Hey there, I’m Chelsea! I am 26 years old and recently graduated with a Masters in Psychology. I have suffered in the past with OCD and Tourette Syndrome (along with the other illnesses included with the Deluxe OCD package such as Depression and Anxiety). It has changed my life completely. It is something that I had to continuously fight and overcome. I still have a few lingering symptoms I have to stay on top of every now and then but am at a place I couldn’t ever imagine myself being.
It started to appear when I was eight years old and I traveled all over the United States with my family to receive treatment. I was introduced to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Therapy (ERP) when I went to UPENN The Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety. I worked with 2 doctors every day for a little over a month. My parents and I lived in a hotel room making the best of it. I guess that is always what I have found myself doing. Making the best of every situation. Eventually, they said I would need more advanced help. So, in 2010 I was admitted to Rogers Memorial Hospital located in Wisconsin. It is a residential hospital for mental illness. I was in a specific unit full of other teenagers struggling with OCD. After three months of living there and working on facing my OCD, I was “cured”.
For four years I was free from OCD. I graduated from high school and went off to college to study Psychology. My dream – inspired by those doctors from UPENN – has been to become a Clinical Psychologist that specializes in OCD and Anxiety Disorders. My OCD crept back in during my Freshman year of college. In all honesty, there were signs of it I hadn’t noticed in the previous years. This OCD, however, was new. It morphed into something unexpected. It tricked me into thinking I was dizzy. Tricked me into being bedridden. Irrational intrusive thoughts played games with my mind. I took a medical leave from college my sophomore year and realized that what we had thought was Postural Orthostatic Hypertension (POTS) was mainly my OCD. I tried fighting it on my own but this was new territory. I gained over 50 pounds in a matter of months causing disordered eating. Rogers Memorial Hospital admitted me for a second time.
The first step was admission into the Eating Disorder Center and then into the Adult OCD Center Cedar Ridge. It was the hardest fight I would ever face, but the experience was so positive. The people I met, the support system there, and the beautiful environment made this time a fond memory and a place I go back to in my mind when I need comfort.
My life experiences seem surreal looking back. In the present, I still face some lingering thoughts and emotions here and there. I am growing as a person and learning more about what works and doesn’t for me. I have officially graduated with my Masters of Arts in Psychology, something I never dreamed would happen just a few years ago. School has always been my biggest trigger. I would have said in the past that getting this far is a miracle, however, I do not think there was ever another option for me. I refuse to give into my mental illnesses. Of course I made it here! I thank God every day for the strength and support I have been given. I will continue to fight for the life I have always dreamed of and hopefully be a help and support to anyone reading this blog! So of course, I’d love it if you guys came along on this journey with me!
~ Stay Chipper Friends! ~
I would love to hear from you if you find you are relating to anything I’ve written! You can email me at Chipperchelseakay@gmail.com!
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