Julie spent most of her life struggling with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder . She experienced ongoing intrusive thoughts about horrible things happening to her family. These thoughts tormented her for years and nothing she did could get them to stop.
Julie’s OCD got worse after giving birth to her son.
Julie’s son became the subject of many of her thoughts. Julie had disturbing obsessions about her son dying in his sleep, getting hit by a car, catching a disease, and even being sexually molested. She even worried that she could cause these things to happen just by thinking about them. She felt so guilty for having these thoughts, but she just couldn’t stop them.
Julie developed rituals as an attempt to control her distressing thoughts.
Julie began to force herself to repeat simple actions (like opening a door or turning a faucet) if she had a bad thought in an attempt to calm herself. She would try to replace the bad thoughts with thoughts about something good happening to her son.
Unfortunately, when she tried to not think about the bad thoughts, it only made them worse!
This would lead Julie to take hours to do anything because she’d have to do things over and over until she could get rid of the bad thoughts and make it feel “right”. Julie described it as “absolutely maddening”.
Julie’s OCD got to the point where she was no longer capable of taking care of her son or holding a job.
She stopped working and the household responsibilities fell to her husband. Julie became depressed. Over the years, Julie tried various kinds of medicine and therapy to help with her problem. Occasionally this would make her feel better for a little while, but it never lasted.
Eventually Julie heard about Anxiety Solutions and decided to give therapy one more chance, hoping that it would be different with an OCD specialist.
Over the course of a few sessions of Exposure Therapy with me (Dr. Stein), Julie’s intrusive thoughts started to subside.
Much to her surprise, she found that she eventually got to the point where the thoughts didn’t even make her anxious anymore!
Even more surprisingly to her, Julie realized that the less she fought the thoughts, the less they happened. By the end of our therapy, Julie’s anxiety decreased and she was able to take any action while having any thought with no anxiety at all!
Eventually, she said she hardly ever had the OCD thoughts anymore. As her OCD behaviors and anxiety went away, her life at home began to improve. She spent more time taking care of and playing with her son. She finally got to enjoy him again. Her relationship with her husband improved. After a few months, she felt so much better that she started working again.
By the end of our work together, Julie had overcome OCD.
She said she felt free, like a huge weight had been lifted. She was finally able to get some peace of mind and enjoy life. At our last therapy session, Julie told me how grateful she was for my help and that in her eyes, I had saved her life.
I followed up with her a year later and she said she was still doing great and using the tools I had given her. She was happier than she’d ever been and said she finally felt like a normal person.