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

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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.

Originally published: October 12, 2016
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