Health Matters: Overcoming OCD

LITTLE ROCK, AR - When I first met Thomasine Williams she shook my hand. Something she never would've done in her lifetime with anyone.

"I thought things were fine. I thought this was normal," says Thomasine.

She wouldn't even sit on this bench.

"I had a phobia of germs and chairs," says Thomasine.

Thomasine would carry a beach towel every where she went to cover public chairs to sit on, up until now.

The 40-year-old says she's always had the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. She was tidier than most kids with cleaning rituals making sure there wasn't a spot of dirt in the house.

"In school, making sure things like my pencils were straight and my papers were turned a certain way," Thomasine says.

It eventually got worse. Thomasine wouldn't open doors, push elevator buttons even play with her children and grandkids at the playground!

The disorder even interfered with her plans to become a nurse.

"I have been pushing to be a nurse since 95 actually. I've taken courses and just really tried hard. And for something like this to hit you so sudden, it's hard," says Thomasine.

UAMS doctor Erick Messias diagnosed Thomasine with OCD in 2010.

"OCD is a fairly common psychiatric condition that is composed of two things: obsessions and compulsions," says Erick.

"What I've seen on her is the courage to tackle and try different medications, try the different therapists. even trying all that, she didn't have the total response," Erick says.

So they tried surgery putting a stimulator in Thomasine's brain. She and nuero surgeon Erika Petersen react to its success. With a remote control doctors can program how often and how many pulses are sent to the brain.

"It tells me it's fine, to do it. Go ahead it's fine. And with that, I'm so, I'm grateful," Thomasine says.

Grateful for the courage to try it and now allowing her to do the simple things in life she was never able to do.


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