Gratitude Adjustment

Most all of us can find things to be grateful for. When we are in the storms of emotional or physical struggles, it’s easy to let this slip by. A lot of us are guilty of forgetting what we do have going for us, ¬†friends, family, shelter, a heartbeat, etc. It’s helpful to slow down and be more aware of this. It can be a healthy reminder for our mental health. We can start with the basic idea of making a gratitude list. This could give us something to check in with when our thoughts or situation tries to lead us down a dark path.

Jeremy Rudd

“I’m a lucky man
To count on both hands
The ones I love.
Some folks just have one
Yeah others they got none.” ¬†

-Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam, “Just Breathe”

Checking in with yourself and others

We have probably all heard the phrase: “laughter is the best medicine.” There is a lot of truth in this. Studies show that laughter reduces our stress response. When we laugh our muscles contract and this increases our oxygen and blood flow. We have probably all felt our bodies feel less tense after a good laugh. We release endorphins in our body when we laugh, and this can lead to feeling a relief, mentally and physically. Studies show that even when we force it, or use “fake laughter”, it has a positive effect on us. All of us might have done our share of this. ūüôā When dealing with OCD, or any other emotional struggle, it’s good to see that humor can be good medicine. When we feel as if our world is crashing down, often the last thing we may feel like doing is laughing or smiling. Kinda like the “diet and exercise” situation. We often know what good a healthy food choice and a trip to the gym can do for us. Knowing it and doing it are two different things. We may randomly hear, see, or think of something funny. This can be helpful for our overall mood and often happens to us on a regular basis. In the midst of an emotional struggle, unfortunately this can happen less and less. A common symptom of depression is anhedonia. Anhedonia is the loss of interest in pleasurable activities. What we usually find pleasurable or funny may not have the same effect on us when we are in the middle of an emotional storm. It doesn’t mean that this has left us permanently, they are more or less just put on hold. I bring this up so that we can try to be more mindful of what we enjoy and what has worked for us previously. By worked I mean, the people, places, books, movies, music, exercise, situations, etc, that have brought us joy. Being mindful of what we enjoy and value is important. It becomes our compass that can help direct us where we want to go. It seems like a simple concept, and it is. We see once again that we may have to “force” ourselves to be involved in what has worked in the past and to be open to what might work going forward, e.g- ERP, ACT therapy, etc. By paying attention in the moment, and tuning into what we enjoy, this can get us back on the path we want to travel. The C in ACT therapy stands for commitment. We become mindful of our situation and use acceptance of what we are experiencing. Then we commit to a direction we value, and this is great news. We don’t have to put our lives on hold any longer. Our lives will never be perfect or “just right” Whether that is our obsessions, our addictive behaviors, our bank accounts, our jobs, our weight, etc. Lets pick up our “stuff” and get busy living. In ACT therapy they ask: “what do you want to do with your time on this planet?” I have read this sentence over a hundred times and it still hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s powerful and its reality. We are only given so much time! ¬†Making a list of our interests can be helpful. Keeping this near or maybe in our phone is a good tool to have. Why would we need to know what we are interested in? That seems pretty basic, right? When the grasp and cycle of OCD, depression, or another struggle has us focused on the negative junk, a moment of “noticing” or mindfulness can help us bounce back on track. It can be as basic as following our breath then moving in a direction we value. It’s not always easy, but it’s basic and doable. ¬†Noticing that we are breathing, in and out, noticing what that literally feels like physically, this is an example of being mindful. There are countless ways to be mindful. Whether we are using a technique in Exposure and Response Prevention, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or battling a destructive habit, pausing and checking in with our thoughts and actions can be very helpful. Obsessions, compulsions, impulsive behavior, anxiety, panic, the grip of depression, these can all can feel like a never ending train ride into darkness. The good news is that we can check in with our thoughts and actions, we can notice and not respond to them, just notice. We know that we can’t stop our thoughts but we CAN change how we respond to them. The main goal of OCD treatment is to stop the compulsions or rituals and to live in uncertainty. We might have very “dark” thoughts, our brain might tell us to perform rituals or compulsions to make it “okay.” Just noticing or looking at the thoughts or images, and letting them just be, will put us closer to freedom. By giving into the rituals, we continue to put fuel into that damn OCD train. We learn that purposely putting ourselves into scary situations, and not responding to the ridiculous demands of OCD, that this will then have less and less power over us. We can notice the train, but we don’t have to ride. Even if we are on the train, we can still notice these thoughts, images or impulses, they are going to be there reagrdless, but again, we don’t have to respond. ACT therapy suggests noticing our thoughts, using acceptance, and moving in a direction we value. A value is something we want to stand for in life. Being a “loving Mom” or being a “good listener”, these are examples of values. We try to “reach” goals. With values, we move towards them, we move in a direction what we care about. We try to reach goals, goals are measurable. “I want to lose ten pounds over the next 30 days” is a goal. We might value having more freedom from OCD. This value might look like participating in ERP. ¬†Another example of a value is: “spending time with my grandson.” An example of a goal is: “I will meet with my therapist weekly over the next month to participate in treatment.” And hopefully participating in OCD treatment would lead to less time spent on useless rituals and more time to “spend with my grandson.”

It’s cliche to say that we have to start somewhere, but it’s true. We obviously can only start from where we are now, the past is done. If we need some laughter, let’s lean into what makes us laugh. Let’s lean into what we enjoy, whether it’s healthy relationships, exercise, funny movies, etc. Lets “force” or commit ourselves to jump back into pleasurable situations or things that we enjoy. It’s so easy to get lost in this emotional sea of darkness and doubt. Checking in with ourselves and using reminders can help us get back on track. Being mindful and leaning into what we enjoy may be difficult at times, but it’s crucial for our emotional health if we have left this in the past. Let’s remember that¬†we really don’t have overall health without our mental health.

We might lean into an exposure in OCD treatment. We might lean back into a relationship with a loved one that has fizzled out. We might lean into going to the movies with a friend, even though we don’t feel like it. We might find ourselves pleasantly surprised once we get there and the movie starts. We might be glad that we forced ourselves to go out. We might see that 15 minutes into a workout, “man, this feels good, I’m glad I went ahead and did this.” ACT therapy suggests taking all our “stuff” with us and moving in a direction we value. The obsessions, compulsions, thoughts, impulses, sadness, etc, can all come along for the ride, they are probably going to be with us anyway. ¬†As hard as that can seem to swallow, that’s okay, one moment at a time. ¬†Once again, we can notice the negative stuff and then go about our day, we can let that junk float into the background. We don’t have to give into the demands. “I see you, OCD. Thanks for checking in, but I’m going out with friends anyway.” The less we give the OCD bully what it wants the less we will hear from him. OCD will split hairs and over analyze and “what if’ a situation to death! Whether it’s OCD, depression, or some other emotional struggle, let’s notice that it’s there, try to accept it, and then do our best to go enjoy our lives. It’s not easy, but it’s possible, it’s truly possible. Hang in there.

“If you think I’ll sit around while you chip away my brain, listen I ain’t¬†foolin’ and you’d better think again.” – Rob Halford, Judas Priest, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”

 

Discussing Suicide

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, each year, over 44,000 people die from suicide. It’s said that the number is even higher and is often underreported due to stigma and that some deaths that are ruled as “accidental” could have actually been a suicide. May is mental health month. We have made great strides in mental health treatment options, support, discussions, etc, however we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, we see still see that there is often a stigma attached to mental health. Our society places a lot of emphasis on our physical health, for obvious reasons, but we need to keep in mind that we don’t have overall health without our mental health. The topic of suicide has been talked about in the news more recently partly due to the popular Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, as well as the death of musician, Chris Cornell. This show has been discussed at schools and has brought up some controversy. I have¬†long been a fan of Cornell’s music. If there is any silver lining here, it could be that his death has opened more discussions regarding mental health, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. As a society, we have often felt that talking about suicide causes someone to be more likely to commit suicide. The research shows different. Talking to someone about your suicidal thoughts and reaching out to others for support can save lives. I have worked on a suicide hotline and have personally seen the positive impact it can have on a community. Someone can seem to “have it all together” on the outside and may be crawling in their skin on the inside. I feel it’s always better to err on the side of caution in these situations. If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or classmate, it’s okay to ask someone how they are doing. When we are struggling with our emotional health, our mood can be all over the place. This can be confusing and exhausting. Bipolar disorder, along with other emotional struggles, can look like different things to different people. What we may assume looks like “happy” or “alive and full of energy” may not be what’s really going on inside. Sometimes it’s obvious that someone may be feeling depressed. They might be tearful, isolating, not returning calls or texts, etc. On the other hand, people who are are experiencing depression can also be experts at masking their symptoms. ¬†What we often assume is a person who we think “have no reason to be depressed”, could really be struggling. Smart phones and social media has opened a lot of doors in our society. We now have more options to reach out these days if we are struggling with an emotional issue. Often we see that something positive can also have a negative side. Bullying in schools has been happening for decades. The end of a school day might be a relief for some students being able to return home. With the almost constant access a lot of young people have to social media, the bullying or negativity could still be just a click away. Once again, our “communication” as a society becoming more and more instant can certainly be a positive. Suicide hotlines have been around for many years, and now with our evolving technology, we have many outlets available to reach out. There are now countless websites, chat rooms, blogs, etc, that are geared towards behavioral health. Let’s use this to our advantage. Let’s talk more about how we are doing emotionally, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Find someone you feel that you can trust and please remember that it’s okay to ask each other how we are doing. Most all of us may say, “hows it going?”, or “how are you?”, just in everyday conversation and not really expect a response. Let us remember that it’s okay to take that question further if needed. If you are ever having any thoughts of suicide, please, please, reach out and ask for some support. LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO HELP STOP THE STIGMA!!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

“I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota.” – “Outshined”, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden

Rest easy, Cornell.

Jeremy Rudd

 

Some thoughts on quotes

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” – Helen Keller

Exposure and Response Prevention¬†techniques¬†can help guide us to see that “outright exposure” can be the path to more freedom from OCD.

“don’t try to find the answer,
when there ain’t no question here,
brother let your heart be wounded,
and give no mercy to your fear”- the band, +Live+, Run to the Water

The band +Live+ has always been my favorite band. I resonate with a lot of their lyrics, energy and message. The quote above reminds me of acceptance and learning to lean into our fears. There is something to be said of letting our hearts and minds “be wounded” and continuing to lean into our fears. ACT therapy talks about the acceptance of what we are experiencing and then moving in the direction of what we value. Every time I hear this part of the song I cant help but think of OCD and the endless cycle of rumination and rituals. We often try to “find the answer” of why we have OCD or why we do the things we do to lessen our anxiety. We often need to go after what we fear most to gain relief from the monster of OCD. I think if there is a question and an answer to find it would be, “what is the core fear?” that we are trying so hard to avoid. Looking for the “core fear” and not the “root” of the problem seems to be the way to go. We can’t change the fact of having OCD, but we can change how we respond to it, and this is great news!! Chances are, a lot of our obsessions and compulsions could share a “core fear.” Continuing to chip away at this “core fear” can help us starve out the OCD and anxiety.

Jeremy Rudd

A Personal story of Acceptance…In Memory of Tyler McGuire

Tyler McGuire was my brother in law. He was a true friend and a bad ass. We all have difficulties in life and unfortunately Tyler was dealt the difficulty of bone cancer. ¬†We lost him in January of this year. I have attempted to accept a lot of difficulties in my own life but accepting that he has passed is at the top of the list. Tyler didn’t just get cancer, he battled it to the end. He believed in fighting the good fight and always encouraged me to keep moving forward no matter what. Tyler had a huge heart and was full of love. His spirit motivates me daily to give back and try to help others through my work as a counselor. Here’s to you brother, we love you and miss you.

I wrote the words below a few days after he died. Our friend, Phyllis, with the FUMC of Fort Worth, was kind of enough to read this for me at his funeral. Please see below. Thanks.

TYLER MCGUIRE – FROM BROTHER IN LAW, JEREMY RUDD. 1 26 17

I wanted to take a few minutes to express my love and gratitude for my brother in law, Tyler. I remember first meeting Tyler at a gas station in Bedford. Heather was going to introduce us that week but I happen to run into the cute couple while I had stopped to get gas. Tyler was just as Heather had described. As we know, Tyler was a man’s man and was also a really nice guy. After meeting Tyler and his family, it was easy to see why Heather was so crazy about him. Tyler greeted others with a hand shake and always made eye contact. He had manners and he was genuine. Shortly thereafter, our family met Barry, Mary and Andrew and they were of course a blessing just like Tyler was. They all had manners, love in their heart, and a sense of humor, just like our Tyler. Tyler was the real deal. I always told him that he was a God send. He and I became instant friends and soon starting calling each other a “brother from another mother.” He was so welcoming and fun to be around. He had that smile and confidence that was contagious. Tyler is one of the most generous and thoughtful people I have ever known. It didn’t matter what he was doing, if he thought I might have some interest in doing it with him he would invite me. It could be a camping trip, a drive to look at a house for his business, or just taking a ride to the auto parts store. There were countless times when Tyler just insisted on paying for lunch or dinner. If Tyler had it, it was a given that he would be sharing it with his family or friends. With Tyler, you just knew you had a wing-man for life. He showed these same characteristics as a dad, a son, a husband, a brother and so on. Tyler was gonna be there for his family and friends no matter what. He was the guy that you could call at 3 in the morning stranded in another state and he was gonna show up and help. I always appreciated Tyler’s passion. It didn’t matter if it was baseball, the right to bear arms, or a brand of beef jerky, you knew where Tyler stood. I can still remember the glow in his face on the days Sydney and Jack were born. It was the same glow he had in October 2004 when he married our wonderful Heather. We could be driving somewhere and see some random piece of metal stuck in the ground or an unusual looking piece of equipment on a flatbed truck. I would usually have to ask him what it was. He always had an answer. He could do just about anything he put his mind to. If it was a project or task he didn’t know how to do then he would soon do what it to took to learn it on his own then get the job done. A few minutes later, he could make someone smile. Then he might tell you about a movie he watched last week and how he felt the film had a Mark Twain feel to it. I can remember being his helper on occasion when he would go check on a property for his home preservation business. I have seen him tackle a project with relative ease countless times. One day stands out in particular. We show up at a house and Tyler says we have to build a swimming pool cover. I’m no handy man, but when I saw the size of the pool I immediately asked him how we were gonna get to the other two jobs he had scheduled for the day. As usual, he told me not to worry about it and to let him figure that out. Less than two hours later, Tyler had that pool cover built. I have had my share of car trouble. Tyler was there regardless of the day or time. A few months after he started chemotherapy, we were talking and I had brought up that my car wouldn’t start at my office in downtown Dallas. I was going to have to call a tow truck. He immediately said that he would be picking me up in the morning and that we were going to Dallas to try to get the car started. I tried to talk him out of it worrying that he wasn’t feeling well enough and he wouldn’t listen to any of that. As we all know, when he made his mind up about something, there wasn’t a lot of convincing him other wise. He brought his cane and some tools and he drove us to Dallas. He was a little unsteady on his feet so I held the tools and tried to hold onto him as he was looking under the hood. He was always there for me when I was in a tough spot. Over the past few years, I have tried to hold Tyler up when he was in a tough spot, just as he has done for me from day one of our friendship. No matter the topic, Tyler would listen to you. We all know he would often give his opinion, but he would listen. A few years back I got the word “VERITAS” tattooed on my arm. This was something I did with Tyler in mind. Veritas means “truth” in Latin. This was a reference from one of our favorite movies, The Boondock Saints. He and I often talked about it and it was a bond that we always shared. To me, Tyler was truth. He was true to his family and friends and true to his beliefs. Tyler McGuire, we love you brother and your incredible strength and light will shine through all of us the rest of our days. We will continue to see your spirit in Jack and Sydney and we all look forward to seeing you again. I will look forward to talking to you about the Rangers pitching rotation and hearing you laugh again. The first time I ever heard anyone outside of church use the term “salt of the earth”, it was Tyler telling me about his brother Andrew before I had the pleasure to meet him. A few days ago a kind gentleman from the church was delivering food to my sister’s house when I was leaving. My mom and I shook his hand and thanked him for bringing food over for our family. I walked him to the door and we started to talk about Tyler. We chatted for about a minute before I ran out of words. I shook the man’s hand, thanked him, and then I said, Tyler was “the salt of the earth.”

I love you, brother.

Jeremy

Acceptance

Acceptance. We have all heard the word over and over again. This word can often can¬†be brought up in a tough¬†situation. When we lose a loved one we may be asked to accept the truth that they have passed. We all handle grief differently. Losing a loved one, a job, our¬†independence, a pet, a friendship, etc. These¬†situations can all lead to a time of grieving. It can often seem like we are always grieving about something! No matter how hard we wish this¬†were not the fact, we often get knocked back down to earth with the idea of trying to accept a certain outcome. We often¬†don’t want to accept this and it’s easier to stay in denial or use distractions to cope so we¬†don’t have to face what has happened. With all the atrocities in our¬†world, it’s not hard to see how this can easily become a form of¬†survival. With support, love, and time, we can often find some relief in our¬†grieving. Obviously everyones support¬†system can look different or some¬†unfortunately may be¬†nonexistent. Often we see grief support groups offered in the¬†community which is a great thing. Not everyone is blessed with a supportive group of family and friends. The good news is that these situations may start out as gut wrenching but can often lead to a new¬†friendship or to a recharge of a past relationship with a family member. Even those who may not reach out in a tough life¬†situation may be left with a new¬†awareness or breakthrough in their own life. It hurts like hell but can often lead to a new beginning. With grief often comes depression.¬†Sometimes this can be¬†symptoms of depression that were brought on with a loss or maybe the depression was already there.¬†When we are dealing with a¬†behavioral health difficulty like OCD, depression, anxiety, etc, another blow to our lives can sometimes seem like too much to bear. We also know that depression can often go hand in hand with OCD,¬†Anxiety, chronic pain, etc. When we are dealing with emotional struggles in our daily lives, another loss can feel like someone took a¬†sledgehammer to our chest. Our minds and hearts become a sea of emotions and pain. The tears and loneliness can become an everyday¬†occurrence. When dealing with depression or symptoms of grief, we can¬†often feel like we are¬†completely alone. It’s common to often feel alone when dealing with depression. Even if we are surrounded by people who care about us, it’s easy to feel like you are isolated on an island with no rescue in sight.

Again, acceptance is often suggested when someone is¬†dealing with a loss or seeking¬†assistance for some emotional support. This could be from a therapy¬†situation or in a substance abuse support group. As brutal as it can feel, the process of accepting something can be a freeing¬†experience. It gives us a starting point. There is obviously nothing we can do to change anything in our past, whether that was 3 seconds ago or 3¬†years ago. All we have is now, sounds cliche, but it’s reality. No one¬†is promised an hour from now. If we accept¬†this, it may help our struggles seem more manageable. The 12 step groups often talk about “one day at a time.” Acceptance¬†Commitment Therapy and¬†Dialectical Behavioral Therapy both offer a¬†key component of “mindfulness” in their techniques. Jon Kabit Zinn is a world authority on mindfulness. He defines mindfulness as: “awareness¬†that arises through paying¬†attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the¬†present moment, non¬†judgementally.” This can lead to acceptance. No matter how difficult the¬†moment, if we can¬†accept the moment for what it is, we might have an easier path to what we want to achieve. Often what we want to achieve is more peace of mind, more happiness, less pain, more focus, etc. Mindfulness can show us that no matter¬†what we are dealing with, that paying attention in the¬†moment, and¬†attempting to stay neutral about our thoughts, can help us feel more in control of a¬†situation. We can often train our minds to look at our¬†thoughts as “good” or “bad”. Maybe “lucky,” or “okay”, or “sinful.”¬†Mindfulness teaching often suggests to look at thoughts as neutral, not good or bad, just as thoughts. ACT therapy techniques suggest being mindful of our thoughts, and once again, just noticing them, not reacting¬†to or trying to fix them. This is¬†one of many areas¬†where Exposure and¬†Response Prevention as well as Acceptance¬†Commitment¬†Therapy have been helpful for OCD symptoms. They share¬†the common suggestion to notice the thoughts or obsessions and not participate in rituals. We can’t stop our thoughts from coming but we do have power in what we choose to do with these thoughts. If we are caught in the¬†ugly grip of OCD or another behavioral health issue, its easy to feel helpless about our¬†reactions to our thoughts. We all have thoughts that may scare us at times. A lot of¬†individuals¬†may have a certain “quirky” thing they do with the shirts in their closet or have a “lucky” tune they¬†sing before a stressful¬†situation. What¬†separates these people from those diagnosed with true OCD, is the intensity and amount of time spent on obsessions, compulsions, rituals, etc. ¬†Someone may feel that it is good “luck” to put their left shoe on first. This person puts the left one on first every morning for “luck” and goes on about their day. A person with OCD could be caught in this same situation for hours trying to get those shoes on “just right” and in a special order. Mindfulness can help put a distance between us and our thoughts. We often hear in OCD circles that we are not our thoughts, we are not the OCD, OCD is something we have but we are not the person it tries to suggest we are. This is especially true when dealing with OCD symptoms of a violent nature. E.g.- the mom who cannot leave the house because she is afraid that she will do something awful to her neighbor on the way to pick up her kids at school. OCD symtoms try to tell us that we will do these awful things, but¬†it’s the OCD. In ACT therapy they suggest to “look at thoughts, not from thoughts.” An example would be placing our thoughts or images in our mind onto clouds. We can visualize this and put these thoughts, words, or¬†images on the clouds and watch them float away. Once again, it puts distance between us and our thoughts, because again, we are not out thoughts. Just as if someone is doing Exposure Response Prevention to work on their OCD. They can place themselves in a¬†situation on¬†purpose¬†that raises their anxiety. By not giving into the rituals, and being in the moment, we can find some more flexibility in our minds and see that the anxiety will¬†eventually come down on its own.We can just notice what our brain is asking us to do, check, count, ask, pray, doubt, wash, etc. We can notice these thoughts and images in our minds, and again we don’t have to respond to the demands of the OCD. This is great news! There is hope, truly!

Acceptance can be a great thing, and it can also knock us to our knees. The good news is that it can be a great building block to better days ahead. Life can obviously be very difficult. If you are ever having any thoughts of harming yourself, please, please, reach out to someone. Hang in there.

Jeremy Rudd           

 

 

The “fix” is Not in

Human¬†beings often want to “fix” what ails them. It’s our nature. If we have a headache we might take an¬†aspirin. If we have car trouble we might call a mechanic or try to “fix” it ourselves. Chances are the aspirin and the mechanic could be helpful. With OCD,¬†we are often left with a different¬†situation. With endless obsessions and compulsions, we often try to “fix” the¬†situation by doing compulsions only to find the OCD continuing to grow. If we are¬†obsessing about something happening to a family member¬†because of a thought we had, we might then try to “fix” the¬†situation by touching a doorknob 8 times. This may or may not lower our anxiety for a brief moment but then the OCD will rear its ugly head¬†somewhere else or even keep us stuck with the¬†doorknob. If we touch that doorknob “just right”, or say that specific prayer a certain amount of times, then we can feel better about the¬†situation and make it “okay.” Sound familiar? We know that this does not work, maybe for a brief moment we think that the compulsions gave us a break, but once again the cycle¬†continues. Research shows that “talk therapy” is¬†usually not¬†helpful for OCD. We can “talk” about OCD for days, however discussing why it¬†happened or where it came from usually¬†won’t have any positive effect on our¬†symptoms. We will always have OCD, but the good news is that the symptoms can be decreased¬†significantly¬†and often managed through the help of Exposure and Response Prevention. An example of this would be putting ourselves in an anxious¬†situation on purpose,¬†knowing that our¬†OCD¬†and anxiety¬†symptoms will be increased. That is the Exposure. The Prevention part of this technique would be withholding from the¬†compulsions. Over time, by¬†continuing to place ourselves in these¬†situations on purpose, and by attempting to¬†withhold from the compulsions, we can see ourselves less bothered by the OCD symptoms. It’s often helpful to have a¬†therapist to work with that is trained in Exposure and Response¬†Prevention. As we know, OCD is often fueled by doubt. Living with¬†uncertainty is actually what we want to strive for, because in reality, life is uncertain. It¬†doesn’t¬†make sense at¬†first because we may have tried for months or years to “fix” our doubts or obsessions by taking¬†part in our rituals or compulsions. We often think that this can make us feel “certain” that we or the¬†situation is “okay” for the¬†moment. How soon we see that this is only temporary. We see that being present with the Obsessions¬†and not trying to “fix” them is where we could find some freedom from this stuff. Let’s say for a¬†moment¬†that OCD is a big bully. If we are in the¬†bully’s presence, and we stop¬†giving¬†into the bully’s demands, we often see it can be less and less bothersome to us. As we know, OCD symptoms can pop up anywhere. Our daily lives can become one big exposure, and this is more good news by the way. It can be scary at first, but over time we can see how putting ourselves or our thoughts into these situations on purpose can be helpful. By¬†withholding¬†from our¬†compulsions¬†or rituals we continue to starve out the OCD.

Trying to figure out why we have OCD or what caused it may be tempting when an individual is first diagnosed but it often just leads to more useless rumination. Again, we have seen this used in “talk therapy” and is rarely helpful for OCD. A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach and Exposure Response Prevention has been shown to be the most effective at treating OCD. We try to “fix” OCD by no longer trying to “fix” it with compulsions and rituals. We purposely raise our anxiety levels to slowly see that our anxiety will come down on its own without our compulsions and rituals. Just like with the bully example, we can acknowledge that the bully or OCD is there, but if we stop giving into the demands, they often float off into the background. Seeing the thoughts in a more accepting way, without trying to fight them or “fix” them, will¬†eventually give them less power over us.

Jeremy Rudd