It’s a good day to Embrace

 

Sometimes letting go of the struggle can be a very therapeutic tool. There is an old saying about “hitting rock bottom once we stop digging.” There is a lot of truth in this. If we Embrace the negativity instead of trying to avoid it, it can be a form of acceptance and can be very helpful for our emotional health. We want to keep moving forward, one hour at a time. Moving forward doesn’t have to mean fighting against or trying to stop or hide from irrational thoughts.  With OCD we see that we “fight” the demon or irrational thoughts by not responding. We can let the villains come along for the road trip, but we will not be sharing our trail mix and beef jerky along the way. Let’s Embrace the villains and realize that they will continue to starve off the less we feed them our time and energy.

“I have been guilty of kicking myself in the teeth.” -Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains

Brother For Life

Today is the one year anniversary of the last time I got to hang out with my Brother in law, Tyler. Tyler, myself, my nephew Jack, and my hero, Heather, went to eat at Razzoo’s then went to see Star Wars. This is a memory that I will forever cherish. I was at his side 3 weeks later when he passed however he was unable to communicate. I bought a candle today and came home and lit it for Tyler.

I wanted to give a shout out to Tyler McGuire for being the strongest person I have ever known. We miss you so damn much, brother. Your spirit will always be with us and we talk about you all the time. We will see you again. Love u, bil. Veritas.

Jeremy

“That’s a difficult situation, I try to think about it.”

When reading the title of this post it appears that I might have left the word “NOT” out of the sentence. That was on purpose. We all have situations or struggles that cause us distress and so we might try to “not think about it.” We know that trying not to think about a green bear will only lead to more green bears dancing around in our brain. We obviously don’t want to seek out misery just for the sake of making ourselves miserable. If we struggle with OCD or other emotional difficulties, we do want to lean into what’s bothering us so we can start to make changes that can lead to a more enjoyable existence. We want to start responding differently. If its OCD, we want to get away from the compulsions and rituals. If it’s a grief situation, again, we want to lean into it and try to respond differently if we are completely avoiding it or making it worse for ourselves. Grief doesn’t have to be this constant kick to the chest. We know that it can often feel this way but there is hope.  It can be extremely difficult to seek this stuff out on purpose, however embracing this sadness or struggle can free us from some of this emotional hell that we may experience. Let’s lean into the darkness so that we can have a chance to see more light. Lets also lean into each other for support. Keep pushing forward, one moment at a time.

Jeremy Rudd

“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

Miyagi

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

#OCD AWARENESS WEEK 2017, YOUTUBE CHALLENGE

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