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Episode 36 | August 29, 2023

A Deep Dive into OCD: Signs, Symptoms, & Setting Boundaries with Joanna Hardis

Joanna Hardis, LISW-S explains what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is, it's common misconceptions, and how it effects those struggling with it.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Joanna Hardis, LISW-S, discusses the signs of OCD, the struggles individuals with OCD face, and how to set healthy boundaries as a person with OCD. Joanna’s expertise sheds light on this often-misunderstood disorder, providing valuable insights and practical advice.


Key Takeaways

[00:02:38] What is OCD?

  • Obsessions – Intrusive, unwanted, repeated images, thoughts, or memories that are incredibly distressing
  • Compulsions/Rituals – The behavior someone performs to alleviate or neutralize the doubt/worry/stress brought on by the obsession
  • Disorder – Causes impairment in your life or functioning, or engaging in compulsions for more than an hour in a day
  • OCD can coexist with many other illnesses

“We all have weird/disturbing thoughts”

  • Normal Intrusive Thoughts vs. OCD
    • Everyone has disruptive thoughts from time to time – someone with OCD attaches to thought and why they may have thought it, rather than being able to let it pass – becoming overly engaged with the thought
    • How we interact with an intrusive thought

[00:07:18] How OCD thoughts consume individuals

  • OCD latches onto what you care about – they are almost always counter to their identity or how they see their self
  • Shame follows these thoughts to extremes
    • This is a primary barrier for getting help/support

“And I’m sure part of that obsession about those thoughts is I’m a bad person for having these thoughts, right?”

[00:09:47] OCD & Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Finding a well-versed therapist or clinician in OCD for support

“Now where it gets tricky is that a lot of people who are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder actually have OCD and they get misdiagnosed.”

  • Both have worry and anxiety as a primary feeling and emotion
    • GAD: Anxieties are more plausible, common worries – that have physical symptoms
    • A low level buzz of worry
    • OCD: Doesn’t need to have physical symptoms, need to have the presence of obsessions and compulsions.
    • The fear consequence may be unrealistic and feeds the uncertainty
    • Superstition & signs

[00:20:05] Common misconceptions about OCD

  • The media isn’t a great resource
  • Everyone is a little OCD – is NOT true
    • Clinically incorrect
    • Diminishes what people are dealing with
    • You cannot be a ‘little’ OCD
  • Compulsions are not always seen
    • Rituals aren’t only cleaning and washing

“Perfectionism is paralyzing.”

[00:29:30] Suffering and worry in OCD

  • Recognizing how much these events effect your life
  • Feared consequence with these disorders

“And I’ve never met anybody with behavioral rituals who doesn’t also engage in mental rituals.”

[00:33:06] Setting boundaries with anxiety or OCD

  • Not looking at social media or certain websites
  • Stop reassurance seeking or providing
  • Refusing to engage in behavior – moving through the distress for long term recovery

 “And it just bothers me that I know there are people suffering and it’s not a joke for them.”

Where to Find Joanna

International OCD Foundation | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (

Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer & Photographer, Jake Donnelly