Katie Wilson is a former patient at McLean’s OCD Institute.
I am six months pregnant and I am sleeping on a small patch of the living room floor, because every bed, sofa, or other surface in my home feels contaminated to me. Not safe. I am a trained and registered nurse, with a fear of blood that has caused me to quit my last two jobs and has left me believing I could be infected—as could be my unborn child, and anyone with whom I come into contact without the utmost care—with a deadly disease. My possible infection leaves me fearing even using utensils in my house, for fear they could spread the infection to my husband. I would really rather not eat, except that the child growing inside me needs nourishment. So I eat but each bite is so stressful. I wash my body, my hands, my surroundings for hours a day. OCD has overtaken me. It is winning. I am spiraling into a pit of fear and depression. There is no way I will be able to care for this baby who is due to be born in just three short months.
Fast forward to my admittance to the OCD Institute and I discovered hope. I had no idea that there was real hope out there—that I may not be stuck in this nightmarish, perpetual web of fear and rituals. I may be able to be a mom to this baby, to take care of my husband and home again as I so desired. I was all in.
Over the next 5 and a half weeks, I wholeheartedly bought in to the strategies of my treatment team. After months of having no clue what was happening to me (I never really understood OCD and was not properly diagnosed or treated until things were out of control), I was introduced to a whole team of people who knew this disorder inside and out and they told me that their strategies really worked! In addition to hope, at the OCDI I found fellowship and friendship with others who shared my struggle. I had always been surrounded by the loving support of family, but being around others with OCD made me feel a whole lot less alone in my pain. As we encouraged one another, high-fived each other, listened quietly to one another, or even were able to find humor together, we took steps to win back parts of our lives for which we each yearned.
The OCDI gave me the chance to be a great mom. I now have three children (2 girls, ages 4 ½ and 2 ½, and a boy, 6 months) and am filled with joy and profound gratitude each time I hug them and think of what may have been if I hadn’t found help at the OCDI. The team at the OCDI gave me the chance to be the wife, sister, daughter, and friend that I wanted to be. Every day is not rosy and easy, but I have the tools now to be able to be a woman who has OCD and lives her life instead of a woman owned by OCD. I am forever grateful.