My OCD began when I was seven years old as a hybrid of both overt and mental compulsions. I still remember to this day my first compulsion, kissing my mother thirteen times before I went to bed and then praying the same prayer every night, repeating each line and asking "God" to live to one hundred and four years old, every night. It escalated as simple compulsions like that until middle school, when it became drastically more intense and significantly more purely obsessionally based. In middle school I was a bit of a social outcast, going through freshmen year, and my obsessions at that point were more focused on counting numbers in the head, repeating the same phrase like "I'm not gay," or sometimes if I thought of say last years schedule of classes, I would have to go through the current years classes. The directive of these compulsions all changed after I became socially affluent my sophomore year. My Pure OCD vanished for a good four months only to return, with the fear underlying the obsessions and rituals being the idea of returning to how I was at a younger age, and me losing my ability to socially interact in the way I had come to exhibit. This turned into a fear of just being afraid I would not act like myself in general, once I concluded I would not return to my older ways. However, because the anxiety would attack my brain, I would most certainly exhibit signs of being socially awkward at times, or the anxiety that would accompany my endeavors would raise thoughts in my head that I actually would lose the ability to be myself since my efforts to were being impeded by the anxiety already. This of course led to a cycle of worrying about being myself, focusing on anxieties in talking to people, namely girls, how I presented myself and felt, and whether the thoughts in my head were thoughts I would think, being myself, or thoughts that myself in a state of "not being myself," would think. This lead to the thoughts, intrusive thoughts, sticking in my head for extended periods of time, as they do, and me believing I was not "myself," for extended periods of time. Also it involved trying to get the just right feeling in order to be myself, for example when I would have an uplifted moment from the obsessional thought induced belief that I was not myself, I would focus on the just right feeling of having my brain rid of any current obsessions, and eventually created a feeling and image in my head that I would associate with being myself, and felt that I was only myself when this was present in my mind with the absence of the intrusive thoughts. This case of being "myself," of course became less and less frequent, and obsessions that I could not talk to people well because I had an elongated feeling intruding my mind that I was not could last weeks, months, and some periods years. One summer my junior year of high school, I managed to recover from the constant thoughts for the three months when I essentially stopped considering them, and created the idea in my head that thoughts could not change who I was, also assisted with Lexapro that I began for the first time. However, at the end of the summer an obsession came to me that although my conclusion may be true, what will stop me from obsessing about these thoughts and having them remain their for a prolonged time. Without a practical response (ritual/compulsion), to answer the question, I again dove into a bad spiral. Without an answer to this question, my obsessions retrogressed with a severe vengeance. I would have obsessions about whether getting over a thought was done with a compulsion or not, and if not that I wasn't validly over the thought. I would have obsessions about how I thought, whether I could say remember things the same way, focus on homework, whether I thought about discretionary opinionated matters correctly, like politics, or whether I was different and had to do these compulsions to function unlike everyone else. These are four simplified and finely extracted obsessions, because the obsessions came at a rate of over a hundred a day, with no relent. I was attending a very prestigious private school in Maine at the time, and had already gotten into college when I started using substances to cope. I was basically asked to leave the school after being caught at a dance drunk, and went away to a mental hospital in Utah for awhile. I came back without any help from a staff that refused to address my problem, and instead insisted on testing for learning disorders, claimed I had some strange one that was inaccurate, and after recommendations by many other psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical professionals my parents ended up suing the institution. Afterward I graduated from the local high school, and went to the University of Tampa, with the same continuing symptoms. There I became addicted to the ADHD medicine I was prescribed, adderall, after being on add meds since first grade. This was because the euphoric feeling gave me the idea of the just right feeling and made me believe it overcame the anxious thoughts and allowed me to be myself, which in hindsight was just focusing on the euphoric feeling instead of the lingering feeling/thought that I was not myself. I also became addicted to Valium, which I was prescribed for the OCD, because it temporarily relieved the anxiety and allowed me to better interpose good thoughts into my mind and believe I was myself over the intrusive thoughts. What I am getting at is the strangeness of these addictions, being addicted to these pills simply because of their ability to let me believe that they allowed me to be myself, therefore making me believe that I basically needed them to be myself. Everytime I would get a prescription refilled, I would go on a binge, believe that it would last even after i stopped taking the meds, which it never did, and repeat the cycle, which went on until May of this year since 2010. During that time, I got basically all A's, and managed to transfer into the Pre-Law program at the ***** ***** University, where I currently am. However, I had to take a medical leave due to the OCD last year as well, which makes basically two leaves from excellent schools due to this mental disorder.
I am contacting you because recently, last May, I began using methods like mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy, Exposure Response Prevention, and the other methods. I did this by, for the first time ever, not fighting the thoughts and just allowing them to be there, occasionally magnifying them in my mind but mostly just letting them be there, not responding to them and not giving them must thought. As you can imagine it was extremely difficult at first, however over the last four months I have made an extreme amount of progress. My question to you, after all this, is whether you have any suggestions? I know that not responding to it and accepting the thoughts presence is the key, however I don't go to regular therapy due to the incessant nature of my intrusive thoughts. Since they are so constant, I figure that going to therapy and writing my obsessions or sitting in a room and putting the image of one obsession in my mind would be a waste of money, and that it would be better to just continue the techniques in my everyday life. My question is how successful of a treatment does this look on surface. Most articles I read online and from psychiatrists focus on the in therapy activities, and lightly touch on outside methods like just letting the thoughts be and not actively engaging them. However, I feel that with the incessant nature of my Pure O, the most important aspect would be the outside, so the main question is, is this what I should be doing as far as treatment goes, continuing to accept the thoughts into my mind and going on about my day. It has been extremely effective so far, and I wanted to make sure from a professional opinion that I am not omitting any possibly more helpful