There was a moment the day after I went to the OCD support group where I felt a feeling of transcendence, of bliss, of peace, that I hadn’t had it as long as I can remember. It was a moment of freedom from OCD and everything seemed bright and good.
My OCD is pure OCD or intrusive thinking with the theme of homosexuality. It can be incessant and it can be uncomfortable and it can be tormenting and it can be constant. But it’s gotten much better. This is because I’ve had more moments of peace like the one I described above the past year than I had the last 10 years combined. I did not know that I had OCD for seven years when the symptoms first started in 2007, but probably were lurking around much earlier. I was told I just had anxiety and intrusive thinking by a psychotherapist who I would go on to see for 6 more years. When she asked me in year 6 if I was actually gay I knew she didn’t know what she was doing. It took me another “shrink” and 2 more years before I was diagnosed with OCD. It happened when my father and my cousin were talking about his OCD and my dad was able to put two and two together and realize that that was what I was dealing with. My cousin gave me a book called “Brain Lock “ that opened the door to my healing. This was in November of 2012. From then on I found a specialist (2013) who taught me CBT. I learned about meditation (2014) where I was able to remember who I was without the OCD. And in July 2015 I stumbled upon the support group. It’s a place where people can come and talk about their OCD, feel better and get better. I’ve only been coming to the group since July of last year and I haven’t come to all of the monthly meetings, so let’s say I’ve come to 5 or 6 meetings but each time I come I feel better for days after.
There’s a freedom in that boardroom on Carlton. You can open up and talk about your thoughts and what you’re going through and your story and your journey and how you were misdiagnosed and how you used to be so bad and can reminiscence about some of the rough times you emerged from or even talk about some of the struggles you’re currently having. Not only will people not judge but they’ll understand what you’re talking about. Many times I’ll say to my parents and my sister who know what I have that this happened or that happened and as supportive and loving as they are, they just don’t get it. You don’t get it unless you have it and the support group is extremely therapeutic because of the common understanding. CBT’s goal is to replace negative, fearful thinking with positive, healing, correct thinking.
With Rick leading the charge, the group does that without even knowing it. It’s a place of mass CBT that we perform on each other. “I’m worried that my door isn’t locked.” “It is, don’t worry. And even if it was, so what”? I believe that life is just a series of present moments. All we are trying to do as we battle our OCD is to find peace so that we can enjoy present moments without the obsessions, compulsions and intrusive thinking and ruminations. If you can have more present moments free of OCD wouldn’t you try anything? Well, what’s worked for me is meditation, CBT, and talking about my OCD with other sufferers.
It’s amazing the group is free. It is so therapeutic to talk and relate. I think people would pay huge amounts of money for what this offers and the feelings I get days or weeks after attending. In a nutshell what all these tools do, meditation, CBT and the group is they remind us of who we really are without the OCD. Beneath all the thoughts and emotions when we are quiet and at peace we remember that life is good. That’s what we get a little closer to when we meet.
The next step is helping those who don’t know that they have OCD and getting them to talk about what’s going on and offering a helping hand out of the darkness. I was there for too long and I sometimes don’t know how I got through it.