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Former Madison OCD patient thanks treatment team, uses help he received to support others

05/16/23 02:30:pm

Fernando says although he grew up having many OCD tendencies, he didn’t seek help until the symptoms became debilitating.

After Fernando’s daughter was born, he started to have obsessive thoughts, fearing he could harm her. That led to him wanting to avoid her, which he says caused pain and depression. He searched online for help.

“I was officially diagnosed with OCD,” says Fernando. “My therapist told me Rogers has experts in treating it. I said, ‘There’s no way I’m going to a place like that. There’s a lot of stigma around mental health.’”

Nicole Wiswell, Behavioral Specialist.jpgAfter a few weeks, Fernando started treatment in Madison. He says he knew right away he was finally getting the help he needed. Compassion combined with evidence-based treatment helped him find the road to recovery. He credits the treatment team, specifically Nicole Wiswell, who was a float behavior specialist and is now a float therapist, with saving his life.

“She (Nicole) and the team of specialists taught me invaluable things that helped me immensely,” he says. “Before Rogers, I experienced clinicians looking at me like what I was describing was weird. I didn’t get a lot of empathy, but she was very empathetic, like she heard it before, and knew how hard it was. I will never forget what she and Rogers did for me.”

“I remember his reaction when he learned that he’s not the only one who’s struggled with more violent obsessions,” says Nicole. “He was open to feedback and trying things and really threw himself into the work. His progress was astounding! He was so motivated to be able to be the dad he wanted to be for his daughter.”

Today, Fernando uses his experience to help others.

“I provide psycho education and work as an OCD peer specialist, supporting people from all over Latin America and Spain,” he says. “I try to pass along as much as I can the kindness and expertise that was shown to me.”

“It warms my heart to watch the video of Fernando and his family and see how well they’re doing,” says Nicole. “I believe that him sharing his experiences will bring hope to many.”

Click the video above to hear more of how Rogers helped Fernando rise above OCD and anxiety.

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