I don't know how to tell you this but I still haven't had a panic attack since I came to see you.
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- NicolaJuly, 1999
It has been so long since we have spoken, I honestly don’t know where to begin. There is so much I could talk and write about, I just know that I won’t fit it all in this letter.
I guess I will start by saying that within myself I am feeling very well, really happy – the best I have ever been since going through this whole O.C.D. but it has been a long hard road though – only over the last 3 years have things finally started to come together for me. But I strongly believe that without your help I would not have understood it as well. The tapes gave me encouragement and advice but when it didn’t seem enough, you gave that bit extra. I want to thank you so much David. You have helped me in such a big way, as I now have my life back.
I look back over my 12 years of suffering, and in some ways I can’t believe it actually happened. Year after year of becoming more and more fearful of my thoughts and actions eventually turned my life into one big mess. To have overcome such a massive hurdle like I did and to feel so different now – makes the past seem even more unreal in some ways. Parts are a blur. How did I cope? I know there were many times that I came very close to giving up completely. My despair was so deep. To be where I am now, I feel very proud of myself. I don’t feel my compulsion anymore. It does not control me, and every minute of my day as it used to. I am able to function and live “normally” without being compelled to stop and pull out my hair. I am therefore rid of the guilt and shame I would feel after doing so every day. I am rid of the deep depression I felt all the time, wondering if I would ever overcome such a problem. And I am finally rid of a hat to cover what I had to hide for so many years. My hair has grown back and I am so very thankful for this. But would I say that my O.C.D. has completely gone? I don’t know. Yes, 90% gone – but maybe a little of it will always be with me. I have most definitely suffered set backs in the past, although they are now never as severe as what they used to be. I used to feel I was at the foot of the most enormous mountain, one that seemed impossible to climb. I would take one step forward, and always fell back about five. For years this was just how my life was, it seemed hopeless. It was the most intense, exhausting struggle. But somehow I reached the top, and I’ve gone down the other side. It’s not completely flat on the other side though, there are still little hills – but they are no big deal. They are no big deal because I now know how to control my thoughts and actions before they get out of hand – and also how to deal with set back if it ever does happen. I also feel my O.C.D. is still apart of me because I have so many memories of how it effected my life. For over twelve years I lived with this problem, and with it came all the confusion, fear, sadness, depression, anger – a lot of these things I remember so clearly! It doesn’t bother me that I do remember this, I feel stronger for knowing that I got on top of it all – but it’s just not something you forget. I have so much more I could talk to you about, but just wanted you to know that I’m doing ok. I am very sorry that it has taken this long for me to contact you. In two weeks I am going over to the United Kingdom to do some travelling – something I have wanted to do for so very long and are now able to!! I would love to talk to you, or even come to visit and say hi before I leave. I will call you in a couple of days, and hopefully you will have received this letter.
Talk to you soon!