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OCD Is not Me – It’s Only a Part of Me

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For those who don’t know, don’t remember, or don’t care, the words beginning with ‘peace’ are loosely based on a very popular TV series. Now, it is time to logically think about this and try to guess what is the name of the program that this piece was taken from.

Since around 1985, with my techniques and my positive affirmations, I have been able to push my way through most of my OCD situations much more effectively and move forward. Not always easy; I think more succinctly and attempt to do what has been hard.

In October 2016, I got a position at a bank processing CDs and Money Markets, which was kind of boring. Within a year’s time, I was able to switch my position. By late 1987, I held this job for a year, drove a car– whether it be either leased or financed – had a couple of relationships and had a boost in my self-confidence. By this time, my work in the bank was often more challenging but interesting, and my OCD symptoms were reduced. During the following year, 1988, I was promoted from a loan processor assistant trainee to a loan processor. Due to the merger of two banks, my position at the bank ended in June 1990. All told I remained at the bank for a period of three and a half years. Nice progress with my OCD was impressive. A few days later, my mother’s husband died, and other situations changed. However, OCD is not me; only a part of me.

Scheduling things to do was getting more and more difficult. Although, I received unemployment allowance and looked for a new job, life was chaotic and stressful. New Year 1991, six months post working at the bank, no new prospects and running out of money was not a good way to begin any year. Due to those events, my OCD and anxiety symptoms returned like a tidal wave and lasted most of that year. By March 1992, through the help of VESID, I was placed in a vocational training programme. A few months later, the programme gave me the opportunity to volunteer in the Grant Department of North Shore Hospital.Three months past and one of my co-workers went on medical leave, and I was asked if I would work there temporarily. Jumping at this chance was a positive move. My shift was long as my hours were from 8am–5pm, four days a week; which came to 32 hours weekly, and I was paid. About six months later, this gentleman resumed his position, and they could not fit me into the budget, so it was time for me to leave.

Within a few months, in November 1993, I moved into a supported housing place in Lynbrook. Also, through the grapevine, I heard that the worker left for good and the Department wanted me to return, but they were unsuccessful in finding me. Consequently, with all the transitioning my OCD came back. At that juncture, I put the tools I learned into action and I mostly was able to keep my OCD symptoms at bay. Several weeks passed, and I went back to the same training place. This became a turning point in my OCD life. However, I think to myself: OCD is not me; only a part of me.

By this time, spring of 1994, I had been unemployed since my work at the North Shore Hospital around eight months prior. Looking for work plus being anxious and obsessive was a good combination. My OCD kept me looking for work, perhaps checking in the newspapers almost daily was too much. Once or twice a week, I returned to North Shore Vocational Program for a couple of employment readiness groups and these meetings would keep me in the loop for future job trends. Also, I went to my local library and spent many hours weekly looking obsessively for job information. As you can tell in my work search, OCD is not me; only a part of me.

Oh yes, my OCD has been much, much more than its five-year mission, to explore weird new worlds, to seek out new friends and organisations, to boldly go where no Howard has gone before. For the answer to the TV programme question is of course, Star Trek.

Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist in New York.


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