Thursday, January 29, 2015

No Matter Your Age - Fight the OCD Bully

   Whether an adolescent or adult...young, older, or elderly, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) can rear its frightening head and cause havoc for the sufferer of any age. 
    Non one 'invites' it, and we certainly are not to blame for this intrusion.  It's simply a matter of brain chemistry which can be fully 'out smarted' and many times, without drugs. The method is called 'Cognitive Behavioral Therapy."  
    Is it easy?  Nooooo. After all, what kid, teen, or adult, enjoys facing their fears head on? All we need do is think of a  bully who might have lurked around in school or on the job to know what a constant pain in the neck, and anxiety starter, such a tormentor could be. So many 'what ifs' come into play about facing a harasser, that sometimes it seems easier to put up with the threats and suffer.

   We can't do that with OCD. Give the 'fear bully' an inch, he'll take a yard. That's just the way our brains work. No matter what the fear or compulsion is, or how many, makes no difference. None of them are immune to being faced head-on strong and backing down.
    Did I say this will bring calm and fearlessness soon after?  Nope! "Anxiety means progress" when facing fears. Eventually the anxiety lessens. But it takes practice. So, for example, if you fear getting onto a elevator, you need to get on it maybe for one stop the first few days. Then for two stops, the next couple days, and so forth.  The anxiety will lessen as your brain actually becomes 'tired' of the fear. The goal is to take the elevator to the top floor, little by little. Then, you've beaten the bully!

    When I was learning Kodokan Judo back-in-the-day, my sensei (teacher) was one of the highest ranking Judo instructors in the world at that time. Needless to say he could be intimidating in his teaching. We all had to face fears many times through each class. Fear of doing a roll-out, fear of sparring with a partner better than us, fear of being called out to demonstrate a technique, and eventually, fear of being in a contest against other players out to win. But we were taught a little at a time. That is why they have different color belts for the various ranks. We were no longer afraid of the techniques we learned as white belts when we became yellow, green, brown or black belts.
     Once when I reached brown belt level, I had to compete at a National contest (my first and only one.) I still had not won over any of my opponents that day. After facing several opponents I kind of got acclimated to doing it...again and again. Still I lost each time. I had to score at least one prefect throw. So my last turn up, I just went for the last resort of what is called the 'sacrifice throw.' So named because you grab the person and then throw yourself on the floor while hauling that person with your foot over yourself. Sort of like taking a person with you on a backward somersault.  I did it, and came in third place with a bronze medal. It hangs in my office after all these years. And in writing this, I realize that now I can glance at it during a fearful time, and think back on that last bit of courage I had to summon in order to beat my 'opponent.'
          It's the same with OCD.  We fight back until the bully backs down. "Go ahead! Make my day, OCD!" That's the way we need to talk to those fears and obsessions. "Give me your best shot!"  Even curse at it, if need be. Get mad at the OCD, even if you're scared of it. 

       In the book: Confronting The Bully of OCD, we go through a step-by-step process, using various examples. There is also a wealth of helpful resources and tips to help the goal toward relief. 
     Parents can teach these techniques to a child suffering from OCD, just as an adult can help another adult. Unfortunately, most kids can relate to bullies. It is the perfect visual for children with OCD.
     For professional therapy in the NYC area or a phone consultation about a child, teen, and adults alike, check the web site of, Dr. Steven S. Brodsky at: 
     You can order the book through Dr. Brodsky's link to, or go directly to Amazon. It is also available from the author.
     (Children with OCD usually show signs of being anxious, or will ask parents questions such the 'dirt' on their hands is okay? Is the gas really turned off? Is so and so in the family okay? These kinds of questions are usually asked often. Repetitious behavior and a tendency to want to avoid certain situations are other signs. A professional therapist would be able to confirm whether a child truly has OCD or not, as there are many other disorders that can coincide with or mimic OCD.)   
     Stay tuned for more info on Children and OCD...

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