Dan Fenstermacher Photography
Drink MeDrink MeEthan Smith

1: Bio on yourself and your work with OCD

Ethan currently lives in the Los Angeles area working as a successful writer/director/producer. Ethan was born with OCD and struggled the majority of his life until receiving life changing treatment in 2010. Ethan was the Keynote Speaker at the 2014 Annual OCD Conference in Los Angeles and recently became a National Spokesperson for the International OCD Foundation.

2: If and what kind of OCD you have

As a kid, my OCD started out pretty traditional: physical rituals like tapping counting, checking. As I got older, however, it morphed to fear of illness. A headache was a brain tumor, a fever meningitis. At my worst, I was literally afraid I would bash my own head in with my hands. I guess that falls under the category of “self-harm” but among many other OCD thoughts, I was afraid of my own hands and often laid in bed for many hours, literally laying on top of them to protect myself.

3: How are you fighting it/overcoming it?

By action, living, and helping others. OCD plays very little if any role in my life now. I still see a therapist once a week and check-in with other members of my treatment team now and again. Maintaining mental health is paramount for me, cause without that…I have nothing. But I know what OCD is, how it behaves. I know it better than it knows itself, so I can take appropriate measures when life happens to keep from sliding backwards. I’m not saying I don’t have rough days or OCD doesn’t scream at me from time to time, but instead of it becoming a “relapse” its all just simply part of the process of being an OCD sufferer. Like an accidental cheat on a diet, it’s going to happen. The important thing is the next day to get back on track moving forward. Value driven action is everything.

4: Advice for others with OCD

You CAN get better. No matter how bad. I know it’s said all the time and seems literally impossible but it requires complete blind faith, radical faith. Simply believing that what you’re currently doing isn’t working, and making a choice to go all in, 100%, no matter what is asked of you by your therapist. Know there is another side, and it’s beautiful. See you there.

5: Quote about OCD (either inspirational or from experience)

I have two quotes I like to use, they’re both mine…

The first is in regards to therapy: “The pain you invest today is worth the pleasure you’ll experience the rest of your life.”

The other quote I like to use is: “At some point during our journey to overcome OCD, the end goal suddenly changes from just functioning, to living with excitement and purpose. It’s at that moment you realize the intense fight and struggle to get better was completely worth it.”