I'm always thinking about how books, movies, and events apply to people suffering from OCD and related disorders, anxiety or depression. Which means that I'm also thinking about how they apply to me. Because yes, along with being an OCD therapist at Cornerstone Family Services, I also have OCD.
OCD can influence your life in subtle (and not so subtle) ways that can affect how you view the world, how you approach treatment, how you manage your recovery, and how you function in relationships with others and the world around you. Often when I'm reading books or watching movies or videos, even ones that have nothing to do with OCD, I have moments of epiphany where I say, "Aha! That applies to people who have OCD!" In my Aha! Moments blog posts, I use my own experience with OCD to explain these epiphanies and how I apply them to my own recovery.
On Monday, as I was boarding a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta, I asked the flight attendant standing by the cockpit door for some water. She handed me a can (yes, a can of water....I guess they were out of bottles...), and then the co-pilot, who was also greeting passengers as they boarded, looked at me and commanded, "Wait!" I stopped while she dug into one of the little cabinets, pulled out a straw and handed it to me. "You'll want to use this," she said. "You definitely don't want to put your mouth directly on that can." That was the sign I needed that it was time to write this Aha! Moment about one of my new favorite books, Stopping the Noise in Your Head, by my friend Reid Wilson, Ph.D. This book is all about recognizing the "noise in your head" and the paradoxical power of doing the opposite of what it tells you to do. This holds true, by the way, even if the noise (i.e. "that can of water is dirty!") is validated by a co-pilot of a plane flying me to Atlanta. She may know a lot about flying, but she doesn't know that as someone with a long [...]
When you have OCD and/or anxiety, your life can be dominated by attempts to attain the BIG Cs: CONTROL and CERTAINTY. The lessons of this book, The Five Things We Cannot Change...and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them, fit very nicely (pardon the pun) with the goal of exposure therapy for OCD and anxiety: to learn to live in a world of uncertainty and be happy anyway. So, I wanted to share the five things with you and give you an example of how I am using them this weekend. Yesterday, I was hanging out in the living room, waiting for the plumber to arrive to fix a leak in my kitchen sink, when I noticed how hot it was. I checked the thermostat, and it read 79 degrees. After an hour of so of messing around with vents, turning the A/C on and off, staring at the outside A/C unit (telepathically asking it to please turn on) and wishing the plumber were also an HVAC guy, I realized my air conditioner was broken. And hey, I live in Hot-lanta, so this is somewhat problematic. But sitting on my coffee table in the living room was The Five Things We Cannot Change. As I waited [...]
Why do I have a dog toy with a tissue taped to it sitting on my desk? And how does it relate to the Target OCD Obsessive Christmas Disorder sweater currently being sold in stores? As usual, it’s sort of a long story. When I wrote my Aha! Moments from the 2015 IOCDF Conference, Part 1, I described my OCD as the equivalent of a sobbing Chicken Little, always crying, “The sky is falling!” In fact, in that blog post, I handed my OCD a tissue for the very first time. The more that I thought of my OCD bawling, the more I envisioned it as a little orange ball. My dog Lily loved her JW Pet Good Cuz orange “football” toy (it was a ball with feet, so it became “the football”), and as I thought more about my OCD as a sad little creature waddling along behind me, whining about all the things that could kill us, the more I decided that it looked like Lily’s football. So I went to PetSmart a month or so ago to find one (as Lily’s has sadly disappeared), and found this one…a little orange ball with feet and sunglasses. It seemed to perfectly [...]