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

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me on how I was going to get better. 

I also found out later in life that some of my OCD was hereditary
because other members of my family had had it in their lives. There have been

many studies done that show that OCD is indeed hereditary.  I saw my
psychologist on and off for a couple of years, and he worked with me to
train my brain to become a brain that would think good things and try to
enjoy growing up.  Bruce during  psychotherapy would allow me to open
up comfortably on what angered me and scared me to death, and he taught me
to change the way I was thinking.

Because of his experience in working with children, he was able to assess
my thoughts and carefully try to bring resolutions to them every time I went
to see him.  He would continually assure me that my feelings were normal
most of the time, and this reassurance helped me to build my self-esteem and
my outlook on life.  His office was always a haven of peace for me in a time
when I needed a friend just as much as a doctor.  We still talk once in a while and I
still thank him for caring enough to help me and to get me on medication,
which I personally needed.  I still consider him a great friend and someone
who helped make me who I am.

Psychotherapy is something which, in my opinion, all people with OCD should
consider, because for a long time you think you can beat OCD, but sometimes
you just can not.  Asking for help takes a lot of guts, and at first opening
up, to someone else might be the hardest thing you ever do, but you will
benefit from it.

If the therapy does not work for you, a therapist can always talk with your
physician, to see if medication should be the next step towards your
recovery.  I look back on my sessions with Bruce and I can remember walking
out so many nights feeling like I was growing up and that I was normal eventhough

I was working through my OCD.

Chapter 7 Paxil and other SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

“Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress.”

Paxil, is the prescription drug that got me back on the track to recovery,
with my OCD. Paxil has definitely changed my life for the better.  Many
medications are available to people suffering from depression, and Paxil is
what was prescribed for me. It has made me a better man and in someway saved

my life.

Prozac is the name most commonly known for depression medication. Almost 10
million people take that medication, and it has cured thousands of people.

Paxil is a prescription drug that has garnered much media attention lately
because of its potential risk of suicidal behavior in younger adults.  A
study recently done with 15,000 patients using Paxil and dummy pills found,
that the frequency of suicidal attempts was higher in young adults, who were
taking the prescription drugs.

In October of 2004, the FDA concluded that antidepressant medications can
increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and
adolescents with depression.  There were eleven suicide attempts with the
users of Paxil and none were the result of a death, during the study.  
Reports showed that eight of the people tested were between the ages of
18-30 years of age.

Also there was some recent news that came out about Paxil and it said that
it could cause a “hostility event” in some who took the antidepressant. A
study was done, and it found that 60 out of 9,219 people who took Paxil, or
0.65 percent, had this “hostility event,” compared to 20 of 6,455 who were
given a placebo, or 0.31 percent.  With anything, there are risks involved
and I can say that for me, Paxil has done wonders.  It also really shows the
importance of continuing to be evaluated by a doctor after going on any

Contradicting the recent fear of Paxil is a new study that came out recently
and showed some positive attributes of Paxil and other SSRI’s. According to
Dr. Wanda Filer, who is a well respected doctor and health reporter in Central Pennsylvania, a
new study showed that before 1988, when SSRI showed up on the market, there
was a steady level of suicide in the United States.  But, with the evolution
of SSRI’s, there has been a big decline in suicide rates in the United States
since the late 1980s.  Dr. Filer mentioned that as many as 33,000 people’s
lives have been saved from suicide because of antidepressant drugs like
Paxil and Zoloft and other anti-depressants.

Reports say that new labeling may be coming to these drugs. These new labels
will have warnings of the risk of taking some of these medications.  Dr.
John E. Karns, the director of clinical development for Glaxo Smith Kline,
the maker of some depression medications, still says that the drug benefits
outweigh the risks. It should be noted that all the patients who
participated in their studies,had major depression or some serious psychiatric disorders.

I was prescribed Paxil on that day when I entered my doctors office, and to
this day I attribute most of my recovery to Paxil. I was not suffering from
major depression, and even though OCD was a tough journey for me, suicidal
thoughts never crossed my mind.  Still, my OCD symptoms were strong, and
Paxil has helped me to move past them. Literally within a couple of months of being

prescribed Paxil, my OCD symptoms greatly went away. 

We all have to remember that everyone has different degrees of OCD so it may take

longer for some to heal from OCD than others.  Some have mild disorders and obsessions, and some are seriously depressed with high degrees of obsessions and rituals.

Paxil and Paxil CR (Controlled Release Tablets) are antidepressant
medications that are prescribed regularly to patients for mood disorders and
depression.  These antidepressants are members of the selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors family, and were approved for treatment of OCD, in 1996.
Paxil CR, is the newer of the prescriptions, and Paxil CR is slowly released
into the body for continuous relief as it is taken during the day.

I would be remiss if I did not list some of the possible side effects of
Paxil and some of the other SSRI’s, such as Zoloft, Effesor XR, Wellbuetrin,
Prozac, and Celexa.  These medications can cause nausea, headaches, dry
mouth, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.

I myself have been on an SSRI for about four years and have not encountered
any of these side effects.  Stephen G. Bloom, a professor at the University
of Iowa
, did some continued studies that mentioned that some of these
antidepressants could clobber sex drives in up to 60% of those who take
them.  Bloom mentions that many OCD sufferers will accept their change in
libido or sexual drive for a while to feel peace and serenity in their lives
again.  The problem that some associate with the lack of sex drive is that
the neurotransmitter dopamine, known to increase one’s sexual drive, can be
suppressed.  Some people, when taking SSRI’s, can have problems ejaculating
or having orgasms.

In addition, in 2006 the FDA sent out a warning for Paxil users that babies
born to women who took the drug during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy
could possibly suffer birth defects.  Glaxo Smith Kline did a study with
3,581 pregnant women and found that 4 in 100 women who took Paxil or Paxil
CR, during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy had babies with birth defects.
Other studies showed that pregnant women who took other antidepressants
had 2 in 100 babies born with some form of birth defect. There are some risks with

taking SSRI’s, but it was a chance I wanted to take.

These SSRI’s work by allowing the brain, to utilize the available levels of
the neurotransmitter serotonin more efficiently. Neurotransmitters help with
the brains function and control the thoughts we think and many other
functions. A low level of serotonin utilization is considered one
of the causes of depression. In turn, anxiety disorders can lead to low
levels of serotonin because serotonin is necessary to metabolize the
hormones created by stress.

So, low levels of serotonin can cause depression, and depression can cause
low levels of stress. SSRIs help the body maintain a healthy level of
serotonin. SSRI’s help regulate a person’s mood and attitude and help you to maintain

a good outlook on life.  SSRI’s can help to greatly reduce depression and anxiety and are something that I wish I had had in high school and college. I would have been able to

feel great and have all the worried about all that I did. 

Even though I was troubled with OCD in my youth, I was still able to
accomplish so much.  In junior high school and in high school I played
soccer, basketball, and baseball and was able all through college to get
good grades.  I was able to conger up the concentration I needed to focus on my school work and on sports.  So, even though you have OCD, you can accomplish so much.

In conclusion, some SSRI’s will greatly help people to beat their OCD and
other forms of depression and to change their lives.  Paxil did that for me,
and I may have to be on the medication for the rest of my life, but I am Ok
with that. The SSRI’s help with your chemical imbalances in the brain and for some if you

go off the anti-depressants you can have relapses.   I will check in with my doctors yearly and make sure that they are comfortable with me staying on Paxil.

For some of you, however, it might be in your best interest to go through
psychotherapy or other forms of counseling to help you feel whole again.  I
truly think that for my OCD I need Paxil and the serotonin to help me
function and feel the way I need to feel.  I have felt more stable with my
OCD after taking the medication and for that I owe my recovery to the medication.

Chapter 8

The Essential Of A Proper Diet

“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of
happiness dwells in the soul.” Democritus

Over the years, as we age, a proper diet can be so important to our mental
and physical well-being.  Beverly Clevidence, PhD, US Department of
Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, talks about “super food” and
says that you “need to think about color when you eat food.” She is a
research leader at the USDA’s Diet and Human Performance Laboratory.  She
mentions that foods that are deep blue, purple, red, yellow, green, or
orange are the foods that you should always consider eating.  The
carotenoids and anthocyanins that provide the color for these foods contain
health-enhancing nutrients that can protect your heart and fight cancer, and
“can improve someone’s sense of balance, our memory, and other cognitive
skills.”  A proper diet, in my opinion, is so valuable to someone who is
suffering any form of depression.

In particular, foods that are deep blue,  purple, and red, such as  
blueberries, eggplant, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, to name but
a few, can lower the risks of heart disease and help with liver function
and, most importantly, help with mental functioning.

Since I was very young I was always a pretty good eater. I was aware of my
vitamins, and I made smoothies from veggies and fruits that were packed with
nutrients and minerals. In addition, I have always loved working out at a
gym, and the smoothies helped me to heal more quickly, so there were double
effects to taking care of myself.

Because I was so aware of my OCD, I felt that if I were taking good care of
my body, that would help me to beat my OCD.  Later in the book I will talk
about some scientific proof, now out on the market, of the beneficial
effects of Omega 3 supplements to our diet.  Omega 3 is proving to be so
good for the body and for brain health, and I have added this to my diet for
the last five years.

A granola cereal that is great to try is Bear Naked Granola, and the same
company also produces yogurt and other natural food products.  This company
makes different kinds of granola with different fruits and yogurt, and once
you try them, you get hooked.  Their granola is chock full of things like
walnuts, and some varieties contain bananas, and they are so healthy for
you.  Check them out at www.bearnaked.com and you will not be disappointed.

Being on a good regimen of multivitamins, fruits, vegetables, and grains can
help cut waistlines and improve mental functioning.  Plus, lets face it,
when we are feeling more healthy and pumping minerals and good nutrients
into our bodies mentally and physically, we are are going to feel great.  
This helps raise serotonin levels in the brain and therefore can allow one
to feel less anxious or depressed.

A food I love to eat is bananas because I remember reading about bananas as
being packed with potassium and helping to raise the serotonin in peoples’
brains.  So if you know deep in your heart that you are eating too much fast
food and that your diet is not great, make a change today and stick to it.

If you are someone who likes to drink hard alcohol a lot and beer a lot,
make a conscious effort to cut back on it.  Alcohol is a depressant, and
it’s also a diuretic, which means that it will dehydrate you and flush
nutrients out of your system.

I myself love my beer but because of being on an SSRI I have had to learn to
cut back on alcohol consumption, and I can live with it.  A lot of people
who are hiding their depression use alcohol to try to feel better inside.
Many also run to illegal drugs as well as alcohol because they want to feel

Remember, this is just going to serve as a band-aid for the situation, and
it will not take away your pains.  Trust me when I tell you this.  I had a
father who died from alcoholism and can say from experience that alcohol
doesn’t make the pain go away.

My own doctor limited me to two drinks when I was out with friends or at a
wedding.  That’s not always easy to do, but it is something that you have to
change as you are trying to get better with OCD or depression.  Because
SSRI’s are influencing our brain’s functionality, alcohol is not going to be
a good mix.

This may not be easy for a lot of people, but alcohol consumption and
improper eating habits should take an immediate back seat to conquering your
OCD.  Your well-being and life are at stake, and I have learned that feeling
good mentally is the most important thing that someone can have in life.

And, I must also admit and be blatantly be honest that I am a big coffee
drinker.  I have been this way since I was in the eighth grade.  My
roommates from college would say they never needed an alarm clock because my
coffee maker would always be what woke them up.  Many health care
professionals would really tell sufferers of depression to cut back
significantly on their coffee because of the amount of caffeine in coffee.

What I have done because I like my coffee is to drink café coffees that only
contain half the caffeine of some regular coffees.  To be honest with you,
it tastes the same as the full-blended coffees.  Caffeine is a stimulant and
it can make a lot of people nervous and anxious when they consume it daily.  
So as you heal from OCD and depression, learn to cut back on coffees, sodas,
teas, and some chocolates that can work against you.


Also recently, according to Author and Health Advisor Andrew Weil, studies are showing that an amino acid L-theanine, in tea, can help one to be more relaxed and cut down on anxiety.  L-theanine, according, to Weil, is what is responsible for the unique flavor of green tea.  Green tea is the most popular tea out on the market today.  You are seeing green tea, in many drinks in convenience stores, all over the country.  Many people are also taking a lot of green tea supplements because of the benefits of L-theanine. Green tea, may help fight cancer and lower high blood pressure but these new findings are also supporting it may help people mentally.