicidal Theme
Knowledge is Power: Thank You NOCD
Dr. Benjamin Hruska
I had just wrapped up the completion of my Ph.D. in history, a subject that I loved. I crammed what should have been 7 years of work into 4. It was a time of high stress in my life. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well. I started to have dark thoughts. I thought about hurting myself and others. I knew I didn’t actually “want” to do these things and yet I was tormented by the thoughts.
PTSD, Existential, Suicidal Theme
From the Darkness to the Light
I call what I experience, the darkness, like a superhero who has a dark reflection of himself that everyone is ashamed of. It’s something that manifests into shame. It is everything you don’t want. It is something that compels you that you want to expel.
Scrupulosity, Religion, Rumination
OCD tried to outwit me
A friend of mine mentioned Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I didn’t know what OCD was. When I was feeling at rock bottom, I decided to research it online. I typed in the words OCD and Christianity. For the first time in my life, I felt like something clicked. This felt just like what I experienced. I felt heard and seen at last. I knew I had OCD.
Moral Theme, Harm OCD, Sexual Theme
The long road toward recovery
I still retained a stereotypical mindset of what OCD looked like and it couldn’t have been farther from what I struggled with. OCD was about being clean and about contamination, symmetry, and order, things that had never brought much distress to me. At least that is what I thought. I had a very narrow view of what OCD actually was.
Perfectionism, Real-Event, Moral Theme
OCD is just hearsay
I realized I had been consumed with perfectionism my entire life. I had always had tendencies toward obsessive thinking but I never thought that it caused me to suffer. If anything, I thought it may have been helpful.
Just-Right, Scrupulosity, Pure O
Trusting Even When I Am Afraid
I was spending an excess of time on homework, striving to be the best, to be “perfect”. I made excuses to work on math and to go ahead in the textbook. The idea of a black-and-white world drew me in. Math felt straightforward. It was comfortable to have a correct answer because there was no guesswork involved. It was straightforward and I felt at ease. Other subjects did not afford me this comfort. There
Magical Thinking, Suicidal Theme, Rumination
The Day the Switch Flipped
I had always had what I will call low-grade anxiety. I was a bit of an overthinker. I had a lot of superstition beliefs. I struggled with what I now know to be “magical thinking” OCD themes. However it was never something that negatively impacted my life, it was just something I incorporated into my life. Little did I know that OCD was there, lurking in the shadows.
Existential, Harm OCD, Just-Right
Cheering for Myself
Allyson McAndrews Washo, M.Ed.
The stigma surrounding mental health is still an issue that needs to be addressed. I struggled in silence for so long before sharing my story. I was not the typical “face” of someone who had a mental illness. Over time and through my experience I have learned that there is no typical “face” of mental illness. It is me, it is you, it is your neighbor, your brother, your friend, your pastor, your teacher…it can happen to anyone. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.
Harm OCD, Scrupulosity, Checking
Out of the Darkness
OCD is a jerk of a disorder that goes after the things you value most: family, work, kids, safety, and responsibility. That is my list, but the list is different for everyone. I have learned that it attacks the things you value and hold dear to your heart.
Checking, Intrusive Images, Harm OCD
I Hate OCD
In spite of all the progress I have made throughout treatment, I still love to hate ERP. I still see ERP as scary. Even after all of these years, I do not like it. I look at it as if the rewards are worth it. I refuse to let any mental illness stop me from my future. I hope to continue to be an advocate and a voice in my community and field for anyone who experiences any form of mental health issues. The more I speak up and raise awareness, my hope is that more people will feel safe getting the help they need.
Pedophilia Theme, Zoophilia OCD, Emotional Contamination
Recovering from OCD allowed me to stop living in shame
I could not get everything clean enough. Someone else in my home may have touched this or that and then that. It was an endless and exhausting process that lasted years. The amount of stress that I felt cannot even be put into words. I was full of shame at my core. I had no one I could tell about this. I knew how strange it all was, I knew logically that it didn’t make sense and yet I FELT so deeply that if I could just get it clean enough that it would all go away. My life wasn’t my own.
Health OCD, Superstitious, Harm OCD
I felt like I was a puppet and something else was controlling my mind. My entire life people had taught me to “trust your gut”, this played into my obsessions. I started engaging in magical thinking. I believed that certain thoughts, actions, and words could somehow manipulate the physical world.
Pedophilia Theme, Health OCD, Harm Theme
POCD Recovery is Possible
It's important to remember that OCD is not curable but it is very much treatable. That is what I mean when I say that you can live in recovery. You can live a life that you love and cherish. For me, recognizing that this is a lifelong struggle is important. This helps me to remember that my brain works a little differently, and that's okay.
Harm OCD, Existential, Scrupulosity
Victory Through OCD
There came this moment of clarity for me. I had enough. My thoughts are not reality. Would I choose to pay more attention to the turmoil in my mind or my life that was happening right in front of me? I felt this defiance and resilience rise up within me because I was sick of living this way.
Suicidal Theme, Scrupulosity, Just-Right
Walls or Windows?: Glimpsing the Good from Inside the Grip of OCD
My experience with OCD has rooted me in hope, for I have learned that my struggles need not be opaque walls or echo chambers of pain. OCD does not have the final word in my story.
Doubt, Harm OCD, Postpartum OCD
Living, No, Thriving with Uncertainty
Growing up I never heard about OCD other than when people made comments about “being so OCD”. Looking back I truly wish I would have known about it and I could have started therapy sooner. People around me just chalked up my behaviors to my personality. I think that happens a lot, even in today’s society. People tend to think of OCD in a certain way not realizing there are so many forms .
Depersonalization, Existential, Contamination
ERP Helped Me Find Acceptance
I was constantly embarking on quests for certainty.I have had various themes or subtypes over the years but I didn’t present in the stereotypical way that the media portrays OCD. The content of my thoughts was so terrifying to me that I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone.
ROCD, Health OCD, Sensorimotor OCD
When Your Fear Comes True
It was at this crucial turning point in my life that NOCD therapy helped me the most. One of my fears had become a real life event. It happened, my marriage fell apart. It was then that it all clicked. I realized that recovery from OCD was never supposed to stop our “what ifs” from happening, it was supposed to help us cope if they did happen. I knew that I could tolerate these feelings of discomfort and anxiety, I knew I
Contamination, Just-Right, Harm OCD
Reclaiming Life, One Exposure at a Time
I’d spent a lot of my childhood frozen as my mind raced and I cried so often as I tried to understand what was wrong with me. I didn’t know how to explain it to anyone...
Dermatillomania, Harm OCD, Postpartum OCD
From Mental Prison to Recovery
OCD has latched onto many themes throughout my journey. I had health themes where I was scared that I would contract aids or that I had it already. I had contamination fears where I was scared of germs and being unclean.
Trichotillomania, Perfectionism, Moral Scrupulosity
My Struggles with OCD and Trichotillomania
I knew ERP worked, after all, it helped me so much in the past. I knew I just needed to put the difficult work in and keep forging ahead.
Emetophobia, Harm OCD, Health OCD
It Was More Than A Phobia
I always thought that if I didn’t feel like I wanted to do something, leave the house, or do something that I had maybe previously enjoyed doing, it was me making that choice. Now I can clearly decipher the difference between me wanting or not wanting to do something versus the OCD telling me I shouldn’t do something. I don’t need to let OCD run my life...
Pure O, Harm OCD, Religion
Seemingly overnight, these thoughts became more and more intense. I was consumed with guilt over them. It snowballed into experiencing unwanted thoughts about harming my family; the people that I loved the most in the world. I knew I had to tell my wife. I needed to seek help.
Uncertainty, Perfectionism, Scrupulosity
The Freedom of Uncertainty
The uncertainty I’d spent my whole life running from now feels exciting and liberating. I don’t need to know “for sure” before I move my feet. I GET TO MAKE MISTAKES. And that’s horrible and amazing all at the same time.
Religion, Harm OCD, Superstitious
Religion, Harm and Superstitions: My Descent into OCD
My family was surprised when they learned of my OCD diagnosis, I didn’t have the stereotypical signs of OCD. I didn’t wash my hands for countless hours, I wasn’t someone who was super organized. To look at me, you would not suspect all of the turmoil that went on in my mind. This is one of the most frustrating parts of this disorder, people do not often understand the mental compulsions. Many people just see the physical compulsions and don’t really understand the “why” behind the compulsions. I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as mental compulsions.
Moral Scrupulosity, Mom, Just-Right
Learning to live with OCD
I don’t remember a life before my OCD showed up, as some of my earliest memories involve (what I now know are) obsessions and compulsions. I remember being early school-age and feeling different from everyone else around me.
My Experience with OCD
Stephen Smith, NOCD CEO
My life was going great. I was an award-winning college quarterback with a bright future ahead of me. But then OCD came out of nowhere and derailed everything.
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