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Your Anxiety Toolkit - Anxiety & OCD Strategies for Everyday

Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast delivers effective, compassionate, & science-based tools for anyone with Anxiety, OCD, Panic, and Depression.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Sep 9, 2022

This is Your Anxiety Toolkit - Episode 301.

Managing OCD Relapse (with Jazzmin Johnson) 

Welcome back, everybody. I am covered in goosebumps. I literally, as we speak, just finished the recording of this episode. I wanted to come on and do the intro right away just because I’m so moved by this week’s guest.



This week, we had Jazzmin Johnson. She’s a mental health advocate and she came on to talk about something she felt really, really passionate about, which is relapse, particularly related to relapse with anxiety disorders, even more particular and specific is with OCD. And she brought to the conversation the same struggles that I have seen my patients have over and over with relapse and how hard we can be on ourselves when we relapse and how difficult it can be to pull ourselves out of relapse. It’s a topic that I haven’t touched on nearly enough. And so, I’m just so grateful for her to come on and share her story and the steps she took to overcome any kind of relapse that she was experiencing, and identifying the difference between a lapse and a relapse I thought was really profound.

I’m just so excited to share this episode with you. I actually had scheduled it to be out much later and I’m like, “No, no, no, we just have to get this out. This is so, so important.” So, I’m so thrilled. I’m not even going to do an “I did a hard thing” because this whole episode is Jazzmin explaining to us how to do hard things. So, I’m again impressed with how she’s handled it. So, let’s get straight to the show.

I love you guys. I hope you can squeeze every ounce of goodness out of this episode. I think the main real message we took away is it’s a beautiful day to do hard things. So, enjoy the show.

301 Managing OCD Relapse with Jazzmin Johnson Your anxiety toolkit

Kimberley: Welcome, everybody. I am so excited to have a special guest on the show that I’ve actually been wanting. We’ve been talking back and forth. I’m so excited to have Jazzmin Johnson on today. Thank you for being here, Jazzmin.

Jazzmin: Thank you so much. I’m absolutely honored and really, really excited to chat.

Can OCD Relapse? 

Kimberley: Yeah. So, let’s dive in. We are going to talk about relapse, which is a topic I think you brought to my attention. I have not covered barely at all. So, let’s dive into that. But before we do that, can you give us a little background and fill us in up to where we’re at with relapse? Can OCD Relapse? 

Jazzmin: Yeah, absolutely. So, my name is Jazzmin. I’m 28 years old. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was just freshly 23. So, it’s been a while. Looking back on my life, I’ve had OCD for a very long time, long before I was 23. So, definitely fun to look back on your life and the moments and say, “Oh, that was an interesting behavior and no one really caught that.”

My story is I always love to tell it, but it started off with a really simple night of not sleeping, something that we think we’ve all experienced. And up until that point, I had assumed I was this rock-solid girl who was tough and I skateboarded on the weekends and just knew that nothing could touch me. And I remember having a hard night of sleep one night and my heart was beating really fast and I just felt really panicky. It was such a bizarre feeling for me. I remember at the time reaching out to my sister who also struggles with anxiety and OCD as well, and I just said, “Hey, have you ever dealt with this weird heart palpitation thing at night and you can’t relax?” And she just sent me a text in all caps and was like, “Yes, that’s anxiety.” And I think it was just this bonding moment where we were just like, “Oh, okay, I guess I’m like you like. Let’s do this.”

But with that I think came a lot of fear too, because as someone who was assuming I was this rock-solid gal, who was tough and never stressed about anything, to have that identity switch that happened when I was told that I might have anxiety. As all of us know, listen to this, anxiety is a terrible feeling and it’s even harder when it really sticks around for a long time. I remember feeling like my body was buzzing all the time and I remember trying to explain it to my boyfriend and he was just like, “That’s really strange.” And I’m like, “You don’t understand. My whole body feels like it’s vibrating all the time and I just couldn’t sleep at night.” And so, I ended up reaching out to my mom and she helped me find a therapist, which I’m really grateful that my family is really pro helping people with mental health disorders. So, they knew exactly how to help me.

So, I popped in with a therapist and was just like, “I don’t have anxiety. Why am I having anxiety? What’s going on?” And she just asked me if there were things that made me anxious. And I just remember telling her, “No, there’s no reason. My life is really good. I really enjoy where I’m at and I love my job and I love my boyfriend and I love my life. So, why am I feeling this way?” And she just said, “Well, have you talked to anybody about it?” And I remember telling her, “Yeah, my mom and my sister, and they’ve told me the things that make them anxious.” And so, now when I think about those things, I plan to be anxious in those scenarios too. And I just told her I was having a hard time figuring out what was causing this anxiety. And she just said-- I will remember these words forever because they started everything for me. But she said, “Maybe you just need to find yourself in all of this.”

And so, I went home and was just like, “What does that even mean, how do you find yourself?” I was so lost. And at the time, I was thinking, okay, I’m 23 years old. What do I need to do? Do I need to eat, pray, love, and go to Italy and dump my boyfriend? And then that’s when that thought popped in my head. And I thought, what if I need to leave my boyfriend in order to not feel anxious anymore? And of course, that terrified me at the time. I’d been with my boyfriend for five years. We were high school sweethearts. I knew in my bones I would marry him one day. And the idea that the only way out of how I was feeling was to lose something that I really valued was just life-shattering. And so, I just spent so much time thinking to myself, no, that can’t be it.

But OCD is the doubting disorder and I just hated this idea that what if that was the key to it all and it was something I didn’t want to do. And so, I fought it and I probably struggled with that thought for another three or four months. I spent every day thinking about it the first time I woke up in the morning. And it got to a point where my body and my brain was trying really hard to convince me to leave because it wanted this relief from this anxiety. So, I was almost trying to convince myself and arguing with my mind on why I need to leave. And it would jump from maybe I didn’t like the way he looked or he has a mustache this week and I don’t like mustaches, so maybe I need to leave. Or his jokes are really bad. I can’t be with someone whose jokes are bad. I mean, it’s almost comical to the point where the things that my brain was trying to do to get me out of this scenario that felt like anxiety was ruling at all.

I remember going to therapy every week, and my therapist just said, “You’ve been talking about this for a long time and it sounds like you might be struggling with some obsessive thinking, and it might be OCD.” And that crushed me because at the time, I thought of OCD as flicking light, switches on and off, and I did not know what it was and that it could look different. So, I just got really scared and she just said, “Nope, we’re going to work through this. You’re going to be fine.”

And so, we did my first exposure in that appointment and it was absolutely horrible and it was so hard, but we sat down and we mapped out what my life would look like for the next five years if I chose to leave. My life looked great. I was like, “I would move. I would go to LA and become a fashion designer,” whatever I was into at the time. And she was like, “You’d probably be okay. So, why is this so scary to you?” And I just told her, “I just don’t like this feeling of losing agency over my choices and feeling like anxiety was making those choices for me.” And that really made me spiral into a bit of a depression and just really struggled with feeling like I could do anything really.

My therapist and I, we talked and I was prescribed antidepressant, which I owe my life to because that antidepressant gave me the strength to stand up against OCD for the first time in my life. And so, I started and I started just diving into the OCD community and listening to stories online, reading about it. Not just reading about people that were struggling, but people that had made it out or had worked through it and were doing really well. I just loved listening to specifically Stuart Ralph’s The OCD Stories podcast and your podcast really. I just loved hearing people’s stories about OCD, because I would listen to it on my way to and from work on my hour-long commute. And I would always smile when I was listening to these people’s poor traumatic stories, just because I could hear how different our obsessions were, yet we were all doing the same thing. There were so many similarities that I heard and I just felt such a sense of community and belonging. And so, I just really dove into that and was like, “Hey, let’s talk about this. Now, why isn’t anyone talking about relationship, anxiety, and relationship OCD?”

I reached out to Stuart Ralph and he let me post a little blurb on his website about what I was going through and that started my advocacy journey. And so, now I just float through life and deal with what it throws at me. And of course, I struggle at times. OCD will always stick around, but I try really hard to always have all of my social media channels open for people that just want to talk. And I find that’s just such a good space to have for people when they just need someone to understand. So, that’s a brief, little rundown of my life with OCD so far. 

Kimberley: I had goosebumps for quite a bit of that. It’s just like it gives me the chills in the best way and that you’ve gotten through so many bumps and windy corners and stuff. Then we come to here now. So, you’ve got this progression, this windy story and you arrive. And obviously, you’re doing pretty well. Tell me about this idea of relapse and what that means to you.

How to Deal with OCD Relapse

Jazzmin: Yeah. So, I look at lapses and relapses, in my opinion, a little differently. So, of course, in my journey, I had a few lapses. There were things that life happens and stress trauma happens. A few instances, I was really unfortunate to be in a space at my work where someone chose to take their life. And I was not at work, but I walked in about two minutes after it happened, because it happened at my work. I didn’t see anything, but just the feelings of the people around me just was really traumatic. And so, my OCD latched onto that for a while and that sense of safety that I felt and the fear of being in another instance or something else that would be traumatic. And of course, there’s been other moments in my life where really wild, crazy things have happened. And my OCD does always find something to latch onto for a short while. But usually, I’m able to notice a behavior and feel like, “Oh, that feels familiar. Uh-oh, I think I might be stuck again,” and then I can usually spot it. But this last spring, I had a bit of a relapse and I call it a relapse more than a lapse because it looped back into my old themes that I had worked through a lot. And it lasted for a really long time. And I really had a hard time finding that kind of pathway out. I couldn’t really find where on the cycle, the OCD cycle I was to where I could see where to get out.

And so, at the time, I looked at relapses as failure and I think that’s one thing I really wanted to talk about. But I imagined that since I had come so far in my recovery, that when OCD shows its face again, I would know that it was OCD. I would see it and I’d be ready and I’d have my warrior gear on and I’d fight it and I’d carry on with my life. I think this last spring, just with the chaos that happened in my life, I learned that that’s not always the case. And sometimes it takes a little bit longer. But also, I think it always unlocks new layers to your recovery journey and healing that I think I needed to learn. So, I’m really grateful that it happened, which is so funny. I wish I could tell myself that four months ago and I was really in the thick of it, but yeah, I’m really grateful that I had that experience.

OCD Relapse Story…or is that not the right wording? 

Kimberley: Why do you think-- because I really resonate with what you’re saying and I think I’ve had, even in the last couple of weeks, some clients who’ve come back to treatment after doing really well with ERP and therapy. Can you tell us your OCD relapse story? Why do you think we consider it a failure to relapse? Where did that come from, do you think?

Jazzmin: I think for me, I hear a lot about in the OCD community of just this idea of being fighters and warriors and we’re going into this battle. And once you’ve won the battle once, you feel not untouchable, but you just have that upper hand. And I think with every new theme that it throws at you, which it always will, it’s something new and it might take longer to recognize that, oh, this is the same thing. But for me, it felt like I was just losing a game, losing a battle, and that I knew how to fight. And I always would use this metaphor with my therapist that I felt like I had my toolkit with all of the things I had learned over the years, all of the exposures I can do and scripts and stuff I can write, but it felt like it was in a toolbox that was locked. Like I had to find the key before I could get to that toolbox. And when you’re feeling so terrible, you’re frantically searching to find that specific key. And I just found myself fumbling.

And so, I think that idea of failure comes from just knowing better too. I felt like I knew better. I know what OCD looks like. I know this cycle like the back of my hand, yet, somehow it sneaks into my life again. I don’t realize it until either it’s too late and I’ve been doing compulsions for months maybe. And that is always a real letdown just in your personal self-esteem, and your idea of where you were in recovery can sometimes shift. And that’s scary because you think you’re through it or you’re better than that or that you know better. And then to find out maybe you were wrong, it’s really hard to sit with.

Kimberley: Yeah. It’s an interesting reframe, isn’t it? We think of being a fighter and getting through it as if you won the battle and the battle is over. It can be a massive dent to your self-esteem would you say? Or tell me a little bit about, did it shift your perspective of yourself being a fighter for a while or were you able to be like, “No, no, this is the work”? How was that feel?

Jazzmin: I think it’s a little different for me because at the time, I really considered myself an advocate. And I felt as an advocate, I guide other people and I help them through these things. And I remember a really specific moment with my husband after we had just met my baby niece for the first time. And the entire time we were visiting her, I was having intrusive thoughts probably every second and it was jumping themes. It was harm and then pedophilia and then harm again and harming myself. And I remember getting in the car with him as we left and just crying. And he just was like, “What’s going on? Talk to me.” And I just told him, “I’m so tired. I know what this is. I had those thoughts. I knew they were OCD. I knew the moment they showed their face, because why would I ever want to do that to my beautiful baby niece?” And yet, they still made me anxious. And I had made the story to myself that if an intrusive thought made me anxious, I’d already lost. So, my reaction to it was the first thing I could control. And when you get thrown a new theme, it knocks you down because you’ve never seen it before and it’s scary.

I just remember crying to him and just explaining, “I am so frustrated with myself because I know what this is. I know what I’m doing and I can almost step outside of myself and see the cycle. I can draw it on a piece of paper. In fact, I did that often, and yet I couldn’t stop.” It was just a lot of disappointment in myself.

I think as an advocate, you feel like you should know better and I helped people through this. In fact, there were times when I was in that relapse that people reached out to me for help. And I strapped on my booth and helped them and walked, talked them through it all and found them therapists and then was like, “Why can’t I do that for myself? Why am I so good at helping others and not giving myself the tools that I know are sitting right in front of me?”

Kimberley: Yeah. I thought it was really interesting. You said like you were mad at yourself, or maybe I didn’t use that word correctly, for having anxiety about your thoughts. Oh my God, when did the expectations get so high? What are your thoughts about that?

Jazzmin: I have no idea. It’s so funny too, because when I look back on the themes that I’ve always had, it’s always been around feeling anxiety. I have a fear of feeling anxiety. And that first thing I had was, maybe this will get rid of my anxiety. So, all of my obsessions were what’s the key to get rid of it. In fact, I often have an intrusive thought to this day that maybe my anxiety disorder is caused by the fact that I have hair and I need to shave my head to not feeling anxious anymore. And I have the best hair. I love my haircut. I have the best hair stylist, so I’m just like, “No, I don’t want to shave my head.”

Kimberley: You don’t want to go all Britney Spears on yourself.

Jazzmin: No. But it’s so funny to me how that works and the way-- yeah, I lost my train of thought there because we were laughing about Britney Spears, but--

Kimberley: But no, I think going back to what I was saying is I think you’re right. I think that we judge ourselves based on whether we’re anxious about something, like, “Oh, I shouldn’t be anxious about that.” But that’s just our brain doing its thing.

Jazzmin: I was holding a newborn baby that I was related to for the first time in my whole life. Of course, I’m going to be terrified. I’m going to throw her against the wall. That’s a normal thing to feel really anxious about. But I think also when you’re in recovery, there’s a certain acceptance you have with anxiety. You learn that anxiety is going to be a part of my life and I’m going to accept it. And I’d always thought that I had done that. And then I remember doing ERP School this last spring. And you mentioned something about, I believe it’s willingness versus willfulness. Is that what it is?

Kimberley: Yeah.

Jazzmin: And I remember feeling angry with you when you mentioned that because I knew you were right. And I was like, “No,” because that was that missing piece that I had yet to figure out. I was always like, “Yeah, I get that I’ll have to feel anxious sometimes in my life. But I’m only feeling anxious and allowing myself to feel anxious because I hope that that will be the key to get rid of it.” So, it was just, that was always the way out. And for the first time, I had to realize that while I was allowing anxiety to happen, I wasn’t really welcoming it in a way. And so, that was what unlocked that little portion in my head.

Kimberley: Okay. So, I just have a question. The therapist/educator in me is like, tell me more – you obviously took ERP School – what is it about? And I’m so happy that that was helpful. But I want to know, because you’re not alone. I love knowing when things make people mad because it means there’s a roadblock there. There’s a common human roadblock that we all get to. So, what about that made you mad? I’m so curious.

Jazzmin: Yeah. I think in all honesty, it was a little bit of resistance because it was like, I knew that that was that next step and I really didn’t want to do that. Everything that I’ve ever done was to get rid of my anxiety. Even my OCD, all of my research, and all of the exposures that I worked on was only to get rid of that anxiety. And at the beginning of every video, you talked about, you said, “Hey, if that’s your goal, let’s reframe that.” And I was just like, “How do I do that? How does someone want to feel anxious?” I just really struggled with understanding how-- it’s such a terrible feeling. I hate it so much. How am I supposed to be happy to experience that? And I wasn’t sure how to connect those two. 

I also was always looking for someone to just tell me how, like to give me steps and just say, “Hey, this is how you become willing to be anxious, or the willfulness, this is how you do it.” I remember talking to my therapist about it and I just said, “Kimberley was talking about this, and can you just tell me how to do that?” I was like, “How do I lean in? Is that something I should just tell myself? Is it something I need to write down?” And she just said, “I think it’s not something I can tell you. I think it’s a little more abstract than that.” And I just said, “Okay. So, you can’t give me a step-by-step on how to get out of this,” because that’s how I am. And she just said, “No, I think it’s a feeling.” It scared me more than it made me angry. And I think that’s why it made me angry because I knew that that was what I needed to do. So, that anger really comes from fear of just knowing what’s next and what I need to do. And it’s something I think I’ve put off for a very long time.

Kimberley: Yeah. Listen, this week alone, I’ve had multiple of these conversations with my clients. I think it’s such a common roadblock for everybody. Like how often people who have recovered said, “When I stopped trying to not be anxious is when I actually got relief from my anxiety.” And it’s like what you resist, persist, is always this sort of thing.

Jazzmin: Absolutely.

Kimberley: I love that you told me that. Number one, I’m terrible. I always giggle when people say that my stuff made them mad because I’m like, “What happened?” But I think it’s such an important point, right? It’s such an important piece of the work. So, how would you encourage people to manage relapse or lapse?

Jazzmin: Yeah, I think I was really lucky to have my sister by my side through this relapse, especially if someone who understands OCD. And encouragement was a huge thing in having a support system because I had my husband, I had my sister, I have grown a community on Instagram of people that know I have OCD and I don’t shy away from putting on my Instagram like, “I’m relapsing right now. Give me a minute. Let me figure this out.” And my comments are always flooded with like, “You got this. We believe in you. Hang in there if you need anything.” And so, I think that was a huge part of that healing for me, was just the support. 

But I also think there’s a huge part about self-compassion that fits into this, about allowing yourself the opportunity to stumble. And I think it gives us its humanity. We’re going to fall and we’re going to trip and that’s going to happen. And also, life is not perfectly straight and boring where nothing bad ever happens. That’s what makes life exciting. So, I think there’s a big self-compassion piece to it all of just allowing yourself to be wherever you are.

Kimberley: Is the self-compassion piece the work you’d, like you’d said, sometimes when we relapse? And I’ve had these conversations. It’s like, “Oh, there’s a layer of your therapy that you hadn’t done, or that this is a good thing for your long-term recovery.” Was the self-compassion work you had previously done or did you have to take on the self-compassion once you realized you had relapsed?

Jazzmin: Self-compassion was not at all a part of my previous healing and it was something that I was really missing. I bought your book too, The Self-Compassion Workbook. I wrote through when I was on an airplane ride once. And again, it also made me frustrated because I remember you had me write like how I felt about me if my OCD was flaring up or what I thought to myself about the fact that these intrusive thoughts were present. And all of the things that I wrote were really nasty about myself like, “Why are you thinking that? Even if I know everyone has intrusive thoughts, people don’t have those ones or they don’t make them feel the way that mine make me feel. So, I’m not strong enough or I’m not doing well enough or I’m not as well as I thought I was.”

And so, self-compassion was that layer of my healing that I don’t think I had reached yet but I think I really needed because again, I think I have that tough girl mentality and I want to be strong for everybody. And when it comes to doing that for myself, I fall short. So, I think it was really helpful to just learn, to give myself grace and to watch the way that I was speaking to myself when I was struggling and allowing myself to struggle, allowing myself to feel bad because that’s life. 

Kimberley: Yeah. I love that you had support. I love that you had those people cheering you on, like clapping their hands, “You can do this.” What would you encourage people to do if they didn’t have that support? And in the same question, were you able to start to have that voice? Where you were like, “I can do it” and have that kind of coaching voice as well? Or was that not a part of your experience?

Jazzmin: So, I think if anyone doesn’t have that support, the first thing I would encourage them to do was to find the community online because that’s how I mostly got that sport in the beginning, was just finding people that were struggling in a similar way. But also, I think a huge part of that self-compassion in your voice is to be that voice for yourself and to be an advocate for yourself in those moments. And so, yeah, I think there’s a part of just doing it for yourself in a way. And there was a second part of that question you asked.

Kimberley: No, no, you answered it beautifully, because I think that is a piece of it too, is I have found for myself and I could be-- you may not feel this at all or the listeners may not feel this at all, but a huge part of my self-compassion journey was instead of going to other people to cheer me on, I had to learn to do it myself. Not to say you don’t deserve to go and get it. It’s not a problem if they cheer you on, that’s not a problem at all, but that was a huge piece of it. And I try to practice that with my patients as well, like can you cheer yourself on just a little, can you reframe that you’re strong while you suffer kind of thing. I think there’s so many reframes that we can make.

Jazzmin: Yeah, absolutely. And I think back to the things that I did to encourage myself and I remembered one thing that I did is, I would have a full day of negative thoughts and negative intrusive thoughts and really struggling. And then maybe for two minutes out of that day, I would feel this overcome of like, “Hey, I got this. Wait a minute, I can do this.” And I’d always snap a selfie when I was feeling that. And so, over the course of this relapse, I have tons of these selfies and some of them I’m crying in and some of them I’m in the coffee shop or I’m in my car. And when I was really feeling down, I’d look back on that and I’d be like, “Hey, that’s the version of me that’s cheering me on right now.” And I would look back on those photos all the time and be like, “Hey, yesterday at 2:04 PM, I felt okay for a minute.” And even if it was just a minute, I’m going to trust that girl right there, because that’s who I am.

Kimberley: Wow. That’s so cool. I love that. I’ve never heard that before. What an amazing way to capture you in that moment. I love that so much.

Jazzmin: I think I put it in my phone, in my folders as reminders of hope. And I would look at those pictures whenever I needed it because I think seeing proof that you were there at one point too, it’s like, that was me and I could be there again.

Kimberley: I love that so much. I actually think that that’s a piece of the tool belt or the toolkit that we need to have more of, like how can you remind yourself that you’re in the game and you’re doing the game. I love that so much. I remember many months ago, I did a podcast with Laura. I can link it in the show notes. She talked about, she did a collage of photos of her doing her exposures, even though she’s crying or even though-- and I just think that’s it, right? Just to remind ourselves that we’ve been there and we’ve gotten through it is so huge. 

This goes back to the very beginning, but how do you-- is there a difference in how you respond depending on whether it’s a lapse, your version of a lapse or a relapse? For you, is the response and the tools you use the same or is it different? 

Jazzmin: I think for me the tools are about the same. I would almost say I use less tools in my lapses and that’s always what causes them. So, I relax into this anxiety that I’m feeling and I let my guard down maybe a little bit and I start doing something. But generally, the way that I spot myself out of those cycles is to-- I quite literally will map out. I’m like, “What thought just made me anxious, and then what was my initial-- what did I feel like I needed to do to make myself feel better?” And then once I could take that step back, I could see what was going on. And I think my relapse was a little bit different because it reached that core fear of mine about feeling anxious forever or feeling like I wasn’t going to get rid of it. And so, I think it was a little harder to find that exit of that loop because it was something that I was so deeply engraved in my being that I’ve had for so long that I don’t think I ever really looked at. I always treated the surface of my obsessions and never really realized what is the core of this. It’s feeling anxious. It’s just this fear of anxiety.

Kimberley: Yeah. And how are you doing now? Can you give me a realistic description on how to recover with OCD Relapse? 

How to recover from OCD relapse

Jazzmin: Yeah. I would say I’m doing really good right now. I’m actually 16 weeks pregnant. We found out we were pregnant back in May. And so, pregnancy is one big exposure because as someone who doesn’t like not knowing the future and is not great with uncomfortable sensations, that is pretty much all this pregnancy has been. But I remember explaining to a friend like sometimes when you’re pregnant, at least for me, I’ll just have these waves of sadness. Nothing is making me sad. I’m actually having the best day ever, and I’ll just have to go cry really hard for 10 or 20 minutes. And I was thinking to myself, this is something a couple years ago that would really scare me. I’d be really fearful of these feelings. And I have just come so far in my journey with anxiety and OCD that when I feel that way, I just surrender to it and I say, “Hey, babe, I’m going to go upstairs. Give me 10 minutes.” And I’ll just go hang out in the bathroom and let it out and wipe my tears away and just allow that I’m going to feel that way sometimes and it’s okay and I think so.

So, right now, I’m doing really well and navigating, of course, pregnancy as much as I can as it’s super new. And of course, I have a lot of fears about being a mother and when those intrusive thoughts will show their face again, when I’m holding my baby, which I’m sure they will. But I’m really leaning into this idea that the version of me that will make it through that will be born in that moment. So, there’s nothing I can really do right now to make that intrusive thought not stick as much when it happens. All I can do is just trust that when it happens, if it happens in that moment, I’ll gain whatever resilience I need to work through it. And there’s a lot of self-trust that comes into that. And really trusting that I’ve got this and who knows, maybe I’ll stumble and I am fully allowing myself the opportunity to do that. So, I think that’s just been a big part of this journey for me, is allowing the unknown to just exist. 

Kimberley: I love what you’re just saying. In fact, I have had clients who’ve actually written invitations to OCD like, “I welcome you to my baby’s birth,” or “I welcome you to my wedding,” and so forth. And so, I think that this is beautiful in sort of an insurance policy for relapses to say, “I’m inviting you to this big event,” which is what you’re doing.

Jazzmin: Yeah. It’s like, “Let’s join me. I know you’re a part of my life and I want to see what are you going to throw at me. Let’s do this.” Almost like, “Let’s do this together. It’s not a fight and I don’t want you to go away, but I’m curious to see what you’re going to bring to the table and I’m looking forward to seeing how I handle it, learning whatever I need to learn in that moment.”

Kimberley: See, you have a lot of willingness.

Jazzmin: Now I do.

Kimberley: You have got it. I’m so grateful to have you on and to share your story. This is so good. So good. Tell me-- let’s just wrap it up with like, okay, someone is in the depth of their relapse, they’re the lowest of the low. What words of wisdom do you have for them?

Jazzmin: Feel it. I think that’s what I would say. I think when you’re in those lows, you’re always looking for that way out. And of course, naturally, you want a way out. There’s no way you want to be there forever. But I think just really leaning into this idea that the only way out is through and just really feel what you’re feeling and don’t be scared of it, because I think fear really holds us back from a lot of healing.

Kimberley: So beautiful. Thank you so much for coming on.

Jazzmin: Thank you so much. It’s so much fun. And I just want to say, I want to sing your praises for a minute. Your podcast and just you as a person are so kind, and I really found that just your content and just your presence was so comforting in the time of really darkness for me. And I think sometimes when you’re going through OCD, you have a lot of people that have that fight mentality and they’re like, “You got this. Just go at it, run at it.” And you just showed a level of gentleness in approaching that. And that was what really helped me find that self-compassionate voice. So, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the things that you do and what you do on here. It’s incredible.

Kimberley: Oh, thank you. I’m covered in goosebumps. I can’t tell you-- I say this every time, is when you’re here talking to a microphone and no one’s there, sometimes you don’t really know who you’re touching and I just love hearing that. Thank you, because it really means so much to me that I could be there without even knowing that I’m being there. So, it brings me just so--

Jazzmin: Sometimes you just need to know. You need someone to tell you like, “Hey, what you’re going through is hard and it’s okay that it’s hard.” And I think that’s something you’ve always done for people, that we can do hard things.

Kimberley: We can. It’s a beautiful day, right? 

Jazzmin: Uh-hmm.

Kimberley: Thank you, Jazzmin. You have been such an inspiration. If people want to follow you, where can they get ahold of you?

Jazzmin: So, my Instagram is where I’m the most vocal. It’s Jazzmin Lauren. My name is weird. J-A-Z-Z-M-I-N. I have a jazz musician as a father. And I would say I’m not super vocal on big advocacy stuff on my social media. My goal is just to share my life as someone with OCD. So, my DMs are always open though. If you ever want to reach out and just say hi, or if you want help finding a therapist, I know how to do that and I’m always willing to help. So, yeah, you can find me there.

Kimberley: You’re amazing. Thank you so much.

Jazzmin: Thank you.

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