Help Shannon Afford OCD Treatmant

       According to The World Health Organization, OCD is the 10th leading cause of disability world wide. OCD is charachterized by distubing, unwanted and repetitve thoughts.  In response to the unwanted obsessions, sufferes engage in compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors or mental rituals that are used to reduce the anxiety caused the the unending thoughts. People with OCD know that thier thoughts and actions are irrational, but they are unable to stop the vicious cycle as hard as they try.  The obsessions and compulsions generally take up hours of the day, and make it difficult for sufferers to fully engage in thier lifes.Thankfully, there is effective treatment available that can lead to 70-80% reduction in symptoms.
          I have suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since I was a very small child. My life has been consumed by the nagging fear that some terrible harm will befall me and my family at any moment. I grew up being tormented by images and thoughts of grousome, violent things happening to us. In response, I developed many compulsions and rituals that made me feel more in control of my safety. Imagine an eight year old little girl who feels that the safety of her entire family rests on her shoulders, and to ensure everyone's safety she has to spend hours a day doing rituals. Everything from syaing hour long prayers, to bedtime rituals that would keep me up to the early hours of the morning. 
      These types of obsessions and compulsions followed me through out my teenage years. At the age of 15 I was stil afriad to sleep on my own and I was still spending hours each night doing ridiculous bedtime rituals. But then, during my sophmore year in highschool,  I developed an eating disorder which took over for the next several years of my life. My eating Disorder became my new obsession, and my scary thoughts about harm coming to me and my family finally subsided.Thankfully in 2008, after six years of batteling severe bulimia I was finally able to beat my eating disorder thanks to several years of attending eating disorder treatment programs. However, as soon as I overcame my eating disorder, my OCD came back with a vengence.
       For the last six years, my OCD has been a silent hell that I have been suffering through. My scary thoughts consume every moment of my day, and they make it terribly difficult to focus my attention on anything of value. My current obsessions involve scary thoughts of me dying suddenly from a medical emergency. This causes me to have a torturous amount of hyperawareness of my body sensations. Every little ache or pain I expereince makes me feel as if I am dying, and I get thrown into severe panic attacks. The killer is that the anxiety and hyperawareness I experience in fact acutally causes me to feel physically ill. The brain is a very interesting thing. If you think you are dying long enough, your body will actually start producing symptoms that you are in fact in danger. 
       The worst of my obsessions is what is known as a sensorimotor obsession. This is one of the most torturous forms of OCD because it involves an overawareness of body processes. In my case, it involves my breathing. Imagine if you could never not think about your breathing. Every single breath you take has your full attention, and no matter how hard you try to not think about it, you just can't stop. This causes you to feel out of breath, frustrated, distracted and full of despair. Right now, it is causing me so much distress that I have trouble sleeping at night, and I am having daily panic attacks. 
     The severity of my OCD has become great over the last several months. My fear of suddenly dying has really began to effect my entire family. I am so afraid to be alone, that my husband has taken off over a month of work and has missed a lot of school so that he can be home to help take care of me and Owen. It's hard for me to function when I am having intense panic attacks several times a day. I also have dificulty doing any housework or getting myelf ready in the mornings. I find it incredibly difficult to take my mind off of my scary thoughts and I just get stuck in the house being terrified all day. It is very hopless and frustrating for me. I don't want to be like this!
         It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't have this condition. But it's as if my scary thoughts, instead of being a slim possibility, are a deffinite probability. So , for example, a non-sufferer might say to me, "it is very unlikely that you will die today of a heart attack, so don't worry about it. You are young and healthy!" In comparisson, the way I think about it is, " It could happen to me. I could easily be that one person who just has a heart attack at 27 and dies suddenly. It might happen any moment now. " And that thought feels incredibly probable. It's a very depressing and scary way to live. 
       As most of you know, I just ended a month of intensive therapy in Florida. While I was there I made some really good progress. However, upon coming home we realized that a month of therapy just isn't enough to get me to where I need to be to be able to function independently as a mother and wife.  My OCD is severe enough that I need to be in therapy 2-3 times a week, for several more months or maybe even years. In order to get the intensive treatment that I need, we have to go about three hours away to Chapel Hill,  North Carolina.  
         We are planning to rent a condo in NC so that we can stay half the week there while I'm in therapy. Andy is still in the middle of his masters program, so we will be going back and forth between home and NC each week. This will require a lot of money, and funds are running very low. We spent $10,000 dolloars of Andy's student loans for me to attend therapy in Florida, and we don't have very much money left. But I desperatly need more help if I am ever going to regain my life! That is why I am asking for friends and family to donate a few dollars to my cause. I will be forever grateful to anyone who can help me out, and help me get my life back! I want to know what it is like to feel normal. I want to experience a life that is not consumed with debilitating fear.Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and helping me in any way you can !
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Shannon Jones 
Myrtle Beach, SC
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