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Monday, July 24, 2017

A new app to help treat OCD!


     When I first started this blog in 2013, OCD was starting to become a huge presence in my life.  I was at that time seeing a therapist who did "talk therapy" with me, and honestly seemed more intrigued by my symptoms rather than trying to help me navigate through them.  I never once heard the terms Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) from him.  Needless to say I spent quite a bit of money there and didn't get any better while I was seeing him.  I was frustrated with the system, and the lack of knowledge even from psychologists who claimed they could help treat my OCD.  So I ditched the therapist, and I decided to educate myself as much as possible about OCD.  I read countless books on OCD, developed this blog to begin connecting with others with the disorder, and began to formulate my own ERP program.

     I believe that unfortunately many other OCD sufferers meet the same barriers that I did, when looking for treatment.  The cost itself is very prohibitive.  Many people have high deductible health insurance, and in that mental health coverage is completely separate from medical coverage.  That's the way it is for me too.  Also finding a good quality OCD therapist proves more difficult than one might think.    You can click the link here  on the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) website, to enter your zip code and find a list of providers trained in treating OCD.  I tried this one time and found one single provider in my entire city who "specialized" in OCD.  I called her and left a message on her voice mail (private practice) and never even received a return phone call.  While I'm certain that there are great mental health care providers out there, I just know that a lot of them really don't even understand OCD fully.  Even my own primary care physician is very misunderstood about OCD, as I've come out with more bits and pieces to my personal struggle through the years with her, and it is obvious by comments that she makes that she is very uneducated about the disorder.  Many people are simply embarrassed and ashamed by their symptoms, as there is a horrible stigma associated with mental disease in general.  Many sufferers hide their illness because of this.  Yet sadly it is estimated that 1 in 40 people struggle with OCD.  And that it takes 14-17 years....yes you read that right, on average for them to find help.  That is truly mind blowing.  I will be 40 years old in a few weeks, which means I've spent almost one-third of my life thus far dealing with OCD.  I'm learning to manage the disorder, but it still has a lot of control over my life.  A lot.  And I'm guessing for a lot of you, this is also the case.  It wasn't until I started doing self guided ERP therapy that I truly started making some progress with this disorder.  There is good news though!  We can begin to claim our lives back from this disorder.  Even if we are not in a position to get professional help (or simply don't have the access to it), we have the power to start treating this beast on our own.  ERP therapy does work!  If you're not familiar with what ERP is, you can read about it here.  ERP has proven to be highly successful in treating OCD, and most patients who go through ERP therapy will have a significant reduction in their symptoms.     

     A week ago I was contacted by an organization that has developed a new app called nOCD.  Stephen Smith is the founder of this app and you can read more about his personal story with OCD here.  They wanted to find a way to help bring good quality help to people, with this proven method of treatment.  The developers have requested collaboration from writers and bloggers in helping to get out the word about this app.  I've already downloaded it, and plan to incorporate it into my own self guided treatment.  This app is fully customizable, and basically helps you to set up your very own unique ERP program based on YOUR specific obsessions, compulsions, and triggers.  Because even though we all fall under the same umbrella diagnosis of OCD, the truth is that many of our symptoms differ from each other.  So the only way to treat each particular case is to design a unique program for each individual.  All based on the same concepts, but tweaked for each patient.  You can download this app, for absolutely free RIGHT HERE!!!!  Currently it is available for iOS devices, but I am told they are working an app for android devices as well which will be available this fall.  But if you are on a desktop or Android device, you should be able to still click the link and it will take you to a different screen where you enter your phone # and a download will be sent to you.  Just  enter in your triggers, obsessions and compulsions, and it designs it for you.  The more specific you can get, the better.  I've found personally, rather than enter in each item all at once, it was easier for me to get on the app each time I was "triggered" as I would come up that way with many patterns of my triggers that I didn't think about initially when making a list.  Again the more detailed you are, the more you will get out of this!  It  provides real time tracking of several factors:  time spent doing ERP exercises/exposures, anxiety levels during exercises and during general use of the app, location/time of day of OCD episodes, and many more things!  All or your personal information will also be stored on a HIPPA compliant secure server.  You have the ability to track your progress and see that you are improving!  It can be used solely on your own, or in conjunction with therapy that you are already receiving.  The data can also be directly exported to your health provider.  There is also an added SOS help feature which offers you help in those high anxiety moments when OCD suddenly strikes. 

     181 million people world-wide suffer from this disorder.  We are not alone by any means.  But I know that it feels like we are.  We do have the power to do something about it.  Please, please download this app today if you are able.  It will definitely be one more stepping stone to help in your fight against this disorder.  You have nothing to lose by fighting back against your OCD.  In fact, you have quite the opposite--very much to gain!  If you try out this app, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.  Please, give it a try!! 


  1. Hi hopeful
    Firstly and truthfully I was beginning to feel worried as it's been nearly 5 months since you posted anything on your blog.
    yes i have been checking the forum regularly since it has really helped me a lot. I'll be honest though that it might not have helped with the disorder itself but it has given me so much reassurance that i alone is not the 'mentally' ill out there
    thanks again for your efforts. i hope you are in good health

  2. Hi Saad. Good to hear from you. No worries, when I don't post for awhile, it usually means everything is going okay. But I do plan to get more into the habit of frequent posting again, so keep reading! I'm really glad that my blog has been helping you. I agree that it reassuring to connect with others, and know that we are not alone in our fight with this. As far as helping with the disorder itself, are you undergoing any treatment at this time, or doing any of your own exposures? Hope all is going okay with you!

  3. glad to hear that you are doing good. Actually I read your second post regarding OAB later before i posted my comment. I can truly understand the havoc that OAB and OCD coupled together can do. However OAB has treatment options and hope you get better soon.
    I am not getting any treatment so am like stuck within my ownself, primarily because as you already know very few could understand the problem let alone diagnose and treat it. But as i might have posted in one of my previous comments as well, i have given it a personality (with strong affiliations with the devil). so it's like a fight within myself. you can say that the only way i am coping with it is self-assurance by using religious teachings and my upbringing as a counter measure.

  4. I have OCD and I have a special pair of running shoes that I wear each night that I go and see my parents who are retired.I was filling up my car the other night and I topped off the gas which I should't have done and got a few drops on my right shoe
    I went home and put baking soda on the mesh of the shoe 3 times
    then I got 2 pairs of socks and filled them up with baking soda and put you inside the shoe and one on top of the meshing of the shoe.
    I let the shoe outside for a couple of days
    The smell of of gasoline is completely gone it works great!
    I am trying to let go of event however I replay it over and over in my head
    wanting to change the outcome
    My wife and my parents both say as most people would the odor is completely gone you are good as new fresh start!
    The shoe is in great shape just move on the let it go and let God be in control you continue to enjoy your visits with your parents and go back to your routine
    I need your help here or guidance here

    I don't want to get new shoes and replace those even though I could I have 2 other pairs exactly like these
    I want to let go and move on and go back to my routine that I have

    My mind says it will never be the same and life is changed forever
    I know that is the OCD talking however ,I am needing your assistance to walk through this and get on the other side of this situation

    I feel bad when I think I am getting caught up in this event when families in Houston have lost everything in Hurricane Harvey Everything they own!

    However It is all I think about since it happened
    I need to find peace

    You have some good wisdom and so do your other followers
    This is the first time to discuss this kind of issue in a blog

    It is funny because everyone else outside this group would tell you to get over it and move on with your live put it behind you and let go you have your running shoes

    I guess I need reassurance that life will be normal again and what are the options moving forward and feeling better about my circumstances

    Thanks for your blog and look forward to any feedback

    1. Thanks for reading my blog and asking for some guidance.  First of all, I'm sorry that you deal with this disorder as well.  OCD is cruel and frustrating and unfortunately only those of us who have it can truly understand it.  You are correct when you say that others would tell you to move on and get over it.  The truth is that non-OCD sufferers wouldn't even probably give it any thought if gasoline dripped on their shoe. But we hold onto that thought and can't move past it and it causes us great distress, so we need to rid ourselves of the contamination to be able to feel comfortable and move on.  Unfortunately, gasoline is one of my big triggers.  I have mentioned this in previous posts, and have thrown things away when I have feared that gasoline got on my clothes or shoes.  This is my blog so the only people that comment on it are the ones that somehow come across it when googling stuff related to OCD.  I don't have a huge following, but I've been able to see that many other people out there struggle with this.  The truth is that even though I have gotten better with my OCD, gasoline would still be a big issue for me.  So I can tell you that yes the answer is to just know that you cleaned them, and move on, but I admit that would be difficult for myself to do as well.  I can say that if you give in to the want to buy new shoes, you are letting the OCD win.  And again, I admit, I have been there myself.  Sometimes it easier to just give in and go get new shoes and then you don't have to worry about it anymore....until the next time.  And there will always be a next time, as long as we struggle with this disorder.  I think back to a time when I didn't have OCD and I pumped gas all the time and there is probably a high likelihood that gasoline got on my shoes at some point, but I didn't have OCD radar back then, and I probably never gave it a second thought.  I think the best answer I can give you to help you beat OCD is just to simply wear the shoes.  Every time you wear them, you should become less anxious about it until you are desensitized.  Probably the first time you wear them you will rate your anxiety as a 10, but the longer you keep them on, your anxiety should go down.  Maybe the next time after that,  you will rate it as an 8.  But the truth is our anxiety will come down, as long as we don't give in and keep pushing ourselves.  Just know that you are strong, and you can do this!  It is frustrating isn't it, to think of how much time we devote to these worries.  I agree when I think about those in Houston who lost  everything and would be thankful for any shoe to wear.  And then I feel incredible guilt when I think of all the shoes that I have thrown away for reasons that most people wouldn't even worry about.  I hope this helps, and feel free to ask more questions if you have any. 


    1. Yes I did read your post just today and I saw you emailed the address on the blog. I am replying to your e-mail now, so please look for that.

  6. Thank you so much for the insight!
    It is so nice to hear your encouragement and guidance on my shoes.
    I will take your advice and continue to wear them!
    My OCD is not going to be in control this time.
    I believe you are correct in the first few times I wear the shoes will be a challenge level 10 however, as you said each time I wear them the power will be less and less until I can successfully be free to enjoy myself and my time with my family with peace of mind.
    I appreciate you acknowledging my struggle and it really is great to have a place to share concerns and get honest feedback without being judged or considered crazy!
    This is a very helpful format and I for one want to thank you again for taking time to listen and responding to my post.