OCD - TV Show Blog

Kate White writes about what living with anxiety is like. Natasha Tracy shares her experiences with bipolar disorder. New HealthyPlace blogger Jack Smith writes about life with depression. And last year Rachel McCarthy James joined us on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show to discuss what living with OCD is like for her. But Craig Ludvigsen can tell us what it's like to have all of those disorders. It's called psychiatric comorbidity - the presence of more than one mental illness in one individual at the same time - and it can be incapacitating.
As a result of me sharing my story, I have helped two people get help for their own problems. For me, that makes it all worth it.
Katie Rios developed acne at 11-years-old and started picking at her skin. Ten years later, Katie still struggles with what she now knows is dermatillomania (also known as excoriation disorder). An impulse control disorder marked by secrecy, compulsive skin picking holds sufferers hostage in a painful cycle of compulsion and shame. Many people with dermatillomania go to great lengths to hide their skin picking and the resulting scars, limiting their ability to get treatment and support. Severe cases can interfere with an individual's ability to work, have relationships, or even spend much time out in public for fear of having the embarrassing secret discovered.
Years ago I worked for a pharmacist who had obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I only spent about 20 hours a month with him and didn't immediately notice the struggle he lived with every day. But by the time he was snatching prescriptions bottles out of my hand as I was ringing up customers, dumping the contents out, and counting the pills "just one more time," even I was having trouble coping with his obsessive-compulsive symptoms. After closing up the pharmacy one night, we said goodnight and he left. I took my time gathering my things from the back room and was headed for the door when I heard loud banging. Alarmed, I followed the sound and found him throwing his body repeatedly against the locked counter door, unable to trust that it was securely fastened. Watching him that night, I clearly saw the distress OCD can cause.
My name is Kenneth Burchfiel (not to be confused with my dad, who is also Kenneth Burchfiel). I'm 18 years old, and a student at Middlebury College in Vermont. It's difficult for me to say when scrupulosity, or religious obsessions and compulsions, first appeared. On Christmas 2007, I received a book with a modernist take on Christianity and the gospels; that seemed to spark an intense period of doubt, searching and longing for answers.
At some time or another, we all worry that we've done something wrong and there's going to be a price to pay. For most of us, we deal with it and move on. Those suffering with scrupulosity, however, are obsessed about religious or moral issues and experience intense, painful guilt.
Living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can cause a sufferer a lot of agony. HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, says OCD sufferers are paralyzed by unwanted thoughts, doubt, and fear. It’s these irrational thoughts, reports Dr. Croft, that cause repetitive actions such as checking, counting, or washing hands, just to bring them to what they feel is a "safe" place. The true inspiration of Tuesday’s show was our guest, James Callner. He took us through his journey with OCD from the very beginning, at age 29. Now in his late fifties, he still suffers from OCD, but is proud to say that he lives in a high-functioning state.
Have you ever experienced unwanted thoughts or felt the need to repeat an action over-and-over again until you felt safe? Have these thoughts or actions caused you anxiety, to the point of interfering with your normal activities? If so, we invite you to watch Tuesday night’s show focusing on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).