When I Decided ‘Enough Was Enough’ in My Battle With OCD

In June of 2016, I decided I’d finally had enough. While I had been seeing a great therapist, unfortunately she hadn’t been enough to take down the monster of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This disease needed an army to stop it from plaguing my mind.

This is why I entered an intensive week-long program called exposure and response prevention (ERP) in order to treat my nagging, silently severe OCD. This agonizing creature has been inside my brain since the age of 8 or 9, hitting its peak severity at ages 16 through 20. At 20 years old, I was put on a few different medications, having reduced the anxiety, obsessions and compulsions greatly. However, it was never enough to banish it completely. In fact, during any stressful event or intense emotions, my OCD would spike to its originally severity for several days, and even despite my medication, I was still struggling.

It was in June, after a particularly severe spike, when I decided enough was enough. I was finally ready to put in the effort required to truly shut OCD down. Of course, OCD is a lifelong condition. So it’ll never be shut down for good, but I’m happy to say I’ve come pretty close since ERP.

ERP deals with an OCD-ridden person’s worst nightmare, facing their anxiety-producing obsessions without engaging in the comfort of tedious compulsions. I spent six days starring my worst thoughts in the face, re-writing narratives over and over and listening to my voice on a tape recorder until my obsessions no longer scared me. It was pure pain, but I’ve never done anything that was so worth it.

I spent the past two years half-assing (excuse my language) OCD treatment by not really attempting specific therapy aimed toward this disorder. My advice to anyone struggling with OCD is this: Don’t try to take the easy way out. 

A treatment like ERP is incredibly challenging, but in the long run it’s worth it. Since ERP, I now know how to deal with my obsessions when they come (because of course, they still occur but with less intensity.) I still take my antidepressant to reduce the strength of the obsessions, but now I have the skills to fight them head on.

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

girl in blue meadow dress

How to Come Out to Your Loved Ones About the Taboo Parts of OCD

Those of us with OCD are often faced with the seemingly impossible task of telling loved ones we might, for example, have thoughts of harming them or others. We might fear contaminating our husband or wife, or perhaps abusing our newborn baby. While these thoughts are indeed intrusive thoughts and fears – meaning we would [...]
silhouette of a mysterious girl on blue background

The Most Important People to Reach During OCD Awareness Week

It’s OCD Awareness Week. I wondered what I could say in this post that would be new or unique, yet still meaningful. I didn’t want to rehash old trains of thought or repeat myself yet again, so I started to think about what OCD awareness meant to me. What should it mean? Obviously, those of us who [...]
OCD Awareness Week poster

An OCD Cheat Sheet for OCD Awareness Week

This week is OCD Awareness Week! As someone who has lived with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) almost my entire life, I wanted to write a quick fact sheet about the disorder, and hopefully, do my part to increase awareness. If you have just two minutes to spare, continue reading to learn more about what OCD [...]
man standing in a field with his hands up. Text reads: 23 things you should know during OCD awareness week

23 Things You Should Know During OCD Awareness Week

If you don’t know someone who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you might only think of stereotypes when you hear the words “OCD.” Do you imagine someone meticulously organizing his closet? Lining up items on her desk just right? While this is what OCD can look like, it’s a pretty shallow representation of what the disorder actually is — [...]