Thursday, February 18, 2016

Getting Ready for Spring

     Spring is a 'coming out' of sorts, when we shed heavy coats and see more people out and about.
And this can cause some of us with OCD to become anxious just thinking about it. Why? Because it's as if we come out of hiding. The nicer weather bids friends and relatives to lure us out to going with them to parks, lunches, weekend getaways and so forth. These activities might bring us to face certain OCD fears that the OCD 'bully' will place in our minds.
      Best thing to do is ready ourselves now. Envision ourselves out and having a good time in the nicer weather. Come up with strategies on how to face the fears and enjoy the change of season.
     Buy a few new pieces of clothing to make 'coming out' a festive occasion.
      Eat well to better arm the body for stressful attacks in our attempt to move forward into the
next season and some of the new things it will bring.
     Make some tentative plans for things you like to do. They don't have to be big things. Little jaunts, short visits, spring events in the local area.
     Every season holds its own wonders. Don't let OCD put a halt to beautiful experiences. But always remember, as you plan... 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Watch the Sweets

     This weekend we celebrate Valentine's Day. A big part of the celebratory fun is sweets...candy, cupcakes, and the like. Some of us will receive a heart full of chocolates or treat ourselves to one, or to some of the other Valentine sweet goodies we see in the stores right now.
     A piece of candy or two, or a decorated cupcake for the occasion is fine. But to overload on any of the sweets available to us will not be doing much good to alleviate OCD symptoms.
     Sugar can make us hyper and cause anxiety. It can also make us extremely tired and lethargic the next day, even depressed. Sugar overstimulates our adrenal glands, thus the aforementioned side effects.
     If you do overdo it, drink plenty of water. The eight glasses recommendation is fine, but do not substitute coffee or any other caffeinated beverage for water. That will only add to anxious feelings later on since caffeine is also in the chocolate goodies we will consume. Anxiety can trigger OCD symptoms. And that wouldn't be too much fun on Valentine's Day or the day after.
     If you usually treat yourself to a confection on Valentine's Day, try switching to flowers. A single rose is a beautiful gift to ourselves or to another. Or a small box of candy with a few pieces of chocolate (a little Valentine heart) instead of a big one.
     And if you are the lucky recipient of a large chocolate filled heart, share your goodies with friends or family so that you don't end up eating all of them. If there's no one around to share with, then freeze them to keep for a special one-piece treat now and then.
    Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day. 


Friday, February 5, 2016

Keep an OCD Journal

     It might sound odd to keep a journal about OCD, but you can use it to measure progress and better see what the major triggers are.
     List your OCD fears and/or compulsions by order of intensity...those that bring the most discomfort and those that are the least challenging.  Then begin with those that are easiest to deal with, one by one, and work on eliminating them. Use the 'talk back' techniques, and expose yourself to the very things you fear. Since the first steps will be the least challenging ones, this shouldn't be too difficult, but will give you good practice to work with the more challenging ones on your list. Don't rush your progress.You might have to work on a particular fear or compulsion for a couple weeks. If you are tempted to check if you turned off the stove, for instance, and you usually check three or four times, try getting it down to one time. Then work on not checking the stove at all.
     Journal your progress in doing this, or whatever your particular symptoms/fears are. It's okay if you have to write how miserable or scared you feel facing an OCD symptom. This is normal. When we are accustomed to running away from the fears or trying to shut them out of our mind. Facing up to them brings on all sorts of anxious feelings. And the 'OCD bully' in our brains is not used to being stood up to. Eventually it backs off knowing that we will not cower from the fear or thought and threats. We will not give into a compulsion in order to feel 'safe' from empty threats.
     Of course, the brain will create new fears and new threats...treat them the same way. "Oh yeah? Go ahead, make my day." And you WILL have a good day from facing up to the OCD bully.