OCD and Making Important Decisions


A version of this post first appeared on my blog in 2013…….

Is it just me, or does life sometimes seem like a series of decisions? Should I do this, go there, buy that? Many of our daily decisions are made with little to no thought, and are unlikely to have a major impact on our lives. Then there are the major decisions, which deserve more attention and involve more deliberation. We have to weigh the pros and cons, the benefits and the risks, and then make a choice. Or maybe it all just becomes so overwhelming that we put the decision off until later or, in some cases, forever.

Two of the most important decisions I’ve made over the past decade are starting this blog and writing my book. I truly agonized over both of them. Who am I to write about obsessive-compulsive disorder? I don’t even have the disorder! What could I contribute that would possibly be of any value? I’m no expert. All I have are my own thoughts and experiences to share. People will laugh, or even worse, criticize me. They’ll get angry. Of course, I could go on and on. I had no shortage of reasons why I shouldn’t write about my family’s experiences with OCD.

But even with all my  misgivings, I took the plunge. I had to. I owed it to myself and my son to try to find some meaning in his suffering from severe OCD. The results have gone way beyond my wildest dreams and in retrospect, my concerns about my “credentials” almost seem ludicrous. Being an expert is not what it’s about. My main goal, from the very beginning, has been to share our story so that others will find hope, and to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. I’ve written before about OCD and decision making, about how doubt is the cornerstone of OCD and how those with the disorder often struggle with making choices. But there is one decision, in my opinion, that all those with OCD need to make, and that is to get proper treatment. Maybe you’ve been mulling it over, considering it from all angles, and procrastinating. Maybe you feel you aren’t motivated enough, or it’s too scary. There’s so much to consider.

But really, there’s not. I have never heard anyone regret undergoing proper therapy for OCD, which includes exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. Indeed, most people wish they had done it sooner. Yes, decisions can be hard, but sometimes the most difficult ones bring us the greatest rewards. So if you haven’t already, please take the plunge. It might just be the most important decision of your life.

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6 Responses to OCD and Making Important Decisions

  1. Diana says:

    Do you think it’s best to go to a residential treatment facility or do the ERP as an outpatient or with a therapist?

    • Hi Diana, This is such a personal decision and of course depends on the severity of the person’s OCD and other circumstances including what treatment he or she has already had. I’d advise checking out the IOCDF website if you haven’t already or feel free to email me at ocdtalk@yahoo.com with more details if you’d like.

      • parentsfriend says:

        OCD in the general population is both unrecognized and untreated. Moreover, the advertising world promotes it with their highlighting their versions of perfection. Finally, I believe much of religion is a quest for freedom from the anxiety of shame, fear, and guilt through an OCD type interpretation of what it means to be holy or good. In the Jewish religion, the patriarchs went from the Seven Noahide Laws to the Ten Commandments to 613 laws – although half of those laws pertain to the temple. All images of perfection create uncertainty and doubt, which Jerome Kagan sees as underlying much of behavior. When uncertain we seek to resolve it and the most common ways are blaming ourselves, blaming others, or becoming apathetic and despairing. Thank you for this. Am sharing it on my Facebook page.

  2. Ellen says:

    I love this post and have all the admiration in the world for you for doing what you felt you had to do, being successful at it and helping so many people along the way, in addition to your son. Keep up the good work.

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