Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Blues Triggering OCD Thoughts and Symptoms?

Sometimes people suffering with OCD or an anxiety issue need a diversion - a distraction, so to speak.
It doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe call someone you haven't been in touch with for a long time. Change around the decor in your apt. or house. Work on something you've been meaning to work on...cleaning out a closet, a tool shed, book shelves, the fridge, etc.

 And if you can, do get out, even if it is cold outside. Be part of the flow of life. It can be something as simple as taking a ride on the local bus or train for a short distance, or browsing a store or the mall. And if the OCD symptoms are raging at you with fearful thoughts and threats to be compulsive as you attempt a diversion, let it go on, sort of the way we sometimes have to allow a child to carry on and scream while we're trying to do something that they might not like.
The quest to have a good day must be greater than the temptation to cave in to OCD symptoms. Not always easy, but you'll be glad you did when at the end of your day you can say, "I did well. And it was a good day."



Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Monday...

"Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
 you can find me cryin' all of the time." -The Mamas and Papas



Let's hope that these words don't ring true for us today or any Monday, especially regarding OCD or anxiety symptoms. Don't look at Monday as a beginning to another long week of dealing with work, school, or other
regular responsibilities while struggling to hold it all together and feeling weary from fear, stress and/or dealing with OCD.
Instead, look at it as another opportunity to lessen the symptoms...fight back in a way that is not exhausting. Claim your ability to have a calmer week. Make it happen. 
Go back to the exercises on this blog to challenge the 'OCD bully' in your brain. Shrug your shoulders at the bully's threats and 'what if's.' Say to your brain's bully: "See if I care?" OR "Ha! Go ahead, I could care less." OR "Oh well...whatever." These words might not immediately take away your concerns and anxieties but they will disarm them and give you space to move forward. Keep talking back that way to the fearful thoughts or urges to do a compulsion, the way the 'bully' keeps at it. One on one. You will win.
Have a great week.

Friday, January 8, 2016

How Are We Doing?

So, we're into the new year of 2016.  How are we doing?
For most of us reading this, it's wintertime. Cold outside and the festivities of the holidays gone by.
Some stores are already selling Valentine candy. Seems many of us need 'something' to look forward to or we become antsy, depressed, or obsessive during 'ordinary' day-to-day living. Monotony is not everyone's 'cup of tea' so to speak. Anxious folks sometimes don't do well with too much empty space in their heads - it allows for worry and fear to settle in.
But no day need be boring or monotonous enough to bring on serious negativity. There is so much we can delve into, even if they be little things.
Some suggestions:
1- Use social media for keeping in touch with friends/family and keeping up with current affairs, but also  to bring joy to others. Find uplifting quotes, humorous cartoons, inspirational excerpts from books, a moving piece of music, etc. to share. We can share our gifts too...a little happy poem, a new song, a fave recipe...using our gifts for the good of others is not only beneficial to them but to us also. We don't have to be super strong perfect people to spread smiles.
2- Browse a book store. There are countless topics of interest that can grab our attention. Maybe we can begin a new hobby or project when regular chores, job, or school are not enough to fill our needs.Or enjoy the talents we already have.
3- Become part of a 'community.' Churches are all relational in nature. People gather together. They have prayer groups, and various other programs one can partake in. Most areas have local book clubs, art clubs, bird watching clubs, even geographical clubs (pertaining to one's home town.)
4- No day is ever 'ordinary.' A friend of mine who was soon to leave the earth due to illness, said to me: "every day is a miracle." We can practice to take note of every gift a day has to offer us...a good song, a sweet scent, the cool breeze, snowflakes, that first delicious sip of coffee or tea, even the comfort of getting into bed at night under a warm blanket. It doesn't have to be one big thing to make the day. All the little things are there waiting to enrich us and be grateful for too.

5- If suffering from any anxiety disorder, including OCD, (or a bout of feeling down) it's best to treat the symptoms like the bullies they are. We can smile at them sarcastically, letting them know we are not going to be affected by any antagonizing threats, worries or blues. "Talk back' to the joy-robbing bullies, just as we would to 'real' bullies. Most of them are full of hot air. Their words and harassment are bigger than their actions. It's the same in our minds. "No way, Jose. You are not going to ruin my day!" (Or moment or hour.)
Enjoy the weekend and dare to step out and do what you want to do despite the fear, blahs, and/or anxious symptoms. And remember to read a few lines of encouragement from a self-help book, a helpful web site, and scripture. All of these are aids in warding off the inner bullies as much as possible.