Hello, my bucket list friends ! Some of you may remember that in February of last year I participated in a OCD study at Stanford. ( You can read some of my posts about it HERE,HERE and HERE) I thought I would be a good time to update all of you on how my mental health is doing over a year after participating in the study and receiving TMS treatment. Without further delay here we go !
OCD update ( over a year after TMS)
Not that long after the treatments I wrote a post ( You can read it HERE) about the positive impact that the TMS treatment had on my mental health. I wrote about how my OCD symptoms had been greatly reduced and that my overall mental health had improved. Well I’m very happy to say that things have stayed that way . OCD does not control my life the way it used to before I got treatment at Stanford. I feel much more in control of my mental health and my daily life in general. I’m able to brush off OCD’s attacks quickly. I still have some rough days like everyone dose but those seem to be few and far between. I’m so blessed that I was given the chance to participate in this study it has truly changed my life for the better.
Rock On – Christina Epperly
Hello, my bucket list friends . Last month I wrote quite a few posts about my TMS treatments for OCD . If you want to read them just look at my posts on this blog from February 2019. Anyways, I thought it would be a good idea to give an update on how I’m doing since treatment.Hold on tight and here we go !
Dear OCD, I’m in charge now
In my previous posts about TMS I wrote about some of the changes that occurred during treatments. OCD began to lose it’s grip on me and I was feeling more in control then ever before. Well, I’m happy to say that things have continued to improve. Before receiving the TMS treatments, OCD controlled a large part of my day. It was always controlling what I could and could not wear, what songs I could and couldn’t listen to, what order I had to put the blankets on my bed and many more things that impacted my everyday life. I felt anxiety that if I didn’t follow OCD’s orders bad things would happen . I never truly realized just how much of my time that OCD took from me. Now, things are very different I’m in charge now. I’m able to make my own everyday choices with feeling little to no anxiety. If OCD stars to give me orders I remind it that I’m in charge now and I do what I want to do. I was so used to following OCD’s orders that now sometimes I have to stop and ask myself what I want to do . I feel so free now! Now , don’t get me wrong life is not perfect and it never will be but I feel a lot better now that I’m free from OCD’s control. OCD still sneaks in with it’s unwanted thoughts from time to time but I can dismiss these thoughts faster and easier then ever before ! I’m so happy that I took part in the study at Stanford. Things are looking up.
Rock on – Christina Epperly
Hello, my bucket list friends ! It was a long week but I did it ! I completed five days of TMS treatments. I can’t wait to tell you about my last day so here we go !
TMS day 5 ( the last day !)
I was very excited for day five because I was going to be going home that evening . I was missing my bed and my cats a lot ! As always the day followed the same pattern of treatments as all the days before . I was feeling pretty good about how I was handling my OCD. I felt in control for the first time in years . When the day ended I was so proud of myself ! It had been a long week but I did it ! After my mom picked me up we went to the Stanford Shopping center. I went shopping at the American Girl store and I got a quiz book and a cute little lamb from the new girl of the year collection. After the American Girl store we went to Starbucks before making our way home. I was very happy to be back home and to have my OCD in it’s place.
Rock on – Christina Epperly
Hello, my bucket list friends ! Valentine’s day 2019 was my fourth day of TMS treatments. Hold on tight as I tell you about day 4 !
TMS day 4 ( Valentine’s day)
Day four ! It was so close to the end of the week ! Plus it was Valentine’s day and my mom was coming to pick me up and were going to get frozen yogurt ! The thoughts of seeing my mom and frozen yogurt kept me excited for that night. The day of treatments were the same as the days before. I was very used to the treatments by day four . Every hour I went and got my TMS treatments and then I went back to my office and hung out . While I was in my office I decided to challenge my OCD again. Things were going pretty well I wasn’t listening to OCD’s orders any more so I went for it . I went on to YouTube and I watched a horror movie trailer then I watched a countdown about horror movies and I didn’t freak out ! Before I began the TMS a trailer for a horror movie popped up on one of my social media feeds I could only make it through a few seconds before closing the ad . Now let me make this clear I don’t like horror movies and I’m not gonna become a big fan of them but with my OCD I can get very easily upset if I see an ad for one . It can raise my anxiety levels and even make me angry . Now I’m able to work on getting myself use to seeing those kinds of ads with out getting upset. After the TMS sessions were done for the day my mom picked me up. First we went to Whole Foods then we got some Frozen Yogurt at Pink Berry. It was a great way to end another long day of TMS .
Rock On – Christina Epperly
Hello ,my bucket list friends ! Yesterday was my third day for TMS treatments . It was awesome when I noticed even more change in myself . Ready to ready about it ? Here we go !!
TMS day 3 ! ( Breakthrough)
Day three was a very rainy day but other than that it started out just like the other two days before . Get up early ,get the tracker put on , do TMS,and hangout in my office . Well ,while I was spending some downtime in my office. I got an idea what if I tried listening to a song that my OCD told me I couldn’t. Years ago my OCD told me I couldn’t listen to one of my favorite songs House of Fire by Alice Cooper and if I disobeyed the order and listened to the song something bad would happen. I was a little nervous at first but I went for it and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made ! I was so happy playing the song over and over and even watching the video ! I felt so free ! I can now make more of my own choices without suffering anxiety . While that was the biggest highlight of the day. I also got to enjoy some yummy snacks from the cutest Disney snack pack ever ! After the treatments were done for the day I went back to where I’m staying and ate, relaxed, and watched the masked singer . I get tired on these long days and I miss home but I’m so thankful to be a part of this study ! I’m also thankful that I’m showing less OCD symptoms !
Rock on ! – Christina Epperly
Hello, My bucket list friends ! Yesterday I completed my second day of TMS sessions . If you want to here more about it just keep reading !
TMS day 2
The second day followed that same steps as the first day . I arrived early in the morning and had the tracker put on my head and then received my first TMS session for the day . Then I went back to my own office for the week . During my downtime I filled the time by reading , listening to Audible ,doing word searches and other activities in my American girl brain benders book, and various other things . For the TMS treatments we decided to increase the intensity . It was more intense for sure but not bad . All throughout the day I went in for my treatments every hour . Towards the end of my sessions for the day . Something interesting happened. I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for things to pin to my boards when my OCD blasted in giving me orders not to pin certain things or if I did pin it I had to for sure make the project. This kind of thing is normal it happens all the time but what isn’t normal is for me not to listen to it . At first I was going follow along with what it told me to do like always but them I stopped myself . I decided to pin what I wanted to. I knew deep down that it would have no effect on anything that happened to me or anyone else . You see OCD is always threatening me that if I don’t obey it’s commands that something bad will happen to me or someone I care about. I reminded myself that bad things happen even when I obey the commands . It’s just life ! I pushed through the small amount of anxiety I had and I disobeyed OCD’s orders . It was a little scary at first but I did it and soon the anxiety was gone. It was odd but in a good way . After my day of sessions was over my mom picked my up and we went to dinner . I had some much needed coffee and pasta then I set my sights on getting ready for the next day .
Rock on – Christina Epperly
Hello ,my bucket list friends . This week I’m getting TMS treatments at Stanford for an OCD study . Today was the first day of my TMS treatment . It’s an interesting topic that I can’t wait to tell all of you about. Here we go !
TMS treatment day 1
My first day of TMS started bright and early . I didn’t sleep well last night so I was already tired but I was ready to begin .First stop was the room where I would be receiving my TMS treatments. I had been in the treatment room before but now was the time for my first official TMS session . A device called a tracker was placed on my head and it would stay there for the rest of the day . It made me feel like I was in a science fiction movie ! I liked the tracker and I took lots of pictures of it . It felt weird when it was first put on but I got used to it very quickly . There were also stickers put on my chest to measure my heart rate thoes stayed there for the rest of the day also . Since the TMS sessions are short and only take place once an hour I had a room to go to in-between treatments . I filled up my down time with different activities but my favorite was doing word searches in my American Girl brain benders book . The treatments themselves were pretty simple I sat in a comfy chair that is similar to a dentist’s chair. Then the heart monitor was connected to the stickers on my chest . After a few sessions I was able to connect the cords to the stickers myself . After that a coil was placed on my head and the treatment begun. TMS is a very interesting feeling and it’s kind of hard to explain but each treatment seemed like it was over before I knew it . I was there until evening with some wonderful supportive staff . It was a long day but I’m so happy to be a part of this research ! Now , on to day two ! Rock On – Christina Epperly
Hello, my bucket list friends ! Next week I’ll be up at Stanford all week for TMS treatment. Today I went for one more appointment before my treatments officially start also I finished my appointment early enough to walk across the street to the Stanford shopping center. It was quite a day and I’m excited to tell you all about it . Here we go !
Getting ready for TMS and a trip to the American girl store
I had a two hour appointment scheduled at Stanford today . This appointment took place in a different building then the MRI scan did. ( you can read about my MRI HERE ) I have been to this building before for other appointments related to the study . Today I talked to a doctor about some of my OCD symptoms then it was time to meet the TMS machine . today we were just figuring out the right way to set the machine for my treatments since everyone’s bodies are different . After getting it all sorted out I was done for the day . I still had sometime before my ride came so I walked across the street to the Stanford shopping center . It wasn’t raining when I left my house so I didn’t bring any rain gear but it was raining pretty good by the time I left my appointment . I got a little wet on the walk over to the shopping center but not to bad . I love American girl dolls so I was excited to go shopping at the two story American Girl store. I have been to the store before but it’s been awhile. I bought two books . The first one I decided to buy was a book about Blair the girl of the year for 2019 . The 2nd book was a brain teaser book filled with fun puzzles. I also got some free stickers . I spent a while walking around the store looking at all the dolls and other items . I really like this store it’s so fun and decorated very nicely . After going to the American Girl store I got some lunch at Starbucks. It was packed day and I’m both nervous and excited for next week . I can’t wait to tell you how it all goes !
Rock On – Christina Epperly
Hello my bucket list friends ! On Monday I did something pretty exciting,I got my first ever MRI . I was nervous at first but it was an interesting new experience and I can’t wait to share it with you . Now I’m not sick or anything , I’m lucky enough to be participating in an OCD research study at Stanford. With all that being said here is the story of my first MRI.
My first MRI
I’ve been doing the pre-screening for this study for a while now but I didn’t want to say anything on this blog until things got going . The study will be researching TMS treatments for people with OCD. TMS has been used for OCD and other mental health conditions but usually the treatments are done in a time span of 4-6 weeks . For this study I will be doing the treatments for one week . The study will see how effective the treatments are in the span of a week . During the study I will be getting two MRI scans . The first one was completed on Monday and the second one will be done after the TMS treatments are completed. On Monday I went to Stanford University to get my first MRI. I arrived about 45 minutes early so I had some time to explore the beautiful campus . It was raining on and off that day and I had to keep my hair dry for the MRI so I kept my hood on most of the time while I was exploring . My favorite thing about the campus was this big beautiful fountain I took so many pictures by it . After some exploring it was time for the MRI. I was nervous but it wasn’t that bad at all . I did some paper work then I got dressed up in some fancy blue scrubs. After putting in some ear plugs it was time to say hello to the MRI machine . I felt nice and cozy in the machine it wasn’t bad at all in there. It was loud even with ear plugs and you can call me weird if you want but I kind of liked the noise . I was in there for about 90 minutes I think. When it was done I felt a little dizzy but not bad I was very tired that night but it is all worth it to be apart of this amazing study .
Rock on – Christina Epperly
Hello, my bucket list friends! August is flying by so I thought I would write one more personal blog post before I start a new comfort zone buster next month . In the blog post MY OCD story I wrote about growing up with undiagnosed OCD and my discovery that I really did have OCD. In this blog post I’m going to write about how my life is today. Hold on tight and here we go!
Realizing that I had OCD changed my life for the better, I became much more aware of what was going on with me and why I made some of the choices I had in the past. I’m on medication now and it helps but I still have my struggles. OCD does not have a cure but as time goes by I learn more and more about how to manage my condition. One of the most important things that I had to do was to separate myself from my OCD. I had to realize that OCD was something that I had not who I was. As I wrote about in the MY OCD story blog post, OCD had a very negative impact on me and those around me growing up. I know now that I’m a stronger and more understanding person because of the trials I faced back then but there was one more thing that I had to do to truly grow and become an even stronger person. It was not easy and it took time to even realize that I needed to do it. I had to forgive myself. Before I knew I had OCD I allowed it to control a lot of my actions. It caused me to make bad choices and to hurt others. I had to realize that this was not who I really was and that in order to be my best self I had to forgive myself for the things that happened in the past and move forward with confidence. OCD is present in my life daily, the unwanted thoughts are still there and I have good days and bad days . Somedays my OCD drives me crazy other days I’m able to brush It off and focus on enjoying the day. I’m not perfect by any means and I’m always going to be learning and growing. When It comes to OCD I still have work to do I hope to be able to get therapy in the future to help me to have more good days then bad ones. There are many things that set off my OCD and I know I need to gain more control, but I have come such a long way since childhood and even since finding out that I had OCD . I’m very proud of myself for the progress that I have made and even on the bad days . I’ve very blessed to have a wonderful support system and to have my faith in God without those things I doubt I would be the kind, confident, and creative person that I am today . Thank you for reading feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. Rock on – Christina Epperly