OCD COACHING? - Email Me What You Think

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You guys know my approach when it comes to OCD. 

It's an unfiltered, unapologetic, real and very raw approach of my belief in the pursuit of OCD Recovery. This was not always my approach. For years, I was sunken in a hole without any real belief there was a life after the worst of OCD was fought. Weekly therapy, going home, not actually feeling any better, spiraling into a hole yet again, and waiting for next week's appointment. This is inefficient if you don't have the tools you need to be your own therapist. No more.

Ultimately as you all should know by now, I went through the Intensive Therapy Program at The Gateway Institute in Costa Mesa, California. Jim Sterner, the Founder and my therapist knew immediately I needed much more than weekly therapy. I needed intensive, everyday therapy to become strong enough to monitor my own compulsions alone and practice ERP with no one watching over me. That didn't just apply to me. It applies to anyone with OCD. Why? Because OCD is 24/7, and therapy sessions are not. 

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Because of this program and my own perseverance for years afterwards, I'm in the position I am today. A once very sick, lost student turned author, public speaker, Founder of an engaging mental health movement, and have so many new things coming on the horizon. Seriously - I can't wait to announce what I'm doing next month! AH!

Okay. Back to the part where I need YOUR feedback. Yes, yours. The more feedback I get from this incredibly engaging community, the better I know how to lead my following.

I had a business call this week that was the lightbulb conversation I needed. I am constantly trying to figure out what else I can bring to the OCD Recovery table for you guys. A book? Check, on it's way. A weekly newsletter to get you out of work zone and into YOUR zone? Check. Weekly YouTube video series? Check. An ongoing, engaging, relatable platform? CHECK. 

One thing that is a consistent part of my everyday life is direct messages and emails I receive from OCD sufferers, their spouse(s), family and friends. They ask me very detailed questions and really want to know more about OCD and how I got where I am today. If you are one of those people who I've spoken with, shout out to you! Thank you for trusting my advice. I find myself spending a lot of time engaging with people and providing valuable advice and support and the feedback I get is always so positive. The gratitude I feel knowing I helped you or a loved one look at OCD in a new way is indescribable. 

Basically, I've been an OCD Coach this entire time. For free. Which is exactly how I wanted it, but a girl has to make a living! And I would love that living to be doing something I am so knowledgeable on and have so much positive experience from. 

My question for you guys is this - If I were to start officially OCD coaching as my primary service, would you be interested? Instead of just back and forth, unstructured direct messages, it would be a program that can totally work with your schedule. Fifteen-minute free consultation so I can get an idea of what I can do for you and the game plan begins from an hourly rate there on out. Anything from just an hour session for support because I GET IT, to weekly video chats and calls, meet ups, to a full on accountability program.

It needs to be very clear that I am not a professionally trained therapist or doctor who can provide any medical advice. The entire point that I love about being an OCD Coach is that it's what I already am because of my own personal, hellish experience. That's the level I want to help you on, not from a therapist level. This is going to be different, a buddy system. Now that I can look back and see what I could have done differently to see relief faster, how could I NOT do that for you or a loved one? 

I would be a support system, a facilitator, and coach to guide you. 

Thank you all for your support and for letting me lean on YOU for feedback!

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Five Star Review: "UNSTUCK: An OCD Kids Movie"

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"Young People with an Adult-Sized Problem"
This line got my attention - real quick.

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We were recently connected with the filmmakers of "Unstuck: An OCD Kids Movie," Kelly Anderson and Chris Baier. Heard of it? Just wait -you will.


They let The Obsessive Outsiders privately review the film before it hits the film festivals this year. We were beyond honored. I, Kerry, wasn't diagnosed with OCD until I was eighteen - many of our Outsiders community are late-teens to young adults. That being said, seeing the brutal extent of OCD play out in the lives of the six featured children and young teens in this documentary (ages 8-18) was eye-opening to say the least. Fascinating, actually. Six unique, yet such familiar stories from kids who have been through the unimaginable and are courageous enough to put it all on film for the world to see. We Outsiders know how vulnerable it is to actually break down our obsessions for people - like no thanks - we loathe the judgement and often keep it as private as possible. Not these kids. 

So, what sets this film apart enough to make us want to promote the hell out of it?

"UNSTUCK" doesn't set out to just give the world a glimpse of OCD - the film went where many films and documentaries on OCD don't normally go. That is - the film featured six kids after they had already received treatment and had regained control of their lives. This wasn't just a fascinating film to give an inside look on the crazy stigma of OCD - it was to give an inside look on the solutions that have worked for OCD. And that's what our movement is ALL about.

Each of these six kids were so poised - so mature and so able to freely talk about the demons of OCD they have lived through. They each took the measures of brutal exposures and truly conquered their fears & compulsions, and lived to tell the story of how they did it...and how worth it - it is in the end.

After watching the film, the first thing I did was email Chris and ask him what I could do to help. This movie NEEDS to hit the big screens. These kids were stronger and more mature and wise than I am today. That's what adversity does to a person, no? Age isn't a factor in adversity. Dedication and perseverance towards the goal of the solution is the only factor needed. There was no pity, no sympathy, not an attention-seeking fiber in any of these kids' stories. It was raw, real, and graceful beyond belief. I decided to put all other newsletter topics on hold for this week because getting the word out about this film is so important, not to mention, the epic content and fantastic production.

The film is not yet available to buy or stream due to the upcoming film festivals it will be featured in. Currently, just professionals, therapists and educators can buy it via their distributor, New Day Films.

BUT...

They have an option for people like us (and YOU!) to host Community Screenings and we will get a discounted price on the film for showing. If you are a teacher or colleague, it is available on Kanopy Screening here.

If you aren't into any of that, showing your support on their Facebook page would be amazing. They host a monthly broadcast/interview with one kid/teen with OCD. Or go check out their YouTube Channel to view some snippets from the film. 

The Real Reason She Posted That Video - A Letter From Kerry

 Kerry Alayne, here. I am taking this week to write a personal letter to each and every one of you. First of all, I have to specifically address my sincere appreciation to you for taking the time if you have become a subscriber and enjoy the content we send. I am forever grateful for your support.

I want to take this week and clear up my reasoning and intention behind the recent *vulnerable* video I posted on The Obsessive Outsiders Instagram. The intension behind this movement has always been about showing OCD Recovery in a positive light - because I, as well as many other patients in OCD Recovery live such freeing lives now compared to the past. One of the main reasons I started all of this is because I didn't see much positivity or uplifting, lighthearted content in the mental health/illness world. I grew tired and depressed as I scrolled through my feed and saw disturbing, distressing, images and with no offense intended - sympathy and pity parties about their mental disorder and/or illness. I personally couldn't take it if I wanted to stay on a healthy path. I don't want to just see the bad - I want to find the good, the strength in how to overcome this chronic illness.

I have never wanted pity for my mental illness. That was the entire reason I didn't speak up about it or defend myself for years - until I was in recovery and ready to C L A P B A C K.  People only knew about my OCD if I had to explain my erratic behavior or if I decided to share one-one-one. I didn't want attention, sympathy, or to bring any comfort to my disorder. I wanted it gone.

Therefore, my platform comes off strongly in the opposite direction of most mental health platforms - finding a solution, not just continuing to discuss the problem. 

The Obsessive Outsiders is a mental health movement that is rooted in realness - but that doesn't mean it has to be negative just because the stigma is negative. I want to provide you with inspiration, and encouragement to form the belief that OCD Recovery is very real and help push you to actively pursue that life and take the actions and tools out there to do so.

With that said - back to the video. The response I got from the video was OVERWHELMING. The video has been viewed over 700 times compared to our typical 200+ times - the comments and direct messages have been endless. As grateful as I am for all of this, most people reached out to me saying they were there for me, that I will get through this hard time, that they were all praying for me, reminding me things get better, to stay strong, that I was brave and that I am not alone.

All this is great - but none of those are the reasons or intentions that were behind the video. It wasn't for attention or support at all. It was to film a very personal, vulnerable video of me in a moment of true despair to show you that even I still go through these hard times battling with relapses and temptations that will sink me back into being more sick than I ever was if I don't nip them in the bud. 

The goal was to show you guys nothing more than that I am no stronger than any of you, but most of all that even in my weakest moments, I am not giving into those compulsions. No matter how bad the anxiety is in that moment, you must look up, breathe and keep doing whatever it is that you're doing because you know that anxiety is only temporary and it will pass, regardless if you perform the compulsion or not. 

I wanted to capture my strength even in the weakest moments of OCD, in hopes that it will inspire YOU to do the same next time you have a weak moment. 

Showing off my public, no makeup-face (EEEK) vulnerability is more than worth it to me if it can inspire you to see me in those moments staying strong in my recovery.

Always here for you guys. Thanks for letting me get personal this week and showing me the extent to which you guys support both me and the movement I've started. 

- Kerry

"Mentally Misunderstood" - Find Us On YouTube!

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"Mentally Misunderstood" YouTube Channel Has Dropped!

Do you ever feel mentally misunderstood?
Because we do & it's exhausting.
And that's exactly why we're changing it.

The Obsessive Outsiders became blessed the day we met Daniella Mohazab, Founder and CEO of Happy Pill. It was one of those perfect storms where social media changed everything. You know that feeling? Daniela reached out to us and wanted to schedule a phone meeting with our founder. The rest is history! They are now great friends and collaborative partners with many upcoming ventures. We feel so blessed to have found happy pill, not only because of their Business brilliance, but because they hold the same vision we do. They provide a trendy platform for women to share their mental health stories. they're the site that helps us feel normal.  

Since that First phone meeting, we've been:

Featured on the Happy Pill website

-Our Founder was invited to speak on a panel at a mental health event in Los angeles

- Had a one of a kind inside experience of filming inside USC's world-renowned newsroom, and now we get to continue filming!

- Developed an incredible friendship and collaboration content calendar

- Been introduced to other like minded companies (just wait til' you see what we have cookin') and many mental professionals, patients, and mental health sufferers who we have been able to touch.

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The latest outcome of the blending collaboration of The Obsessive Outsiders x Happy Pill?
Our new YouTube channel. A place where we film a talkshow about bringing mental illness out of the dark, misunderstood shadows, and into the light. 

We would love for you to go on this journey with us! We will be interviewing guests, taking audience questions, etc. We'd be honored for you to subscribe to the channel and check out our Intro Video here

 

Exist to Live, Not Live to Exist

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LET'S TAKE A STEP BACK, SHALL WE?

Do you ever just stop what you're doing and look up? Do you ever replace something on your endless "To-Do" list to self-reflect, or to truly take a moment and examine who you are, why you are wherever you are, and how you got there?

These are the types of questions that we often forget about or stray from. We don't want to have to dig deep. Either we are too busy - or we intentionally avoid. The world around us is constantly buzzing, constant chaos. We are infiltrated with the negative news, false representations of body image, the hype of "being happy," when no one knows what the answer to being truly happy really is. The relentless, intrusive, unwanted thoughts and images. The visions. The impulses. The desire to do whatever you can possibly do to just stop. the. chaos. in. your. mind.

Today is January 16th, 2018.
Take that in, really sit back and think about who you are. When asked that question, who ever actually says they are truly happy with who they are and where they are in life? We can't think of anyone. That's because life is a continuous journey, and it's meant to stay that way. You're not meant to simply exist, be attractive and constantly happy. This isn't the Stepford Wives. No plant, no animal, no man-made product, no human being was ever made to just exist. We exist because we were given life to LIVE.

If you are stuck in your mental illness and you just can't find the air. If you can't get out of bed most days and just feel nothing at all. If you're tired of your daily and weekly routine - whatever it is - whatever you feel. Allow yourself to feel tired of it. Then identify what it is that is making you so unhappy or unfulfilled. Is it the thoughts that shoot through your mind that you are falling in the trap of? Is it loneliness, perhaps lack of purpose, fear or anger at why you feel this way when everyone else seems to somehow have figured it out?

It's easier just to stay in bed. Not let yourself have to think too deeply, because the emptiness has become your comfort zone. 

Step OUT. Today. Change your routine, do something impulsive, like splurge on your favorite meal, engage in a self care appointment like cheap reflexology, or take yourself to go see a movie and wolf down a popcorn and Diet Coke. Turn on a diffuser and take in the scent of Eucalyptus - a scent that makes you feel alive. Sink into a chair and just allow your entire body to just relax. You're too tense. You have to get out of this mindset if you ever want to change your lifestyle, or if you ever want to be in a recovery state of your mental illness. 

It's possible, Outsiders. Existing to truly, unequivocally LIVE. 

Start here - Don't be afraid of the real YOU. 

Today's Challenge, January 16th, 2018

  • Find or buy a cute small box, and decorate/personalize it. From this point forward this will be what we Outsiders call "The Box of You." It's literally a box where overtime you can fill with little things that remind you who the hell you are and what makes you happy. A box to help you see a future, by creating it right before your very eyes. If you get complimented, write it down and stick it in the box. If you read or hear something that actually penetrated through you, document it in there. Receipts of the solo movie date you took yourself on. Your favorite picture of yourself. A moment of progress, a documented hour you realized you didn't feel mentally tortured, or a time and date you actually laughed, really laughed. Keep this box somewhere private, and you won't believe the rush of emotion that will come through your body when you continually read and scan through the contents.
  • The first thing you should put inside this box a list of five things about yourself. This isn't a pity party box. Only the good goes in. Write down the things that set you apart from everyone else. What makes you, you. That sense of individuality you will see on that paper gives you a sense of purpose in life. Only you are all of those five things put together, for there is no one else who exists who is just like you. That's your power, and your power is your purpose. 

Check out these examples of boxes to spark some ideas to personalize "The Box Of You." It can be any box. Even a cardboard box, as long as you make it yours. 

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Grab a friend to hold you accountable during our upcoming challenges (like this one!)  in our Newsletter series. Just have them subscribe to our Newsletter!

We appreciate your support with getting us out there endlessly.  Mental Illness Stigma - we're coming for you.

OOTify X Happy Pill Event

You might want to thank our friends at OOTify and Happy Pill, because they are [genius]. They have created the first event of its kind - a mental health party. And that is something we can get on board with. 

Ohhhh and we should probably mention the Founder of The Obsessive Outsiders, Kerry Osborn is one of the featured panelists at the event.

& she wants to meet YOU.

So if you're in the LA area on December 13th, we hope to share the evening with you! Find all the details you need on the official invitation, here.

*MUST RSVP IF ATTENDING EVENT IN INVITATION LINK ABOVE*

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My Crazy Is Showing And I Don't Care Who Sees It

2008-2012:  Letting the world in on my "crazy?" NOPE. NAH. NO THANKS. Why would I volunteer to share my seemingly crazy, abnormal, out of this world, taboo thoughts with anyone other than my therapist? 

2013-2016: *Cracks the code that the illusion of my obsessions are total BS and my compulsions have NO effect on reality. NONE. And neither do yours.

2017: I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and I'm no longer afraid to shout it from the rooftops. Why the sudden change? A little something I’m in called OCD Recovery. It took me years, but I finally can say I have successfully overcome the worst of OCD. I turned the bastard back on itself through Exposure and Response Prevention and serious commitment. OCD doesn't own me anymore - but I will admit at one point it absolutely did.

Since persevering in and out of hell, a spark has ignited in me. A spark that I haven't felt since before my car accident that led me to fall off the face of the earth through OCD. I hate OCD so much that I have now dedicated my life to proving to others how they too can start to see real progress against their obsessive thoughts. I felt like I lived in a hole underground for years; it was so dark, so lonely. But that hole no longer swallows the best parts of me - those parts of me are now engrossed in lending a hand down to my fellow obsessive outsiders who remain in that hole.

I’ve now written a book. I’ve started an author website and a blog. I’ve had articles published. I’ve done interviews, booked speeches, collaborate with industry experts and every single time someone asks me what I do for a living – I use the opportunity to break the stigma and educate on OCD. It’s what I do. It’s called advocacy, and it’s the only way to break a stigma we don’t deserve.

The shock on people's faces when I explain what my OCD is really like continues to show me how completely uneducated the world has become on OCD - not to their faults - to the fault of the stigma and media that has become bigger than us. Becoming an OCDvocate has been such a rewarding venture. You don't have to have OCD to be an OCDvocate, you just have to acknowledge OCD is so much more extensive than the stigma portrays and stand up for it. How can the stigma begin to crack open when so many of us sparingly use our voices? If you have a mental disorder, finding your voice should be your priority, because someone out there will listen and learn from YOU. Don't underestimate the power of your network. Don't underestimate the power of your voice. Don't underestimate the beauty of being broken.

I didn’t want my OCD to get the credit of ruining my life for so many of my adolescent years and that be the end of it. So I no longer credit it to ruining my life. I credit my OCD to being the core part of me that makes me so unique, I credit my OCD to kick starting my fulfilling career, and I credit my OCD for being the little devil that gets me out of bed every morning for the satisfaction to prove wrong time and time again.

If you’re not ready to show your crazy, I’ll do it for the both of us. 

The Brain vs. The Mind

The difference appears to be minuscule, yet the difference between the brain and the mind are macroscopic. The brain is what you were born with. Your mind is what develops and is constantly subject to change. It is your mind that you need to focus on. For so long, I have blamed my brain. I've had to accept that my brain has a dysfunction - that there are constant mis-firing signals in my brain causing my brain to lock and obsess endlessly over certain thoughts. The next instinct of my brain is to do anything in my power to calm these thoughts and make them not come to fruition - thereby introducing the compulsion. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is classified as a true medical condition - with no cure. I've been told I have to live with this constant, debilitating disorder for the rest of my life. Naturally, I was going to do anything in my power to stop my brain from the dysfunction. After years of intensive therapy, I now understand the difference between the brain and the mind - and that there is a difference for that matter. I can't control my brain from mis-firing signals, and I can't control a very real medical condition.

But I can control my mind. Once you make an effort to get in touch with how your mind works, the paths it goes down, the channels it avoids - you can learn to manipulate it. This concept is the only reason I have been able to live a somewhat normal life to date. If I were to just have accepted my mental disorder, I would still be in the same mental state I was in 2008. Once I was able to grasp that I could take control of my mind, I realized I could do anything. I obviously can't control every thought that comes into my mind, but I can control my reaction to it which has overtime trained my mind to function in the way I need it to - instead of its natural tendency which was unacceptable. This technique is more formally known as Exposure and Response Prevention - and it is the sole technique that has helped me overcome the worst of severe OCD. 

Many of my peers with mental disorders alike seem to merely accept they have a mental disorder. They go through life miserable - and bring their pity to every party. It doesn't have to be that way. I have been at the lowest of low and the highest of highs over the years since 2008 with my disorder, and never ONCE have I accepted it. There is no acceptance - there has only been a fight. I have fought every single day in 2008 to not accept my mental disorder and I don't plan on ever stopping. You just have to realize there is a very real fight waiting for you.

Symbolically, I look at the the brain as the life you've been born into and the mind as the way you choose to live it. You can't control the life you happened to be given - just as you can't control the brain you were given. You can certainly, however, control the way you take the life you've been given and manipulate it into the life you want to live, just as you can do the mind. Don't just accept the cards you've been dealt. Deal them right back - your way. Mental disorder or not.

 

Breaking Our Stigma

Is there anything worse than having to explain the validity of your OCD?

You know how it goes - the first time you have to tell someone new about your OCD. They typically respond with something nonchalant or that they have OCD as well (when they of course don't). Overall, their response usually takes away a shade of seriousness from your disorder. I believe this is mostly because people love to have something wrong with them to talk about for either attention or pity. People often end up exaggerating or creating in their own minds their illnesses or disorders. This takes away from those of us who really do have the serious disorder or illness. If you actually have OCD, you are very well aware the last thing on earth you want is attention or pity for it. 

The way that I have broken the stigma of my OCD has always been by the cold hard evidence of my OCD itself. A few years ago, you couldn't have passed me on the street and NOT have known something was seriously wrong with me. I was always performing various compulsions while walking, or touching things in weird ways. It was actually a relief for people when I told them it was OCD, because they realized I was less insane than they originally thought. 

Nowadays, you wouldn't know I have OCD unless I told you. It has been much harder to break the stigma of my OCD the past couple of years because I show no evident signs of having OCD since I learned how to manage my obsessions and compulsions. It's always hard when I form a new friendship or relationship because I don't ever want anyone to look at me and think I am exaggerating or making up my OCD. I typically refrain from telling anyone until I get to know them really well. If I tell people too soon, it's as though they don't believe me because I come off as such a normal person. If only they had a clue what I looked like and acted like only a few years ago. I can feel myself let down the moment it comes out of my mouth and I realize they have no idea how serious it is.  It has definitely helped people understand the extent of my OCD since I quit everything and have turned it into my career - they have to know how serious it is now. 

It would be an incredible help if we held people accountable who claimed to have OCD when they don't. There is nothing worse than someone saying, "Oh! I have OCD too!" They must think we like our pencils lined up correctly and our beds made perfectly everyday like they do. That's not OCD. OCD is not a quirk, it's not an adjective, and it's not about being a perfectionist. The stigma the world has of this mental disorder is completely inaccurate and far beneath the bar. They have no idea what this disorder really is and yet claim to be on our same page. I always refer to the stigma against OCD as I would a person with special needs. For someone to respond who hasn't been diagnosed with OCD and say they have it, is just as insulting if I were to call myself "retarded" to a person with special needs. How would they feel? Probably just as worthless as we feel by having the biggest part of our worlds mocked down to nothingness with even just one look of deflection or doubt from what is really going on inside of us.

Bottom line? People should never go around saying they have OCD or use it mockingly in a sentence unless they have been clinically diagnosed. Join me by helping hold people accountable, and setting our stigma straight.

Do you struggle with telling new people about your OCD?

Do people ever respond in a way that insults everything about you?