S1E12: Obsessed about OCD (ft Rev Katie O'Dunne)

banner image

Transcript S1E12


This is our first collaborative episode. I am very excited to share my discussion with Rev. Katie O'Dunne. She is an ordained minister, OCD champion herself, and a strong advocate for OCD and evidence-based treatment. We tackle all the topics of mental health and spirituality, including medications, missed diagnoses in faith and culture, how OCD can look like a "devout" religious practice, and more!

Bio: Rev. Katie O'Dunne is the founder of Faith & Mental Health Integrative Services, an organization helping individuals with OCD and related disorders live into their faith traditions as they navigate evidence-based treatment. Prior to this, she spent 7 years serving as the Academy Chaplain and the Pauline and R.L. Brand Jr. '35 Chair of Religious Studies at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. While serving in this role, she also served as a consultant on interfaith programming for schools around the country. Katie is proud to be an IOCDF lead advocate, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and an endurance athlete tackling 50 ultra-marathons for OCD. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Vanderbilt to continue with her focus on faith & mental health. She graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory with her Master of Divinity and Certificate of Religion & Health in May 2015

Faith & Mental Health Integrative Services: revkatieodunne.com/faithandocdsupport

IOCDF Faith/OCD Initiatives: https://iocdf.org/faith-ocd/

Instagram: @revkrunsbeyondocd

Hi, welcome to It’s like this podcast, your common sense mental and spiritual talk show. My name is Dr. Uejin Kim, a dual board-certified psychiatrist from Texas. In this podcast, I explain mental and spiritual concepts with fun analogies, real stories, and positive messages so you can not just survive but thrive. My goal for you is to gain understanding, acceptance, and healing so that you can know your worth and live the life that you are meant to live. If you want that as much as I do, hit that subscribe button. And let's listen to today's episode.

In this episode, we have a special guest Reverend Katie O’Dunne. She is an ordained minister, a champion of OCD herself, and a strong advocate for OCD and evidence-based treatment for OCD. She specializes in the intersection of religion and OCD. And I think there's a lot of misunderstanding of OCD or mental health and religion. And there's a lot of misunderstanding of religion and faith and mental health. So can we cover all of that in one episode? We're definitely going to try.

Dr. Uejin Kim: All right! So, welcome back to It’s Like This podcast and we have a special treat today. This is our first time hosting a guest. And our first guest today is Reverend Katie O’Dunne. And I found her when I was, like, setting up my Instagram for my private practice, you know. I was kind of searching for those Instagram, kind of, personalities that were merging faith and mental health. And she just popped right up. And I loved her positive message that was clinically sound and optimistic and promising. And I just wanted to have her on my podcast as soon as possible. So, I reached out to her. So, a little bit about Reverend Katie O’Dunne. She is the founder of faith and mental health integrative services. So, let's just welcome her. Reverend Katie O’Dunne, Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Thank you! I'm super excited to be here. Thanks for having me. And I'm equally as excited about the work that you're doing around faith and mental health. And I think these are just such significant conversations for us to be having.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! So, tell me a little bit about what are you up to. What do you do, day to day basis?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah! So pretty new for me at this point. I work fully in the area of faith and OCD. I spent the last seven years working as an interfaith chaplain at a big private school in Atlanta, where I got to work with students from all different faith backgrounds and kind of blend again in the area of faith and mental health. But because of my own journey with OCD, some new opportunities opened up to really work alongside clinicians who are offering treatment for OCD and their clients. Particularly in spaces where OCD latches on to faith, which is something I'll talk more about in this podcast.

Dr. Uejin Kim: That is amazingly specific, but also so well needed. So, you kind of mentioned that you had like personal, you know, journey with OCD. So, kind of tell me what was it like growing up, you know. And how did it surface up to think that, ‘Man, like, I think I do have OCD,’ to kind of where you're now?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah. So, when I look back, I really can think of symptoms and different aspects that came up from early childhood. Really beginning around the age of eight, when I had particular obsessions and compulsions. And I mean, even at the time I wasn’t diagnosed. OCD wasn’t, well, it’s still not as well-known, maybe as it should be. But at the time, I was having thoughts, particularly related to things like harm and ‘Am I a bad person? Am I not faithful enough? What if I do something wrong?’ And my parents were calling them worries at the time and took me to a psychologist. And they said, “Oh, your child has anxiety.” We played, honestly, some checkers at that point and did some talk therapy, which isn't now what we know effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder. But I was somebody who was really navigating this perfectionism and wanting everyone to like me as a part of my disorder. So, very much in this first experience, I pretended to get better because I wanted my psychologist to think that he was good at his job. So, he said, ‘Oh, my symptoms are gone.’ And I really got sicker and sicker throughout my life not knowing what was going on. Like OCD often does, it latched on me to every symptom under the sun. But typically, OCD latches on to the things that are the most important for a sufferer. So, for me, that was always family, care for others, and people in my life. Really this aspect of making sure those around me were safe and happy. And my OCD was always making me feel like this bad person. I kept it hidden for a really long time. Even by the time I got to college undergraduate school where I had some ideas that I actually might have OCD. I was majoring in religious studies and then doing a Master of Divinity at Emory. And alongside that, I was doing work in human services and in public health. And I had taken enough psychology courses to know that what I was experiencing actually might be OCD. But at the time I had a mentor tell me, ‘Well if you seek mental health treatment, you won't pass your psychological evaluations for ordination.’ So, I lied on all my psych evaluations. I didn't seek treatment. And I got sicker and sicker and sicker. And folks kind of range with OCD in this area. Some are more high functioning, some are less. I was really high functioning, which for me was in some ways a detriment because it prevented me from getting treatment. I was seen as the one who was getting straight A's and leading and as a division one athlete. And inside I hated myself and I was crumbling. So, at that time, I got to my first real role in ministry in school chaplaincy, where I was the chaplain for 2700 awesome kiddos, from different faith traditions in a very public role. Everything really, for me just exploded and my OCD latched on to every aspect of my job, my students. ‘Am I a bad person? Am I a dangerous person? What if I didn't think that and forgot?’ Even to the point of ‘what if the losses that my community is experiencing that I'm supporting them through as a pastor, and as a chaplain, what if those things are my fault? And I just don't know.’ And I really hit rock bottom to the point that I needed evidence-based treatment. And Exposure and Response Prevention very much saved my life. And coming out of that experience, I didn't want to keep it a secret anymore. Because many of the students I was working with were struggling with mental health and were afraid to talk about it in their faith communities. And I felt like it wasn't just something that I wanted to do because of my own experience. It was like, I need to do this to protect my students. And to let them know, you can engage in your faith traditions, whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, or Jain, whatever that is. And you can also seek clinical mental health treatment. Those things can fit together. And that's really what started my journey of blending the two. And getting rid of the shame of my journey with OCD.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Oh my goodness! Like, I'm just like listening to and I was like taking down notes because there are so many good gold nuggets, you know. Like, so first of all, I just wanted to kind of clarify, you know, people who are listening to the podcast, they're in different stages in their mental health journey. And they don't know what OCD is. Or they see OCD from TikToks, right? So that's kind of like what I'm passionate about as well. So, OCD, you know, I'm gonna kind of explain it, you know, generally from clinical terms, and then you can kind of add the flavor of, you know, what you experience. So, OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder and is a type of umbrella of anxiety disorder. But the key point here is that there's obsession and compulsion, that kind of takes over your level of function. But as a high-functioning individual, and/or I think a significant mental health burden, affects your level of function, right, or level of self-worth. And there's a component of obsession, where there is almost like an intrusive thought obsession, that is often ego-dystonic. Which is like a fancy word of like, you don't want this thought. And then there's a compulsion, which is like a compensatory behavior to get over that obsession, or like stop it or minimize it or control it. So, this cycle kind of takes over. And you mentioned kind of like religiosity and, you know, the fancy word. And sometimes it can be about, you know, moral standing, you know, the obsessions about moral standings. But also it could be about, you know, stereotypical germs, like, you know, washing hands multiple times, checking doors, like safety. It could range. The triggers, and that obsession and compulsive disorder could go around, you know, everything. And so, kind of tell me in this kind of definition, like how did you fit into that obsession and compulsion stuff?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah! So, I think one of the reasons it took so long for me to kind of figure out what was going on is because a lot of my compulsions weren’t necessarily physical. I was always stuck in the Generalized Anxiety Disorder camp. But in reality, I was having obsessions and compulsions. I was having obsessions and really intrusive thoughts around things like again, ‘What if I'm a bad person? What if I'm a dangerous person? What if I sinned against God? What if everybody hates me? What if I am just secretly a minister who deserves to be in jail?’ All of these different things. And my compulsions, while yes, some of them were physical and checking related, a lot of them had to do with things like mental review and going back and trying to prove to myself that I was a good person or saying mantras over and over again. And this is something we talk about a lot now in the OCD community. Because on TV we always do. We see the organization all in the checking pieces, which is very valid. But it's just as common for someone to worry that they aren't a good spouse or they are a dangerous mom or even that they are wrong about their sexual orientation. There are all of these different doubts that come up that can turn into ruminations that are just as much OCD as anything else and that you're against.

Dr. Uejin Kim: And I'm glad that you mentioned that composure doesn't have to be like external behaviors. I would kind of categorize it as a ritual. Like you have to go through rituals to shut down the obsessive thoughts. And I'm imagining that it must have been hard for you because your work was in ministry. So, it was like, almost encouraging that you look at the spiritual inventory and make sure that your behavior and who you are matches your values and spiritual values. So, it must have been really hard to tease that apart.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, and that's the same I see with a lot of the folks that I work with now. Because then you mentioned the ego-dystonic piece. And that is so key, where OCD, very much takes someone's values latches on to the thing that's the most important to them, and kind of flips them on their head. And it's really tough for me, and for everyone I work with. I hear folks say, ‘Well, I could handle any other theme except this one,’ or ‘I could accept uncertainty about any other theme except this one. Why is it latched on to this?’ And it's because that happens to be the thing that's the most important for you. So, it's really hard to tease that apart. And I know for me, and for now, a lot of the folks that I work with, a big component of that can be faith. Where OCD is latching on to your faith tradition and the things you believe and making you question. Are you doing things correctly? Are you engaging in your rituals properly? Do you need to do that again? Do you need to do it right? Is God upset with you? All of these different things can take on different forms based on the faith tradition. But it can be really hard for folks to separate it out where you might be, where sometimes faith leaders and this kind of becomes my role will see someone in a community and say like, ‘Wow! They're just really religious. And they're really living into this in a really great way.’ When in reality, that person with OCD, and specifically navigating religious scrupulosity, might only be doing those things as a result of their OCD. Not as a result of their true value-driven faith. And it is through OCD treatment that they can get back to that.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! And then kind of going back to your story when you are getting ordained, you know, and you have to go through psychological tests. And they said if you share that you have OCD, then you will not get past this, like, you know ordination. That just like really broke my heart. And I just wanted to sit on that because not only in the faith community. It is like in academics, in like the professional world. We just cannot share that we have mental health. Not even disorder, but even concerns and issues, you know. And that’s a shame. Like, do you have anything to do? I mean, I’m not blaming that person who said that to you, because they’re part of the whole stigma and like the culture of it all. But like, I’m so glad that you’re taking a step, because you did mention ‘For people, for my students, I had to do this.’ Because you knew the pressure in your profession in your world. That stigma is so real.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, it’s so interesting, because I hear the same story that I just told from folks all the time. And it now breaks my heart a lot. And it made me for so long, so afraid, particularly in a public role of well, ‘What will these families think of me? And will they want me to be a chaplain anymore? What will the administrators and the other folks at the school think?’ You know, because of all of these things that had built up from that one comment and from hiding it for so long. And what I want folks to hear is that, of course, everyone has different experiences sharing their story. But in my case, actually beginning to be authentically me made me a better chaplain. It made me a better leader, a better minister. And the response that I was so fearful of never came. It was the opposite. I started having families call me more and say, ‘Oh, okay! We heard that you struggle with stuff and now we can actually tell you what’s going on with us. Can you help us to navigate faith and mental health?’ Yeah, it was so shocking and it’s really what led me to do this work full time. And I’m here now. I lead full support groups, for clergy and for caring for helping professionals who have mental health conditions that are living in secret, that need the support that they want to come out with their stories. And I think the more that we can do that, not so that our clients or that our congregants care for us, but rather so that we can be authentically ourselves and give them permission to share their stories. And the more we’re going to create space for people to get help.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah. And I think there’s a similar professional pressure for like physicians, you know, because once we come out with, you know, even, like bipolar or depression or anxiety, that we all know that we all suffer from, you know, in and out of life. There’s like a thread of medical board, you know. And I mean, you can go a whole rabbit hole with like, how much pressure like professionals have. But you also mentioned that people are more open to sharing, and being vulnerable with you, letting you be a better clergy, better leader, and a better caregiver because you’re vulnerable with your own thing. And, that is, like, so powerful. Because I think people need to understand, ‘Oh, Rev Katie O’Dunne’s not just a perfect, holy person.’ And, that’s just really good. Because I think people just want a professional or an expert to do life with, you know.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, and I love that you said that. And I very much believe that’s true. And I always, and even with Instagram, kind of where you found me, my goal is, and it’s an interesting gray line for me, again, the clients that I’m seeing, I never want them to feel like they have to care for me. I want to separate in that way. But I also want folks that I work with and folks through social media or folks that see me advocate, to hear, ‘I’m an ordained minister and I have OCD.’ And that will be a part of my life. But also, there’s so much hope. And by acknowledging that I have OCD, I can continue to engage in treatment and management. So that I can live this big, beautiful life that God has created me to live and all of these things can fit together.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah, yeah. And there’s fine art on how much you share, right? You just said that I don’t want the viewers to take care of me, because it’s like as a caring provider, you have to limit your exposure as well. And I think this is something that I don’t know if you agree with. It is like, people tell me like, ‘Oh, like, I would totally trust a psychiatrist who openly says that they have depression and openly vulnerable.’ But there is an art to that. Because if you overindulge in your symptoms, then it becomes about you. And as a caring provider, I can’t take the spotlight away from my patients like it has to be on them. So, I like that you kind of limit to like, ‘Hey, this is my diagnosis. I have struggles. I totally know what you’re talking about.’ But at the same time, do not indulge in details, because people can get obsessed with that, you know?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah. And I think being able to, you know, I use, really, skills in chaplaincy. I use an understanding of Exposure and Response Prevention and of Act and have evidence-based modalities for OCD to help folks who are navigating their treatment and make sense of where to stay faithful. But I always, you know, even if they have a similar experience, I tried to be really cautious and even ask, you know, ‘Is it okay if I share something that I think might be helpful?’ Because, again, never want to put that on them. It needs to be about their unique journey.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah, yeah! And it takes a lot of experience and art and working on your journey to kind of know that. So, when you mentioned OCD. You are diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you know, versus OCD, because there's no ritualistic. So, how is OCD? I think we kind of talked about obsession and compulsion, like, but how is it different from other anxiety?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah! So for a long time, OCD was classified really as an anxiety disorder. And now it seems, even in the DSM it’s kind of a separate category, specifically, because it isn't necessarily about anxieties of regular daily life. It could be related to things that are a little bit more, or typically a lot more extreme. It's taking it to a whole different level with these obsessions and with these compulsions. And it's not about necessarily concrete worries that yes, for folks with generalized anxiety disorder are very valid and very real and very significant. But I think there's a difference between having anxieties about something that's going on in your life and taking a hold of an intrusive thought. And buying into scenarios that might not exist, to begin with, you know. It's not uncommon for me to talk with folks that say things like, ‘What if I committed a crime and I forgot?’ ‘What if the police are coming after me?’ And it's not that they fully buy into that. But it's this uncertainty around any possible ‘what if that could happen?’ And that's different from them being anxious about something that's actually occurring within their life.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Right! And, kind of like to summarize what you're saying is that OCD, it almost has like an internal trigger, you know, than an external trigger. Because a lot of times Generalized Anxiety Disorder, how I describe it as like, you watch the news on like tsunami in Japan, and then you think it's gonna happen to your hometown. There's usually triggered by what you sense around your world, you know. And then it could be as broad and specific, but you're saying that OCD is almost like there's an internal trigger, and kind of like setting off the fight or flight response by internal obsessions.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, absolutely. And folks with OCD can still definitely hear something and latch on to it. I hear folks all the time, particularly if in periods of violence. Or COVID is a great example. Moral scrupulosity for folks was very, very big in light of COVID. Because there was a sense of ‘what if.’ What if I get sick? And what if I pass it to someone else? And what if I harm all of these people? And some folks worrying, you know, what if I did something immoral, and I'm actually the cause of this pandemic? But you can see how that's really different than seeing something tangible on TV and saying, ‘Hey, I'm nervous about COVID,’ but actually taking on responsibility for the entire life of the pandemic. A pretty major internal intrusive thought that's happening.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Right? There's like an irrational leap of cause and effect and your role in that. And I think that irrational leap characterizes anxiety versus anxiety disorder. And that role that you play, I think OCD, you're kind of saying is like, exponentially and significantly out of context with what's going on.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, it's very much so. It's like this loop continues to get bigger and bigger and bigger. And it might start off with something that makes a little bit more sense. The first thing is always just, ‘Well, what if something bad happened?’ And it's like throwing fuel on this little tiny flame that it quickly gets from that to ‘I'm responsible for the entire world ending and everything is over,’ and it grows pretty, pretty quickly.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! And I feel like you’re, so let's kind of talk about the treatment options. You know, like, of course, there are medications that I managed, but there are therapy options, you know. And of course, it's like alphabet soup now. It always isn't. Everybody's like ‘what is happening?’ But last time I talked to you, you kind of had to school me because when I was learning about OCD, and kind of skimming through the therapy options. It was desensitization, you know, and exposure combo, where if you have obsessive thoughts, you desensitize with another physical stimulus, like snapping a rubber band around your wrist to kind of rearrange that pathway. But you're schooling me that now the forefront of evidence-based treatment is a little bit different. So, can you explain the name and how the concept behind that?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah! So, the gold standard treatment for OCD is under the umbrella of CBT. And a specific modality called ERP or exposure and response prevention, sometimes known also as exposure and ritual prevention. I know you're mentioning the ritual piece. And essentially, what happens is someone works with an OCD specialist with their licensed clinician, and they develop particular exposures. And sometimes those exposures are things that will physically take place. Other times, those are things where they might be doing imaginal exposures, or they might write things out. And that clinician is helping you expose yourself to the things that you're really fearful of. So that might mean leaning into this idea that this stove really could be on. Or leaning into this idea that yes, we can accept uncertainty around the fact that I could be a bad person or I might be a bad mom. And it might sound scary for folks listening to even say that. And that's really the entire point. The exposure part is raising your level of anxiety so that you can engage in response prevention. And the response prevention component means that even as your anxiety raises with those exposures, you're not going to engage in those compulsions that would typically be served to decrease the anxiety that ultimately kind of continue your cycle. And over time, habituation takes place where it's not only that, particular fears become less apparent. It's really this overall uncertainty. We talked about exposure and response prevention as creating an uncertainty blanket for the person in treatment. Where they have a greater ability to accept the fact that, yes, anything could happen. Maybe, maybe not. But I have the ability to sit with that while having radical faith in the person that I am, in my diagnosis, and in my current safety. So, it's this really interesting dynamic of leaning into all of your fears through the treatment, not engaging in the compulsions. And for folks listening, I get it, it's terrifying and going through. Like I used to say, it feels like there's a bear standing in front of your face. You're like, ‘you're telling me not to do compulsions?’

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! Not to run away, right? And face the bear.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Not to run away. But here's the crazy thing. And this is what I tell folks, you know. The anxiety and working with a clinician are great. So, you can do a hierarchy. You're not going to start at the scariest thing ever. You're going to build up.

Dr. Uejin Kim: It’ll be a teddy bear. It will be a teddy bear sitting in front of you.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, so we're starting with a teddy bear before we get to the kind of the big scary bear. But, the great thing is, it's a really, really effective treatment. And for me, that very much, alongside medication, which I often say, with ERP kind of makes where there’s stimulus and response. It makes the space between those a little bit bigger. So, that you have time to actually engage in those skills. But it very much saved and changed my life. And for many folks that are used alongside Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Now there’s research around ICBT. But right now, ERP is still that gold standard and really changing and saving people’s lives.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! I think exposure is in itself is, it’s like controlled exposure, which I like, what this therapy kind of offers. And also, second is, you have a professional who is trained to handle your resulting outcomes, you know, and then. So you’re not alone. And that’s what I love about therapy is like you actually have a professional expert/friend to do life with. And, you know, in like medication, I totally agree, life skills will last you for a lifetime, but I think medication can be used to take the edge off so that you can be engaged in working through gaining those life skills. So, a lot of times when I medicate people, you know, I don’t say like, ‘This is not going to fix your life. This is not going to even make you a better person,’ or “these are not happy pills,” Like you have to learn the skills to be resilient, you know. And I think therapy is like, it’s like growing a muscle, as I said, you know. Like, it just takes a lot of time, some hard work. But medication is gonna take the edge off so that you can do that.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Oh, absolutely! And it's often, you know, talking about faith and mental health. Sometimes there is stigma around medication. And I think that's unfortunate. I know, it was interesting, always moving through the ministry. I always told everybody else that there was no shame in taking medication. And when it got to my own part of my journey, I had been engaging in ERP with my clinician for a long time, and I wasn't seeing the results that I wanted to see. And she said, “We need to add some medication,” kind of, like you said, to take the edge off, to make it so you can actually use these skills and tools that you have built. And I was terrified. I was scared to do that. And I argued and fought her on it for a very long time. And I am so glad that I lost that battle with my clinician. I started taking medication because it did it gave me the space to use all of those skills and tools that I had been working on. And that can be such a game changer for folks. It really can. And I don't know that I could have used those skills and tools without that.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Right. Yeah! I kind of like to advocate for and destigmatize medication. I, kind of, tell them, ‘Can you live like this for the next five years? You know, and if it took one pill to take the edge off, isn’t that worth it?’ You know, and just like they come in with such a heavy mental burden. And it’s just like, it’s just one pill. If it can help you take the edge off so that you can learn these skills and be a better person. Isn't that worth it? You know, and just to say like, just because you're starting medication doesn't mean that you have to take it for life or that you will be dependent on it, you know. And so I just wanted to kind of encourage the listeners and thank you for sharing your story. It's so awesome to see somebody who has in their journey of overcoming OCD. I totally agree, it has a more rigid kind of pattern, ego-dystonic. It is painful. It is isolating. But you have overcome it. And you’re like using your platform to encourage people like, ‘Hey, we all are imperfect. We all have issues and medications and therapy, like, it is okay.’ Just so that we can kind of wrap it up, what would you want? If somebody's listening here be like, ‘Wow, like, I think I might have OCD or a mental health disorder.’ Like, what would be your message for them?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Oh, my goodness! So many things. There's so much hope. You are absolutely not alone. I would absolutely encourage folks to look into all of the wonderful resources with the International OCD Foundation. In addition to the work, I do with faith and mental health. I'm a lead advocate there. And share my story often with other amazing advocates and clinicians. We actually have, from the faith perspective, a whole new website specific to resources on navigating faith and OCD. From different faith tradition perspectives. I would also encourage folks if you are struggling to really think about ERP and what that might look like for you. On the international OCD Foundation website, we have a really great resource where you can find providers that specialize in OCD in your area. And that can be a really great piece. And I'm always happy to talk with folks as well. Most of the work I do is working with folks who are currently in treatment and helping separate ‘what's faith from what's OCD.' And how can I actually live into my faith tradition in a value-driven way while navigating treatment.’ And just want you to hear that there are so many resources out there. And I know I'm happy to help. The IOCDF is happy to help. But in addition to that, I just want folks to know that there is no shame, that you're not alone. So many folks hear OCD or a mental health concern as a spiritual failing. And it's not. It is not at all. And I deeply believe that treatments like ERP can be answers to prayer so that we can get back to this big, beautiful, awesome life that God has created us to live. And that you can do all of this with faith and mental health treatment together. I always tell folks, the recovery Trinity that really helped me was faith in God or faith in a higher power, but also faith in the treatment and my providers, and faith in myself. And I think we can have faith in all of those different areas, believing that God is walking alongside us while also engaging in evidence-based treatment.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah, totally. And I am glad that you said that. Because a lot of times people feel guilty about their mental health burden. Because they think, ‘Well, other people went through similar trauma, and they don't have PTSD.’ Like worse, ‘What's wrong with me,’ you know, or, you know, like, ‘My parents never had anxiety. Like, Why do I have anxiety?’ And I want to use this platform and like talk to people like you to say that. Like, this is not the world that was designed perfectly, you know. And it's like, there's something bigger than you. Like, society, culture, stigma, that programmed us to almost have mental health disorders, you know. So, the cause is not you as an individual. It's a systematic issue. And, if you're suffering, like, don't carry that burden by yourself. And just reach out to an expert that you trust who knows that, you know. And I think even in psychiatrists, like, not that we put blame on patients, but we kind of view it as individuals, you know. And I have a public health major, which helped me kind of step out and is like, ‘No, this is like a systemic issue.’ Yeah, like, you know, in the last episode I was talking about, we are programmed to measure ourselves by popularity, productivity, and what other people say about us. Like we are programmed like that. Like, no wonder you're depressed, you know, because that's not a wholesome way to view yourself. So, I'm so glad that you said that. Just don't carry that burden yourself. There are so many people struggling with the same thing, or who are coming out of it, who can help you.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah! And the other piece with that is, you know, recognizing that I always tell folks to you know, even from a faith perspective, you say, you know, I don't believe that God creates brokenness, but I do think God creates beauty out of brokenness. And then that you can create something uniquely beautiful in this world. And I think that while I wouldn't necessarily want to navigate some of the aspects that I've gone through again, I'm so thankful for the journey. And it's really through that treatment, that I feel like God was able to use me to do all of the things that I'm doing now to help others and I think everyone has that opportunity.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Definitely! I think you're pursuing your calling. You know, fixing broken pieces into a beautiful product. And you're using your platform. You’re running hard after your calling. So, it's really an honor to talk with you. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna reach out to you again for another talk. I love that. And, you know, so you mentioned your organization. So, if people have personal questions, would the website be the best way to reach you? Or do you have any other avenues to reach you at?

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Yeah, I mean, I think I'm always, folks can find me on Instagram @revkrunsbeyondocd, but on my website, and I know you'll post that revkatieodunne.com.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yes, I will. Yep!

Rev Katie O’Dunne: I have a contact piece through that. And folks can always feel free to reach out with questions and even just ask, ‘Oof, I think I'm navigating OCD. Where do I go?’ And I can even send you resources for that. ‘Here's where to look for a clinician in your area.’

Dr. Uejin Kim: That's awesome.

Rev Katie O’Dunne: Please reach out.

Dr. Uejin Kim: Yeah! Well, Reverend Katie O’Dunne, it was a pleasure. And I almost didn't know how good this conversation would be for me, and exciting to be working next to you. I'm sure there'll be future collaboration and, you know, in the future. And thank you so much for being here.

Rev. Katie O’Dunne: Thank you for having me, Dr. Kim. This has been so much fun. Thank you!

Dr. Uejin Kim: All right!