Just over a month ago, I shared on this blog about my recent diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The feedback and support I received after I shared the post was amazing. Thank you to all who reached out to me. I also wanted to share just briefly the types of responses I received:
- Many said they had not heard of primarily-obsessional OCD, and were grateful that they now knew about it.
- Others who were dealing with their own mental illnesses reached out in support.
- A few people (including some pastors) contacted me and shared that they had a story very similar to mine and had OCD as well.
- A couple people emailed me to say that their spouse had been struggling with intrusive thoughts as well, and were seeking help.
- And I even had a few people email me to let me know that they were going to be seeking professional help because after reading the post, they realized they probably had primarily-obsessional OCD as well.
And that’s exactly why I wrote the post. I’m so glad so many people saw the post (about 5,000 views as of today), and that it will be something that will help people.
I did want to clarify one thing I wrote in the last post. I shared that people with primarily-obsessional OCD (or Pure-O) simply have the obsessions, and not the compulsions that typically come along with most forms of OCD. That isn’t entirely correct though, and perhaps a bit of a misnomer. While people with Pure-O may not need to check things or wash their hands repeatedly, there can still be compulsions. If I start to avoid things or find ways to stop doing things that cause the obsessions, that avoidance is itself a compulsion. I think that’s an important clarification.
I also wanted to share some resources with you that I have found incredibly helpful as I’ve entered into this world of OCD and mental illness.
- Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission, by Amy Simpson and Marshall Shelley.
- Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church, edited by Sarah Griffith Lund.
- Rhett Smith Podcast: Rhett is a friend, a writer, speaker and a therapist, and many of his recent podcasts have dealt with anxiety. They are worth listening to, especially Episode 13.
- NPR’s Invisibilia Podcast: The first episode is called The Secret History of Thoughts, and has a really interesting segment called “Dark Thoughts” which is all about OCD and various therapy treatments used to help those who suffer with OCD.
- Rick and Kay Warren’s son died by suicide after suffering from extreme mental illness for most of his life. They have become very open and vocal about mental health issues. They did a great podcast interview with Paul Raushenbush from The Huffington Post, and talked a lot about the church and mental health. You can find that podcast here.
- The Gathering on Mental Health & the Church: This is a link to the conference that Rick and Kay Warren are hosting at Saddleback this fall, to help teach pastors and church workers learn the language of mental illness and how they can best provide support. I plan to watch the event as it will be live-streamed.
Finally, here are some websites that have been helpful and informative:
- Beyond OCD: based in Chicago, Beyond OCD has great articles, testimonials and resources for those struggling with OCD and their friends and families.
- International OCD Foundation: one of the biggest organizations trying to help bring awareness to OCD. You can also take a pledge to become an #OCDvocate and learn more about it here.
- OCDTribe: This is a helpful online forum and community for those struggling with OCD.
- OCD Action: A UK-based site with a lot of good information.
- Project UROK: This is a really interesting site – and is a community of people sharing their stories of mental illness. You may have even seen Wil Wheaton’s video where he shared very openly about his depression. I’m hoping to make a video to put on the site at some point.
I hope you find these helpful. I don’t plan for this blog to become solely about mental illness and OCD (since that does not define who I am) but as I continue to discover new things about OCD on this journey, I do hope this can be a place where I can process those learnings and hopefully continue to increase awareness about OCD and help to break the stigma about mental illness.