Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Keep At It...

With OCD we have to keep fighting back the bully in our minds. Don't become discouraged if upon getting rid of one symptom, another appears in its place. This is common. Our brain is not used to worrying and existing without fear and.or compulsions and the rituals used to ward off that fear.
Go over what has been discussed on this blog.
Talk back to the bully - exaggerate the fears and threats hauled your way..."Oh yeah???? Try it!"
Don't let the symptoms paralyze you into isolation or in missing out on pleasant experiences. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway.'
Treat yourself well. Try not to load up on sugar or caffeine which heightens anxiety and fatigue.
Remember. You are not alone or crazy. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not an uncommon condition.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ignore the OCD Bully Over the Weekend-

     Will the OCD bully plan your weekend for you?  Or are YOU in charge?
      Sometimes, if we can't get the OCD symptoms to clear out, we just have to decide to do what we want to do WITH the OCD right there with us. It's like the OCD bully turns on a TV show in our mind to annoy and taunt us. It's always there running in the background while we go about doing what we need or want to do. The key is not to give it your full attention. Let the 'show' play on with all its images, warnings, and suggestions, while you do something else.
      Many times, in getting involved with other things, such as an activity or meeting up with a friend or relatives, the OCD bully's 'TV'show' seems to just turn off. It might come back on later, but there are times when it is totally gone when we ignore it and focus on something else.
       So, don't sit alone and ruminate or hide away due to the OCD symptoms this weekend. Keep talking back to the OCD Bully, ("Go ahead, try to ruin my weekend!") Pay no heed to the ongoing fearful thoughts and/or compulsions, and do something enjoyable.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Else Do You Do?

What else do you do....besides focus on OCD? 
Sometimes we become so 'involved' in our symptoms that we forget who we really are...what we enjoy...who we like to spend time with.
 So, today, jot down some of the things you enjoy. They don't have to be big things...even if it's a tasty cup of coffee (make it decaf.) Or the sound of rain on the roof. Jotting down these things helps us to see that we are more than the OCD issues we are dealing with.
If some of the things on the list are activities you enjoy doing, such as walking along the beach, or going to a cafe'...then why not do one of them this week? 
Let the OCD Bully in your head know that YOU are in charge of your life, and that you are more than the fear, rituals, and compulsions you might be caught up in at present. None of that is who we are.
Repeat after me: "I AM NOT THE OCD."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hump Day Boost-

Note: Keep fighting back the OCD bully.
And remember, today is Earth Day. What little thing can you do to take yourself out of an OCD pattern and focus on our wonderful planet?
Maybe...buy yourself some flowers.
Or buy someone else flowers (or pick them.) And admire the wonder of their beauty.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review and Do-

  This week we can put into practice most of that we've pointed out in this blog...
1- Face the OCD bully in your head - the way we would face a real bully we are fed up with.
2- Talk back to the OCD bully by daring the bully to do the fearful thing. Ex: Go ahead - make my day!
3- Exaggerate the outcome of OCD fears to the point of it sounding ridiculous. Ex: "Yes, if I don't check one more time, the whole world will be affected by it. It will be in all the papers."
4- Do something the OCD bully is telling you not to do (step on a crack - wear a certain color - touch something - drive somewhere - travel on a train or bus, etc.) Do it and enjoy it.
 5- Pick one obsessive fear and confront it. Ex: "If I do this then something bad will happen." - Do it anyway! Over and over. Prove the OCD bully wrong, despite the fear you might feel in doing it.
   And throughout the week - treat yourself nice. Buy yourself a little gift. Eat a special treat. Get pampered with a manicure. Have a warm soothing bath at home. Buy yourself flowers, a new DVD, or a new accessory like a tie, sunglasses, a pocketbook, or key chain.
Just a small reward for coming this far and to celebrate your courage.  

Suggestions taken from the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD

Friday, April 17, 2015

Do Something Different this Weekend

Many time OCD traps us into the same old routine when we have time off from work or a weekend to ourselves. We are too fearful to venture into something different or new. It seems that the OCD bully is always there with us, ruining any chance of a pleasant time.
How about ignoring the OCD bully's threats and doing something different this weekend?
Depending on where you reside, the season of spring might be showing its colors and new growth. A visit to the local park can be a nice change and way to enjoy the seasonal change.
See a new movie, whether alone or with someone else.
Attend a free concert or one that is affordable.
Browse a bookshop or a favorite kind of store.
Have lunch or dinner at a type of eatery you've never tried before.
Make some popcorn and invite a friend over to watch a movie.
Visit a zoo.
Visit a different area of your city or town.
Whatever you do doesn't have to be anything really big, but just something to break routine, especially if that routine in done out of fear/OCD issues. And then afterward, to be able to say, "I had a nice time." 
Wishing you an OCD-free good weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Recommendations-

It's always a boost to read something encouraging. Not all the books an OCD sufferer reads need to be about OCD. There are all kinds of struggles and challenges, including OCD. And one can find something in many a good uplifting book to keep positive and strong.

Here are a few of my favorites:
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Stay Alive all of Your Life by Norman Vincent Peale
God on a Harley by Joan Brady (fiction)
Real Moments by Barabara DeAngelis Ph.D.
Wisdon of the Ages by Wayne W. Dyer
The Feeling Good Handbook by David D, Burns, MD
Go For It! by Hulton Getty - A Hallmark Gift Book
Titles taken from the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD
Note: Another favorite is: God Calling by Two Listeners - daily reflections (religious.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Support group

                           "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
It always helps to hear others who suffer with OCD share their victories and insights, however small or great they happen to be. It gives us encouragement, hope and the will to keep moving forward with our own efforts to gain control over the OCD bully.
From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD
Note: An OCD support group can be of help along these lines. If  there is not one in your local area, check for some online ones. You might even consider starting one.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


 Try to remember that just like with anything else, there will be setbacks and different struggles to confront along the way.
Will I ever be fully rid of the OCD bully? Who knows?
During a setback I become depressed and feel hopeless.  But this is the case for most people with any setback, whether it be with athletic training, improving one's health, dieting, or trying to quit smoking or drinking.  It that were not the case there wouldn't be an AA or other support groups for various issues.
We all need our tool and sources of encouragement to get us back on track.
Accept that setbacks will happen and try again.
Keep a low stress level when possible.
Be kind to yourself when feeling anxious.
Try not to give into an obsessive fear (or compulsion0 you have already conquered.
Remind yourself: "It's out of my control."
Make a decision: "No turning back.'
From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD

Friday, April 10, 2015

OCD's Myriad of Symptoms

    First, know that regardless of the kind of symptoms experienced, cognitive behavioral therapy can tame them back and out of your life. This entails 'talking back' to what we call the OCD bully, and 'exposure,' which is facing the OCD bully head-on.
   Some people panic when they cannot find the particular symptom they are having in any of the OCD books or online sites. They feel they are a unique case or even insane. The fact is, the mind is very creative, so any kind of thought or ritual can be created by it. We are all different and so are the capabilities of our minds. So, do not be worried if your particular OCD issue is not one you've heard of before.
    A sufferer on an OCD message  board was relieved to find that my book lists being obsessed with 'blinking' because that was one of that person's symptoms and it was not found anywhere else.
    Most symptoms are placed into categories...Magical (that we can make something bad happen by doing or not doing a certain thing. Predictions. Superstitions.) Violent (fear of harming someone or ourselves. Avoiding knives and anything that is perceived as a tool that can harm.) Germs (Fear of catching some disease or illness. Obsessive washing of hands or cleaning of our homes. Avoiding places that are deemed contaminated.) Fear of Going Crazy (Thinking we will scream in a quiet place. Fear of losing control in any number of ways.) Scrupulosity (Fear that God will punish us for sins. Fear that we are always in a state of sin or doing something displeasing to God. Doing rituals that entail our religious beliefs more than is required to feel forgiven, pure, or holy enough. Feeling unworthy.) Responsibility (Fear that something we do or do not do will affect the safety or well-being or another or others.) Counting (the urge to repeatedly count things...church pews, sentences, certain designs in fabric, etc.)
   Those are just a few of the many and ongoing kinds of symptoms of OCD. Because they are the ones most spoken about, they are most mentioned. Of course, there are many others, such as being overly aware of our blinking, or swallowing. Obsessing over certain words and names. Having songs stuck in our head, rereading sentences in books until we feel we have read it correctly. Having to have an e-mail grammatically perfect and aligned just so before sending it out. Lining objects up perfectly, such as the cans and boxes in our pantry, pillows on the sofa, pictures on the walls, etc. The list can go on and on. If yours is not on it, then just add it as another one. Don't view it as meaning you are beyond help or crazy.
    You are fine. It's just the OCD bully. Let go of the labels. Fight back and get better.
Read more in the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Get Moving-

    Another beneficial thing we can do to feel energized, strong, and uplifted, is some moderate exercise. A brisk walk or a bike ride at a nearby park or in the neighborhood for about ten minutes is one of the best exercises we can do. Walking outdoors, if possible, is the first choice of place for walking because the fresh air and sunlight will also contribute positively to our mood. Of course we all live in different areas, some affording better choices for walking and biking than others.
    But there are also other forms of exercise we can do, such as following an exercise DVD or dancing to music. Using a treadmill or exercise bike at home or at a gym. Some take aerobic classes or go to a pool to swim.
   If there are physical limitations, then see the doctor for recommendations for some low impact exercises such as stretching or Tai Chi.
   With a little thought and planning, exercise can be incorporated into out lives each day.
From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD
Note: Exercise lifts our moods by releasing endorphins - always a 'plus' against OCD.
Read more about it here: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dietary Change List- Fights OCD

Sugar and caffeine can spike anxiety or bring on a low mood a few hours after ingestion.
Highly processed foods cause sluggishness and weight gain. None of these are helpful for OCD symptoms.
Instead of:    
white bread            - eat whole wheat or grain bread.
white pasta             -wheat or rice pasta
white rice               -brown rice (instant okay.)
processed cereals   -oatmeal, grits, shredded wheat (stevia, a tad of honey or pure maple syrup to sweeten)
candy and sweets   -dates, figs, raisins, fresh fruit, raw nuts, sour dough pretzels
soda                       -flavored seltzer
processed meats     -fresh turkey, lean roast beef, water-packed tuna, hummus, all-natural almond butter
fried chips               -baked chips
sugary jellies           -naturally sweetened preserves
roasted oily nuts      -raw or dry roasted with no oils or sugar added
sugary juices           -all natural 100% fruit juice products
chocolate                -carob
coffee and tea         -decaf coffee or herbal and decaf tea
Sugar                     -Stevia, pure maple syrup or honey very sparingly in coffee, tea or on cereal.
From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD
Note: Children and teens often eat too many sugary snacks. Keep some sweet healthy fruits in the house such as Delicious apples, watermelon, ripe strawberries, etc. as an incentive to substitute a processed sugary treat with a natural wholesome one. Frozen banana chunks are a hit with both children and adults.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Name the OCD Bully

Think of a name for the OCD bully. This way we will continue to reinforce separation from the OCD and ourselves. Remember, the OCD bully is NOT your friend, so give it a name that is different from friends and family. Perhaps you can use the name of someone who rubs you the wrong way, a wise guy, someone you dislike, or a nasty fictional character in a book or movie.
From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Coping with Seasonal Triggers...

For some reason many people who suffer with OCD seem to flare up during a change of season. Perhaps it's because change can trigger anxiety, or a new season brings with it new expectations and/or responsibilities, or even adventures.
Spring certainly is a season of being out and about. This alone might seem daunting to some. There are even those who say that while they like the season of spring, being more on 'display' due to lack of heavy coats and hats, make them feel self-conscious. It could be about their weight, their clothing, or just being more 'out there.'
Instead of focusing on what causes anxiety, which will feed OCD and increase obsessive thoughts and compulsions, lets try to hone in on the positive aspects of a new season. The OCD 'bully' hates positive thinking and would rather us crouch in fear and let the beauty of a season pass us by.
Not happening, right? Right!
If getting out more is one of your OCD triggers, start small and opt for short outings. Maybe a walk in your neighborhood or in a local park. Take note of the new growth of tree buds and flowers.
If possible, buy yourself something that coincides with spring. 

A pastel nail polish, a light colored tie, colorful sneakers or a bright cap. Let colors lift your mood.

We don't have to hide because we have OCD. It's like any other condition...people with arthritis do not hide, nor do people with diabetes. The bully will tell you "That's true, but they don't have odd crazy symptoms." Talk back to the bully and disarm it.  "That's what makes me so unique. It's fun being crazy." Don;t cower to any suggestion or negative reminder of OCD.
Enjoy the new season and know that you are on the road to being free from OCD.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Affirmations for the Week

The OCD is affecting me less and less.

Thoughts cannot bully me any longer.

I am making progress.  I will make more progress.

From the book: Confronting the Bully of OCD