TELEMENTAL HEALTH IS AVAILABLE.

We are absolutely thrilled to have Morgan and Molly with us for this post. They are two incredible women who have teamed up to help tackle the isolation that is so commonly felt by people with OCD. They create, write, and send notes for people who request one through Not Alone Notes. Below, they’ve answered a few of our questions related to Not Alone Notes, and their OCD journey.

 

– How did the idea for letters for OCD sufferers form? What has been the most rewarding aspect of this?

Morgan: The idea came about when I was writing letters back and forth as pen pals with several friends I had met through the International OCD Foundation and Annual OCD Conference (OCDcon). I had always wanted some sort of mailing service for people just diagnosed with OCD or who felt alone, and when I thought of a handwritten letter it all clicked! I put a Google Form on my blog, individuals started requesting notes, and Molly reached out about helping and hand-making the notecards.
The most rewarding aspect so far has been being able to turn around something that once caused me immense pain into something productive to help others. It was also wonderful to meet some individuals we have sent Not Alone Notes to in person at OCDcon.

Molly: I reached out to Morgan because I loved the idea of the project! I also have always wanted to find a way to connect my art and mental health and this gave me the perfect route.
The most rewarding part is to see and hear when people receive a card. Once we send the card out in the world, we hope the US postal service can take care of the rest by getting it to the recipient. When we hear that someone has our card in their hands, it feels amazing!

 

– When people request a letter, is it possible for it to become a correspondence and more of a pen-pal relationship?

Morgan: As of very recently, we are excited that we now have a PO box as a return address (Morgan Rondinelli, PO Box 1161, Sylvania, OH 43560)! There is no pressure, but we would absolutely love to receive letters in return.

 

– Considering the common delay in diagnosis for OCD, how did you discover that what you were experiencing was OCD?

Morgan: I follow that unfortunately common pattern of experiencing a delay between onset and diagnosis. I have memories of OCD as earlier as Kindergarten such as perfectionism, safe numbers, and tapping rituals. It wasn’t until I went away to college and my OCD got much more severe that I started figuring it out. Blogs and YouTube were very helpful in first learning about OCD before finally going to see a specialist. That is a large reason why I continue my blog, to fill in gaps of things I had Googled but didn’t find anything.

Molly: I have had symptoms of OCD since age 4. My parents were told that the behavior they saw in me was a phase and that I would grow out of it. It wasn’t until age 10 where we saw it greatly impacting school and pretty much impacting my daily life. I was misdiagnosed with ADD at school. It wasn’t until my mom was reading an article about a child with OCD. The child in the article had similar compulsions to what I was doing at home. That was the beginning of my OCD journey.

Morgan is second from left, with Dr. Z to the right, and Molly on the right side.

– When doing exposures, what have you found to be the most helpful in both doing them and remaining committed to the process of doing exposures?

Morgan: Something I’ve found helpful is learning that OCD usually says the exposure will be worse than it is. Often the anticipatory anxiety is worse than the anxiety when actually doing the exposure. The sooner you engage with the anxiety though and do the exposure, the sooner it passes. The more you push away from the anxiety, the longer it stays.

Molly: I find it difficult to do exposures on my own. I benefit when a therapist instructs me with what to do, and then each week we talk about what I accomplished.

 

– What is the most impactful thing you’ve learned so far in your OCD journey? What are you still continuing to work on?

Morgan: I think the most impactful thing I’ve learned so far is that mental health advocacy is one of my main passions. When I first was diagnosed with OCD I had no idea who I was besides a perfectionistic student. This journey has allowed me to really figure out who I am and what I care about.

Molly: I think one of the most impactful things I have learned is that everyone struggles with something. Sometimes it can feel like you are the only one with tough challenges, and it is easy to think someone’s life it easier than your own. That is not true, and I wish I had known that at a younger age. I am still continuing to work on explaining what OCD is to people who don’t understand it, and think it isn’t a serious issue. Usually people already have incorrect assumptions about OCD and it is hard to explain the nitty-gritty about the different types of OCD.

 

– We’re so excited about the good that has come from Not Alone Notes and My OCD Voice. Where do you imaging this venture taking you in the future? Where would you like to take it?

Morgan: One dream is to hit mailing 1000 Not Alone Notes. We just sent #300, and it hasn’t even been a year yet, so I think it’s well within reach. Overall, I just hope Not Alone Notes continues to grow. We have been applying to several microgrants to try to help with this. Maybe one day we’ll have a booth at OCDcon.

Molly: I agree with what Morgan said. I also think it has the potential to stretch to writing letters to people who suffer with other disorders in the mental health community.

 

To find out more about Not Alone Notes, or to request one, please visit their website: https://myocdvoice.wordpress.com/receive-a-not-alone-note/

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- Ditch other people’s definition of success to pursue your own?

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- Develop a new mindset to do what you deeply care about without negatively affecting other areas of your life in the long run?

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I hope you enjoy!