“imbalance” and the Orient Express

I recently went to the movies and watched the new version of Murder on the Orient Express. This is the murder mystery that is based on Agatha Christie’s novel that was published in 1934. The main character is a detective by the name of Hercule Poirot. Poirot’s character is often shown to be “obsessive-compulsive” in her writing, as well as the movies and tv shows that are adaptations of Christie’s writing. There have been several Poirot portrayals over the years. I appreciate the handful of shows and movies that I have seen over the years that are based on Christie’s writings. Her body of work speaks for itself. I am not an expert on her writing, but I have noticed that this character is often tied to discussions about being “OCD.” I obviously can’t speak for Christie on her creation of Poirot. In this current version of the film, Poirot makes some comments about symmetry while eating his breakfast as well as commenting on how a man’s tie is crooked. At one point, the character steps in something while walking down the street. He comments about needing the balance on the other shoe as well, after he accidentally stepped in the mess with just one foot. He purposely stepped in it again with the other foot then seemed okay at that point to literally keep moving. This character seems to appreciate cleanliness, symmetry, and feeling: “just right.”

There is more and more OCD awareness that is being spread throughout our society. We still have a long way to go but this is great news! More and more articles and discussions are happening regarding the term “OCD” being thrown around so casually in our society. Examples include: “I’m sooooo OCD about my car.” Or,”She’s so OCD, she doesn’t let anyone walk in her apartment with their shoes on.” As we know, the term “OCD” is often said inaccurately. We know that OCD is much more that wanting “cleanliness” and symmetry. OCD can be pure torment, it often wreaks havoc and we know it goes much further than this. Poirot is a fictional character and I don’t know if he has “OCD” or not, I really can’t be certain.:) In my opinion, the actor who portrayed Poirot, Kenneth Branagh, did an excellent job.

I can’t help but tie music and movies into talking and writing about emotional health. Listening to music and watching movies have been helpful coping skills of mine for many years. There is a part of the film where Poirot explains that life is not always fair regarding justice being served. He explains that he will try to: “learn to live with the imbalance.” Learning to live with the “imbalance” is exactly what we want to do with OCD. We try to get it “just right” and we see that getting it “wrong” or “imbalanced” is what leads to more freedom in our lives. LESS RITUALS CAN LEAD TO MORE PEACE!! I’m with Poirot on this one, I’m going to continue to try and live with the “imbalance.”

Jeremy Rudd


Just a reminder from the great character that Pat Morita played in Karate Kid. No matter where we are or what we are doing, our breath obviously goes with us. It times of great stress it can be a helpful “grounding” technique to just follow our breath. We don’t need to overanalyze it or turn it over in our mind a thousand times, just simply following our breath. Let us pay attention to how it actually feels as we take a breath. We get so caught up in our hectic lives we often forget what a miracle it is that we are even able to breathe.

Jeremy Rudd

Rest Easy, Miyagi.   Pat Morita, 1932-2005.

We won the YouTube video contest for OCD week!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, FOR WATCHING AND VOTING FOR OUR VIDEO: MR CERTAIN STRIKES OUT, VOL. 1 !!!  We really appreciate it. Thanks to IOCDF for presenting OCDWEEK. The International OCD Foundation continues to push ahead, educate, support, and helps fight the stigma.

Mr Certain will return, however we already know the ending of his next adventure……… and that’s a good thing! 🙂

Jeremy Rudd


To Help or To Hinder

As we know, OCD and other emotional struggles not only affect us they affect our loved ones. We sometimes can do more harm than good when trying to “help” ourselves or someone else. We may continue to harbor our struggles by continuing to feed the cycle. Whether this is OCD, or some other struggle, we often do things that are counterproductive. When dealing with depression, it can be common to want to isolate or to not leave our home. We see that this is usually not helpful, however it may feel better in the moment, so we can continue to do it, again and again. OCD is very similar and depression and OCD often go hand in hand. We try to fix our anxiety or obsessions by performing compulsions. It may help “fix” or lower the anxiety for a short time but we know that another OCD situation is just around the corner. We feed that monster over and over and this just increases our misery.
Having a loving family member or friend for OCD support is a real blessing. I know this first hand. It is very common for this person to get tied up in our OCD rituals. OCD can exhaust the person that has it as well as their loved ones. It’s human nature to want to help a loved one in a tough spot. A person with OCD may have months or years of tough spots. We see that a loved one is often feeding the OCD by helping them give into the rituals. If a person with OCD feels that their hands are contaminated, they may go wash them excessively for several minutes to try and rid themselves of this icky feeling they are experiencing. That is a classic example of giving into the OCD by performing a ritual. If this same person asks their spouse or friend to provide them reassurance that their hands are clean, then the process is the same. We are still feeding the OCD by helping our loved one with a mental ritual. The ritual could be hand washing, or it could be asking someone if we locked the front door and if “we did it right?” The result is still the same, giving the damn OCD what it wants. More rituals and compulsions. If someone has a child with OCD, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of giving reassurance or “helping” their child perform more rituals. We often have no idea we are doing it and feel that we are just trying to help our loved one who is struggling. The more experience or insight someone has into OCD, the easier it becomes to identify what is OCD and to start chipping away at these rituals. OCD will split hairs and likes to be certain, it hates the gray area of uncertainty. That being said, loved ones and sufferers can often try to walk that line of trying to figure out what exactly is OCD and what’s not. Let us be aware that this too can become just another OCD situation. I have found in my practice, and in my own life, that I treat these moments like they are OCD, regardless if they are OCD or not. The goal here being continuing to live with uncertainty and pushing ahead in a direction I value. Our loved ones still need to eat, get to work, get to school, shower, or maybe take a pill. We all have needs. So if someone can “help” their loved one with a ritual and that makes the day or the moment a little smoother, we can see how this would be an easy thing to get caught up in. If our loved continues to be throttled by this ridiculous OCD beast it can break our hearts so we may continue to try and “help” their suffering by giving into the OCD. The more we realize that we might be feeding the OCD by helping someone check, say a certain prayer, wash, or count to 10, the more we want to back away from these accommodations. Again, we don’t want to help feed the beast by participating in the compulsions and rituals. We can love the person and be supportive but not continue to contribute to the OCD. I know first hand that this is easier said that done, but I promise, it’s possible. There was a terrific book written on this topic. I have listed the book title and authors below. Working with a therapist that specializes in OCD and is trained in Exposure and Response Prevention can be very helpful, not only for the person with OCD, but as well as their support system.
OCD can be meticulous and sneaky. A person with OCD may ask a loved one the same question, 8 different ways, seeking that reassurance that may shut the OCD up for a very short time. “Maybe they didn’t hear me right?” or “Let me rephrase what I’m trying to say.” “Are you sure you saw me wash my right hand as well?” It’s heartbreaking and exhausting, for all parties involved. We want to continue reminding ourselves that we didn’t ask for OCD to show up and to try to run our lives. Let’s try to talk to each other, with compassion and support, and remember that the OCD is the one that doesn’t deserve our attention. We can give the OCD attention, as a team, by not giving it the attention it wants. More useless overanalyzing and rituals.
October 8-14, 2017, is the International OCD Foundation’s OCD awareness week. I wanted to share this as a shout out to all the loved ones out there who continue to be by their loved one’s side. THANK YOU FOR THAT! Let’s work together as a team to help stamp out stigma while we continue to move forward. Hang in there, there is hope.  Jeremy Rudd
Loving Someone with OCD Help for You and Your Family


Hi there, thanks for checking in.

iocdf.org presents an international effort to raise awareness for OCD and related disorders. OCD Awareness Week is October 8-14, 2017. We made a video to help raise awareness and fight the stigma. Please vote for our short video, Mr Certain Strikes Out, Vol. 1. Our video was picked as one of the finalists! 🙂 The winner will be announced on Friday, October 20th. (please make sure your volume is up at the 1 minute mark!!)

To vote, please go to iocdf.org and scroll down to #OCDweek Program and Events. There you can click on: 2017 #OCDweek Video Contest Finalists. We appreciate it, and so does Mr Certain…..I think??

Jeremy Rudd

Going Home

Going home can mean different things to different people. Some of us are lucky enough to call someplace home. We have shelter, electricity, food, and more than anything, we have love. Obviously not everyone is blessed to have a place to go. With all the weather we have had, we see the destruction of the hurricanes and how this has left many people without a home to go to. Puerto Rico was hit very hard and left a lot of people with just the clothes on their back. We continue to see people coming together to help each other out trying to rebuild their place of residence, businesses, communities, etc. Often this is the silver lining in these devastating situations.

There are countless people in our world who are considered homeless. In the U.S., we may see people in a “tent city” or living under a bridge. I worked with the homeless population for many years as a mental health professional. Some of the most “real” conversations I have ever had were with individuals who were living on the “streets.” We see how faith in a higher power or faith in a community can bring people together. Some people may call a shelter their home. We have seen shelters become a place of refuge for many. We continue to see the strength of the human spirit, and that is a beautiful thing. We often hear that our home is where our heart is. This might be a beautiful home, a tiny apartment, a street corner, or that safe place that we have wanted to return to for years. It’s different for everyone. It’s important to keep in mind that our hearts and thoughts go with us everywhere. Even after we are faced with a brutal life situation, not all hope is lost. Some people may appear to have a home that is a “safe place.” We know that this is not always the case. We often have no idea what happens when someone goes home. Not everyone lives in a safe or peaceful home. It may not be the safe or warm situation that we assume it is. Let us do our best to not judge others from the outside looking in.

A few days ago, 58 people were killed in a senseless massacre in Las Vegas. Our heart breaks for those families who had their “home” turned upside down because of a despicable act. We don’t have the words, there is no magic panacea for these situations. We often hear people say that when their loved ones leave the earth that they have gone “home.” The thought of being reunited with loved ones in an afterlife can give us a sense of comfort and strength to take that next step while we are still here on earth. As we know, life will knock us to our knees, again and again. Let’s keep getting up, one day at a time. Regardless of what we call home, let’s continue to take care of ourselves and each other. We are stronger when we work together.

Jeremy Rudd

“Made it to the moon but we can’t make it home. Maybe home is where the heart is given up, to the one.” They Stood Up For Love, the band, +Live+


Already Paid

We have all been asked to pay for something that we may or may not have received or even asked for. Sometimes this can cause us great suffering. Sometimes we “pay” for mistakes we have made. Sometimes we “pay” for others mistakes and this can also cause pain  We have all messed up and have been faced with the situation to either own what we did or we may try and ignore what happened. This could be for many different reasons, fear, shame, guilt, or maybe some people have difficulty admitting a mistake. I’m sure very few of us have ever run into someone that has a difficult time apologizing. 🙂 Maybe we all struggle with this at times. Maybe we “pay” emotionally over and over for stuff we didn’t do. Emotional struggles can cloud these situations, OCD especially.

It’s common for someone with OCD to apologize or feel the need to confess to others. Often the person has not done anything wrong but the OCD bully wants to get paid, paid with more compulsions and rituals. The apologies, confessions, and undeserving guilt just continue to feed the OCD monster. These apologies and confessions can become nothing more than just another ritual to feed the OCD. The OCD bully survives on us “paying” with compulsions and rituals. Have we not suffered enough? We all have suffered at some point in our lives, some more than others. It’s obviously not a competition and I encourage others to take care of their emotional health and to be a support for others who may be suffering. Living with OCD can cause great suffering, I am speaking from many years experience. We often wake up and go to bed giving the OCD what it wants. It can be relentless and doesn’t deserve our time and energy. Let us remember that we didn’t ask for OCD, the bully doesn’t care, it will still try to knock you to your knees. I encourage you to take care of yourself and to do your best to not let this coward run your life. It’s robbed us of precious time, it wants to get paid, daily. It’s so easy to get on that compulsion train, and we know slowing down a train takes work. Working with a therapist who specializes in OCD can be a huge help.

You and I have made mistakes, but no amount of guilt, rituals, obsessions, fear, or anger will change anything in the past. We can own it, apologize if needed, and try to move on with our lives. OCD tells us a pack of lies, daily, and it’s easy to get tripped up and to feel as if we did something wrong. The good news is that we can learn to live, to truly live our lives, when we face the bully head on. The bully will try to get it’s weak little hands on us. It thinks it can take up residence in our mind and control our waking moments. It wants to us to pay the fees of rituals and compulsions so that we can feel “okay” or “just right.” OCD can be heartbreaking and exhausting, for the person suffering, as well as their loved ones who are involved. When the bully shows up, let’s continue to remind it that we have “ALREADY PAID.” Let’s continue to let it go broke and starve by not giving it what it wants, our time and energy. Please hang in there.

Jeremy Rudd

And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust,
I’ve already paid. – Joan Baez

Going forward

This has been a tough few weeks for many because of the hurricanes, the earthquakes, and their aftermath. For the most part, we see people coming together to help out those affected. Our hearts are heavy with the loss of life and utter devastation that this has caused for so many. This week also marks the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. It is often difficult to come up with the right words when someone is in the grip of a crisis or devastation. Certain dates obviously mean different things to different people. Let us be mindful of certain anniversaries. Sometimes the loss of a loved one can continue to hit us hard because of certain dates on the calendar, anniversaries, birthdays, the day someone passes away, etc. Just one more reminder that walking beside others while they are going through hell can be very comforting. Let’s keep it simple. We see that truly being there for others, when possible, is a great place to start. Sometimes we may not be able to help someone in person due to geographical reasons. We can obviously still be there for each other for love and support it just may not be in person. The smart phone has opened up many avenues for this kind of thing. No one has all the answers or the exact right words to stay. We know that depression can rear it’s ugly head in “everyday life” and when something really big happens it can seem insurmountable. Sometimes we may have a dark cloud over our heads. This dark cloud can get smaller and smaller if we engage in a support system and take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. Keep on pushing forward, one moment at a time. If ever you are thinking of harming yourself, please, please reach out and talk to someone.

Jeremy Rudd

Like an eagle cuts through the air,
No time for fear,
Faith in his wings takes him there. – We Walk in the Dream, from the band, +Live+

the “IT” factor

I recently went to the movies and saw the new version of: IT. This is the horror movie that is based on the book by Stephen King. In the story a scary clown wreaks havoc on a town. There are times in the movie when some of the characters face the clown, and other fears, head on. The scary clown and frightening situations lose some of their scare factor when they decide to face their fears. Our emotional struggles are often similar. The movie is obviously fiction and I know first hand that this is easier said than done!! But if we continue to avoid or be afraid of the struggles in our lives then they can continue to torment us. Let’s continue to do our best to embrace our fears so that we can move forward and attempt to enjoy our lives.  

Jeremy Rudd

Screwing up

We all fall short and make our share of mistakes. We are going to make mistakes and we are going to “screw up.” This could be minor mistakes or these could be major mess ups. OCD, depression, anxiety, etc, can seem like more that enough to deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes emotional struggles can increase our guilt about a situation. We may make a mistake and then punish ourselves for days or weeks. Sometimes we really do screw up and it’s better if we own that. We can give an apology if needed. We can try to improve the situation. We can attempt to do better next time. If we are a person of faith, we might pray about the situation. There is nothing we can do obviously to change anything in the past. The 12 step community talks about the concept of living amends. Guilt gives us something to do, but just like overanalyzing or rumination, it usually gets us nowhere. If we have guilt about a situation, let’s get busy continuing to live our lives and do something constructive about our guilt. These may be apologies, amends if possible, truly trying to do better the next time. Sometimes apologies aren’t possible or even helpful depending on if it will cause more harm than good. Let us remember that we are not doing ourselves or anyone else any favors by sitting around simmering in a sea of guilt. We start from where we are, today, trying to do better. Forgiving ourselves can be very difficult but it’s often crucial for our overall mental health. Emotional struggles will also at times put guilt on our minds that doesn’t need to be there, when we have truly not done anything wrong. This is important to be mindful of and to notice when these kind of thoughts or feelings pop up. With OCD and with life, we will never be completely “certain”. I know first hand how difficult this can be when we think we may have said something, “offensive”, or hurt someone’s feelings, etc. OCD can come up with an unlimited list of examples of how we have inflicted harm. When treating OCD, uncertainty is where we want to hang out. Life is uncertain and the irrational OCD bully asks for certainty. It’s best to continue to use our OCD tool box, ERP techniques, ACT techniques, etc, when the OCD or Certainty Police show up. Talking with a therapist can be helpful in these situations.

Let’s try to keep getting back up when life knocks us down, and it will. Whether it’s guilt, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, or physical pain. Let’s keep moving forward and do something constructive about these struggles. These things are gonna try to occupy us anyway, therefore we have many opportunities to continue to meet them head on. Just like “screwing up” or making mistakes, if we own it and do what we can to make the situation better, we then can have a smoother path so we can live our lives in spite of the struggles.

“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. – Rocky Balboa  

Jeremy Rudd