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The absolute, number one priority for Taming Olivia is to help people living with OCD, and a huge part of that is getting the right information to the people who need it the most. I’ve been asked a lot recently about where I go for information, what has helped me the most, what books I’ve read, etc so I’m going to list everything I can think of here.

 

​These are some of the main places, people, charities and organisations that I’ve been to for help or information. Whether it’s to speak to someone or to read through websites and other materials, the following have all been really helpful. 

 

This list is by no means exhaustive, and different things work for different people, but hopefully you'll find something that helps on this page. 

​***Just a quick note to say that in England if you are feeling very poorly you are advised to head to your local A and E department. Or if you have been given a crisis number by your Dr to ring them and they can get help to you. Please do this if you need to, there is no shame in it, I’ve done it. It takes a strong person to realise they need support. You’re far too important not to ask for it.***

 

So here we go…​

 

 

Organisations

 

OCD Specific

OCD Action

OCD Action is the national charity focusing on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

They are a fabulous London-based charity - their support is nation wide. Check out their website to hear about all the wonderful help and support they can give you. 

 

OCD Youth 

This wonderful group is part of OCD Action, and is run by a team of young people with OCD - it's aimed at raising awareness of OCD and providing support for those living with the condition between the ages of 13 - 25.  They run the website which includes information about the support you can get from school and university along with age- specific help. They also organise outings, events, forums and a lot more!  

 

OCD-UK  

Run by the amazing Ashley Fulwood with help from a brilliant range of volunteers and his side kick Sue Millichap. Based in Derby but again nation-wide. Rather excitingly, OCD-UK has just expanded and appointed Sue as Children and Young Peoples Lead. There is loads of information on this, and a wide range other things, on their website. They are always on the look out for volunteers and Young Ambassadors as well if you fancy getting involved. 

 

The OCD Stories 

Created and run by the incredible Stuart Ralph, this podcast is amazing. Every week Stu brings out an interview with someone from the OCD community - therapists, psychologists, advocates, etc. The podcast has been going for three years and hosts interviews with people from all over the world - it is an enormous and vital resources for us. He has quite literally created a huge online library, of the highest quality, for us to find out everything we can about OCD and recovery.  

Stuart also runs the OCD Camp which is well worth looking into. The first one was last year and he's looking to do two next year! 

He also (yeah I know, he's incredible - he won the International OCD Foundation Hero Award this year - really well deserved!) runs a meet up once a month. To access the time and date and to sign up download the Meetup App and do a search for The OCD Stories Meetup. I've been a few times, it's a fantastic, friendly, supportive private environment where we all have a chat and are surrounded by people who understand.

Maternal OCD Charity 

 This is an amazing charity, run by Diana Wilson and Maria Bavetta. I work as a volunteer, running their Instagram page alongside the wonderful Kim French, all four of us have experienced postnatal OCD. The charity works very closely with OCD Action.

Natasha Daniels - Parenting Anxious Toddlers  includes loads of resources for young children, teens and parents. It also has a wonderful podcast. 

Mark Freeman

 Previous OCD sufferer and huge advocate for wellness and recovery. He focuses on positive change and is quite easily one of my absolute favourite advocates. I've learned such a lot of very helpful strategies from Mark. He uses wonderful illustrations to highlight his points. His book, The Mind Workout (or You are Not a Rock in the U.S.) made a huge impact on my recovery. Clearly written, easy to understand and full of hope. I'd recommend Mark to anyone and everyone.

Intrusive Thoughts 

An excellent resource for all those dealing with OCD centring around intrusive thoughts. This non-profit was founded by Rose Cartwright and Aaron Harvey - both of whom grew up with, and still experience, distressing intrusive thoughts.  This page talks openly about harm and sexual based intrusive thoughts and has an excellent team writing for them, one of the being the fabulous Dr Steven Phillipson and OCD Advocate Alison Dotson (both of these are listed below).  

CBT School  by the Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT

An incredible resource, check out Kimberley's Instagram page too it's wonderful. 

OCD Online by Dr Stephen Phillipson

Educational, insightful and compassionate. This is an amazing source of support and information. 

The International OCD Foundation 

This is a one stop shop for learning about OCD and the information it holds will probably answer many of the questions you have about the disorder. It’s American based so their lists of therapists and courses are somewhat limited for us in the UK but you can’t beat this website for educating you on all things OCD. There’s also a huge section on OCD in children so if you’re a parent or carer this information could prove invaluable.

The OCD and Anxiety Center of Baltimore -  (and basically anything Jon Hershfield)

Again, it’s based in America, this too has valuable information on it. What I like most about this website is that it first introduced me to Jon Hershfield, I have so much respect for this man. He has an uplifting attitude towards living with OCD and recovery. Go to the website, read his blog and watch his YouTube videos (just Google these). He has a calm and positive manner and you can’t help but feel better after reading or watching some of his posts. He had also written on of my top recvoery books called Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and he has a new book out on the 1st December focusing on Harm OCD 

 

The Secret Illness  

These guys focus on about managing OCD, and OCD recovery, through creativity. They have a newly opened online gallery where people can share their artwork, poetry, etc. This website also includes a wall where people share their stories. You can be anonymous, so if you fancy sharing your story, this is a great place to start. If you enjoy creative activities get in touch with these guys, they’re usually working on new projects and are often looking for people to take part.  They are currently working on an art installation at The Maudsley with the brilliantly talented Jonathon Tilley from Chipping Away at OCD

 

Chrissie Hodges -

Chrissie Hodges is a mental health advocate and public speaker on obsessive-compulsive disorder, mental illness, and stigma reduction surrounding mental health. She is the author of 'Pure OCD: The Invisible Side of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder'. Chrissie is well known for her fabulous youtube videos here -  she is brilliant at normalising some of the tougher parts of OCD. There are no barriers, everything is discussed openly and honestly- the way it should be. Chrissie has also recently set up the charity OCD Gamechagers.

Unstuck: An OCD Kids Movie 

Chris Baier's daughter has OCD and after a particularly difficult summer decided, with the rest of his family, to advocate for OCD in children. His first stop, this beautiful and incredibly moving documentary by Chris himself and Kelly Anderson. It follows the journeys of young people with OCD in an interview format from the start of symptoms surfacing all the way through to getting diagnosed, therapy, exposure and a future beyond the reaches of debilitating OCD. It's difficult to put into words just how incredibly brave and eloquent every single one of these young people are - the documentary is as informative and it is inspiring. 

They  also now host facebook live interviews with young people with OCD.

 

Not Your Mama's OCD  - A beautifully-written blog by Chelsea Elker focusing on Postnatal/postpartum OCD. Full of hope and encouragement.

Elizabeth McIngvale - 

OCD survivor, advocate, author and public speaker. Founder of The Peace of Mind Foundation

NOCD

NOCD features a free self-help app and support community. Inside the NOCD app, members can practice evidence-based ERP treatment exercises, receive personalized guidance during OCD episodes, track treatment progress data, and access a supportive community of real people who understand OCD. Community members can learn more from educational content on NOCD'S  blog, social media, newsletters, and website.

Alison Dotson 

Author, OCD advocate. Her website hosts Q & A sessions with lots of big players in the world of OCD advocacy. She had a great sense of fun and I always feel better after reading something she's written. 

 

Jeff Bell & Shala Nicely 

This website focuses on the role of uncertainty and offers e-courses and webinars as well as general information.

 

Jeff Bell (again) - A2A Alliance 

Self help 

 

Get Self Help 

 I've used this website to help support the therapy I've had in the past and the homework that I do now. It provides CBT self help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self help mp3s

 

Psychology Tools 

CBT worksheets, handouts and resources.  

Medical Services

 

GP/Dr 

I’ll do a separate post on this soon but, for now, this is the place to go if you aren’t feeling low, depressed, anxious, etc. There’s a likelihood you will probably be asked if you want to go on medication, again this is a personal choice – do your research. REMEMBER to ask about therapy and getting on a waiting list. Even if you decide to take medication, it is important to ask your GP what other treatment is also out there for you. They may not always think to offer it or mention it, so it may be down to you to enquire. Some waiting lists can be long so getting on it as soon as possible is a good idea.

 

 

IAPT

Improving Access to Psychological Treatment

These tend to be divided into geographical areas and in London it’s split into boroughs so the service you get may differ depending on where you live. This service is a great idea as it cuts out the need to see a General Practitioner and gets you through to a phone assessment for CBT and other talk therapies much quicker. From the assessment, you go into treatment. Again, depending on where you live the waiting list times can vary. This is my local one and an example of what you will see. If you can’t find one for your area contact your GP surgery. They will be able to give you the information. The service may also be called something else in your area, a quick enquiry at your GP surgery will also help you find out what it is. 

 

Books 

 

Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT 

- Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield, Paul M. Salkovskis

This book really helped me find my footing when I was in the early stages of learning about OCD. It’s incredibly well written and the authors write with empathy and understanding. They use charts and diagrams and cut information up into bitesize chunks so it’s much easier to sink in. I’ve read it three times now and still find it an amazing tool. It talks about all areas of OCD before honing in on: Checking OCD, Contamination OCD, Rumination (in this case harm) OCD and Religious OCD (I think Americans call this Scrupulosity OCD). It’s an amazing resource to have in your arsenal.

 

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Jon Hershfield, MFT and Tom Corboy, MFT, foreword by James Claibor

You’ll notice Jon Hershfield again here! This book is an exercise book of sorts and leads you through various mindfulness-based activities It uses a really simple layout and lots of analogies and examples to help you understand the basics. A big plus is that it covers what feel like an endless amount of OCD themes. Again, as with anything Jon Hershfield is involved in I found reading this not only helpful but a positive experience too.

Overcoming Harm OCD: Mindfulness and CBT Tools for Coping with Unwanted Violent Thoughts - Jon Hershfield, MFT

When a Family Member Has OCD: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Skills to Help Families Affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Jon Hershfield, MFT

OCD - Tools to Help You Fight Back! : A CBT Workbook for Young People by Cynthia Turner (Author), Chloë Volz (Author), Georgina Krebs (Author), Lisa Jo Robinson (Illustrator) 

 

OCD - Tools to Help Young People Fight Back!: A CBT Manual for Therapists Kindle Edition

by Cynthia Turner (Author), Chloë Volz (Author), Georgina Krebs (Author), Lisa Jo Robinson (Illustrator)

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming OCD

Book by Dawn Huebner

Mad Girl: A happy life with a mixed-up mind – Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon has OCD and has written about her experiences with it. She also started Mental Health Mates which is incredible too.  She’s funny, witty and honest (sometimes painfully so). A must read for those who have experience of living with OCD without ‘coming out’ about it and for women with OCD who have gone through pregnancy and motherhood. ​

 

The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal, Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation & Distress Tolerance - Matthew McKay PH.D. Jeffrey C. Wood, PSY.D.​ Jeffrey Brantely, MD. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was once only used for those with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (this used to be called Borderline Personality Disorder and is still often referred to as this) but now it’s also being used to help people living with a range of other conditions too. In fact, I often think everything would benefit in some focused DBT therapy.  As someone who has lived with Anxiety, OCD and Depression, I do find that my emotions sometimes have the ability to overwhelm me, and this book is brilliant at helping to teach the skills needed to help manage emotions. It’s written in a very supportive way, with compassion, and the activities in it, both theoretical and practical, are really helpful. 

Apps

Headspace - Andy Puddicomb 

This app costs money but you can get a lot of information from reading the articles on their Facebook page or website. It has a beautiful calming design and uses fun animation to help you learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation and helps you progress in steps. The app is divided into sections depending on what you want your outcome to be, there’s both an anxiety and depression section which may cross over to us with OCD. Downside – it’s not cheap. They do say they give away free membership to people who need it so it might be worth contacting them. If all else fails, they have a free 10 sessions taster that I found really helpful and you can listen to that as much as you like. It’s a good starting place, his voice alone has me close to a state of deep relaxation, it’s very calming.

There are free mindfulness and meditation apps available too.

nOCD

NOCD features a free self-help app and support community. Inside the NOCD app, members can practice evidence-based ERP treatment exercises, receive personalized guidance during OCD episodes, track treatment progress data, and access a supportive community of real people who understand OCD. Community members can learn more from educational content on NOCD'S  blog, social media, newsletters, and website.

 

 

Social Media

You can find the majority of social media pages through the websites above. 

 

Paul Salkovskis - Professor of Clinical Psychology, Researcher and author (one of the authors of my favourite OCD related  book 'Break Free from OCD' - mentioned under book section. 

 

Rosy - This is the lady who does the Wednesday evening slot PNDhour. It’s amazing and there are often ladies who have lived with, or are living with, Maternal OCD.

 

Richard Taylor - . Mental Health Advocate and Chair of OCD Youth Action Project

 

Adam Radomsky  -  Psychology professor and CBT therapist, focuses a lot on OCD. 

Fiona Challacombe -   Clinical psychologist at CADAT London & SWMH, KCL. Researching and treating anxiety disorders. Specialising in maternal OCD and anxiety. Patron of the Maternal OCD charity. 

Ashley Curry   Ashley talks honestly and openly about his very difficult and intense experience with postnatal OCD. Ashley isn't afraid to say it how it is and reading his blog and his tweets always inspires me to fight too. He is a huge recovery advocate and well worth checking out. There's a website coming too, I'll add it here, when it launches.

 

General Mental Health 

The Mighty 

I find this website very informative. It contains stories and articles written by people living with a disability or illness. There is a whole section on OCD. The posts are edited before posting so they tend to be not only interesting in content but well written too. If you’re looking for people to identify with, this place is a great stop.

 

The Samaritans 

An amazing charity. They help people who are in distress, despair or feeling suicidal. I used Samaritans after losing my parents, when my OCD was out of control and I was completely overwhelmed. Speaking to someone who listened made a huge difference, released a pressure valve in me and I didn’t have to worry about putting the load onto a family member again. I will forever be grateful to that lady who spoke to me that day.  

Mind – The Mental Health Charity 

Mind is an amazing charity. They are the people I would turn to in times of crisis or if I needed support and advice immediately on anything mental health related. They give legal mental health based advice and housing advice as well as general support. They are a bottomless pit of contacts and support groups. Mind covers all forms of mental illness and has a large section on OCD. A great charity and a very helpful website!

Heads Together

Headed by the Royals.

In their own words.

"Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental well being and have the practical tools to support their friends and family."

There are many other organisations that I haven't had 1-2-1- experience with but I'll list a few here in case you fancy looking into them.

 

MQ Mental Health Research

In their own words "Our vision is simple: to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented. 

 

With the help of our supporters and a global network of leading scientists we can make this a reality. Together we are championing and funding research into mental health that will change millions of lives." 

 

Time to Change  

You might sometimes hear the OCD community criticising Time To Change -  it's because they've allowed Channel 4 to sign their media charter. Channel 4 commission Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners despite being repeatedly asked by the OCD charities not to. Despite this, it's still a great resource so I'd recommend checking it out - literally anything that can help is BRILLIANT in my book.

 

Young Minds A charity supporting children and young people's mental health.  

 

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance 

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is a coalition of UK organisations, including Maternal OCD, with a vision to see all women across the UK get consistent, accessible and quality care and support for their mental health during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth, although I find their information invaluable now and I'm five years postnatal. I could write about this coalition for age and still not do it justice so it's probably better for you to check it out yourself. Alain Gregoire is chair of this coalition and is one of the best speakers I've ever heard. I think you can get some of his talks on youtube.  

Mark Williams   

Mark is the founder of the International Fathers Mental Health Day and talks openly about his experiences of anxiety and depression. 

 

Some extra pointers

 

*There are whole communities of people living with OCD out there on the internet. If you’re a Brit, the twitter community is tight knit and very supportive. I’m not sure about other countries, only because I’ve not looked into those as much but there will be something out there. There will be LOADS of people on social media who are not on these lists on this page. I deliberately only included the people who are in the public eye already. To find others, keep an eye out for those talking about OCD – you’ll soon find lots of other people who have been through the same as you and understand the journey you are on.

 

*If you #ocd in twitter/instagram/facebook a load of people come up and you can find people who have lived through similar to you. It’s what I did. Please just ignore the ridiculous tweets by people who still believe sorting jellybeans is a form of OCD. I am seeing less and less of these daft posts as the days go by - but for now, just overlook them and go to the posts that will help the most.

 

*If you put ‘OCD support groups’ into Facebook a lot of groups pop up that you could request to join (again, miss the daft ones based on misconceptions). I know people who either love these groups, or find them very triggering, so you’ll need to check them out for yourselves.

 

*PLEASE remember that although it’s fantastic to find people who have been through the same as us and to feel the massive relief that we are not alone, it is also essential that we focus on recovery. Try not to spend too long caught up in chats about how hard life with OCD can be. Yes, there’s a place for that too, but try to use the groups for hope and recovery ideas and if you’re coming away from them feeling defeated rather than hopeful it may be time to leave that particular group.

 

*Most websites are available on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc too. Familiarise yourself with the icons for each and if you find them on a website you are reading from, you can click on the icon and they will take you straight to the social media sites. From there you can follow each organisation/person. You will get notifications from them when they post rather than having to keep checking the websites.

 

*Whilst searching, you're likely to come across the term 'Pure O'. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about whether this term should be used or not, but basically it is used to refer to someone who has internal compulsions. They do not visibly display any outward signs of compulsion but will do so 'internally'. Examples of internal compulsions are things like scanning memories for evidence, seeking reassurance through memories of previous experiences, etc. The term is often the subject for heated debate, but it is basically OCD. 

 

Ok, so there you go. I'm learning loads more all the time so I'll add them as I go along. I really hope you find something from these that helps you. Oh, and one last thing, these are the places that helped me. There are plenty of other areas out there that I've not yet discovered, but for now, I hope this is a good starting point for you. ​

 

 

Catherine x

 

 

 

 

©2018 by Taming Olivia. All rights reserved. Disclaimer