My Recovery StoryDec 30, 2022
I've always struggled with anxiety (despite not being able to recognize it until I was 38 years old). I had very bad social anxiety ever since I could remember, and making friends was hard for me, even throughout high school. I had my first serious boyfriend at 16, but insecurities still plagued me, and affected this relationship in many ways
Exposure Unknowingly Helped Me Overcome Social Anxiety
In my 20's, I unknowingly used exposure to overcome my social anxiety by moving to another state to start college at 22. I moved in with 3 girls across the country and was forced to learn how to make new friends, without the safety of my comforts of home. It took time, but this was the beginning of overcoming my social anxiety for good!
Romantic Relationships Were a Struggle
Focusing on college was my first excuse to avoid romantic relationships, although it was completely unconscious. Looking back my brain was giving me all kinds of excuses to avoid relationships - "I just want to focus on school," "I'm not attracted enough to him," "he's too _____ (fill in the blank)."
When I finished school and moved to Orlando, I started dating, but nothing went anywhere because of these mental excuses (that seemed legit to me at the time). I met a great guy at 29, and while I had a few nagging thoughts, I pushed myself forward with him because I knew deep down he was a good guy and I needed to explore it if I wanted a good relationship.
Anxiety...Mistaken as Intuition
Throughout this 3-month relationship, I had some great times, but sprinkled in were what I now know as intrusive thoughts. Doubts, my brain pointing out differences and incompatibilities, and anxiety when these thoughts popped in my head. I ignored them for a while, knowing rationally that they were minor, but when he bought us airline tickets for me to meet his family, the thoughts and feelings got stronger. I won't bore you with the whole story, but we broke up the day we got back.
At the time, I had no idea what was going on with me, so I just chalked it up to intuition. "He must not be the one" I thought. I felt so much relief afterwards, the veil of anxiety and doubt gone, that my conclusion that this was my intuition made sense.
My First Harm Intrusive Thought
A couple of years later, I was going through a really difficult time and experienced my first episode of disassociation. It was a scary feeling, which sent me into even more anxiety. Then came some harm intrusive thoughts that took things to another level, although I now know that they are just the brain's anxiety response and they didn't mean anything, but I thought they did and it made everything worse.
I got on medication and started to feel better, continued to date, but the same pattern continued - not being attracted to most guys, being more attracted to guys that I knew weren't right for me, and a lot of other excuses my brain came up with. It didn't "feel" like fear or anxiety at the time, just little nudges from my brain in what I now see as fear.
The Start of My Recovery
At 38 years old, and still single, I sought advice from a life coach. As we talked about my lack of success in relationships, she said "it sounds like fear." I knew right then she was right. I hadn't really seen it before, but I knew at this point that I was the common denominator. The next person who came into my life was a huge trigger for my ROCD, mostly because I'd avoided relationships for the last 18 years. You see, when we avoid something because it scares us, whether we know it or not, we reinforce the fear and make it stronger. This makes it hard for us to face it the next time.
6 months into this relationship, I finally found ERP (after trying everything else, unsuccessfully) and it started helping immediately! Don't get me wrong, it was challenging at first (it was the opposite of everything I'd been doing for such a long time), but it worked! OCD was gone, about 80% of the time, which was such a great relief!
Throughout the years, I've had other OCD subsets like somatic OCD come up, and luckily, I was able to eliminate it with ERP as well. Today, I am IN the recovery stage & I've learned HOW to STAY there! I am married, happy, and I don't struggle with any OCD subsets like I used to. I now know exactly what to do when doubt, discomfort, uncertainty, or any similar feelings come up.
Starting My OCD Coach, LLC
I saw so many people struggling unnecessarily and I knew I had to help as many people as I could feel as proud, accomplished, and anxiety-free as I did. I'd learned that less than 1% of therapists in the U.S. are properly trained to recognize and treat OCD, which is unfortunate, but I knew I could help.
What I have learned is that ERP works every single time, when done properly and used consistently - like physical health, mental health skills are a lifetime practice!
After I started coaching, I learned the 2 things that were keeping me from full recovery, as as soon as I applied them, OCD was 100% gone! This is when I created The ZERO Method for Lifetime Recovery from OCD.
My mission is to help as many people as I can who struggle with OCD get to, and stay in, the lifetime recovery stage, no matter your age, financial status, or how long you've struggled. With the right knowledge, support, and commitment to using the skills consistently, full recovery is possible!
If you want help with OCD recovery, click on "Work With Us" at the top of the page.
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