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A little about my story:
My name is Julia
I was diagnosed with OCD during my undergrad in 2005. I remember starting my rituals at a preschool age with hand washing and waiting outside the bathroom so I could make sure that whoever was in there washed their hands. Each night I would confess my “sins” to my mom, apologizing for my shameful thoughts. I had a difficult time falling asleep for years, often self medicating to pass out. As a teenager, my undiagnosed OCD progressed. I developed an eating disorder and practiced self harm. During college, things got more obvious. I could never get to class on time because I’d be doing rituals in the bathroom or locking my car over and over again. I couldn’t do a lot of things like watch the news or scary movies (scary like Harry Potter…) or shake hands. I felt guilty, ashamed and in pain. I was trapped in a box and suffered there totally confused, believing I was crazy. I had no idea I had OCD and did my best to hide my behavior. The thought of reaching out was not an option.
I was eventually diagnosed with severe OCD and eventually Borderline Personality Disorder. Finally, answers! Of course, this didn’t make the compulsions any easier, but it made me feel less crazy.
In 2009 I made this very blog to share my story and encourage others to as well. I decided to document my journey so we could get through some of our struggle together.
I got brave enough to try ACT therapy and found it to be a great help, and when I started treatment with my naturopathic doctor, my OCD became mostly alleviated. It took years of psychotherapy and naturopathic therapy, but I can say I am more than mentally healthy, I am happy.
Today I practice as a naturopathic doctor and see most of my patients via telemed from all over. I am passionate to help others get over their OCD and all the other health issues that go with it. I specialize in psych med tapering.
Dear “OCD counterpart”:
Receive my greetings. I am very happy to have found and begin to read your interesting blog, and to learn from your experiences too. I also want to thank you for your honesty and hope in sharing your story, you could help others in pain.
Finally, I am a latin young adult, married, atheist and neoliberal from VENEZUELA and, I also was diagnosed with OCD since 2002.
Thank you very much for your kind words. I am so happy that you have found my blog to be of interest. I hope your journey through OCD strengthens you. Keep in touch and stay strong!
I did not know you when I read your other post and tried to make light of indecision. Please forgive me.
I have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and I shoot from the hip too many times without thinking. You don’t know how many courtrooms I have been kicked out or how many sheriffs judges ordered to escort me away from an assistant district attorney with whom I would almost come to blows with at trials.
And that was just with the female DAs!
What we seem to have in commone is the internet. “Blogging” is an outlet for me. I feel inspired to write some times.
Once in a while, I feel a Spirit take over my typing as the “I” gets out of the way and words flow from the heart and not the head. I like to think that my little effort at the keyboard might help someone, maybe be of service to another, or act as a pick-me-up for someone who simply needs a smile to get by…
Hey. Hope you didn’t mind me calling you “Seetie.” I have found that it becomes more acceptable by young woman when it is used by an older gentleman in a gentlemanly manner.
(Just don’t call me “geezer” if you got mad at me and decide to take action.)
Read you later,
no worries! no offense taken. ptsd is something i only know because of some very close people in my life. hopefully it gets more attention and resources soon. best!
Hi ‘me’ –
may I, in all modesty, blow my own horn a bit here? I am someone with OCD, and my name is Frank. I started a blog of my own about OCD, founded on my personal experiences, and on my studies about OCD (I am a M.Sc. with Neurobiology as chief subject).
I found this blog by trawling through a few ‘possibly related links’, provided by WordPress.
I will follow this one; it looks very good. This is my own blog address:
I would be delighted with your comments and views; of course also those who are visitors here are invited to participate.
For now: goodbye, and later!
I watched your video about taking magic mushrooms. I am a 23 year old woman who has suffered with severe OCD for seven years. I am desperate for some relief (I understand there is no cure). SSRIs have done nothing for me and CBT (although in its early stages) is not helping to curb my obsessions and compulsions.
I have never used drugs in my life but using magic mushrooms would be strictly for the medicinal benefits it could bring me. I know nothing really so how much would you consider taking for the first time? You mentioned you took Ativan (25mg) beforehand. Was this prescribed or can you just buy it in a pharmacy?
The SSRI I am currently taking (Paxil) is making me feel increasingly withdrawn, hopeless and suicidal. I have really hit the wall emotionally and mentally.
Hearing your video made me not feel so alone. I hope your OCD isn’t too bad at present,
CBT in its early stages did not do much for me either. I actually only did 8 therapy hours of it before I stopped. I tried therapy again a couple years later which helped tremendously. I did ACT which I continued with for a year. I really do not remember or know how much of a dose to take, but if you have friends to get them from, then they would be the ones to ask. I took ativan before hand because I have a heart condition so I really wouldn’t worry about that. I am not sure how Paxil would interact with mushrooms, so I would do some research into that before you try.
Have you tried talking to your dr/therapist about the suicidal ideation? If it is the paxil that is causing this, then I would consider your other options. Birth control made me absolutely phobic of food. I cried when I felt like I might have to go into the kitchen. I ignored my hunger and when I had to eat, I cried and gagged. I thought it was poison. I decided to get off the birth control and things got better.
I have never tried SSRIs or MAOIs for OCD. I have tried many things, but what has helped me the most has been therapy and diet change. My thyroid was hypoactive and I had allergies I was unaware of. When I got all this sorted out, my OCD went away. I’m not saying this would work for everyone, but I do believe that when one thing is off in the body, its very possible for other things to be out of wack too.
Do not give up hope! Statistically, OCD triggers and can be pretty bad in the early 20s, so just that little fact alone means that the odds of things improving are most definitely in your favor 🙂 It’s great you are paying attention to your symptoms and the side effects. Keep fighting!
Stay strong Sarah. You will find help. I have ocd too and I want you to keep fighting. New science and treatments are coming out. There is hope. Stay safe, and if you don’t feel safe, please go to the hospital. My prayers are with you.
Hello I have just read your blog on Ocd and self harm. I found it really interesting and insightful. I am currently a graphic design student at the UCA university and a major project is on behaviour so I have chosen to base it on OCD to understand it more and make people more aware. I wonder could I ask you a few questions that will help me in this project?.
1. Can you pin point an event that caused this behavioural problem?. Or did it originate from nowhere?.
2. Why did you feel that you could not reach out?
3. Who sent you for professional help or did you do it alone?
4. Have you managed to learn any new coping mechanisms?
5. Do you think you will ever be fully cured?
6. If not can you accept this problem?
7. Do you regret not getting help sooner?
8. It clearly has changed your life in a negative way but is there any good aspects of OCD?
9. What would you say to someone who has OCD or is in the early stages?
10. Before therapy what was your daily routine?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Thanks Chanelle, I would be happy to answer some questions. I think awareness for OCD would certainly help a lot of us.
1. I cannot pin point a specific event or any trauma that sparked my obsessive compulsive behavior, but i can recall my first memory regarding it. I went to pick up my little sister from preschool when i was 6 and she was washing her hands singing “the germs on your hands go down the drain” to the tune of “the wheels on the bus go round and round.” I became conscious of germs and fearful so thats when i started washing my hands compulsively. If someone went to use the bathroom, i waited outside for them to ask if they had washed their hands. i also had night terrors when i was 2. my mom said i was usually alone when i was in preschool, very antisocial.
2. I felt i could not reach out because i was ashamed and afraid. i didn’t know there was a thing called “OCD”, i just knew my brain was fucked up. I thought if i reached out, they would surely put me in an insane asylum. i felt ashamed because my thoughts regarding sex and violence seemed so horrible and i was disgusted by them. i thought anyone else would be too.
3. I sought help myself, but my ex-husband suggested therapy a few times.
4. I have learned many very useful coping strategies, one being journalling which was not easy at first, but now it’s like second nature. I have also learned new thinking patterns to help identify when an obsession enters my brain. It’s kinda like it’s dark and you see an intruder. With OCD, you run and hide, but I’m learning to turn on the mental lights to see if it really is an intruder or not.
5. I will never be fully cured, but I get happier every day and healthier.
6. I can accept this, or at least I am learning too. I still feel ashamed, but I can’t change my past, so I can either accept it, or let the hate get me down. I’ve tried the hate route and it got me nowhere good.
7. I don’t know if I regret not getting help sooner. I mean, I wish I could have started healing earlier, but really it’s hard to look back and think what could have been different to make me feel ready.
8. Aw, the benefits of OCD! I like this part. It motivates me to be successful and has made me a fighter. It has brought me gratitude for the beauty in my life. And by nature, obsessing is something you do for a while, so it has given me the quality of tenacity. Being tenacious helps me not give up. I can also do really repetitive things for a long time which is helpful in art and studying.
9. For someone who has OCD in the early stages (meaning they just got diagnosed and its all pretty new) I would say the first thing is keep reminding yourself that it’s not your fault and not who you are. Don’t be afraid to get healthier. Research and learn about OCD so you know exactly what it is. Lastly, I would say, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed.
10. I would wake up in the late morning and firs thing, pop an ativan. I would feel depressed and dazed, bumping into stuff and tripping all over the place. ativan toward the end, really made me a different person. I hallucinated a few times a day and had no sex drive. I would get dressed (my ex would pick out my clothes) and eat the same breakfast everyday, followed by a lot of tv. I washed my hands a lot, cleaned a lot, had trouble with certain words so in my brain, i repeated “one two three four…one two three four” for hours. i would take another very long shower washing my body over and over again. i cried everyday from something tripping up my ocd. either something on tv, the news, a thought, not being able to stop a compulsion, a spider….i also felt like a burden. i would pop another ativan, smoke some weed and have my ex husband pick out my pajamas (if i picked them out myself, i would change many times). it was just easier and saved time to have my ex-husband do things like this for me. i would go to sleep around 1am and the next day would be similar. all day long, i would ask my ex-husband or call on the phone if he wasnt there, saying “is this one good?” meaning “is whatever decision im about to make ok?” it could be a decision about socks, food, or scheduling a shower. my ex-husband didnt even ask what it was i was checking about, because i did it so many times throughout the day. He would simply reply “yes”. my family also did things to “help” me too at my request.
let me know if you have any more questions or need clarification!
take care and let mw know how your project goes!
Reading your blog has shown me that my thoughts are a lot like yours. I have also been diagnosed with OCD. I am 16 and have gone to therapy and taken medicine. I do a lot of the same things that you have done. The guilt, the washing hands all the time (even at school), my clothes have to be very clean before I put them on, I cry everyday about my OCD, I used to count things but I have gotten over that, the weird thoughts I don’t understand why I would think them. And I hate that I feel so alone in this because I feel like no one else could understand me even after I’ve been to therapists. Reading your blog makes me feel like I’m not the only one.
I’m glad to hear that you feel a little less alone! It helps me to know that too 🙂
Thank you for your blog. It helps me to also not feel alone. I was diagnosed with OCD and GAD/Panic Disorder when I was 17. It was a trying time for me. I believe I read in one of your entries that you suffered from scrupulous thoughts as well, which are what I had then and seem to be experiencing again these days (about 15 years ago – these past 3 years my OCD has flared up). What I find so strange is that OCD seems to change, or rather the object of fear can change. The thoughts themselves almost seem to have hypnotic attributes like a siren song. I consider myself an agnostic. I truly don’t know if God exists or not. I don’t believe religion to be a good fit for me either. I seem to be obsessing through a flare up where the fear of hell, offending God, and blaspheming beings I don’t know exist and subsequently feeling guilt and isolation. Fortunately I have sought treatment and it does help quite a bit (SSRI and therapy). Knowing that there are others like me also helps. I wish you the best.
Thanks for your blog. I’m the mother of an 11 year old boy with OCD, recently diagnosed, and am trying my best to help him. I am just realizing that the indecisiveness he’s had since he was a tot is due to the OCD. He always asks me to make trivial decisions for him – which movie to watch, which book to get, which avatar to use on his video game. It’s pretty amazing to me and I think it must feel very crippling for him. We have an appointment with a CBT specialist tomorrow so I am hoping she will be able to help us. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s helpful for my understanding. All my best,
Thats so awesome that you are being so supportive and helpful for your son. Trust me, that will make the biggest difference! 🙂
I am so happy to have come across your blog.
I have struggled greatly with OCD. I have been hospitalized and have tried every SSRI out there which has taken a huge toll on my health. I would love to try to figure out if I may have a hormonal balance as well and if certain foods are aggravating the situation. Would you mind sharing the specific medical tests you got in order to detect which hormones were off balance and which foods trigerred your ocd? I have written you a personal email under the name of “Mubien Zoe” through gmail. I would love to hear back from you and hopefully get those tests done as soon as possible so I can start feeling some relief even if it is just the slightest amount! Thank you for sharing your story. I personally have no support at the moment and my family only makes me feel ashamed, “psychotic” and flawed about this condition….. thanks for helping me feel less alone.
My name is Melanie
I am 34 yrs old and 9 months pregnant. This pregnancy has brought on so much depression and anxiety. That 2 months ago these horrid terryfying intrusive thoughts started. Like wishing bad things to happen to my family. I love my family so much. So its the complete opposite of what I actually want
I am a christian and do believe.I was baptised. Had first holy communion and am confirmed. But due to being forced to go to church by my dad and getting bad hidings from him if I didn’t pass his church tests after church I stopped going at 19.
I still prayed from time to time and went to christmas services.
I have prayed and asked for gods forgiveness for the wishes. But I’m so terrified they going to come true. I feel like SUCH a BAD person
It is possible for pregnancy to trigger OCD symptoms. I would encourage you to be kind to yourself and know that a lot of these OCD thoughts are induced by hormones. Occasionally this doesn’t go away after the pregnancy and if that is the case therapy can really help! Therapy might be a good idea now. I know how stressful it is, just know youre not alone.
I am not a professional psychiatrist, I suffered form OCD like Julia did / does and I am Catholic Christian myself. I can assure you one Thing: YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON!!! Even when bad thoughts come into your mind. When I was at the climax of my OCD I had thoughts about killing other people by pushing them on the subway tracks… I knew these were obsessive thoughts and a part of my OCD but nevertheless I had to perform certain rituals to make them go away and punish myself for thinking such evil things.
Certainly you want to be a good mother and you will be. Praying to God might help, but religious practice can become a part of your rituals. Maybe you know the book “Kissing Doorknobs” by Terry Spencer Hesser. The main character, Tara, who also suffers from OCD, has to confess everytime when she has an evil thought. Unfortunately the priest does not recognize her OCD and sends her a doctor or a psychiatrist. If These thoughts /obsessions continue to torment you seek professional help by a psychiatrist.
A big hug and I wish you all the best for you and your Family.
I really look up to you, it’s so amazing to raise awareness about OCD, so many people are suffering out there and in my case I was told so many times that I didn’t have any kind of choice but medication. I was under antidepressants and antipsychotics (those were the worst because of the weight gain side effect, I’ve had anorexia before very badly so for me it was devastating…). My weight’s ok right now, although I’m still controlling my food intake … But I still have OCD and pure O, those for me are the most debilitating form of OCD because it makes you feel so insecure about your own nature, you’re always wondering if you’re a threat for people you care about … it’s horrible. But recently I have to admit that i kinda feel better, i’m starting to accept the disorder, I mean everyone’s worthy enough, everyone deserves to be alive.
Anyway, what you’re doing is great, it helps a ton of people. Also you’re sooo beautiful, I’d like you to do a youtube video that has nothing to do with ocd =P, what products do you use for your amazing curly hair !!!??? I have the same hair type , but i don’t have the same result, i’m always straightening it xD
seriously you’re great Julia =)
Thank you so much 🙂 Your comment meant so much to me and I feel like I relate to a lot of what you wrote. So glad you reached out 🙂 Stay strong!
Hi Julia…I just saw your TED talk…I’ve been suffering from OCD probably since childhood but was diagnosed at 23-24. I’m 37 now. Freaky images and hours in the bathroom so noone gets hurt, my story. I don’t know how you manage without meds, I’m on Luvox because without it, it gets simply unbearable. Thumbs up girl!!! Can I mail you personally about some questions?
Love from Greece
Thanks for the nice blog!
It seems to me that this way of exchanging OCD experience is one of the best therapies to help OCDers know the important fact about the “OCD bad thoughts” that 😦 It is not me, It is my OCD).
When severe OCD hits,OCDer searches more and more about OCD. Knowledge is important to fight(Ignor) OCD.
My best wishes, Please be happy!
Hi, i was looking up ways to recover from ocd when i came across your ted talk.. you really inspire me and i love the fact that you’ve made a blog all about ocd because there’s a lot of stigma regarding mental problems and i feel like this blog can help remove most of it since i can relate to you and many others. I have a question for you. A few months ago i was watching this movie where this guy was an introvert and had many traits i had like not going to parties etc… And i’ve been dealing with anti social issues for quite a time now so i sorta indentified with his character but then at the end of the movie we discover he was mollested, from that day onwards i kept thinking of whether i was mollested (positive i wasn’t) and kept fabricating situations in my head which i believe havent happened. I’ve consulted google and found this four step plan that could seriously work for me but what i fear the most is to one day realise that i’ve been mollested and i was just in denial and stuff of that sort 😦 i’d really appretiate it if you could help me.. You’re kind of my only hope right now. Thanks in advance ❤
Thank you Daniella, that is very kind of you to say and I’m glad you have found my blog to be of some help 🙂 . I think sometimes, some of the symptoms of mental illness such as being shy, distrusting, afraid of commitment/intimacy, etc can resemble the symptoms of sexual trauma. Sometimes symptoms can resemble something and be completely different. That’s why googling the web to self diagnose a cough which is most likely nothing serious can be so stressful because it might not be a cough, it could be a….!!!!! Right? And most of the time, it is just a cough. 🙂 I say that if you know deep down and no memories or flashbacks have surfaced by now, then trust what’s in your heart and know that if you have some issues that resemble sexual abuse, it could easily be a myriad of other things. All valid of course 🙂
you’re right, im gonna trust what’s in my heart and keep telling myself that this ocd will end sooner than i think and that these thoughts are just meanigless and faulty messages. You’ve given me so much hope thank you💗
Is it totally normal to have intrusive thoughts and obsessions about the past? Like thinking whether you had done something or something had happened to you etc…? Cause most ocds are about fearing that something will happen (the future) so you get what im saying?
I experienced a lot of reliving of past events. That fits within OCD.
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Dear One, I read about ur PCS n truthfully speaking I have gone through all those symptoms. I was 16 yrs when this hell started n it was properly diagnosed only when I was 21. Still parents refused treatment n took me to unscrouplous God-men. At age27 I finally got proper medicines from qualified therapist n have taken various combinations of medicines. I have had suicidal tendencies. I am a post graduate but never had continuous employment. My savings get eaten up by my expensive medicines. As I don’t have a job from a long time n a lot of my savings r exausted I am feeling helpless n worried. My parents n siblings do not help me, instead they know what triggers my OCD n use it to torture me. I feel death would be better than OCD.
Sorry it’s not PCS above but OCD . Anamika
Dear One, I read about ur OCD n truthfully speaking I have gone through all those symptoms. I was 16 yrs when this hell started n it was properly diagnosed only when I was 21. Still parents refused treatment n took me to unscrouplous God-men. At age27 I finally got proper medicines from qualified therapist n have taken various combinations of medicines. I have had suicidal tendencies. I am a post graduate but never had continuous employment. My savings get eaten up by my expensive medicines. As I don’t have a job from a long time n a lot of my savings r exausted I am feeling helpless n worried. My parents n siblings do not help me, instead they know what triggers my OCD n use it to torture me. I feel death would be better than OCD.
Have you tried SSRIs? I have been through alot of problems with OCD, but the antidepressant I am taking right now is helping me.
Don’t lose hope!
Yes taking SSRI’s but prob continues
Yes on SSRI’s since many years but still a puppet in hands of my family
Yes Natalia I too am on SSRI’S
Thanks for discussing about your OCD. Congrats for getting rid of it ! It gives me hope that I too can get rid of my OCD. God knows when and how. At present I feel it is better for me to die instead of being tortured by parents and siblings.
Anamika, it sounds like you are dealing with a lot of pain right now, but know that it is temporary. Commit to not quitting because you can get through this! Stay strong.
Thanks for your understanding & comforting words.
But I feel these medicines are too expensive n here in India prices of these medicines has spiralled like anything between 2004 and 2014. There is no improvement in the medicines eg side effects are not reduced quality hasn’t improved but prices kept on rising. With no income n no support system how long can I survive on my savings. These medicines are eating up my savings. Instead of anxiety n stress decreasing they are increasing due to worrying about the cost.
I just stumbled across your blog via your Ted talk video. Really was encouraged by your videos. I struggle with PTSD from my childhood experiences, and this past year suffered severe anxiety that led me to develop OCD. I am 23 and have been trying to research and read testimonies of people online that can relate to the struggle and frustration I feel every day. I had tears in my eyes watching your Ted talk. So many topics and tendencies you discussed made me feel so hopeful. Thank you for your vulnerability and raw honesty. I have been battling with isolation, and have felt depressed at times because I just don’t want to do my rituals and take hours to do the things that seem typically normal for people to accomplish in a way less time frame. I constantly beat myself up mentally for not doing my tasks “the right way” or ” the normal way.” On really bad weeks I won’t leave my house or my sofa, and refuse to shower or get up and live my life until I feel like I can motivate myself enough to get up and ready quickly with no anxiety or anxious thoughts consuming my mind. I am on meds and seeing a counselor on a weekly basis. Everything I discover on the internet pertaining to contamination OCD seems to connect with me. I take extremely long showers for 2 hours, and brush my teeth for a lengthy period of time. I have a difficult time getting dressed, because I get so fixated on lint or anything imperfect with my clothes before they touch my body. My hands have to always be washed or clean as much as possibly depending on what I have touched during the day, and I wear disposable vinyl plastic gloves for certain compulsions. Life is really hard so days, and I have before the meds thought about taking my life. Really would love to stay connected with your journey, and blog as I walk through overcoming these disorders. I am afraid, and often feel trapped into being someone I just do not want to be. Some days or nights its hard to move forward and I pray to just be normal. I do really well with isolating myself, or hiding my tendencies away from the world and people I love around me. But its not living at all. I love people and I am extroverted and feeling shame and hiding is miserable. I plan to stay connected and follow your posts. Thank you again Julia. To find someone who gets it has been a freeing discovery!
Thank you so much for writing! It is amazing to read your story and I can definitely relate. I know it’s such a struggle right now, but things can get better and I believe they will. Stay strong!!
Hey Dear, I like your story because I can relate it. Congrats, You’re an OCD Fighter not OCD sufferer. I used to feel like you but now I’m happy with Life. However Sometime OCD try to attack me and Every time it Gets Kick by me. I Want to raise awareness of OCD. So I have Created an OCD support forum. Check it out guys: http://ocdforum.in
Stay Strong, Come Let’s Beat OCD together. All the Best.
It’s nice having someone to relate to as a fifteen year old with ocd, bulimia and self-harm. It’s so heartwarming to see people who have suffered recovered and on top of all, happy. Thank you.
Wow how I admire your story. Your bravery. My son doesn’t have OCD that I’m aware of, but I don’t think doctors have done enough. They gave him the GAD and MDD dx. I feel he may have Aspergers, so I asked for a neurologist. My son is 19, very very smart, firm in his faith in God, very compassionate yet doesn’t like to enable others (so to speak). It’s hard for him to leave the house due to anxiety. I feel he may have mold illness also but the cost of getting to the root of this is pricing me out. I wish there was more I could do. He eats almost all gluten and sugar free, 90% organic. He does have MTHFR and CACNA1C gene mutations. He’s literally so complex, his PCP has basically left his care in my hands and orders whatever labs I ask for because he doesn’t know what to do.