Like my profile says, I've had OCD since I was 13. Since then, therapists have recommended finding a support group. Only during my last severe regression in April of 2008 did I seriously consider it. I love my support group, and I've been going ever since. But it took a fit of desperation one day at work for me to find mine on the internet. Looks like you're in just the right place to find yours, too.
If you're considering a support group as a form of OCD treatment, perhaps these points to ponder will help you make the decision quicker than I did.
Support groups provide community.
I know OCD can make us feel lonely, stupid, and codependent. It closes the world in around us, isolating us. But at group I've met people who can sometimes think the same irrational way I think. I understand them, too. Bottom line: Join a group and if you were alone in your OCD before, you aren't anymore.
Support groups give you objectivity.
Join a group and you'll encounter all types of OCD--the hoarders, the scrupulous, the contaminated, the guilt-ridden, and those who can't be labeled. You'll hear all types of OCD stories. You'll see what it can be at its best, and you'll see what it can be at its worst, and hopefully identify tendencies in yourself so you can learn to keep the OCD in check. It's like looking in a mirror. If you see that a hair is out of place, you fix it.
Support groups let you see what works.
Before attending group, I had never heard of ERP, or Exposure/Response Prevention (more about that in a later post). My therapists through the years had always used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, the other part of the OCD treatment dichotomy. I never even knew that this other kind of therapy existed, or that it could benefit me. Join a group and you can discuss treatment styles, therapists, and mental exercises and analyze what works for you.
Support groups give you accountability.
Every week at group we get together in small clusters and set goals, and check in on last session's goals. If needed or wanted, group members exchange numbers to serve as checkposts with whom to check in and record progress. Conversely, if we want to sit a week out and not give ourselves a goal, we allow that. We understand that each of us is choosing to be here, and choosing to get better. There's a lot of power in that, and a sense of control over what feels out of control.
If you are not a member of a support group as a means of OCD treatment, click here to visit the OC Foundation's "find a support group" page. Until then, if you're reading this blog, feel free to call what we have going here our little support group. : )
4 weeks ago