Six Months

I kicked antidepressants exactly six months ago.

Six months.

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Caribbean Lapse

I’m at the tail end of a moderate OCD lapse. Firstly, thanks. Secondly, yeah, it does suck. Thirdly, though, it is what it is: since OCD’s chronic I’m susceptible to flare-ups even when things are going great.

And things are going great! Like, “completely symptom-free” great. Things were so good I was able to listen to and enjoy a Soundgarden album (King Animal) for the first time since Chris Cornell’s death. And that’s what makes this lapse tolerable: the knowledge that I was there as recently as last week and that I’ll be there again shortly.

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Three Months

I’ve been off antidepressants exactly three months, and so far, so good. So really good, for the most part.

At the risk of belabouring this point: I am not against antidepressants. They helped me get better; I’d start taking them again tomorrow if it were necessary. For now, though, it isn’t, and I’m hopefully done with them for a good, long while.

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My Recovery

A few weeks ago I took the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and scored myself as generously as my symptoms might allow. I got a 7 out of 40. A 7 is subclinical, but this wasn’t a true 7: it could’ve easily been a 2 or a 3. In other words, if I walked into a psychologist’s office tomorrow they wouldn’t be able to diagnose me with OCD. Yet I do have OCD – and, what’s more, I’ll have it forever. I’m okay with that. And with Doc Awesome ordering me to “let go right now” I figured I should explain what recovery from OCD actually means – and, more importantly, how I’m going to stay recovered despite having this chronic mental disorder.

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Be Aggressive

Every so often I’ll get an email from Doc Awesome that goes something like this:

Would you be able to write a blurb on aggressively agreeing? I think it would really benefit others with OCD.

Doc Awesome helped drag me from the depths of despair and into the light, so a blog entry seems like the least I can do in exchange. Firstly, though, what does “aggressively agreeing” mean in the context of OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder? By now you’ll know that OCD is a mental disorder in which a sufferer’s mind gets filled with all sorts of awful thoughts – obsessions – which he or she attempts to mitigate by performing compulsions, like hand-washing or (as in my case) trying to think them into submission. It’s natural, indeed logical, for an OCD sufferer to try and outrun their obsessions – but that doesn’t work, and in fact it only serves to breathe more life into them. And because ignoring the thoughts is incredibly difficult when you start your recovery, the only way through intrusive thoughts is…well, through them. And that’s where aggressively agreeing comes in.

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