Letters from Former CTSA Patients

Before I came to the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, I was broken. I was living life, but hardly. Both my anxiety and the manifestations of my OCD were taking over my life more and more.  And I hadn't been taking it all lying down. I had fought. I had been in therapy. I was on medication. I was seeing a psychologist. But I felt that, in so many cases, no therapist really understood the complexities of my OCD. I felt so many times that I was getting canned advice. I way too often heard “maybe you should do this" or “maybe this could help.” Meanwhile, I was hardly getting better -- my performance at work was suffering -- and my life at times felt like a nightmare.

But then one night I sent an e-mail to the CTSA, explaining my situation. From the moment I began speaking with the therapists at the CTSA, I knew I was in good hands. They understood -- really understood -- OCD; they understood anxiety, understood my mind like no one in my life ever had. They understood that OCD takes hundreds of shapes and forms; they knew the trickiness, the fear, the pain. And most importantly, they knew how to treat it.

My therapist and I quickly got working on a treatment program tailored to my needs. My therapist was professional, smart as a whip, enthusiastic and understanding. But perhaps most importantly, he said I was going to get better and I did get better.  After having gone through treatment, I am happier now than I’ve ever been because I can deal so well with what had bothered me for so long.

Thank you for your encouragement, time, and wisdom. I am so grateful and can easily say—it’s made all of the difference in the world.

I'm 62 years old and have suffered from OCD throughout my life. I was able to maintain a good job, raise a family, and put myself through school (MPH and some doctorate classes) despite having OCD. However, after losing my sister to systemic scleroderma, my father developed dementia, and my husband got diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, my OCD came back with a vengeance. I decided that I was done with it and sought help at the anxiety clinic. My Therapist made me acutely aware that despite the fact that I didn't do any physical compulsions, I was doing mental compulsions all the time. I would get stuck down that "rabbit hole" or "hell hole" as I really want to call it. We taped our sessions, and I was able to decrease my fear/anxiety to almost nil or significantly less. My therapist was able to specifically pinpoint my worse obsessional thoughts. I am grateful for the knowledge that I gained.

The training went very well, and helped me greatly. I have been wanting to write you for some time. I hope you are still working at the clinic. I just wanted to let you I've hit the top of my hierarchy... every week for the past year with the help of a local therapist you referred me to. But you started the therapy and released me from the bondage of most of my OCD. I can't thank you enough. I sure hope you get this letter.

Thank you for your guidance, discretion, and understanding into my world of OCD. Feeling helpless and then getting help from the right person using the right technique is the best feeling in the world.

Sometimes people serendipitously drop into your life, pick you up, spin you around, and drop you off heading in the right direction. You did more than that; you gave me a gentle push and a toolbox to keep me going that way. I’m looking at life from that new direction and enjoying the view. You had a tremendous impact on me and that has made me a better person. It doesn’t seem right that for all did for me , the best I can come up with is thank you. If it was only money that you needed to help me I could easily repay that, but your tutorship and kindness has left me indebted for a lifetime. 

I hope you realize that you have a wonderful talent for this crazy business that you call cognitive-behavioral therapy. I pray to God that if I ever need help again that you will still be here. Life’s experiences have taught me that most people rarely expose themselves to helping others, but then you’re not like most people.

I wanted to take the time to let you know what an amazing experience I have had at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety. I have been working with one of your graduate students since September and cannot tell you how wonderful she has been throughout my treatment. I have suffered from OCD for most of my life. At times, I have felt hopeless because I never thought I would be able to go through with a treatment program. These feelings were compounded by a failed attempt at treatment in the past. I never thought I would be strong enough to fight this condition that was holding me back from living my life. However, this past year my OCD hit a very low point and due to the great reputation of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety I decided to give treatment one more try.

As soon as I met my therapist, she made me feel comfortable discussing things I never wanted to ever think about let alone talk about with a stranger. My therapist always remained professional and patient. She knew when to push me and when to be understanding. In the end, I felt comfortable sharing the information needed to really fight my OCD. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to my practicum student and  to the program. It is not an exaggeration to say that my life is now changed. I know that I will always have to fight my OCD, but I now have hope that I can live the life I want to lead.

I could not have gotten through these last weeks without your help. Thanks for all you have done.

I was 'terrorized' and subsequently attacked. Due to the ensuing court battles, I was unable to deal with these symptoms for five years. Though skeptical, instinct told me something was seriously wrong. When my therapist told me I would 'get my life back', I thought she was nuts. Through her confidence and belief in this therapy she convinced me to commit to the treatment. Now I have life back. The resultant change in my behavior has resonated through my entire family (wife and kids, sister,etc .). There is no way for me to express my gratitude sufficiently.


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