5 Things to Do If You Were Just Diagnosed With OCD


1. Find a therapist who specializes in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.

If I could say anything to someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) it would be, “ERP! ERP! ERP!” Exposure and response prevention, sometimes in combination with medication and other therapy, is the gold standard treatment for OCD. It involves gradually exposing yourself to your fears, letting your anxiety go up, and waiting for your anxiety to come back down without doing compulsions. You start small and work your way up to harder fears. I’m not going to lie: it is hard, but it works. And once you learn the skills, you can use it for the rest of your life.

To help in your search, the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) has a resource for finding therapists.

2. Watch this documentary about OCD and ERP.

When I first started figuring out I had OCD, I turned to where mostly everyone turns: the internet. I googled obsessions I was having, rituals I was doing, the International OCD Foundation, lots of personal blogs and ERP. I stumbled across a documentary called “Extreme OCD Camp.” It follows several British young adults as they go to “OCD Camp” and do intensive ERP for a week. In a way, I was lucky I found this documentary. It meant I found ERP early in my search for treatment. It also showed me right from the start I wasn’t alone.

You can watch “Extreme OCD Camp” on YouTube.

3. Try to attend the Annual OCD Conference.

I’m probably biased because I love them, but the International OCD Foundation might be the single greatest resource out there for people with OCD and their loved ones. They have a comprehensive website, blog, social media, annual charity walk, and my favorite: the Annual OCD Conference. At this conference, hundreds of people with OCD, their loved ones, and professionals all come together to attend sessions, discuss research and just bond. It is an indescribable experience. If you can go, go!

In fact, I love the OCD Conference so much I did a spoken word about it: 1 in 100.

group of young women at OCD conference by international OCD foundation

4. Request a “Not Alone Note.”

Having OCD can at times feel especially lonely. That’s why my friend Molly and I have a project called Not Alone Notes. We mail handwritten notes to others with OCD for free, with the goals of reminding people they aren’t alone, encouraging hope and dispensing resources. It actually stemmed out of becoming pen pals with several people I had met at the OCD Conference. If you or a loved one has OCD, we would be more than happy to mail you a note!

For more information about the project and to request a note, visit our website: Receive a Not Alone Note.

'not alone notes' for ocd awareness on colorful card

5. Find others with OCD.

As mentioned, having OCD can be lonely, especially if you don’t know others with the disorder. If you can find a support group in your area, go for it! That’s a great way to meet others and share stories and resources. However, there aren’t support groups everywhere. Fortunately, there is a large online OCD community out there just waiting to welcome you. It is present on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Yahoo. All you have to do is search for the accounts, groups, blogs, etc. You are absolutely not alone.

Sending hope and hugs,

Morgan

For even more resources for OCD, visit this resource page.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Images via contributor


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


Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

linkin park

The Linkin Park Song That Perfectly Describes My Mental Illness

Chester Bennington’s suicide came as a shock to the world. When looking at the lyrics in his songs, many are horrified, but not surprised. While the song “Heavy” featuring Kiiara might not have purposefully addressed obsessive-compulsive disorder, the lyrics are very relatable to me as someone with OCD. Perhaps this lyrical analysis can shed light [...]
Jim Hopper from Stranger Things

How We Can Use 'Stranger Things' to Explain OCD

My husband and I finished watching the second season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” For those who aren’t familiar with “Stranger Things,” it is more or less a science-fiction series based in the early 1980s where a group of quirky and intelligent middle schoolers find themselves in the middle of an incredibly dangerous and top secret [...]
A woman holding herself (watercolor)

When OCD Makes You Believe It's Your Responsibility to Keep Everyone Safe

I was trying to go to sleep, quite literally counting sheep. Up to eight and hold my breath, then back down again, when my phone buzzed. “Breaking news.” To other people the accidents and attacks they hear about are sad, scary even. To me they are like a death sentence. What did I do this [...]
ripped papers that say OCD

Why I Don’t Like to Abbreviate ‘Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder'

 The first time I ever heard the term “OCD,” I was in fourth grade. I remember asking my friends what it meant. No one could come up with a solid definition, and no one even knew what it stood for. I got the vague idea that it had something to do with being organized. Even [...]