OCD and Fear

My friend Janet has a great post today about recovery avoidance. I have the benefit of seeing the things she discusses from both sides: I was terrified of treatment and ALSO scared to lose my OCD-identity, but in the end, the daily hell of OCD was stronger than my fear, and I started ERP therapy. Now, on the other side, I wish I’d done so sooner! I have a newfound freedom and am my real, authentic self again. If you are avoiding ERP therapy, let’s talk. If you have an excuse, I have the counter-argument. 🙂


by ambro freedigitalphotos.net by ambro freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve previously written about recovery avoidance in those with OCD, and how heartbreaking it can be for family and friends to know there is treatment for the disorder, yet their loved ones refuse to commit themselves to it. I’ve talked about how important it is for those with OCD to identify their values, so that the desire to regain the things they hold most dear could hopefully propel them toward recovery. But still, time after time, I hear of those who just can’t bring themselves to embrace treatment.

They are too afraid.

As someone without OCD, I have never understood this. In my mind, since OCD sufferers are already living a life of fear, it makes sense to pursue treatment (ERP therapy), and at least have this fear lead to some positive results: freedom from OCD. I know treatment is scary, but is it really scarier…

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One Word: Grace (Revisited)

Remember how I chose one word to focus on in 2014?  That one word is grace.

Giving grace to myself.
Still learning.  I’ve allowed myself more time away from writing this year than in all of the last five years combined.  And when I feel guilty about it, I remind myself, Grace.  I repeat what my wise friend Judy has said– that I need to trust that the writing will still be there for me when I return to it.

Giving grace to others.
Honestly, this is easier for me to do than to dole it out to myself.  When you have screwed up as much as I have, it makes it a lot easier to say to others, “It’s okay” and “Me too” and “It’s forgotten.”  I love that.  I am so happy to see this aptitude for grace is so tremendously strong amongst my group of dear friends.  I learn so much from them.

Receiving grace from God.
I was recently reading the book of Galatians and marveling once again over the incredible truth that rule-keeping does not bring life.  “Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you” (MSG). I feel such gratefulness, such freedom.  I marvel at this gift.

I am spending this week in northern Minnesota, alone in a (really nice) condo, attempting to knock out a ton of necessary revisions. Leave me lots of comments this week because I’ll be going crazy from writing in solitude by the end of it! If you pray, pray for me!


Image credit: unknown

Top 5 Celebrities I WISH I Looked Like

Here’s my list:

1. Bonnie Wright

looklike2Ginny got gorgeous, y’all.  I love her hair and I love that she’s pale like me!

British Academy Children's Awards - London

She looks like a royal.

2. Emma Watson


Emma Watson can’t not look beautiful.
Even when she cut all her hair off, all I thought was, “Now I want to do that too!”

3. Zendaya


She just always looks so fierce.

4. Freida Pinto


She’s basically perfect-looking.

5. Ellen Page


Absolutely adorable.

Your turn!  Who do you wish was your celebrity doppelganger?

Slowly, Freedom

This beautiful, slowing-growing freedom laced with hesitancy so closely matches my own experience as I was finishing up CBT/ERP. I am so proud of my friend Anna, so proud of every person with OCD who chooses to do the impossible and finds it both possible and healing!

Living the Story

I’ve been pretty quiet, even though I’m bubbling over with stuff to share. I feel free and terrified and growing.Maybe these things need to sit, to work down into me before I broadcast them into this tiny corner of the interwebs.

I’ve been realizing -and practicing- belief as a choice, not a feeling. Sounds elementary, I know. It’s something I’ve known at a superficial level for a while, but the truth and experience of it is sinking down into me. I realized the other day that I don’t have to feel that Jesus is with me, has been with me through all of this pain, in order to believe  it. I get to CHOOSE what to believe. I use to find that prospect terrifying. It’s still pretty scary, but now I see the beautiful freedom in it as well.

And so I’ve been unweaving the heavy, soul-crushing chains that…

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Getting Personal

vulnerability1. I am messy.  Messy is not quite the right word for it.  I’m a slob.  My office (at work) and my apartment are usually fairly tidy, but my bedroom: war zone.  Right now you can hardly see the floor.  (I’m not joking.)  I don’t know how to keep my room clean.  Every single time I clean my bedroom, I tell myself, This time I will keep it clean.  Never works.

2. I am still learning healthy coping mechanisms for stress.  I have traded in stress-induced eating for stress-induced shopping.  Better, but not the best.

3. Most indicators signal that I am an extrovert: I love people, I like crowds, I enjoy public speaking (and am pretty good at it too!).  But after the people, crowds, and public speaking, I crash hard.  I am a total introvert and need a lot of alone time to recharge.

4. Sometimes I am perfectly fine with being single; most times I am not.

5. I am a terribly complicated woman.  Right now, I have the most and least self-confidence I’ve ever had.  That might not even make sense to most of you.  Some of you will get it.

… and that will wrap up Getting Personal with Jackie Lea for this week.  Vulnerability.  I tell ya.

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Living Inside a Book: or, Why I’m Not Making Dinner Plans with You

As an introverted writer, I admit that I can sometimes become a bit of a hermit.  This is especially true when I’m in the grip of a writing project.  Just ask my friends: I all but drop off the face of the earth.

The other week I read a post by Donald Miller called “The Truth You Don’t Want to Know About Writing a Book,” in which he put to words what I’ve so ineloquently been trying to explain to people for a couple years now.

Don writes:

You don’t come in and out of a book the way you can any other project. You’ve got to live inside a book, set up camp in the book, sleep inside it, go for walks inside it and you can’t under any circumstances come up for air otherwise you’ll have to go through the reentry process again.

crumplesThat is exactly how I feel.

I need a running start to find my writing rhythm.  Think of it like a plane’s runway, except that, with writing, it might take me a couple hours just to get to the part where I’m moving fast enough to fly.

It helps when I’m in a routine.  I find that if I’ve been writing every day for several weeks, it’s a lot easier for me to find my rhythm.  If I haven’t been writing consistently, finding the rhythm can sometimes take me a week.

If I spend two hours tapping into the magic, and then I have to pause for a coffee date with a friend, well, those two hours were basically a waste.  I’m going to have start at the end of the runway again after coffee.

This is why I’ve been known to take “vacations” by myself– to hole myself up in a house or a cabin or above someone’s garage and just write with no interruptions.  Is it lonely?  YES.  Those weeks alone are crazy-makers.  But they’re so, so good because I can just speed up once and fly for a week.

This blog post is dedicated to my friends and family who– while they may not understand my writing life– deeply respect it.  They allow me to slip into my solitary-mode, and they don’t make me feel guilty about it.  (Do you know what an incredible gift that is?  Thank you, thank you, friends.)  And they are always eager to get something on the calendar once I’m ready.

This writing life.  I tell ya.  It’s so different than I ever thought– it’s stranger and lonelier and lovelier than I could have dreamed.


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Jammed Remembrance, Going Outward

Battling off tears as I read and process this beautiful, heartbreaking, and honest post by my friend Celinda. This so deeply reflects my own story– only Celly has put it into words more beautiful and life-giving than I could have!

Celinda Olive

(I wrote this post a few weeks ago, hence the mention of the month below.) 

It is April. For me, it is a season heavily soaked with memory, like a towel submerged in water and then hung without being wrung out.

I wrestled with my cumbersome white trash bag out to the dumpsters, a taught paper bag of glass and plastic in my other hand. I felt aged, as if someone were to watch me from behind, they would think I was old and frail trying to wade through decades of memory. I have a new respect for the elderly.

I also finished a book recently that struck me deeper than I expected it to. It was The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker. Having read his stuff since I was a teenager and having taken a break from his writing for a few years, I circled back to it when…

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A War in the Mind

war in my mindI remember the Sunday mornings in church when my mind was a war zone.

An intrusive thought would show itself, and with my Pure-O compulsions, I’d mentally bat it down (usually with repetitive prayer).  I was a ninja with my compulsion moves, but OCD was just as fast and furious.  Back and forth, back and forth, like a relentless game of Whac-a-Mole.

And no one knew.

All these happy people around me, worshiping God, taking in the sermon, happy and safe in their suburban church sanctuary– and, for me, it was a battle field.

Pure-O: so invisible, so dark, so exhausting.

I praise God that those days are a part of my past.  If you want to learn how I survived (and WON) this war, click here.  Your mind doesn’t have to be a scary place.

For (lots!) more about OCD and ERP, go to jackieleasommers.com/OCD.

Image credit: unknown.