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Former OCD patient shares a profound experience with Rogers care

01/18/18 02:50:pm

thankyou.jpgIt’s become common for Rogers to receive letters from former patients thanking our staff for helping them retake their lives back from various mental illnesses, but few give the same look into the life of someone with OCD as this one.

Amanda, a patient at Rogers–Oconomowoc at Cedar Ridge, shared a letter that detailed what it was like living with her OCD before Rogers, and how we’ve helped her.

“I wouldn’t leave my house except to attend work and even that had stopped the couple of weeks leading up to this point,” Amanda writes. “Instead of causing joy when sitting next to my daughter, I felt sick. Absolutely, nauseating to think I could have these thoughts. By the end of a work day I felt dread as I thought about driving home. What if this were the day that I would finally do it, finally drive off the road and hit that pedestrian? What if today is the day that I kill my daughter? My family will never forgive me, I’ll be in prison for life, and I’ll have to kill myself because I couldn’t stand being without my daughter. I had better call my mom in the middle of this panic attack; maybe if I tell her about this, it won’t happen.”

She then goes on to describe how even though she had received 14 negative test results for HIV, her OCD led to her feeling certain that she was HIV positive. She says that she knew she needed help when her thoughts affected her so much that suicide seemed like the solution. After two weeks at Rogers, she felt like she was in the right place, thanks to the treatment team talking to her “like a normal respectable adult.”

“They saw past my mental illness and they saw me,” she says. “They saw my heart, my passion, and my fear. This is a combination of the most amazing people I have met. They wake up every day and drive in to treat a whole house of individuals just like myself.”

In the letter, Amanda thanks Mark Rossing, MD; Caitlin Brooks, her behavioral specialist; and John Fischer, her therapist—referring to them as a team of “real life superheroes.”

“They didn’t give up, they challenged me,” Amanda says. “They didn’t allow me to just say I can’t or I don’t know; they evoked emotion from me. That is what we need to do to heal. They reminded me that there is life outside of OCD brain and it is a life worth living.”

After treatment at Rogers, Amanda has captured her dream of being a mental health advocate and has also been trained as a lead presenter and young adult presenter for End the Silence. She’ll be going to middle and high schools throughout Dane and Green County to speak on mental health.

“I realize this wouldn’t have been successful without my hard work and dedication to getting better,” Amanda says. “However, I couldn’t have done it without out my phenomenal team of professionals. I owe my life to Rogers.

“Thank you for giving me my life back as a young single mother with a passion for change!”

Amanda’s letter to Rogers can be read in its entirety below.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1/06/2018

Greetings Rogers’ Team,

This time last year I had only been out of OCD treatment for a month and a half. Wow, has my life changed since then. When I first walked through the doors at Rogers’ Cedar Ridge I felt like a freshman stepping into a brand-new school. I was surrounded by strangers; my anxiety and OCD were at their peak and I was only a couple of weeks out of inpatient care for attempting to take my life. I was desperate and terrified. I wouldn’t leave my house except to attend work and even that had stopped the couple of weeks leading up to this point. Instead of causing joy when sitting next to my daughter, I felt sick. Absolutely, nauseating to think I could have these thoughts. By the end of a work day I felt dread as I thought about driving home. What if this were the day that I would finally do it, finally drive off the road and hit that pedestrian? What if today is the day that I kill my daughter? My family will never forgive me, I’ll be in prison for life, and I’ll have to kill myself because I couldn’t stand being without my daughter. I had better call my mom in the middle of this panic attack; maybe if I tell her about this, it won’t happen. My answers? Barricade myself in my room or bathroom. Forget her having friends over because they probably brought bed bugs, or what if I kill her friends? That’s what my brain told me. There was someone else’s belongings sitting there I better clean immediately so the bugs don’t spread. Falling asleep in a hotel- forget about it. How could I sleep when there would be bugs crawling all over me? I wonder if I put enough bug strips throughout the house. I had better message my doctor again to order a new HIV test, surely the past 14 negative tests were wrong; I know I am HIV positive. This is just the tip of the ice berg. I knew I needed intensive intervention when the thoughts plagued me so terribly that being dead was my solution.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I finally felt like I was in the right place. My treatment team consisted of Mark Rossing, MD, Caitlin, Behavioral Specialist, and John, Therapist. What a combination of real life super heroes. I would sit across from them and wonder “how on earth could they be talking to me like I am a normal respectable adult?” They did it, they saw past my mental illness and they saw me. They saw my heart, my passion, and my fear. This is a combination of the most amazing people I have met. They wake up every day and drive in to treat a whole house of individuals just like myself. This is their choice, something drove them to these careers paths, and that something must be compassion. How else could you break through to someone who was convinced they were pure evil with no hope of ever smiling again? Dr. Rossing is by far the greatest psychiatrist I have ever encountered. He listened to me, he took the time to get to know me prior to making medication adjustments, and ensured that he explained the how and why to any of his decisions. I have a fear of taking pills and he doesn’t even realize how easy he made it for me. He spoke to me like I was an intelligent adult capable of understanding and just needed some guidance.

Caitlin and John- there couldn’t be a better collaboration. They didn’t give up, they challenged me. They didn’t allow me to just say I can’t or I don’t know; they evoked emotion from me. That is what we need to do to heal. They reminded me that there is life outside of OCD brain and it is a life worth living. Without providing reassurance in a detrimental way, they reminded me that my daughter was lucky to have a mother like me who cared so deeply and wanted to get better. Together they did ERP and DBT skills that have made me a better person.

Life since hasn’t been a smooth ride. I have had my difficulties. I have had bad days but thanks to the team at Rogers, I have the skills needed to get through these days. I stay in therapy with someone who specializes in OCD and see my psychiatrist for follow-ups. They haven’t had to do much as far as my OCD goes because the skills I learned at Rogers have been life changing.

What I am doing now! I cannot wait to tell this, I am beyond excited! One of the big lessons I learned was behavioral activation and it works. I continued to force myself out of the house. Now I enjoy it again. I keep plans with friends and family, I have re-discovered my love for reading, I have a gym membership, and love spending time with my daughter. Caitlin would be so proud of the sleep overs! I am ten months into my new job with TMG as a Consultant Services Support Specialist. We are an IRIS Consultant Agency that collaborates with individuals who have developmental and/or physical disabilities as well as frail elders to help them self-navigate through the government program. I love my job. I got into volunteering for an organization called Santa’s Without Chimneys, but the volunteering I am most excited about is with NAMI Dane County (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It has always been my dream to be a mental health advocate and now I am living it.

I have become trained as a Lead Presenter and a Young Adult Presenter for End the Silence. I will be presenting in Middle and High Schools throughout Dane County and now Green County. In June, I will be training to become a Support Group Facilitator. Once that training is completed I will move on to train to be a teacher for family members of loved ones struggling with mental illnesses. I will bring my experience to the classroom and teach them how to interact with their loved ones, how to best get through to them, as well as their own self-care. As of January 22, 2018, I will be a junior in college. I am going for my Bachelors in Psychology with Lakeland University. Once I have obtained my Bachelors, I will be moving on to the graduate program. It is my dream to change lives like those at Rogers have for me.

I realize this wouldn’t have been successful without my hard work and dedication to getting better. However, I couldn’t have done it without out my phenomenal team of professionals. I owe my life to Rogers.

Thank you for giving me my life back as a young single mother with a passion for change!

Sincerely,

 

Amanda

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