Sweet Freedom

freedom in redAlison Dotson, president of OCD Twin Cities, and I were emailing recently about how sometimes we feel as if we say the same thing post after post, article after article, especially since they usually involve our own stories with OCD, and history doesn’t change.

But I reminded her that even if we’ve heard our stories over and over, someone else might be hearing it for the first time. Not to mention that sometimes those of us with OCD need to hear the truth multiple times before it is finally able to sink into our heads and hearts.

So here it is again:

I was in bondage to obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty hellish years. I was plagued by ugly, intrusive thoughts that caused me intense anxiety and even terror. Many days I felt completely out of control of my own thoughts, and I hated the ugliness that polluted my mind. I was sad, lonely, depressed, lost, engaged in an ongoing war where the battlefield was my own brain.

And then an amazing psychiatrist named Dr. Suck Won Kim gave me not only a prescription but also the phone number to a cognitive-behavioral therapist in the area, along with the warning that ERP therapy “will be hell” and the encouragement that I had to do it anyway.

And I did. For twelve grueling weeks, I practiced the exposure therapy assignments set out by Dr. Christopher Donahue, and after twelve weeks of hell … I was free. Free for the first time since I was seven years old. I could barely even remember what freedom felt like, what it felt like to be master of my own thoughts, to rule over my OCD instead of having it rule me, and so it was actually a little scary at first.

But let me tell you: you get used to freedom, joy, and light pretty darn fast.

The last five years have been magnificent.

Please, please ask me questions if you have them.

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

Image credit: Jesus Solana

9 thoughts on “Sweet Freedom

  1. What did you think if your therapist? How many times did you go a week? Did he set up a good hierarchy and did he go into the environment with you at all to do the exposures? Do you feel he was really knowledgable? I am looking for a really good therapist who is extremely knowledgeable. I have been to a million therapists and I have yet to find a really great one! Any help would be great!

  2. Pingback: Managing OCD-in-Remission | Jackie Lea Sommers

  3. Hi, I think I may have pure o. I have horrible thoughts about harming my children among many other disgusting intrusive thoughts about other themes even though I know I would never do those things im tormented by them. Recently those thoughts have turned to thoughts that my husband is or would harm my kids. Of course these thoughts kill me because he is a wonderful father and husband. I was listening to a sermon one day and the man said that he asked the Holy Spirit to tell him what to do about something and the next thing I knew I had the thought well what if the holy spirit is telling you this about your husband. Seriously i finally think I get past one thing and then a thought like that pops up and im going round and round again. Ive done so much research about intrusive thoughts and I know that its not me or anything I want to do or really belive but I just cant stop these thoughts from causing me so much anxiety and pain. Its been 11 tormenting months since this all began and I want to find freedom.

  4. Also did you ever have thoughts where it wasn’t you but someone you love or care about doing something horrible? It just seems my thoughts were always about me but now that ive gotten past those thoughts my thoughts have gone to other people doing those horrible things because I cant control what other people do but I know I can control myself. This is all so frustrating. Please let me know your thoughts on all of this. Thank you so much.

    • All of this sounds so very much like OCD– even the transferring of the thoughts from yourself to another person. The good news is that there is a therapy for OCD that has proven results– and you can even do this therapy from home! Go to jackieleasommers.com/ocd-help and read the entire thing and let me know what questions you have, okay?

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