Dear fellow OCD sufferer,
I want you to know that I understand what you’re going through. I really do.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder was my tormentor for 20 years. I know the shame and torment caused by intrusive thoughts, the enslavement to rituals and compulsions, the intense, crippling need for certainty. I remember all too well the wild evenings of obsession and devastating fear when the agony was full-throttle torture and relief seemed impossible. OCD is slavery, and I know what it’s like to be in bondage.
I have good news for you: OCD is treatable.
Today, I am free! I still have OCD, but I am in charge of it and not the other way around. I rarely have obsessions, and when I do, I am able to combat them without using compulsions. It is a completely different life. I have stepped from darkness into light, from terror into peace. In the past ten years, I have had maybe 1-2 minor OCD incidents a year, and each of them has lasted only for a couple hours. When I compare this to the continual torture I experienced before, this is more than manageable.
And all this came about after just twelve weeks of intense cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a specific kind called exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). It is recognized as the #1 treatment for OCD in the world. It is difficult– in ERP, you face your obsessions head-on and refuse to alleviate the anxiety by performing compulsions– but, believe me, ERP is not more difficult than living daily life with OCD. ERP is the correct answer to how to treat OCD. Medication can also help, and in rare cases, a miraculous healing occurs, but for the majority of cases, ERP is absolutely the way to treat OCD.
Please explore the links below to learn about OCD and ERP. Educate yourself and ask lots of questions!
Also, consider downloading the free app nOCD, which can help you create an organized ERP plan. This app can collect data to send to your therapist or can help you if you are doing ERP on your own.
Do I have OCD?
I am obsessing RIGHT NOW
OCD & suicidal thoughts
Obsessive-compulsives are NOT alone
There is hope!
The long journey to diagnosis
Gaining Certainty through Embracing Uncertainty
What life was like before & after CBT
Obsessing vs. Brainstorming: before & after
A Detailed Post about ERP
ERP is the RIGHT Answer
Better than a Band-Aid
What CBT was like for me
Will treatment change me?
Why You Need CBT/ERP
Have Reservations about ERP?
Preparing for CBT/ERP
ERP & Imaginal Exposures
Uncertainty is the Key
The Problem with Seeking Reassurance
Finding a cognitive-behavioral therapist
Medication vs. Exposure Therapy
Can’t afford CBT/ERP? Try this app or do self-directed ERP!
For Family & Friends
How to Care for the Obsessive-Compulsive in Your Life
HOCD (Homosexual OCD)
A Closer Look at HOCD
Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
A Big Ol’ HOCD Post
Another Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
A Third Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
A Fourth Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
Q&A with Former HOCD Sufferer
HOCD Story: Meet Mae, Part One
HOCD Story: Meet Mae, Part Two
Missing one dose throws me off
They’re NOT Happy Pills
OCD & Christianity
(or other religious scrupulosity)
OCD, ERP, and Christianity
I’m a Christian and Take Meds!
Unashamed of my OCD
Is the thought from OCD … or God?
God’s Sovereignty, OCD, the Cross, & His Purposes
Is Mental Illness a Spiritual Issue?
Is ERP Sinful?
OCD & Faith (or Lack Thereof): a Double Interview
About OCD & Children
Discussing OCD with Children
Obsessive-compulsive since age seven
Healed Not Cured: Remission & Relapse
OCD in Remission
Life after Treatment
When to expect a relapse
Am I Bitter?
Lies I Sometimes Still Believe
Follow question and dancer tag
Other Related Posts
OCD Stockholm Syndrome
Addressing Stigma: I Don’t Choose This
Obsessive-compulsives are Brave
ERP & Profanity
OCD & Nutrition
How I Fall Asleep
My Personal ERP Script (warning: triggers, especially for religious obsessions)
Hey Jackie, just curious if you have read “turning a blind eye” by Esther L. Jones?
I haven’t! Do you recommend it?
Sorry it’s actually, Turning a Blind “I”. I do! I had a lot of questions at the end, but it is a true story of a lady with scrupulosity OCD
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Hi! I just wanted to tell you that your posts are an inspiration. (I have hocd and I have a particularly disgusting manifestation – getting stuck on girl parts). It’s been a hellish, breakdown-inducing ride until I finally got proper treatment.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading your book, Truest. 🙂
Hi friend! Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your kind comment! Please make yourself at home on my website and email me anytime (contact info is under the ABOUT tab)!
Likewise, I too can’t wait till you (and everyone!) get to read my story!! Thank you!
Aaaw, that’s so sweet of you! I already feel guilty talking to you because I’m so much older than you are, and I might creep you out. T_T To say that I don’t really look like my age and shrieks like a schoolgirl when things are kawaii doesn’t make things better. Or maybe this is why I love Rainbow Rowell – she’s a mom and all and YET – Eleanor and Park.
Anyway… your HOCD posts and the ERP prayer gave me so much peace. Because of your ERP prayer, I felt that I don’t have to feel bad or sick when I do ERP. It’s part of the program! It’s -the- cure. And you were right! ERP can be nasty- esp if you look at it with the pre-HOCD mindset… but as you get to accept that you have it AND you can beat the sh*t out of it, it gets better. There really is an element of dying to oneself. To your old self, the pre-HOCD self. It takes a while to sink in that the old or stereotypical way of gauging if you are straight no longer applies to you. It almost feels like a total life change. But as you see yourself getting stronger and more connected with God, sometimes there’s a part of you that says, it’s worth it.
Bless you! 😀 Me too, I can’t wait to read your book!
Dearest Jackie Lea,
I came across your blog while searching for ‘exposure therapy Christian’.
I have struggled with major depression, anxiety, OCD (primarily unwanted intrusive thoughts) and borderline personality traits for most of my life.
I have attained a huge measure of freedom through Christian trauma counselling (I managed to find an excellent psychologically-sound form ;)).
While the SSRI and Clonazepam and Quetiapine stopped me from feeling like I was going insane with the thoughts, the truest breakthrough came by working through childhood trauma. I simply didn’t fear the thoughts anymore and so they just didn’t come up. I didn’t even realise this had happened until 6 months into the treatment. I also had several wonderful one-on-one healing conversations and experiences with Jesus which helped tremendously.
Having had Serotonin Syndrome I was pulled off most of my meds (horrrific) and put onto an NRI (works on the noradrenaline side of things rather than the serotonin side of things) alongside the Clonazepam and Quetiapine.
First of all, all I could notice was the darkest depression and anxiety. Now that the new meds (Reboxetine and the others I mentioned) have slowly started to kick in, that is abating but today I experienced my first deeply disturbing OCD thought in probably a year. I feel devastated as I simply could not ignore it and I don’t know why.
In the last week I experienced a new traumatic recollection and in some ways the thought is connected to what happened to me but projected onto someone else vulnerable and I am the ‘perpetrator’ in this unwanted thought.
I’ve downloaded the Live free from OCD app and will do it as I notice that some of my anxious thoughts are also OCD thoughts.
I will talk to my counsellor about it tomorrow.
Do you have any advice, my friend? I am a little anxious to start a whole course of self-treatment when I have only had 1 or 2 thoughts. Is there a simpler way after you have overcome it before (or thought you had?).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Hi Anna! Thanks for your comment– make yourself at home on my website, friend!
ERP is essentially the only treatment for OCD (though for a very few medication alone will do the trick) … but I definitely recommend getting an official diagnosis of OCD from a professional before you dive in!
Thanks so much Jackie Lea. I will jump onto your website 🙂 I have already had a professional diagnosis of all the above all the Borderline is just traits.
I just don’t know why they have resurfaced after so much freedom!
God bless you for helping others,
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Hi Jackie! Thanks for the article. I’ve had a lot of trouble with OCD, I got diagnosed with it a few months ago, and I’ve had it for about a year. I wash my hands so much, my hands have cracks all over them and bleed all the time. It’s embarrassing, and makes me feel disconnected from my friends and family. I have depression and we can’t get therapy because we don’t have enough money to afford it. I’m only in middle school, and I couldn’t find any reassurance from my family and friends because they just don’t understand how I feel. It’s gotten to the point where I shake every time I use anything with my hands because it hurts so much, and hand washing is so bad, it stings so much. I decided to come to this post because I needed guidance, and this has helped a lot. Thanks, bye!
You can probably even find the book at the library for free!
Check out jackieleasommers.com/2014/10/05/self-directed-erp-therapy.
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Hi Jackie, Abby again!
How do you know for sure my story is hocd? I’m freaking out and does ERP really help? Thanks
Hi Jackie, i would like to ask if the ERP would require me to actually curse the name of my God. I am really scared about that, perhaps another method would do?
Please read this to learn about my way around it: https://jackieleasommers.com/2012/09/05/tipping-point-my-entry/
Can you have hocd without actually having OCD?
HOCD is a type of OCD, so if you have HOCD, you have OCD. That sounds like a riddle, sorry. But essentially, it’s like saying can I be purple without being a color? No, because purple IS a color. Does that make sense?
Totally! What do you do if you think you may have hocd but aren’t sure and don’t exactly want to tell your parents? Haha that sounds like a personally question but in other words. Is there a way to get past it by yourself?
Hi dear! Two things: one, you can do ERP therapy on your own (https://jackieleasommers.com/2015/07/05/self-directed-erp-therapy-2/) or, if you wait about a week, I had planned to write a blog post that young HOCD sufferers can show their parents that will help explain it. I plan to write it in the next couple of days!
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