The OCD Experience: An Interview with Justin Klosky

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Justin Klosky created the O.C.D. Experience to help others get organized and find clarity by channeling his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

For Justin, the acronym O.C.D. now stands for "Organize and Create Discipline." He appears regularly on The Talk as the show's organizational expert, he's been on Anderson Cooper’s Anderson Live, and he's been featured on various news and radio shows.

In this interview with, Justin discusses what triggered the disorder, how he coped with it, and why he decided to start a business that could perpetuate symptoms. He also gives some great advice to fellow OCD sufferers.

When did you discover that you had OCD?

You know, that’s tricky. I always got made fun of when I was a kid that I had OCD. But I don’t think I truly discovered and admitted it to myself until I was about 20 years old, when I was in college in New York City.

It came about from a rush of memories from my past that were kind of repressed because of some emotional and traumatic events that happened in my life. And I think what happened is, at that moment, I put everything together to try to understand what was going on in my head. And that’s when I started doing some research of what I was feeling and what I was going through, which lead me to discover the obsessive-compulsive disorder traits.

Can you tell us about the traumatic event?

The traumatic event was an abusive situation – a sexually abusive situation – when I was a kid that I repressed. I didn’t know anything about it at the time, but repressing things like that, from what I understand now, leads to more serious cases of OCD. So that’s really what caused it.

At its worst, how severe was your disorder – could you still manage everyday responsibilities?

As a teen my OCD came about creating order around myself to regain control of my life. So, before I knew what was going on, I was constantly organizing – obsessively. It wasn’t just making things clean, which is the notorious stigma that people think OCD is, but to the point where I was so obsessive over it that I would have panic attacks and I would throw tantrums and fits when things weren’t the way they needed to be.

As I got older, those outbursts weren’t tolerated, so I had to find better ways to deal with those fits. It naturally went inside, and when things went out of control around me or when things weren’t the way they needed to be, I would actually get physically sick and find myself in bed, and I never understood why. But later on, as I got more aware of what was happening, I realized it was because of my OCD.

How did you cope with having the disorder – therapy, medication?

I was brought to a clinical psychologist when I was young by my mom, who suggested that I be put on medication. She refused to because I was a very creative kid and there were a lot of rumors going around at the time – this was in the early ‘90s – that if I went on this medication it could stifle my creativity, so she decided not to go that route. At that time, I had no medical help at all. It was just me, trying to figure out the best way to deal with what was going on in my life. I started organizing and finding order in my life in every possible way.

I didn’t see a therapist until I was about 23 or 24. I took it upon myself to seek therapy, which was fantastic. It actually, at that point, wasn’t just for my OCD, it was for general life issues and relationship dysfunctions. I didn’t know that it was for my OCD until my therapist and I really started talking more about it. The therapy helped wonders; I’m still in therapy just to kind of check-in with myself and keep myself on track.

What made you decide to create the O.C.D. Experience?

I was an actor for a very long time, and when my first long-term acting gig ended, I needed to figure out something to do to make money. My past work experience was in the talent industry, so I started executive assisting managers and producers and directors. I later found out that the tools and the skills that I was lending to these powerful people’s businesses were solid organizational systems and discipline.

So one day, a good friend of mine said to me that I could turn what I was doing into a business. Since everyone was always making fun of me my whole life for having OCD, I decided why not create my business from it. So the O.C.D. Experience was created. Channeling all of the coping mechanisms that I formed to battle my own OCD, I am now teaching others how to better their lives through my own O.C.D., which is Organize and Create Discipline.

Would you say that you’re fully recovered from OCD? Does your business help you stay in recovery from experiencing the panic attacks and getting sick like you used to?

I don’t believe anyone who has OCD or suffers from OCD will ever really fully be recovered. However, my business has allowed my OCD to really mellow out. I’ve found out that it doesn’t have to be as controlling as all of us with OCD let it become. I have a lot more mental control over my OCD than I thought, so I’ve taken the power back from my OCD and I’m allowing myself to acknowledge that, yes, there are times when I’m going to have a freak-out. But I need to stop and breathe and try to understand why I’m freaking out. And, in the long-term, how serious is my freak-out in comparison to what’s really happening?

My business has allowed me to put perspective on what my OCD really is and how serious it is because, no matter the case of OCD, whoever it is, it really, at the end of the day, is a little bit psychological, it’s chemical naturally, and mental. And we do have the power to take control of some of that, so it’s helped me a lot.

Do you ever relapse into your past behaviors?

I can’t relapse. It’s a choice. Some of the backstory is that I suffered a serious sex addiction from not dealing with the abuse and not dealing with my OCD. And after reading a lot more and understanding that is a common trait in people who have OCD, my relapse would be a real game-changer for my life because I’m in a very incredible relationship. I am very healthy when it comes to being faithful and building that relationship, and my relapse would be a bomb set off in my life. It’s not worth going down the spiral.

It’s a constant thought process for me because the way my mind works and how I process, it comes up, but WE ALL have to make better decisions and stronger decisions that are more important to the long-term goals in life. It’s not easy; some days are easier than others, but when it comes down and when you’re in those dark spaces, and you are really feeling like crap, you have to put it in perspective.

What advice do you have for others who are suffering with OCD?

My advice would be to take the “dis” away; take the “dis” out of “disability” and try to find the ability. Take the “dys” out of “dysfunction” and make it something functional. And when you can find the ability and the functionality in those things, when the symptoms start to come up, then you know where you have the power to go into battle.

I have a book coming out in December being published by Penguin titled Organize and Create Discipline: A-to-Z Guide to an Organized Existence. It will tell more about my story and provide the reader with more than 300 categories on how to get organized the O.C.D. way.

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