By Josef Doctorovitz
My name is Josef Doctorovitz, and I have OCD.
Learning to live with OCD, knowing that it would always be something I had to manage, was terrifying to me. The endless thoughts, the compulsions, and the fear of the unknown made me think that I would never be able to recover. However, I turned this negative into a positive, began to advocate for others who are also dealing with OCD, and began better managing my symptoms.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been anxious. I began developing OCD symptoms at the age of 11. I remember dealing with intrusive thoughts and compulsions throughout that entire summer; however, I didn’t yet know what was going on. Fast forward a few years, and the thoughts became worse. This was when I began seeing a therapist, who finally diagnosed me with OCD in 2010.
During this time, I began ERP therapy, and I began to improve; however, I was still experiencing distressing thoughts that severely affected my life. This became severe in 2016 while I was in college, to the point where it was difficult for me to go to class in fear that I would fall ill or pass out.
This was when I began my first medications. This helped a little bit; however, fast forward a few years, and I was in a very dark place, specifically around the time the pandemic hit. I had awful intrusive thoughts that went against every value I held dear, and they began to consume me. I remember, for weeks on end, not being able to eat and sleeping all day, trying desperately to escape the thoughts.
This was extremely frightening to me, as I believed there was no hope, as I had been in therapy for a while at this point. My therapist and I developed a plan of action, and it took me a couple of years to recover from this. I still experience many subtypes of OCD to this day; however, I’ve learned to manage them through medication and ERP therapy.
Learning to live with OCD symptoms was no easy task for me, as the intrusive thoughts would feel so real. However, I began to embrace the uncertainty and recently began my advocacy journey. If there’s one positive to take from my struggles with OCD, it’s that it led me to want to help others who also struggle, letting them know that they are not alone and that someone is always willing to listen and understand their feelings.
If you are currently in a dark place with your OCD, just remember there is always hope, and you’ll be able to recover and live a fulfilling life!