Editor’s Note- Cassidy wrote for us last year, you can read it here. Here is a follow up from her, sharing a huge step forward. Help us share Cassidy’s progress. We are so proud of her!
Hi everyone! I’m Cassidy Watts. I am a 15 year old freshman that has suffered from PANDA’s for almost 6yrs. I previously wrote an article on this blog and I thought it was very cool. Just as a refresher, I struggle with anxiety and OCD. It was very very bad for about 6 years now. Over the summer of 2018, I went to a facility to get help for my anxiety.
I completed a 10 week program at a place called Rogers Behavioral Health in Nashville, Tennessee. Back then, I was to afraid to get on a plane,drive in a car and basically leave my house. Convincing me to get in the car was super hard, so my parents had to give me a relaxer pill to help me feel calm enough to get in the car. Anyway, what Rogers focuses on is a treatment called exposure response therapy. ERP means that you are exposed to the things that you are afraid of. As an example, I was very afraid of throwing up. They start with things that are easier and work up to the things that seem impossible. So at the beginning, I had to look at pictures and watch videos of people throwing up. Once that got easier, I would work up to things that were a little bit harder. My last exposure for that fear, and this will sound very gross, I had to hug a jar of vomit. I know it may sound like a lie, but it was very real. Another one of my exposures was to fly on a plane. Before I did that, I hadn’t been on a plane in 5 years.
Rogers was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But by far the most helpful. I know there’s a lot of parents out there wondering how to help their kids and how to help get them back. Your kid is ALWAYS there, it’s just that their hiding behind their fears. Rogers was so great and I met so many people who knew exactly how I felt and honestly, that was such a stress reliever.
To all the parents who need to make this decision for their child. Rogers or a place like it may be the treatment that can really help. Don’t let go of hope. It was such a long journey and I’m back to my old self now. I still struggle, but with all the help at Rogers, I am able to work through my fears. I am back in school, I can go on planes, I’m not scared of getting sick anymore.
I am able to live my life again. Always try and stay strong and know that there are so many people out there who understand how you feel. I’m always here to talk if anyone ever needs someone who experienced it.
To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around. -Richie Norton
To learn more about Rogers Institute, you can click here.
A great watch on OCD here for you.