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    Hello. I feel you – I had very bad OCD and separation anxiety as a child, up until my adult years.

    It turns out I had something called PANDAS/PANS. (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disease Associated with Strep/ Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) Please look this up and consider if it matches your experience with OCD and separation anxiety. My OCD/religiosity/separation anxiety got suddenly much worse after I had chicken pox. Turns out it was an autoimmune reaction in my brain. It was nice to know that it was not my fault. It was also nice to know better strategies for changing my OCD –  I’ve had better results from treating it like an autoimmune disorder, than I’ve had with CBT. (Although CBT has helped with the traumatic effects of having OCD.) Knowing that it was a physical process in my brain helped me forgive myself… I used to beat myself up so much for having this disorder. I thought it was my fault, that it made me unlovable. What a traumatic thing to happen to a child!!

    SSRIs (including Celexa) helped me through the worst.  I highly recommend them. Also, altering my diet helped me the rest of the way. Leafy greens and bananas in a smoothie everyday helps a LOT!! Deciding to eat meat helped – the worst of my OCD came when I was vegetarian. Avoiding processed foods (low fiber/high sugar/high sodium) helped me.

    Also, avoiding high arginine foods like nuts and nut-based oils helps me. (Why? OCD is associated with high nitric oxide levels. Arginine contributes to nitric oxide production. Eating high arginine foods, at least for me, worsens my OCD and anxiety. So I try to eat mostly low arginine/high lysine foods) Diet had an even bigger impact than the prescription, to be honest.

    I am not the only one who has experienced an improvement in OCD from diet change. It turns out our microbiome affects our brain chemistry, including OCD; eating healthier food helps our microbiome.

    (However, do not try over the counter probiotics! Bacteria self-replicate, and are hard to get rid of once you have them. And science isn’t sure which kinds are best for which individuals. I messed up my gastrointestinal tract for a good two years after taking Vitamin Shoppe probiotics for a week!)

    You don’t have to be perfect with trying to improve your health with food, though. Any little bit seems to help. And SSRIs were really wonderful for me when I used them. They didn’t get rid of it completely, but they let me feel like myself again! Many doctors are happy to prescribe them. But be sure to ask for something else if one doesn’t work for you. I tried 2 other kinds before I got to Celexa.

    It also sounds like you have been through a really hard time emotionally. Hard times in childhood can cause complex PTSD.  Some books that changed me life were Pete Walker’s Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Susan Anderson’s Taming your Outer Child, and Jeffrey Young’s Reinventing Your Life.

    OCD sucks. But you are a wonderful person just the way you are. Your conditions are not your fault. OCD is a physical disorder that leaves a traumatizing emotional impact. OCD is not who you are – it’s something that happened to you. Hoping for the best for you <3

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