Kirsten Pagacz

Leaving the OCD Circus

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"e;It's like the meanest, wildest monkey running around my head, constantly looking for ways to bite me."e; That was how Kirsten Pagacz described her OCD to her therapist on her first visit back in 1997. She'd been following orders from this mean taskmaster for most of her life, starting at the age of 9 – without knowing it had a name. Initially the tapping and counting and cleaning and ordering (her pencils had to line up perfectly and always be razor sharp) brought her comfort and structure, two things her family life lacked in spades. But the comfort never lasted, the hideously loathsome self-talk only intensified and the rituals she had to perform just got more and more bizarre. By secondary school she had developed anorexia and substance abuse – common "e;shadow syndromes"e; of OCD – by adulthood, she could barely hide her problems and held on to jobs and friends by sheer grit. And then one day she found herself in a heap in the middle of a crowded street on a busy Saturday afternoon, wailing and unable to move. This is both a very personal book and a guide for others suffering from the disease. Part 1 tells the story of Kirsten's childhood and part 2 introduces the tools she used for healing, such as meditation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, medication, exposure therapy, yoga and others. Readers will learn just how OCD works to misshape a life and, also, how to begin work on their own issues of obsession and compulsion.
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