If you were to tell me five years ago that today I would be blogging for a mental health organization and passionately sharing my story about OCD, I would’ve never believed you. But here I am, so proud and happy to be working with OCDPeers to share experiences and resources with others.
My journey as an advocate and individual with OCD was different than I could ever imagine. In fact, I never thought I would have any kind of journey; for most of my life I treated OCD like something I could just push to the back of my head and never deal with. But over many years my symptoms kept coming back worse, and it became extremely difficult to manage my sleep, my social life, and my personal health. My obsessions ruled my life. Although I was attending therapy and meeting others with OCD online, I still needed additional support. Participating in OCDPeers weekly groups became that silver lining for me.
An important skill I learned was consistency. Even when the little OCD voice in my head said to skip the group, I still wanted to show up. I had the best experience when I was able to participate on a weekly basis. I could bring up topics discussed from a previous week. I could bring up any topic – whether it was related to the specific groups theme or something I personally was dealing with. Even though I didn’t personally know the other individuals in the group, I felt comfortable sharing – and that was due to the safe space the peer leaders created any time I joined a session.
Attending OCDPeers groups on a weekly basis also gave me confidence to reach out to other individuals with OCD. I wanted to find others to connect with. I also become more comfortable speaking with my family and friends. In a way, sharing my story was sort of an exposure for me. Even though it gave me anxiety (thoughts like “What if people stop liking me because they found out I have OCD?!”) I still knew that I was doing myself and others a service by speaking up and helping to destigmatize living with OCD.
Now as part of my advocacy and recovery journey I am proud to be part of the OCDPeers team. I am proud because I am someone who has benefitted so greatly from peer support, and I want as many people as possible to know how helpful attending a group can be. If I could I would give everyone with OCD the gift of peer support.