By Douglas Delatim
My OCD started in 2010. I experienced awful intrusive thoughts that I could not control. Being a very peaceful and shy person, having these thoughts made me question my own sanity.
As the thoughts began to affect my work and social life, I decided to seek treatment. I found a great doctor who had experience in treating OCD. He prescribed me 100 mg/day of Sertraline for three weeks and 150 mg thereafter. I felt the effects of the medication quickly: in three months, the OCD symptoms were controlled and after 6 months, the symptoms totally disappeared.
In 2012, after an extended period of experiencing no symptoms, I decided to stop taking the medication. I did so by slowly decreasing the dose over several weeks. For several years, I lived free of any OCD symptoms. In fact, I forgot how it felt to experience OCD.
A few years later, following several significant changes in my life – changing jobs, moving to a new home with additional financial responsibilities – I felt stressed and unhappy. In early 2017, I started to again experience OCD symptoms. Without consulting my doctor, I decided to begin Sertraline again; I began taking 50 mg/day. It was the worst decision I have ever made. After three or four days, I began to experience overwhelming intrusive thoughts. In need of help, I returned to the same doctor, who had treated me in 2010. He advised me that I needed to increase the medication to 100 mg/day for the first 4 weeks and then to 150 mg thereafter. I followed his advice and began to feel better.
I have noticed that the disorder is more resistant now than it was in 2010. I hope that in a few months the OCD symptoms will die down, and feel less intrusive. I plan to continue to take the medicine for three years to avoid possible problems.
In my experience, finding a doctor who understands OCD diagnosis and treatment is very important. It took me a long time to find the right doctor; one who was trained in how to effectively treat OCD.
It is important to remember that our thoughts are not our actions. These intrusive thoughts don’t deserve all of the power that we give them. With the right treatment and support, you can gain control over your OCD and learn to give these thoughts less acknowledgment.
This story is part of our blog series called “Stories from the OCD Community.” Stories from the community are submitted and edited by Toni Palombi. If you are interested in sharing your story you can view submission details at www.iocdf.org/ocd-stories.