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Aha! Moments from a magazine encouraging us to “Be a little OCD.”

Have you ever had a moment where you've just had enough? One where you think you just cannot stand by one more minute without saying, "No more! This is not okay!"? I had that moment on Saturday. I was attending the annual conference of The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors in St. Louis, heading to another wonderfully information-packed session, when I received this text from my mom: "Just sent you an email response I sent to the editor of [major women's magazine] regarding finding the phrase "be a little OCD" in the latest issue. Here it is, in bold print, no less." I stopped dead in my tracks. "You've GOT to be kidding me," I said out loud, to no one in particular. In utter disbelief that a well-respected, mainstream magazine could be so uninformed, I stared at the photo of the glossy page, mouth agape. Beginning to walk to my session again, I said aloud, not caring that I was still talking to myself, "That's it. I've had it. I'm writing that blog post that I've been meaning to write for more than a year. Because I can't stand seeing these uneducated phrases about OCD popping up everywhere [...]

2018-01-14T21:14:24+00:00 Miscellaneous|

Aha! Moments from Stopping the Noise in Your Head

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 [...]

2018-01-14T21:14:24+00:00 Recovery from OCD, Thoughts|

Aha! Moments from The Five Things We Cannot Change

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 [...]

2018-01-14T21:14:24+00:00 Mindfulness, Miscellaneous, Thoughts|

Aha! Moments from an Aha! Moment … and dog toys … and questionable holiday merchandising choices …

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 [...]

Aha! Moments from Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

I read the following paragraph from Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman last night while doing the elliptical and almost fell off the machine: "...Are you driven by the daily routines that force you to live in your head rather than in your life? Now extrapolate this to apply to the life you have left to you. If you are thirty years old, then with a life expectancy of around eighty, you have fifty years left. But if you are only truly conscious and aware of every moment for perhaps two out of sixteen hours a day (which is not unreasonable), your life expectancy is only another six years and three months. You’ll probably spend more time in meetings with your boss! If a friend told you that they had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease that will kill them in six years, you would be filled with grief and try to comfort them. Yet without realizing it, you may be daydreaming along such a path yourself." Can you believe that? What an incredible insight! For those of us with OCD who are obsessed with all the ways that we [...]

2018-01-14T21:14:24+00:00 Mindfulness, Recovery from OCD|

Aha! Moments from the 2015 IOCDF Conference, Part 2

"You can do this," I said as I held Lily's hand, the scene before me becoming blurry as my eyes welled with compassion. Lily* turned to look at me, big crocodile tears rolling down her face. "I'm going to let go of your hand now," she said, her voice breaking with the weight of her fear, the weight of what she was about to do. "Because I want to do it just like you did. Touch it just like you did. With both hands." She nodded, a gesture of resolution more for herself than for me, and turned back around. As this woman I had met only hours before reached her hands forward, time seemed to slow down, as if the universe were pausing to recognize the importance of this small, yet terribly great, act of defiance against a disorder that Lily and I shared: OCD. She continued to reach forward, and I realized I wasn't breathing. In that moment her hands were my hands, and I knew in the very depths of my soul the terror that she felt. "Aha," I heard a voice inside me whisper, breaking the silence, forcing me to breathe. "This is what it's all [...]

2018-01-14T21:14:24+00:00 IOCDF Conference|