Sean has taken huge leaps in his recovery in the past few years, moving out of his dad’s house to residential treatment in Boston to living on his own and taking life by the horns — working full-time, pursuing art, and not taking anything for granted.I love his take on mindfulness, self-compassion, and personal growth, and I think you will, too. Like so many other people with OCD, it took years before you realized what was really going on. The spring after I turned 32, I had gotten to the point where I was everything but catatonic. I would stay still for hours locked in obsessions, ritualizing to get out of them.You were diagnosed in 2012, but you’d had symptoms long before that. During any periods of rational thought or normalcy (I jokingly called these times my “awakenings,” a term I took from a Robin Williams movie I enjoy), I would either ponder suicide or fantasize about finding a magic cure.
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I am fortunate with the friends and family I had when I was first diagnosed, so talking to my close loved ones was not a problem and I received a lot of support from them.
It was the community outside my inner circle that I always felt awkward or shameful around.
As my confidence grew and as I got better and better, I became more at ease talking about my struggles with more and more people.
I really do like the chance to compassionately teach someone about OCD and mental health awareness if they are having a hard time understanding it. I had told myself when I first started down my path of healing, that I would do whatever it takes to get better.
I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I had to do something, anything.
We eventually made an appointment for an intensive two-day neuropsych evaluation at the Lindner Center of Hope near Cincinnati, Ohio, about 120 miles away. Honestly, I didn’t have much of a reaction, I had done research and knew what OCD was and even kinda self-diagnosed myself in high school after watching a daytime talk show from the ’90s with a kid on it with OCD.
What was really going through my head was: A) OK, now what, I have an official diagnosis, there is no way I can afford therapy, and it probably won’t work anyway.
B) I hope my dad now understands that all my failures weren’t all my fault and C) They missed something, I have something worse, I’m psychotic, they don’t know what is really wrong with me (this was my OCD talking).
So there was no way I was going to take a recommendation from an OCD expert home with me and just sit on it.
I was really open to any suggestions of treatment and had mentally prepared myself for treatment. Charles Brady at the Lindner Center, we were told that my case was so severe that even the Lindner Center’s own OCD residential program was probably not enough and that I would most likely need a more intensive, longer stay at a larger hospital.
When my dad and I were suggested some programs that were known nationally, we began to do some research.