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Battle Back Beads

Peace of Mind asked Olivia a few questions about Battle Back Beads. For more information, please visit her website, Battle Back Beads.
Why did you start Battle Back Beads?
“I created Battle Back Beads because of my own struggle with OCD and BFRBs. I want to encourage other kids and teens to take charge of their recovery from OCD and to provide them with a way to look back on their journey with pride at what they have overcome and accomplished, rather than the shame that most of society demands we feel over our mental health struggles. I want to give them what I didn’t have: a reminder of how far they have come, how strong they are and something tangible they can use to inspire confidence that they can do hard things. Overall, my hope is that Battle Back Beads can make recovery from from OCD and BFRBs a little easier and send that message that those battling them are not alone.”
Why is it important to you to help kids and teens?
“I want to help kids and teens because growing up is hard enough without OCD and BFRBs trying to take over your life and making you feel alienated. I’ve been to the place where every waking moment is filled by compulsions and I could see no way out. I know the hopelessness that can come from it and how recovery feels so far away and unable to be achieved. I also know how much support meant to me and how someone supporting me and fighting beside me meant the world. Recovery isn’t as daunting when you have others fighting beside you and for you.”
Would you mind sharing a little about your story?
“I’ve had OCD since I was four years old (so almost fourteen years). My compulsions have changed over the years, but never completely gone away.
When I was twelve years old, my OCD became very severe and I couldn’t function. I couldn’t write, read, type, and every moment was filled with anxiety. My parents and I were both at our whits end.
My mom found a partial hospitalization program for OCD and enrolled me in their program. It was there that I met others with OCD and realized how powerful having others to fight beside you can be. I also learned ERP (Exposure, Response, Prevention therapy) which greatly helped reduce my compulsions. I was there for five months and gained a lot of skills to help in the battle against my OCD. Since then, I have reached recovery in OCD and am able to live my life without it taking over my daily activities.”
What do you want other kids and teens struggling with OCD/BFRBs to know?
“My message to other teens with OCD and BFRBs would first be that you are not alone. There are people who understand and who want to fight beside you in this battle. Secondly, I would encourage them to not be ashamed of their OCD/BFRBs. Mental illness, and OCD in particular, are very misunderstood and don’t get a lot of awareness. However, that doesn’t mean that their courage and bravery isn’t real or isn’t valid. OCD/BFRBs are nothing to be ashamed of and the courage it takes to fight it is something to be proud of! Lastly, RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE! Even if your OCD never completely goes away, it is absolutely possible to live a full, happy, and productive life with OCD! Mine might not have gone away completely, but I have the skills to manage it and it has become a quiet whisper in my mind rather than a loud roar that could not be ignored. Have hope that it can (and will) get better.”
For more information, please visit her website, Battle Back Beads.