ELLIE'S STORY

When I was 16, my life was dominated by thoughts telling me not to eat, touch, say or do things because if I did, my family or loved ones would "go to hell." I had no idea at the time that this was a form of OCD - Religious OCD. I was terrified by my intrusive religious thoughts and seriously believed that I was evil and "going mad." When I finally broke down and told my mum what was going on in my head, which led to a diagnosis, it was the biggest relief of my life.
I found out that I wasn't nuts, I wasn't "messed up", I wasn't satanic - I just have OCD. 7 years on, my day-to-day management of OCD is made easier by the use of anti-anxiety medication. However, this alone is not enough. I practice Yin Yoga once a week, swim outdoors in Lido's and ponds when I can, use crystals, incense and homeopathic oils to create a feeling of calm and remind myself that "this is not you, it's you OCD." I am no longer afraid of my intrusive thoughts, which makes them much easier to cope with, and when I get hit by a bout of Relationship OCD or Hypochondria OCD, I also use the REBT materials to write out my fears and get them on the page, following the REBT process to come to an acceptance of the fear. Some weeks are easy and I feel OCD-free, however, stressful periods will always crop up, but now that I understand and accept my OCD and anxiety as part of my life, I am able to see past the terror and instead manage how I feel in a constructive way. I also remind myself that OCD has benefits too - it enables you to be empathic, feel deeply and often be expressive and creative. I'm not afraid anymore.   

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