You, Me, Empathy - Episode 85: OCD, Autism, and Peer Support with Joelle Marie
We kick off the show in very much on-brand fashion by talking about how our respective dogs (and animals in general) help our mental health. We then explore Joelle’s experience living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (diagnosed at 19), which includes feeling misunderstood, sensory sensitivity, trouble integrating new information, wanting to “appear normal” and “act like everyone else,” and how different you can feel on the outside vs. the inside.
We gab about how we can allow people to be who they are by learning and honoring the language they use, and celebrating them for who they are. We explore the joy and responsibility of presenting who we are openly and honestly, because who we are matters!
Finally, we talk about Joelle’s experience with OCD, or Pure OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in her case. Joelle uses the example of being obsessed with the idea that the house will burn down, and the compulsion is that she has to check the lights or else the house will burn down. We talk about how her OCD can lead to avoidance, alienating herself, not talking, thinking there is a “right” way to do something but feeling like she’ll never be able to do it that way, and the personal shame that comes with it. We talk about how we can support feely humans with OCD, Joelle’s work as a Peer Support Specialist, being an advocate, and helping others become advocates of their own health too!
Thanks to Joelle for sharing her story!
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