#ThankYouERP

We are excited to announce our new advocacy campaign #ThankYouERP! We often get asked how to cope with the intrusive thoughts that we and many of our followers experience daily. This campaign aims to promote Exposure Response Prevention (ERP),  the most effective treatment for OCD. We also hope this will help those who would like to began mental health/OCD advocacy get started on their journey. Join us in spreading awareness about exposure with response prevention therapy.

Participate as someone with OCD:

  • Take a picture of yourself doing something OCD prevented you from doing before ERP therapy. Feel free to get creative!

  • Somewhere in the picture include #ThankYouERP (e.g. on a piece of paper you hold, edited on top of the image, etc.)

  • In the caption describe the exposure process that helped you get to where you are now.

 

Participate as a mental health professional:

  • Take a picture of yourself doing a creative or funny exposure that you could use to help someone with OCD.

  • Somewhere in the picture include #ThankYouERP (e.g. on a piece of paper you hold, edited on top of the image, etc.)

  • In the caption describe how this exposure could work and how it could help fight back against OCD.

 

Everyone:

  • Tag @apenny4yourintrusivethoughts (Instagram and Facebook) or @OCDthoughtsanon (Twitter) with the text: “Visit A Penny for Your Intrusive Thoughts to share your own #ThankYouERP message.”

  • Tag a few friends/accounts to take part too!

Remember: This doesn’t have to be the hardest exposure you have ever done. An important part of ERP is starting small and working toward bigger challenges so feel free to choose anything along the way! 

Examples:

In the summer of 2016, when my OCD was at its worst, I was admitted into the McLean OCDI jr for residential treatment. My contamination fears had become so debilitating I was unable to sleep in my bed unless I performed hour long rituals, and I refused to eat food that anyone else had touched or prepared.

 

Surviving on frozen meals and granola bars, I was petrified that anything else would be contaminated and once I swallowed the food, I would be too. My life was being controlled by my OCD’s need to feel “just right”. In my first week at the OCDI I began Exposure Response Prevention Therapy. I still remember my first exposure vividly. Sitting in the kitchen, I poked a granola bar with one of my fingers that I believed was contaminated. My anxiety shot up to an 8/10 as I leaned into the uncertainty of each bite.

 

Today, I am the biggest foodie I know! I’ve driven literal hours to try new restaurants (the day this picture was taken I drove over an hour to a new all vegan restaurant) and I am constantly saving recipes and baking for my family and friends. Today, eating out at restaurants is one of my favorite pastimes. If it weren’t for ERP, I don’t know where I’d be today. I am so grateful for the treatment I received and all the exposures I have completed. Visit A Penny for Your Intrusive Thoughts to share your own #ThankYouERP message!

Our Co-Founder, Darcy!

Our Co-Founder, Cassie!

TW suicide/harm obsessions

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Before doing exposure with response prevention (ERP) treatment, I couldn’t stand on my deck and enjoy the view. One of the OCD themes I have worked on the most in ERP is suicide obsessions. I was scared that I would kill myself impulsively even though I didn’t want to die. I used to be afraid of high places because I worried I would impulsively jump off, though I had no desire to do so. In ERP I practiced facing this fear step by step starting with just thinking about standing somewhere like my deck and saying things like “maybe I will impulsively jump off” to actually standing on various high structures and looking down. 

I am so glad I am able to live my live now with less interference from this kind of OCD. ERP has changed my life and this is one of many things I can do now because of it. Visit A Penny for Your Intrusive Thoughts to share your own #ThankYouERP message. 

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