Updated: November 01, 2019 10:36 PM
At dawn, he is a mail carrier and at dusk, he is a mental health advocate. Duluth native Michael Mirtica began his Youtube channel, 'Mirtica Mindfulness' in 2017. The focus was Purely Obsessional OCD.
“Pure OCD is one of the lesser known forms of OCD,” Mirtica said. “This is why it is so hard to treat."
Unlike some forms of OCD where intrusive thoughts cause people to perform visual rituals like hand washing or counting, pure OCD causes people to perform mental rituals like reassuring oneself that everything is okay over and over again.
“This particular illness—it really causes you to dive into areas of your mind that we might not even know we could be or exist,” Mirtica said.
It all began when Mirtica was laying in bed one night and noticed his heart beat. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“It could be blinking, it could be breathing, it could be something entirely different,” he said.
From here, Mirtica began doing research and seeing doctors.
“I remember when I went to my primary care physician and I described my symptoms and it just felt like no one knew what I was going through,” he said. “Same with when I did research online. It was mostly people describing the same symptoms without answers.”
As a result, Mirtica decided he needed to make a Youtube channel of his own.
“Somebody who has gone through the disorder is able to offer invaluable advice and personal experiences and tips that somebody who has not gone through the illness themselves could possibly provide,” he said. “The feedback that I’m getting from people who were on their last leg—people who literally were on their last straw is that combined, professional mental healthcare and peer to peer, sufferer to sufferer personal revelations, is really the silver bullet to treating many mental illnesses.”
Since sharing his story, Mirtica’s Youtube channel has gone viral.
“I found out that by taking a moment to be vulnerable and taking a leap of faith into something that you might not want to think about or talk about anymore—That is extremely powerful for people,” he said.
In his videos, Mirtica shows viewers his world in a way that it personal and authentic—welcoming them into his home and taking them with him to the beach and on errands.
“I promised my viewers I’d be real and raw,” he said.
In addition to Youtube, Mirtica has written a 35 page guide to living and coping with OCD.
“I know that there’s somebody else going through this and so I bet that if I share my story, at least one person will be helped. Well what I found, is that is so many more people were helped and are continuing to find these videos,” he said.
One of the tips Mirtica provides viewers is to identify and write down the things that trigger them.
“This will help you to remember and to not be shocked and startled the next time you have symptoms,” he said. “It will also help you take back control of your life.”
Mirtica attributes the glory of his recovery and the stretch of his influence to God.
“Beauty can rise from the ashes that you might feel like you are turning into when you’re going through an illness like this because it really does make you lose yourself; it makes you lose who you are,” he said. "But there is always light at the end of the tunnel."
Mirtica hopes to be that light in the darkness for those struggling with their mental health.
“Just within you, you have everything you need and I want to help people find it,” he said.
Going forward, Mirtica will be adding ministry to his videos. His goal is to help as many people as he possibly can.
Updated: November 01, 2019 10:36 PM
Created: November 01, 2019 07:42 PM
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