Overcoming OCD & Depression: My Personal Journey and Recovery by David B. White - HTML preview

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Overcoming OCD: How to Live a Fulfilling Life without OCD




He had me fooled. I had known Dave White for more than a year when he asked
me to help him with a book. I figured that he was probably writing something
about selling successfully, because that’s what he does.

So, I was tremendously surprised when I learned that he was writing a book
about his own struggles with OCD. I knew about the compulsive checking of
locks and doors that’s associated with OCD, but I was totally unaware of the
depression that’s often part of the disease, and Dave is the last guy I ever
would have thought of as having issues with depression.

As he says in the book, he’s a Type-A personality, and I never saw him
without a smile and a hearty handshake. The Dave I know is a very personable
and positive guy, so he’s an excellent example of someone who has worked
very hard to beat OCD.

If you’re suffering from this disease, use Dave’s experiences as an
inspiration. Have faith that you can find healing, and work hard to attain
it. Then people who meet you will be amazed to learn that you ever suffered
with depression.


Bill Simpson-Editor

Foreword #2

         OCD ruled my young life. Through the help of family, friends,
medical professionals, and God, I have overcome my disease. I now lead a
wonderful life, and I'm able to enjoy my life.
    The second clause of that sentence is a vital part of my success.
       While I suffered from OCD, I actually led a wonderful life, but I
couldn’t enjoy it because OCD was holding me back. I could find the one cloud in the bluest sky, and I worried endlessly about things that seem foolish now. Back then, those
foolish things loomed as insurmountable obstacles to my health and my
    Now, however, I’m able to see those life-limiting fears for what they
really are. I’m able to enjoy and treasure my life, and I’m truly grateful
for all that I have. Life is not always easy for any of us but OCD is truly something

that can hold one back.
    So, my hope is to help you, my fellow OCD sufferer, move past your OCD
problems and gain the ability to enjoy your life. I know how overwhelming
your problems can seem, and I firmly believe that the steps that have worked
for me, will also work for you.
         It is my dream and it is very important to me that my lasting
legacy will be that, during my short time on this earth, I helped others to
feel whole again, by conquering their OCD and the other mental disorders that
restricted their lives. This book can be red for generations to come to help sufferers first

self diagnosis themselves and take care of the illness immediately. 
    You may not agree with all that I write, and that is understandable.  But,
if you take from this book some things, or just one thing, that changes your
life, then I will have made a positive difference in your life.




  “At the time you were born you were given an amazing gift - a gift that
most of us forget about as we grow older. It’s the power to design your own
unique life.  You are an artist and the canvas is your life.” Author Cheryl

    If I died tomorrow, my obituary in the local newspaper might read something
like this:

    David Barrett White, 38, the son of Nancy and J.B. White, died yesterday of
natural causes.  He was a simple man who loved watching football and enjoyed the outdoors

and his family.
    He had realized his football dream by working for the Philadelphia Eagles in Public Relations.
He had previously worked as an intern with the Washington Redskins and later
with the Florida Panthers.  He loved his country music, especially the songs
of Montgomery Gentry, Brooks and Dunn, and Travis Tritt, as well as the soft
music of Neil Diamond.
     As he grew up, he learned to love his family the most, and he learned
many important life lessons from his mistakes.  He was a resident of Lititz,
and a graduate of Susquehanna University (Class of 1990). He was employed
as a benefits consultant at a firm he loved - Richard J. Princinsky
Associates, Inc., of Hunt Valley, Maryland.
        Dave is survived by loving wife Gretchen, his son Justin 5, and his
daughter, Jillian, who he called his Queen with Teeth, 2. He was known to
have an A-Type personality and had a zest for life.  If he was not playing
sports, he was down at the bay fishing or fishing on a river, because he
found his soul on the water.
    His greatest accomplishment in life, though, was that he lived with
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for years and with the help of many, found a
way to conquer it.  He authored a the book “Overcoming OCD: How to Live a Fulfilling Life with out OCD.

    I can write this book today because my fear of dying and my compulsions
from OCD, have greatly dissipated. I understand why I felt the way that I did
and I hope to show others why they feel the way they do.  If you had asked
me about dying fifteen years ago, when I was crippled by OCD, I would have
told you that I was terrified and confused, and really saw no light at the
end of the tunnel. Life became difficult to even want to wake up in the morning because

OCD would come and go often in my life. 
    Now, I have gotten to the end of the tunnel and I see the light. Life is
good, and I can tell you that I feel so happy inside. And, although OCD has
been a constant battle, I have accomplished much in life and will continue
to do so. I want you to be able to rid your life of OCD and by reading this book

you are taking the first step to beat OCD. 
    I remember my Dad telling me that my grandfather had a favorite saying.
It’s become the saying that I live by, “Once you die, they are going to bury
you six feet deep for a long time, so make it happen in life.”
    After all, we are all born unto this earth and we will all die someday, but
the legacy that we leave is so important.  And, we hope, we will all live a
good life and live with God someday, to continue to be happy.



My biggest commitment to you, the reader, is to bring to you the results of
my research and my personal experiences, to show you in simple way the
ways in which you can understand OCD and walk away from it as I have. We can do this

Together, with this book, so that your life will change only for the better.
    I do not have all the answers for the sufferers of this debilitating
disorder, but I do know that I have many answers because I have suffered
from the disease and conquered it.
    I truly want to help you. I know that you may be confused and scared, as I
was so many years ago. I want to help you understand OCD and how to beat it.
    You will beat OCD if you have the desire to work hard and if you will
listen to your psychologist and take the proper medicine, if that is what
your doctor prescribes for you.
    Your life will change if you are willing to give yourself extreme
self-care and to love yourself enough to say “I do not want to feel the
pains of OCD anymore”.
    So read the pages of this book because no one deserves to live with OCD. I
will always be here for anyone who wants my help.

    Here is a quote which I read recently, and as you read the pages of this
book keep it in mind. It reads like this and it was said by a man named
Robert Half:
    “Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely,
and the likely definite.”
    Persist and you will succeed.


    Have any of these things ever happened in your life? Have these thoughts
ever stopped you in your tracks and scared you so badly that you shook from
your head to your toes and bothered you why you were having such thoughts?

Have you...

1. Felt for no reason that you might be dying from cancer, Aids, a brain
tumor, or some terminal disease?
2. Felt that you cannot move forward because you’re scared of the next move
that you might make to live your life?
3. Moved things around on a table or desk several times until you felt comfortable
with where you had placed them?
4. Felt that you had to clean everything around you, like your home or your
car, and be organized all the time to be able to function in life?
5. Gone downstairs several times during the night to check the stove, or the
locks on your doors, or your fireplace, to make sure the house would not
burn down while you were sleeping?
6. Obsessed about religion and God and feared the subject of the Devil and the numbers 666?
7. Counted numbers incessantly in your head ( 1,2,3,4,5, etc.) in an endless
number routine?
8. Seen a knife, felt a fear, and been scared that you had thought that you might harm

one. Although this action rarely happens, the thought and why you had it really scared you.
9. Washed your hands many times because of the fear of having germs and
contaminants on your hands?
10. Been on a plane as you hit turbulence and felt that as you were sure that
the nose of the plane was going to turn downward and crash to the earth?
11. Gotten a fork in a restaurant and, even though it looked clean, been so
afraid that it was infected with germs that you had to clean it before you
used it?
12. Hit a pothole and sworn that you hit someone, then driven back just to
feel comfortable that you did not ?
    If you’ve had these experiences, then chances are strong that you’re
feeling the insecurities that I felt when I was afflicted with Obsessive
Compulsive Disorder. You know that you shouldn’t be feeling this way, and
you wish you could control yourself from thinking these thoughts, but you
just can’t get them out of your mind. OCD is destroying your life, but there
is hope.

    Research described on a website called Brain Matters Imaging Centers has
shown that OCD can occur because of a breakdown in the communication path
between the front part of the brain, or frontal lobe, and deeper structures
(the basal ganglia). Some studies that Brain Matter Imaging Centers
mentioned showed that it takes an average of 17 years from the time OCD
begins for some people to obtain proper treatment. This happened to me and I do not want

it to happen to you. 

    I know these feelings of OCD, and I know that eight million other Americans
are currently suffering from this debilitating condition. A report that I
saw said, that perhaps one in fifty adults in the US may have OCD or have had
it at some time. And, it’s highly likely that millions more suffer from this
disease but hide it from others because of the fear that people will think
they are crazy. Another part of the struggles of OCD sufferers, is that many
doctors do not have the proper training to diagnose it.

    So, it’s highly likely that millions of other Americans and people
worldwide that have OCD, but keep the affliction their own personal secret.  
We all have our pride, and admitting a fault is one of the hardest things
for many people to do.

    I had a huge problem admitting to friends and family members, that I had OCD
because it would make me look vulnerable and weak. So I fought the thoughts
endlessly, until I finally went to my family and my psychologist and said
that I was tired and needed some help.

    OCD thoughts can scare a person to death because the person knows that the
are thoughts and a big waste of time. But, if the person does not perform
the OCD rituals - if he doesn’t check the locks on the door 5 times or wash
his hands 7 times - and if the person does not give proper attention to the
useless thoughts, life seems to stand still and will not move ahead until he
does go through his rituals.

    When I finally opened up and acknowledged my problem, I felt like a person
who one day admits that he is gay and comes out of the closet. The person
then says, “This is who I am, and this is how I feel.”

    Finally, in my teen years, I opened up and talked about how I felt. I
described the fears that had limited my life. I moved past the shame and
accepted the fact that I had the disease called OCD. In my case, I had a
severe case of the disease, and my first step in moving past it was to admit
that I had it and to allow myself to accept help from others.

    Now, after doing years of research on depression and OCD, I have learned
that OCD can be hereditary. It can also begin because of a tragic event.  
The loss of a loved one, breaking up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend,
divorce, and a car accident are examples of things that can trigger OCD.  If
you suspect that such an event has brought on your OCD, or if you believe
that it’s hereditary,  have confidence that you can heal and feel normal

    I read many books written by wonderful psychologists and doctors and by other people
who have dealt with OCD, and the books that touched me the most were from
the suffers themselves, because they actually lived with OCD and had many of
the fears that I did.

    Many of the books I that read were from psychologists who talked about
their experience of dealing with patients. I knew how these patients felt
because they had many of my fears.

    However, I always wanted to read a book that would not only tell me about
the effects of OCD, but which would show me how I could be cured. Because I
never found such a book, I have chosen to write about my experiences and
about how I have overcome my OCD. My hope is that my experiences will help
you overcome your OCD.

    To me, the difference between a book on OCD by a psychologist and a book
about OCD by a sufferer is similar to the difference between a book about
hurricanes and a book by someone who has lived through a hurricane.
Classroom theory and real-life experience are drastically different.  Both
have value, but a person who has been there can certainly provide valuable
insights that someone who hasn’t been there can’t possibly offer.

    I suffered from OCD, so I have firsthand knowledge of the disease. In
addition, I was actually in Florida on the day when Hurricane Andrew brought
horrific destruction. The experience of being in a house and wondering if
you’ll survive those 130 MPH winds is infinitely more terrifying than
watching a hurricane on television. And, just as the person who watches a
hurricane on TV doesn’t really know what it’s like to wonder if you’ll live
to see another day, the person who studies OCD doesn’t really know what it’s
like to live with the disease .

    I had only lived in South Florida for a couple of weeks when Andrew came
ashore. I remember vividly the smell of the air the next day and disruption
of lives and the destruction of property suffered by so many South
. I remember driving through Miami, the next morning and seeing the
looting of all the businesses and driving almost thirty miles down the
Florida Turnpike, and not seeing one house standing. That is a whole other
subject, and I could write a book about my experiences with Hurricane Andrew. What it
really showed me, however, is that only someone who has actually “been
there” can truly understand what a hurricane victim of an OCD victim is

    I believe that reading my words will help you to realize that you are not
alone with your feelings of OCD.  I have been where you are in your life,
and trust me, from the bottom of my soul when i say that you will feel
wonderful some day, even though right now you can’t believe that you will
never feel normal.   Of course, if you feel that OCD is your “normal”, then
look forward to a much better life ahead.

    Sometimes, I feel that I missed out on some important things in the first
30 years of my life. I don’t dwell on those thoughts, but I do use them as
motivation to make up on some lost time in my next thirty years.  You can do
the same.

    In this book, I am going to describe every thought that I had and every
painful experience that I had during my OCD years. Although my experiences
may be different from yours in some ways, I know that they’re similar in
their power to fill us with fear and to take so much of the joy out of our

    So, good luck and keep the faith because you will make it and beat OCD. I
did. You will too.

    David White
    Lancaster, PA


    I read a quote a day, wherever I am, and a lot of them are in my day timer. This daily

organizer is truly a book, and I would be lost without it.  It has thoughts at the top
of the daily pages for its users to stop and think about, before their day
begins.  Many of the quotes, which I have read there have really had strong
impacts on my life and have made me think about life.  One, which I read
recently, really had me stop and think and appreciate two special people in
my life, my wife, Gretchen, and my own mother. This is the quote:

    “We bear the world and we make it… There was never a great man who had not
a great mother- it is hardly an exaggeration- Olive Schreiner.

    I read this and could not help but think of my own Mom and the mother of my
own children, Gretchen. Both of these women, have enough love in them for ten
women and have shown me what true love is.  From the time I came into this
world, I have never been loved by someone more than my own mother, Nancy
White.  She has been my security blanket and my personal bodyguard, all
wrapped into one. If she could help it, she refused to allow anyone to hurt

    When I was a young boy, she lifted me up and constantly let me know that I
could accomplish anything that I put my mind to, and she made me feel that I
was a remarkable young man.  Because of her unending dedication and support,
I have been able to accomplish so much in my life.

    As I grew up, she felt a need to leave my father for several reasons, but
mainly because she could not live with a man who did not have the same love
in his heart for me, as she did.

    There was no one who would ever harm me while I was in elementary, high
school, or college, and she instilled in me, that I was someone who could
succeed in life, even though others did not believe in me.  It was she, who
supported me in sports, in education, and in life, and it was she who
persuaded me to see the psychologist who would diagnose my OCD and get me
the medication that I needed to feel normal again. No parent is perfect but
my mother is pretty darn close.

    Later on, Gretchen and I married and became the parents of two wonderful
children. Justin is 5 and Jillian is 2, and I treat our children with the
love that my own Mom gave to me as a youngster.  My wife is beautiful on the
outside and, most important, she is more beautiful on the inside and has
been there along the way when things were going well and when I was low and
needed her support. Thank you, Gretchen, for being you.

    Thanks to my brother Chris, my womb mate, or should I say twin brother, and
to my sister Heather, who have always loved me for who I am.
    We may have been separated as kids but with the help of God and our parents
we were later reunited as one.  I thank God for that because without family
it is tough to conquer this thing we call life.

    My brother and sister helped also to make me who I am today.  My brother
Chris, is also the first person,  who helped diagnosis me as potentially having
OCD because of his background in psychology. My sister Heather has always
just been a phone call away to ask for advice on things, and I thank her
from the bottom of my heart.

    Also, thank you so much to author Jon Gordon, who, after I read his book Energy
Addict, has become a good friend.  He allowed me to realize that positive
energy is the way to live life and succeed in life.  He is the inspiration
that enables me to think and complete this book.  I read his book on the way
home from a business trip in North Carolina and never thought reading a book
would change my life, as it did.  I want this book to be a book that will change lives.  Jon’s life and his writings on maintaining energy spiritually, mentally and physically, have helped me to look at life in a different perspective.

    I would be remiss not to mention such great friends that have crossed my
path in life.  Frank Tanki, Pete Serell, Al Giacoio (did not come to my
wedding but made my book), Keith Mekenney, Brian Floyd, and Chad Houck, Tommy
Bold, Gary Lamb, Lynne Watson (my boss), Dr. Bruce Miller, Ph.D, who always
accepted me for who I was.  Even though my OCD troubled me at different
times in my life, I had friends to talk with and accept me for who I was.  I
love all of you for that.

And last but not least I would like to thank the Good Lord upstairs, because
without him in my life, I am nothing.  He is the power who gave me the family
and friends I have in this lifetime. All these great people made me the man that I am today. 

Chapter 1
A Surreal and Scary Summer in the NFL

“Is Life worth living? Aye, with the best of us, heights of us, depths of
us- Life is the test of us!” Lorraine Roosevelt Robinson

    Since I was young, the NFL was my passion, and it has remained that way all
my life.  I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to work for the Washington
Redskins, the Florida Panthers in the NHL for a year, and, for the last six
seasons, for the Philadelphia Eagles.

    I did not play football in high school because I played baseball and soccer,
 but all I ever thought about was football and someday working in the NFL.  I was lucky enough as a 20-ye