OCD Stories from the Invisible Wheelchair

Ginger’s Son’s Story and Her Book

WHAT IF YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD TURNS OUT TO BE THE SPECIAL CHILD YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED?

My son Jake was diagnosed with severe Tourette’s when he was six, and severe OCD when he was eight. I spent years trying to fix him before realizing that he wasn’t broken and was exactly the child I needed in my life. After finding that there were no books written about Tourette’s and OCD from the perspective of the mother of a child with both, I decided to write He’s Not Broken: A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance.

I needed someone to tell me it’s okay to feel disappointed and angry; to be frustrated and annoyed with your child; to want to run away at times. I needed a friend who had been there, done that. Not having that made me feel like a horrible mother.
I began to write personal essays about my journey with Jake and started receiving comments about how much other parents needed to hear what I was saying.
I decided that He’s Not Broken would allow me to be that friend to other parents who were trying to navigate the special needs lifestyle.

“When my son was diagnosed with Tourette’s in 2007, I feared his life would be over. Thanks to the invaluable support of Ginger, I came to a place of acceptance that his diagnosis did not have to limit him. And now readers everywhere will be able to do the same. Ginger is a warrior of truth and hope.”
-Andrea Frazer, produced TV writer and author of Happily Ticked Off

Once Brad Cohen, author of Front of the Class, which was made into a very successful Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring James Wolk of The Watchmen, Tell Me a Story, and The Zoo fame, agreed to write the Foreword, she knew she was on to something.
“Ginger’s voice is the voice of so many mothers who are confused and alone as they search for answers. Her words remind us of the core values of parenting-to love unconditionally, believe absolutely, and persevere relentlessly.”
Brad Cohen, author of Front of the Class

He’s Not Broken: A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance should be made available in bookstores worldwide. In the US alone, a total of 12.8% of children under the age of 18, or about 9.4 million children are estimated to have special healthcare needs. These children are present in 20% of US households with children. That’s a lot of lost parents and caregivers. He’s Not Broken is just what they need to help navigate this challenging time.

Ginger McGee

You’ve read her story, now listen to her tell her story and more: Listen Here


Jenna’s Story

Hi there,

My name is Jenna Overbaugh, and I’ve been working with people who have OCD/anxiety for 10-12 years.  I’m a licensed professional counselor and also have a podcast called “All The Hard Things” with OCD/Exposure and Response Prevention educational material.

I’ve been an OCD therapist for 10-12 years and never had debilitating OCD symptoms until I had my toddler about 3 years ago. I experienced significant postpartum OCD, which rocked me personally and professionally. I struggled for a year and a half until I finally got help and did exposure and response prevention for myself. I would love to tell my story especially from a therapist’s perspective!

Jenna Overbaugh

You’ve read her story, now listen to her tell her story and more: Listen Here


Timothy’s Story

I wish to tell my experience of sensorimotor OCD and my belief that my thoughts are contagious, such that anyone who fully understands how the OCD in my head works will start thinking like me, which I definitely don’t want. Through therapy (mainly ERP) I have overcome (or should I say embraced) this part of myself, and I would like to share my experience so it may help others, especially since I have learned a lot over the years, with my journey going from doing anything in the world to escape my thoughts, to sitting down on my own and purposely thinking of my most feared thoughts over and over (and actually finding a weird enjoyment in this eventually).

Timothy Olsen

You’ve read her story, now listen to her tell her story and more: Listen Here


Erin’s Story

August 17, 2020

Hi!

My name is Erin Ramachandran and I am a big fan of your advocacy. It would be an honor to share the story of my new mental health non-profit & resources with your listeners.

I was inspired to create Mental Health Strong after working beside my husband to address his OCD, PTSD, anxiety & depression. At the time, there was no support for spouses and marriages with mental health issues.

Keith and I have been married for 13 years. Throughout the marriage we have had experiences with inpatient and four intensive outpatient programs, thousand of counseling hours, medication trials, Ketamine infusions, multiple disorders, multiple job losses, two separations, a jail incident and more.

Today, we are happily married despite living these daily struggles. It would be an honor to be featured in a podcast to let your listeners know there is hope for marriages!

Erin’s Bio:

Erin Ramachandran is a two time award winning author of Mental Health Strong, A Christian’s Guide to Walking Resiliently alongside Your Spouse with a Mental Health Condition. She is an international public speaker and co-founder of Mental Health Strong, the non-profit organization.

Erin holds a master’s degree in Health Care Administration and is a certified Mental Health First Aid USA instructor. She has worked in the healthcare industry for more than fifteen years and is the Mental Health & Wellness Program Director at one of the largest non-profit health plans in the United States.

She is passionate about helping marriages affected by mental health challenges. Her and her husband, Keith live in Southern California and have been married for over 13 years.

You’ve read her story, now listen to her tell her story and more: TBD


Rachel’s Story

Resist is to persist.

I have had OCD for as long as I can remember. It would ebb and flow as the years went on and different life stressors would trigger me. The earliest memory I have of OCD was when I was 10 years old and in a hotel room with my parents and brother and worrying that I would take the knives from the kitchen when everyone was asleep and stab my brother. I had to have my brother hide all the knives so if I woke up in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t find them and stab him to death. As the years went on, I continued to have weird and scary thoughts such as this, and never understood what was happening to me.

I hit rock bottom during my pregnancy with my second son Henry. At only seven weeks pregnant, I had a little bit of bleeding, which was deemed normal. However, that is not what my mind believed. From that moment on every day of that pregnancy was like living in hell. I would often spend many hours a day staring at my underwear for any microscopic drop of blood. There was never any blood there, but it did not matter. I was stuck on an OCD merry-go-round and I was not getting off. I was convinced that if I had any bleeding, it meant that my baby was not getting enough oxygen to his brain and therefore would have brain damage. This was my driving fear. Spending hours and hours a day obsessively checking, vigorously Googling, and endless amount of time crying was extremely difficult when I was also taking care of Jacob who was only 1.5 years old.

I used to take walks late at night because I wanted to crawl out of my skin, and I remember thinking how easy it would be to just step into traffic – my pain would simply stop. But then I would think of Jacob and knew that was not an option. I have some post-traumatic stress from it and even writing this story brings up anxiety for me.

Jacob grew increasingly closer to my husband and mother at this time because it was hard for me to function. This shattered my heart, but OCD did not care. OCD was all encompassing; it was a force to be reckoned with that I did not have the strength to fight. Those with OCD know the feeling of distress it causes. I do not call it distress because I think it is better described as true agony.

My son Henry was born healthy and beautiful, but my OCD did not go away. I knew that my OCD had never been so debilitating and that I hit below rock bottom right when he was born. I was convinced the nurses took him from me when I was asleep and switched him with another baby. I had never felt so low and helpless in my life. Of course this was just OCD, it was only a thought but we all know too well how real thoughts feel. It didn’t matter how many doctors or nurses assured me that they would never switch babies it felt so terrifying and so real to me. It was during this pivotal moment after Henry was born that I knew I had to fight – I was the only person who could get me out of this hell. I was the only person who could save me from myself. I shifted my mindset from feeling sorry for myself to feeling powerful and strong. It was then that I began my road to recovery. Am I fully recovered now? Absolutely not. I will always have OCD, but I vowed to never ever go back to that place, and I would do whatever it takes to beat OCD, not only for myself but also for my sons and my husband.

I began this piece by saying to resist is to persist, and it’s a motto I live by. I had to stop resisting the thoughts and resisting the agony and pain. If I continued to resist it by performing my rituals and compulsions, the more the thoughts would persist. OCD is a sly, tricky, conniving, determined monster, but I am stronger. The more I believed that, the harder I would fight. I began accepting my thoughts and saying, “I can live with this feeling of distress. I won’t die. I have lived with much worse.” I would often say out loud, “bring it on.” I might look crazy as I walk around my house saying bring it on, but I do not care. It works. The less I resisted the painful thoughts and feelings, the less it persisted. Once I gave in, the less the monster grew. Once you get a bit of relief, you feel stronger and braver and that will fuel you to continue fighting.

You can hit rock bottom and feel like you will never ever climb out of that deep dark hole. Remember one thing, though. You are stronger than you think; if you fight and stop resisting your thoughts, you will come out the other side. I am living proof. People with OCD are not weak, even though we feel that way often. We are the opposite of weak. We are STRONG, we are brave, we are courageous, we are fighters, and we WILL win.

Rachel Huber


The first story…

June 13, 2017

“At 27, PANS has torn my life apart. My case has been severe -jumping out of cars, screaming, breaking things, having trees move in and out on me while outside, suicidal attempts, feeling like I am what can imagine it would be like to be on acid and more. I understand you stated it’s uncommon in adults,and perhaps that’s true in regards to PANDAS triggered by strep –but not at all in the case of PANS. Please help me spread awareness to help other adults suffering needlessly. It breaks my heart to talk about all of this, but not as much as it breaks my heart to think of others like me suffering alone when they do not need to… I believe we will make a difference –even if just one person’s life.”

SW  (Texas)

Is Fred in the Refrigerator from IOCDF on Vimeo.