Updated: Jan 7
I actually didn’t want to write this for a few reasons.
One I didn’t want to make this site about me and distract from the big picture and the overall mission and two, I didn’t want to reveal my mental illness and the stigma of that for the obvious reasons of being judged or pitied or ostracized or defined by it. I am using an Alias though. Oh wait does that defeat the purpose of the Alias?
But alas here we are…
When I was 18 in 2005 and in Second Year University I started having intrusive thoughts. I was probably having these thoughts even years earlier, maybe as early as 14 but they couldn’t be avoided any longer.
I confided in my family and getting that off my chest was the first step in this journey of recovery. I’m lucky to have family members that I could talk to about that. I don’t overestimate that. And for those who don’t this site is for them. Thereafter I went to see a Psychologist recommended to me from my Family Doctor but she wasn’t able to label my intrusive thoughts as OCD. She also did a lot of damage to mine and my father’s relationship so all in all it wasn’t a good experience. When I was living in Hong Kong in 2012 I had phone calls with another Psychologist who I had met just before I left and he also didn’t know of OCD. Our relationship ended when back home my Dad was speaking to his brother in law’s brother about what was ailing me and tormenting me. He said, “Oh he has OCD. Tell him to read this book called Brain Lock by Jeffery Schwartz”.
That was step 2 in my recovery and it lifted another boulder off my mind and my shoulders. Brain Lock showed me that what I had was Pure OCD. That OCD isn’t just checking the stove or washing your hands. It can all happen in the mind too, which is what I was going through. Brain Lock also led me to find meditation and breathing techniques, to learn words like irrelevant, and mantras like I am not my thoughts and let the thoughts pass like blowing leaves on a fall day. It led me to learn more about tools to help with OCD and finally it led me to a therapist who knew about OCD. It also led me in 2014/2015 to an OCD peer support group that met monthly in downtown Toronto....
I loved the group, I felt so good after leaving a session. To be able to share and talk with others who were going through what I was going through was priceless. And I had the idea to turn that feeling into a business and into a website. I remember traveling in Europe in 2009 and going on free group tours run by a company called Sandeman’s. The tour was free but you tipped the tour guide at the end. And everyone tipped. I also did my grandparents taxes on a site called Simple Tax and it too was free, it only asked for a donation once you submitted the taxes to the government. I had also built a site for my other business on Wix in 2019 and it was more functional than I thought it would be and didn’t cost me more than $1,000. With the Coronavirus coming down on all of us like an asteroid and the bright side of it being that we in Canada could defer our taxes, the soup of ideas and inspirations and events led me to pull the trigger and make this site. And I did at the end April of this year of years, 2020.
In short, I started this site because I knew how good I felt after the peer support group I went to and saw both a business opportunity but also and more importantly a kind of calling. A purpose.
I’ve met so many great, warm, kindhearted people this year. Many of whom have come aboard and become moderators, running the groups and giving their time and energy to those who need it most.
I also am still recovering from OCD and still learning about it and selfishly I’d like to attend the group on my site to keep learning more and sharing and talking with others who deal with OCD. And I hope others can use the site in the same way.
-Daniel Cole, Founder of Pay What You Can Peer Support