Hi!: Hi Everyone! I am so glad to be a part... - My OCD Community

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sofiedechristofaro
sofiedechristofaro

Hi Everyone! I am so glad to be a part of this community, and I wanted to introduce myself! My name is Sofie I battle OCD, dermatillomania (BFRB), GAD, performance-based social anxiety and bipolar disorder. I have been in treatment for multiple years, and my course of treatment has included medication, talk therapy, ERP, habit reversal, DBT, and residential treatment. I am an OCDvocate, and am thrilled to be working with and learning from the IOCDF, as I think it is one of the most amazing, supportive and informative organizations for people living with obsessive compulsive disorder. I attended last year's annual IOCDF conference, as well as the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD walk. I am excited to start being an active part of this HealthUnlocked community, and to support all of you! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have questions, comments, or are looking for resources!

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Hi Sofie. First os all thank you for your kindness and support to the OCD community. I can really appreciate that a person who has disorder challenges as yourself takes the time and the energy to help others. Really inspaires me. And it's one of my first year resolution. But before doing so I should work on my recovery. I've had health anxiety/OCD for most than a decade( my parents and other family members died from cancer when they were young) and I could not and I cannot find any good therapist specialized in OCD/CBT/ERP or ACT. Because I speak English (I am Spanish) I have been educated myself with wonderful books and podcasts but I could use some other resources for sure. Could you( or any other members of the community) recommend me other resources such us on line therapist/advocates, podcasts, on line groups etc...) I am not working for a long time( on a budget) but I have a lot of time. You mentioned IOCDF, some members mentioned a yahho group, and I am listening Kimberley Quinland and OCD stories. Any help is very much appreciated. I wish you all members the best for 2019. Be strong my friends, we're the best community in the world 😀💪

Hi Gimi44! Happy New Year! I am so glad to see that you have reached out, and I totally get how frustrating/difficult it is to find the proper treatment for OCD. I applaud and give major kudos to you for doing so much work on your own, and for making recovery/treatment one of your new year goals. Resources are a great option when finding a mental health professional is difficult, and I would also really love to see you find someone to work individually with. First, I would recommend the IOCDF's Find a Therapist/Find a Support Group Page (iocdf.org/find-help/). On this page, you will find a prompt to plug in your location, and whether you are looking for a professional, support group, etc. I would try this first, and see what the results are - hopefully there will be a resource available in your area! The next step I would take, if applicable, is to call your health insurance company and ask them for a list of providers in your area that provide CBT and ERP therapy. They should be able to do this, though it often takes gentle reminders and persistence for them to do so - and, if they do not have anyone that takes your insurance and provides this type of therapy in your area, you can work with them to find a private practice therapist and submit for reimbursement, because I know how expensive therapy can be, and it can be the most cost effective to use your health insurance rather than paying out of pocket. Another alternative to in-person therapy is online therapy, and the most reviewed platform that I have come across is called BetterHelp. I have no personally used this service, so I would urge you to check it out first and ask around to see if any others have! The link is: betterhelp.com/start/ My assumption, though I have be completely wrong, is that the focus may be more CBT, and traditional talk-therapy based since the platform serves a larger community, and may not have ERP as an option. That being said, matching with a therapy that is familiar with and has worked with patients with OCD in the past would most likely be key, and I think that online therapy is often more affordable, readily available and a good place to start if you don't have other resources. Now, in terms of self help, I can definitely recommend more books if you are interested - just let me know! Next, the IOCDF has several private FaceBook groups, and other online groups that you can join where members of the community share their stories and provide support to one another. I would definitely look into joining one, and I will link a few that are great here:

facebook.com/EverythingOCD (send a FaceBook request to join)

groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups... (send a request to join)

support.therapytribe.com/oc... (become a member and join the tribe)

groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups... (join group, send request)

facebook.com/groups/Friends... (send a request to join)

obsessivecompulsiveanonymou... (phone group, website provides numbers and times to dial in and join the group)

Try out a few of these! Let us know if you find any of the groups supportive and helpful. I also think that some more podcasts would be great, and NPR radio has many that you can listen to on different subjects - check them out here: npr.org/tags/126953214/obse...

Or, another podcast created by an OCD warrior can be found here:

stitcher.com/podcast/coldfl... or itunes.apple.com/us/podcast...

Last but not least, I have an app that I think is awesome! Available for download on a smartphone in the App Store. It is called nOCD, and it helps guide someone through the process of starting ERP therapy on their own, through creating exposures, a fear hierarchy, etc. I would definitely download it and check it out. It can be a great resource while you are trying to find a therapist to work with, or even to start doing exposures on your own if you are comfortable. At the very least, it will help you to reflect on your own OCD obsessions and compulsions and how they may interfere with your life.

Wow, sorry about the long-winded response! Please let me know if I can let you know of any more specific resources, or books. Also, check in with us to let us know how some of these resources worked for you, and which ones you found the most helpful, least helpful, best places for support, etc. Again, amazing job putting this on your list of things to tackle in the new year, and your desire to get better and to get help tells me you WILL be successful with the right help! Happy New Year, best wishes, and be strong!

~Sofie

Sorry for the long winded response? This is awesome!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to send me so much information!!! I definitely going to try everything you've mentioned in your mail. I did the psicotherapy search already, both with my public and private insurance, but unfortunately did not work. They told me they could help me with psicoanaoalisis, therapy talk, positive thinking, even NPT. I want to focus only on treatment related to CBT, ERP, ACT and mindfulness. So again, your advices, tools and resources will be a life changing for me. Thank you so much. I promise to keep you updated on how this works. I have just removed meds and I want to start ERP right away. I will definitely use the app. Thank you so much Sofie, you're the best!!!

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Gimi44

hey have you found that meds were useful and how long were you on meds for? I'm wondering if meds would be a helpful thing for me because I get a lot rushed annoying thoughts at different points of the day and they say that meds take away the anxious parts of my thoughts but my counsellor is anti-meds so I'm not sure if I should take them or not

sofiedechristofaro
sofiedechristofaro
in reply to Hidden

Hi OCDRecoverer! I want to preface my answer by saying that I am not a medical professional, and all my thoughts come from personal experiences and a lot of research :) First, I want you to know that medication is certainly an option, even if your counselor doesn't believe in it. It seems that every mental health professional has their own opinion on medication, but I'm glad that you are considering it as an option despite being told that it won't work. The first step would be to find a qualified psychiatrist, someone who is a medical doctor and licensed to prescribe medication. They will help to guide you through the process, and if you decide to try medication, will most likely start with first line treatments for anxiety and OCD, which include SSRI's (selective serotonin intake inhibitors). These medications, including Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Lexapro and others help with anxiety, depression and OCD. They are in the class of antidepressants, and often do have side effects. It is important that you are to work closely with your doctor, because they do have dangerous side effects such as an increase in suicidal ideation, but your medical professional should be completely qualified to handle these side effects if they do come up, and often times they don't. It is frustrating that these medications often times take over a month before they start working, but I would urge you to not let this discourage you from trying them if it seems like the right option. Unfortunately, as much as we all wish there was one, there is no magical cure, and both medication and ERP therapy often take a while before they being to make an impact in relieving symptoms, but this doesn't mean that they aren't worth the time and effort, because there is hope that they will help. If the first line treatments don't seem to work or give you side effects that are not tolerable, there are many other treatment options. I personally have tried multiple medications, and it frequently takes patients multiple trials until they find one that works for them– psychiatry tends be more of an art than concrete science, so patience is key! Medication can definitely play an important part in recovery from OCD, so I think it is great that you are taking the initiative to start thinking about all of your options. I hope this helps, and please message me if you have more questions about medication, what treatment might look like or my personal experience - I'd be happy to answer! Happy New Year!

Hi Sophie : )

I also have a BFRB (Dermatophagia... but used to have severe dermatillomania) and am just researching and learning about it now after dealing with it for many years. I'm grateful to have met someone else with this issue albeit not directly related to yours. I am deciding on what treatment plans to go with as there's many options in my city such as CBT but most are quite expensive. I practice meditation and mindfulness in my spare time to help relieve some of my symptoms.

I hope to have a chance to chat sometime! Feel free to msg anytime, I am still setting up my page here.

Best Wishes,

Candace

Hi Candace! It is always great to meet others that can identify with what we feel and experience - thanks for reaching out! There are definitely a few treatment options for dermatophagia and other related BFRBs - I’m not sure if you’ve come across Habit-Reversal Training, but that’s another option that can be super helpful as well! I also have found that some of the DBT skills I have learned, as much of DBT is designed to help individuals ride out urges without acting upon them, can be extremely helpful as well, and I would recommend looking it to it! Another resource I have come across (I’ve used the app) is called SkinPick, and it is an online therapy program that helps to treat those of us with BFRB - I would totally check it out, and see if I might be a lower cost option you could start until you are able to find a practitioner in your area! The link to the website is:

skinpick.com/online-therapy...

If you do decide to pursue it, please later us know how it is!

I’d love to chat with you more if you have any questions or experiences you want to share, so please feel free to reach out and message me!

Sofie

Hi!

Hi Sofie,

So great to have you here and hear from you! I love the term OCDvocate and I am right there with you! I’d love to get your thoughts on my OCD blog...

hellnocd.com

I’ve got a lot in the works and I’m going back to school to turn my OCD advocacy into a profession. I love this community as I am a recovering sufferer as well. Hopefully we can chat some time and collaborate on some advocacy work. I’ll be at the IOCDF conference ready to fight the good fight and hope to see you there. Cheers!

Hi Sofie: I have also had ocd for some years, and by having different treatments it has improved about 20%. What worked the best was Anafranil infusions starting with 10 mg. a day, and increasing it daily up to 200 mg. over 14 days. This was a study at The New York State Psychiatric Institute. Did you benefit by attending the IOCDF conference last year?

I would go this year if it was helpful, but I live in Canada and it would cost

me a lot.

Thanks in advance Sofie, and best of luck in your future.

Art.

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