“When the Student is Ready”
by James Callner, MA, AFOCD President. www.afocd.org
Excerpt from James Callner’s up coming book on OCD
“It’s a Matter of Trust - Spiritual Prescriptions for OCD”.
(Note: Use of the word "spiritual" is not meant as a reference to any organized religion; instead, "spiritual" is meant to be understood as one's spirit that needs to be mended or reclaimed).
"When the student is ready the teacher will appear". An old Zen and biblical proverb that has helped me hold on to hope since my devastating attack of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 1982."¨"¨You are now the student and it’s time to seek out the proper teachers. Teachers you can trust.
I know how hard it is to go shopping for doctors, therapists, support groups and so on, when you're feeling like staying in bed all day or the OCD symptoms are keeping you stuck at the bathroom sink, washing your hands for hours or checking the locks one more time or rereading the sentence for the hundredth time or trying not think certain thoughts for fear it may harm your family or driving down that street just one more time or focusing on that red ink mark on the table trying to believe that it’s not a drop of blood that has been infected with the AIDS virus or any number of rituals, phobias, compulsions, obsessions and fears."¨But, it’s time. It’s time to heal. It’s time to become willing to do whatever it takes to get well. It’s time to learn a new way of thinking. A new way of being. A new way of trusting. It’s time to let in the awesome paradox of: when you let go of control, you can gain control. It’s time to get your life back On-Purpose. How do you do all that?
In my own daily recovery from OCD I have come to understand it’s a matter of trust. I believe OCD robs you of trust. I’m going to give you some solid prescriptions to get your life back on track. To reclaim your most powerful God-given right. The right to trust your own thoughts and feelings."¨
My willingness to do whatever to took to get better happened when I hit bottom in 1982. I remember when I was in the hospital with an extremely severe case of OCD. In fact my psychiatrist told me it was the worst he had ever seen, which made me feel even more mortified. (Later, that same man helped me save my own life.) I wouldn’t let any one touch me, I would wash my hands up to nine hours a day. I had germ and contamination phobias to the point that I thought dangerous germs were sneaking under the door to attack me in my sleep. I talked to people with my hands covering my mouth for fear that my germs may be spread to them. I spent hours on the toilet staining to void everything and using several rolls of toilet paper for fear of germs and contamination.
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