Today an NY entrepreneur is breaking the silence on his 20 year battle with mental illness to launch IntrusiveThoughts.org, a resource that humanizes the experience of OCD and empower sufferers to live a healthier, happier life. Undiagnosed with Pure Obsessional OCD until his mid-30s, he struggled with violent thoughts until resorting to Google, only to find a grave lack of user-friendly and relatable public mental health resources.
Recognizing the need to change the digital resources available to the OCD community, he used his professional skills to create a modern site for young people that explains how healthy choices can help sufferers and their families cope with OCD better than the academic and prescriptive resources currently available.
Despite what many may believe, OCD is defined by more than organizational skills, repetitive behaviors and tics. The darker side to OCD is characterized by extremely violent thoughts. For someone struggling with OCD, these obsessive compulsions, which can range from pedophilia to homicide to sexual identity crises to incest, make you question reality on a daily basis. Because of the nature of these unwanted thoughts and misconceptions about mental health, most sufferers internalize their condition for the majority of their lives.
“Two years ago, the pressure of my anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts became unbearable,” said Aaron Harvey, Founder of Intrusive Thoughts, Inc. “For more than twenty years, I tried to suppress terrible mental images about hurting myself and the people I love. When I couldn’t live in silence any longer, I finally confided in the Internet to help understand these intrusive thoughts. I had to dig through never ending lists of symptoms, treatments and academic research on psych forums and YouTube for any useful information. I didn’t feel any relief until I came upon Rose Bretécher’s article, “Pure OCD: a rude awakening. She used humor to shed light on the darkness of living with pure OCD and because of that, she forever changed, if not saved, my life. This article and the lack of empathetic OCD resources online helped me realize there was a clear opportunity to use my professional skills to create a resource with a youthful look and tone of voice that also humanized the experience of living with intrusive thoughts, promoted a holistic treatment plan and elevated conversations about mental health in the media.”
Using his professional design skills, the modern website was created to be more relatable for young people than the academic and prescriptive resources currently available online, but more dependable than confiding in Google searches for answers to mental health issues. Featuring videos and information from doctors, therapists and experts in mediation, yoga, diet, art and the medical field, IntrusiveThoughts.org will also explain how healthy choices can help sufferers and their families’ cope with the chronic condition of OCD.
The IntrusiveThoughts.org project is currently self-funded by Aaron Harvey. In order to take the learnings of this project further and to develop a more comprehensive resource for mental health sufferers and their loved ones, Aaron has created the following campaign for donations: https://www.gofundme.com/myocdstory