Recovering From OCD: A True Story

Article by: Gianna Marinelli

My name is Gianna Marinelli. I am 24 years new, and I live in Santa Cruz, California. I have been asked to share my experience of disease and relief, so, here it is. I hope it will be inspiring to anyone who has ever felt lost and confused about their health, and to anyone who has ever known that there is an alternate solution, but was unsure what it was, or if anyone had done it and gotten better.

Just a few years ago, I was suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and acute anxiety attacks. All day, everyday. I was taking 400 mg. of a SSRI drug, and I was losing who I was to the "Disease" and to the feeling of non-reality that the drug put me in.

Today, I am symptom free, and completely off all the medication. In this article, I will tell my story of how I came to this point, what it took to get here, and how I am maintaining my health and well being.

It all started when I was about 14 years old. I began to experience anxiety and compulsions about germs. I would wash my hands obsessively, take showers one after the other, so on. It progressively got worse throughout my 8th grade year in school. I graduated, with the added difficulty of the compulsions, but, over the summer my symptoms became more frequent. One of the many reasons I left conventional school was that I was unable to function at all in a way that would allow me to do any of the school work, and the anxiety was so bad that I didn't want to leave the house.

I had degraded into a person that was in fear,  fear of my own mind's distortions of reality. I was lost in my compulsions, the relief of doing the compulsion became the only thing that mattered. My mother had been pushed to her limit. She had taken me to the hospital one day when my symptoms got so out of hand that it was too much to handle, she was scared for my health and she wanted the best for me. The the only way she knew of at the time to get me better was a western doctor. At the hospital, I was diagnosed with OCD. After that, I was sent to see a "specialist."

On my first visit to see a psychotherapist, I was 14, in a constant state of anxiety and compulsions, and determined to get better. I remember as if it were yesterday what the doctor said to me as he reviewed my case. "People with OCD usually have it for life. There is at this time no known cure. You will probably be on medication for the rest of your life in order to function." Right then and there I made a choice. I chose to prove him wrong. I chose to get better, somehow, and be off meds.

I was on medication for the next 6 years of my life. First, the doctor tried Zoloft. I felt terrible on it. I felt depressed, and like I was living in a haze. I had no feeling, literally, in my chest and abdomen. I was emotionally numb. We changed the meds when I refused to keep taking the Zoloft. The next one was called Fluvoxamine. I was on that one for the next 5 years. I began to gradually get better, somewhat, but after a while, all I felt was numb again.

The meds made me feel as if I was a zombie, walking through life, not feeling, just wandering aimlessly in search of relief from myself. I was tired of the side effects. I suffered from dizziness, severe muscle cramps, mood swings, decreased appetite, nausea, acne, chronic fatigue, and to top it all off, I gained 50 pounds on the medication as well. I had had enough. One day, I told my mother that I wanted off the meds, completely.

We went and saw my doctor, he advised against it, but I said it was my choice, and I wasn't going to change my mind. So, over the next few years, I began to decrease the dosage. At that particular time, I began seeing a holistic chiropractor, and he started to assist me in coming off the meds. It still was a struggle, though. Then, something happened that changed everything.

One night, my friend said to me, "I'm  going to Aikido class." I had done Aikido in my early teens, but had fallen out of it. Something inside me sparked,  and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to get out and do something, not just toil over the hardship of having recurring OCD symptoms. Little did I know how much that spark would ignite in me the fire that I had felt that day when I was told "You will be this way, you will be sick, and that's it." That day, I said "No, I won't be." and the day I said to my friend, "I want to come with you to class.", was also the day I unconsciously chose to really get all the way better.

I began training at Aikido of Santa Cruz in December of 2005. For the next 4 and a half years, I went 6 days a week to train, sometimes doing 3 classes in a row. All the while, I was seeing my chiropractor, and decreasing the medication. I lost all the weight I had gained on my meds, and I made new friends for the first time in years. During the summer of 2008, I stopped taking the medication all together. I was almost completely symptom free, but, I still had relapses and some fear let over.

All that changed when I got sick again. I was having severe pain in my stomach whenever I ate, and it wouldn't go away. My mother happened to be practicing yoga with Michael McEvoy, and she knew of his work with health and nutrition. He came to my house in September of 2009, and gave me a Metabolic Type assessment. As it turns out, I was eating an over abundance of wheat. Just that had sent me into metabolic imbalance.

He assessed me as Mixed Type, leaning toward a Protein Type. I followed his instructions on how to eat to get the optimum value out of my food, and the next day, all the pain was gone. In one day! It has been a little over a year since that time, and I have stuck to eating for my type of metabolism. Also, I was raised by my mother to eat organic local foods, and that hasn't changed. I only eat the highest quality foods, all from farmers markets, and local organic grocery stores. I have also adopted into my diet raw foods, such as raw dairy, raw fruits and vegetables, and even raw meat!

In my current life, I am healthier that I have ever been. I am OCD and anxiety free, for the first time in 10 years, and I owe it to how I am eating. All the residual OCD symptoms are gone, and they only arise when I deviate from eating good foods. I will be taking my Black Belt exam in Aikido in October, and I am now Michael McEvoy's student of nutrition and Metabolic Typing.