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Nick's Story

Updated: May 27, 2022

Hi everyone! My name is Nick. I'm Erica’s husband. I have OCD, otherwise known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. In short, OCD means that our mind obsesses over anything and everything and the associated anxiety makes us feel like we are catching on fire every minute of the day. Imagine siting in your bedroom while your house is burning down around you and you’re not able to get out.

Just for context, my particular type of OCD made me notice my saliva constantly for 18 months. This is known as sensorimotor, or somatic, OCD – when you become hyper-obsessed with neutral sensations such as blinking, breathing, salivating, swallowing, etc. I also had a blinking obsession. These sensations were all I could think about all day long. Focusing on anything else felt almost impossible.

All my life I have struggled with minor obsessive-compulsive behaviors. There was a period of time, more like ten years, where I applied lotion to my body upwards of twenty times per day. I would compulsively hide my food as a child. I compulsively lied. I took perfectionistic obsessions to a whole other level. I had these behaviors, but my OCD wasn't yet "locked" (as we describe it in the OCD world). It wasn’t until I was 29 where my life took a turn for the worst.

6 months before graduating chiropractic school, I developed severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I didn’t sleep for weeks and my avoidance compulsions grew out of control. For readers who don’t know what "avoidance compulsions", I mean I would avoid anything that I thought might make the sound worse, like:

  • Driving with the windows down - they remained up at all times

  • Never putting my music above volume 50%

  • Never using metal forks and knives

  • etc.

I spent months running from the sound and my entire life was ruled by the ringing in my ears. About 4 months after I developed tinnitus, my OCD latched to my blinking sensations. I noticed every time I blinked for about 4-5 weeks. It was brutal. I had constant headaches, my vision was blurry, and I thought I was going to snap. Then my OCD latched to my salivating and swallowing sensations. This obsession lasted for about 18 months. Between all of this, I was also severely struggling with body dysmorphia. I would compulsively change my workout programs every 2-3 weeks based off the perceived fear that whatever program I was on wasn't going to yield the body image I wanted.

Throughout all of this, I suffered with constant chronic anxiety. My symptoms ranged from daily panic attacks, consistent heart palpitations, extreme intrusive thoughts, and much more. My wife eventually had to have me admitted to a mental hospital in Daytona, Florida in November 2019. After leaving the mental hospital and graduating school, we moved to Colorado where things got worse. When the pandemic hit, we only had to be in the clinic when we had patients. I barely went to work, I was gaming 12 hours or more per day, and I started smoking again. Overall, it wasn’t good.

Fast-forward 3 years later and I am lightyears from where I was. I've put down the video games. I stopped smoking. I am recovered from my hyper-obsessions with my sensations, I am much further along with my journey with body dysmorphia, and my physical symptoms of anxiety have diminished greatly. I am, as we call it at OCD Recovery, living my life on my own terms. OCD no longer controls my life. I wouldn’t say I am completely recovered from OCD, but I am certainly on the right track.

We wanted to include this on my wife's blog because it helps to get a better picture of what Erica was dealing with as my supporter. Erica's blog is one of the only places you'll find stories of what it's like to support a sufferer like me. And. I want everyone who is reading this, sufferer or non-sufferer, to hear me out – there is hope. Mental illness isn’t easy for the sufferer or people around them, but we often have the tools to get better.

You can get better too.

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