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Michelle's Story: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to Achieve My Dreams

When I was about to turn 16, I would hear things in my mind like, “Touch this [thing] so many times so something bad won’t happen” or “You didn’t look at that right. Do it again, or else!” For a while, sleep was my escape. But then, my mind got so caught up in the disorder that I couldn’t even sleep peacefully. When I was able to sleep, my dreams would be taken over by negative thoughts. I would awaken tired, defeated, and more hopeless. I thought that surely I couldn’t share my bizarre thoughts because people would think I was crazy. “No one will understand,” I’d tell myself. “No one else thinks like this. What is wrong with me?”

The symptoms that I had been fighting since I was eight, finally caught up to me. When I opened up to my parents, they told me that everyone has strange thoughts and worries from time to time. As my intrusive thoughts worsened, they took me to see our pastors, my family doctor, counselors, and psychologists. I was still lacking a few key pieces to getting better, though–a diagnosis, proper treatment, and most of all, hope. When I couldn’t take it anymore and I was losing hope daily, so much so, that I didn’t want to live anymore; my family took me to our local crisis intervention unit. The staff there told my parents about Brook Lane. I was terrified at first, but after going for an initial appointment with my parents to meet a psychiatrist, gaining a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression, and being recommended to the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), things started looking a little less dim.

I was a patient in the PHP for three weeks during my sophomore year of high school. Each day, I received treatment from caring and professional staff members who wanted to see me become the best and healthiest version of myself physically and MENTALLY. At almost 38, I now believe that if I hadn’t received a diagnoses and treatment from Brook Lane to set me on my path of mental health wellness, I would have found a way to end my life. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live anymore either. OCD has a way of enveloping every thought I have. It can steal my joy and exhaust me in ways many cannot imagine.

In each year of recovery, I have had breakthroughs and setbacks regarding my mental health. I have learned that it takes more courage and strength to admit I need help and engage in the battle against mental health issues, than to ignore them and hope they go away. We don’t shame people with physical health issues. We don’t tell them to just pray their way through it, “buck up,” and things will get better. We diagnose, treat, and support these people. It’s more than time to do this for all health issues, both mental and physical. If there’s even just one person reading my story who can relate and feel hope for his/her future, I count it as a win. If you are in need of help, Brook Lane is here for you.

I have learned that Jesus, medications, therapy, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists can all coexist and work together for God’s purposes. I’d like to thank Brook Lane for setting me on my successful and healthy journey of life. Because of your programs, staff, and services, I have been able to accomplish goals I once never thought possible. I graduated from high school and college. I married my husband and we have a beautiful four year-old daughter and are expecting another child in August. Never let your mental health issues make you feel like you don’t have a life worth living. You can do this and Brook Lane can help.