Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of unwanted and intrusive thoughts. These thoughts trigger distressing feelings and causes the person to feel driven to engage in repetitive behavior, compulsions.
Read about Sarah’s life-long battle and how she is using it to help others slay the evil beast that is OCD.
When my OCD started it was mainly about eating and swallowing (of course, I suffered a lot from other subtypes, but this one is the most recurring). When I was nine, I mildly choked on a cheese sandwich, and in less than twenty-four hours I was afraid to eat. Actually, I would’ve been afraid to drink as well if swallowing saliva didn’t convince me that swallowing liquid wouldn’t lead to deadly choking. I barely ate anything, practically surviving on Cheerios and V-8 for a year (although I did graduate to beans and grilled cheese).
After I developed a fear of germs and washed my hands until they were raw and bleeding, my parents took me to my primary care doctor who recommended a therapist.
Finding the Right Therapist for OCD
Therapy was a godsend. I started eating regular meals again and started ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention therapy). However, soon after I became fatigued of fighting OCD and suffered from suicidal thoughts. I kept these to myself, and eventually I tried to kill myself in sixth grade, and two more times in eighth, and once more that summer.
My therapist left, and I had to find a new one. No one knew what ERP was, and one went so far as to encourage my compulsions. My mom went on the International OCD Foundation’s directory and found an OCD specialist. I recovered rapidly, but soon hit a plateau. I was partially hospitalized and attacked it with fervor, with ERP, ACT, and Sertraline as my back-up, leading to a full remission. I published a novel to spread OCD awareness in the Catholic community, am trying to be a good OCD Advocate, and become an OCD researcher so I can cure it once and for all.
Which brings me here. Unfortunately, I am currently going through an OCD spike and cannot swallow my Sertraline before they dissolve (it doesn’t taste great, by the way) and meals make me anxious. Sometimes I wonder what’s the point of life if I’ll always suffer like this, but I have to keep going. I have to for my loved ones and everyone with OCD, because I am determined to slay the evil beast once and for all.
OCD affects 1 in 100 people. Though there are medications to help treat OCD, many OCD patients, perhaps as many as 40-60%, do not respond to the current medication options. At Biohaven, our mission is to pave the way for new resources and studies so individuals with OCD have more effective treatment options.
We are currently conducting a research study evaluating an investigation medication to potentially treat OCD, with research sites across the country. Learn more about the OCD study and see if you qualify today.