Jesus Christ* Dr. SW Kim Dr. C. Donahue
*not to be confused with Jim Caviezel 🙂
I was diagnosed with OCD at age 22, approximately 15 years into the struggle. It took another 4-5 to go through about 11 failed prescription meds, 2 psychiatrists, 1 physician’s assistant, 2 talk therapists (one amazing, one horrendous), and myriad debilitating obsessions before I was connected to Dr. Suck Won Kim, a nationally recognized genius in the realm of OCD medication– and working right at the University of Minnesota!
Dr. Kim speedily got me onto the right medicine (the perfect combination of Prozac, Effexor, and Risperdol) and encouraged me to call Dr. Christopher Donahue, a cognitive-behavioral therapist whose practice was located in Edina.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is somewhat a paradox. To me, it was hell and rescue, both at the same time. CBT is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also one of the best. The premise behind CBT, and more specifically ERP (exposure and response prevention), is to face your obsessions head on and be restricted from performing a compulsion to alleviate the stress. Can you imagine it? (To be honest, unless you struggle with OCD, you probably can’t. But trust me, it’s horrible– in a later post, I’ll detail what my therapy looked like.)
Twelve weeks. In twelve weeks, CBT works or it doesn’t.
And mine worked.
Think about it. Fifteen years of torment (including a three-year period where a junior higher cried herself to sleep every night) till it was named. Five years of running in place. And then … twelve weeks of hell and freedom.
I am a recruiter for Northwestern College, but sometimes I wish that I could be a fulltime recruiter for cognitive-behavioral therapy, the tool Christ used to set me free.
For those of you out there who are living the impossible life right now, saddled down burdens you cannot bear, terror trilling in your heart from morning till evening, there are steps that you can take. CBT is the number one way to treat OCD, and while it seems impossible, the alternative is living the impossible every day.
As I wrote this post, I realized that some readers will not even understand the basics of how OCD works– how obsessions and compulsions “complement” one another. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll try my best to give an OCD101 session!