Surrender to start again

Letting go of something is often not easy. Whether that is a relationship or a sentimental physical object. These people and things are intertwined in our lives. They can bring pleasure, pain, and tons of other emotions in between. With OCD treatment, we step out into the unknown, on purpose, in order to challenge the OCD. If we do not let go, or “surrender”, at some level, without the compulsions, the OCD symptoms usually stay the same or can get even worse. OCD is torment. Feeding it keeps up the miserable cycle. However this monster is our familiar, yet painful, friend that sits on our shoulder. We don’t have to engage with it, or try to “fix” what is bothering us. We get used to it at some level. Let’s remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. It can sit on our shoulder, as we leave it alone, and we can still live our life and spend time in areas that we value.

Things left undone, or unsaid, we often feel they will bother us forever. It’s uncertain if this feeling will go away on its own without the next compulsion. How long are we willing to “surrender” to see if that gut wrenching feeling will go away on its own? Or maybe we are so sure that “something bad will happen” if we go without completing the next compulsion. How do we actually measure if “something bad will happen”? We could try and analyze this for years and never have the answer. Let’s also be mindful of how OCD isn’t keeping us safe, it just feels that way. We have a life to live and OCD is the flaming roadblock that gets in the way.

We can know this logically, that OCD is full on nonsensical worries, but again we know this often is not enough for OCD. If we could simply “surrender”, or let go, we probably would have done that a long time ago. These suggestions can be comments that we have been told or read a thousand times over the years. Way easier said than done, obviously. OCD is a different animal. Surrending to the fact that we deal with uncertainty in countless areas of our daily life, that our OCD doesn’t care about, this can be therapeutic. Again we can know this logically, however our OCD gets locked into selected areas and these become the most important thing in our life. These OCD “themes” start to rule our existence. This current OCD situation may last 20 seconds or 20 hours. We know the all too familiar hell of these situations.

We know that part of our management of OCD involves surrender at some level. Whether that is admitting we need some help, showing up to an appt, not going back and closing that door just right, etc. If we can start with surrending to the fact that this stuff makes our life exhausting and miserable, this is something, it’s at least a place to start. We try to get better, accepting that it may never feel just right or “cured”. Today is our life. The next ten minutes is our life. Whether we are anxious or not, we have this time, in this moment, in this day. Let us push ahead and be mindful of the “letting go” that can help us manage OCD and related symptoms.

“And sweet surrender, is all that I have to give.” Sweet Surrender – Sarah Mclachlan

Father. Time.

Today is the 2 year anniversary of my father’s death. It’s difficult to articulate the range of emotions that go along with this grief, as many of you know. We only have so much time on this planet. If we can lean into spending our time in areas we care about, we tend to spend less regrettable time.

I wish I had more time with my Dad, this is a huge understatement. We know these familiar experiences of grief. We often would do anything for one more conversation, hug, laugh, etc. We hear the often repeated reminder of us telling our loved ones that we love and appreciate them because we never know how much time we have left. There is a lot of truth in cliches. We can often help ourselves manage these emotional demons by keeping things “simple”, and reminding ourselves of what we truly value.

We all have something to offer. Among many things, my dad offered kindness to strangers and a sense of humor. When I am in a dark spot, I miss being able to laugh with my dad.


We all miss you. I will continue to think of your genuine spirit as I lean into helping others and trying to do the best I can with what I have. You and I were a pretty good team. We helped each other battle difficulties in life. Thank you for helping me battle the darkness of depression and OCD in your own way. For this I am forever grateful. I hope to see you again.


Good Night

It is common for anxiety and emotional struggles to increase at night. There can be many factors associated with this. It’s human nature to seek distraction if our brain is causing us torment. If we spend most of our waking ours during the day, the days are naturally filled with more activity. We know that distraction could be a helpful tool at times, however we know that if this is our only answer for battling the emotional pain, it will still keep us unprepared. All alone with our thoughts at some point of the day, usually at night when we are trying to sleep. I personally know the feeling of skin crawling, with the feeling of the needles digging in, from the inside out. Like being in a locked, dark room, with no help on the way.

My heart breaks for others that know this same experience. We can see that it takes more than “positive thinking” to shift this into a experience that we don’t have to dread. We can have a different relationship with the night. Of course not everyone has the same experience with the night time, however it’s common for anxiety to rear it’s ugly head in the dark. Whatever works for you, your schedule, some may be working nights, etc. No matter our “schedule”, we know that no amount of binge watching, scrolling, video games, or alcohol, will ever be enough to “fix” the emotional pain. These struggles often have become the monster in our head that we know all too well. Even though this experience may have caused us immeasurable pain, it’s the monster we are familiar with. Attempting to let it go, dropping the struggle, this can seem impossible. There can be a cruel, false “safety”, to the way it feels. It can feel that if we let go through practicing acceptance of the moment, or exposure treatment, that somehow this could just make us feel worse.

Let us show ourselves some kindness on how difficult this can be to manage, truly. This is often another indescribable layer to OCD and anxiety. The good news is, our goal is the same regardless of what the monster is trying to pull us into. We often try to “fix” things that are tormenting our brain and insides; with compulsions, avoidance, etc. We know these experiences are often “fixed” by not fixing it. Letting it unfold the way it is actually happening, even though it can be dark, unfair, and feels insurmountable. We know if we can choose to face it on purpose, it can leave sooner. We can embrace that it is there, then shift to into something that will be more productive; our values, goals, or a more pleasant topic in the here and now. Even if it is only 10 seconds a time. It’s still progress. Hang in there.

Jeremy Rudd

Where do I go when the land touches sea? There is my trust in what I believe. REM– Leave

YouToo can let it be there

Over the last several years, for those that have some form of internet access, YouTube has become a huge part of our lives. We are familiar with the ads that pop up before some videos. In order for us to get to the video we are waiting for, we often have to let the ads run for a matter of seconds before we hit the Skip Ads icon to move on to the video. This is of course assuming we may not have any interest in the product being advertised on the ad, maybe we will be interested, we don’t know for sure. This can also happen in the “middle” of a video that we are already watching. This often reminds me of an intrusive thought, image or urge that comes along with our OCD. I continue to show my brain that it is possible to let it be there, and then move ahead to the content I am wanting to watch, listen to, or actually think about. We are not choosing our thoughts, but we do have control of where we go next. It’s not always easy, but it is doable.

When the ocd symptom has popped up, we are often led to believe that by reacting to it, that this will decrease the anxiety or discomfort and make us feel better. We know this is only temporary and that this just feeds the monster. If the video I am wanting to play is worth waiting for, then my goal is to let the ads run then skip ahead. My life is worth waiting for, except I am not waiting for it. We can embrace this stuff as we push ahead. By not reacting, we can try to enjoy those moments whether the thoughts are there or not. Our life doesn’t stop if we have intrusive thoughts, let’s embrace this and move ahead in a direction we care about. If I decide to completely avoid the ads, and therefore click out of the video, then I may be letting the annoyance of accepting what is get in the way of my goal. If I try to avoid the fact that I have an intrusive thought pop up, by avoiding or fighting it, we know just this makes it that much stronger.

We know that we fight ocd by not fighting it. If I want to get past the ads, and to the video, I can’t force the ads away by wishing for it or getting upset about it. If I embrace it, it will pass. If we don’t embrace it, it still passes, but we are letting these things that are out of control continue to cause us more discomfort. We may end up getting lost in an ad that we want to watch or listen to. Uncertainty means that we can also “go down a rabbit hole ” in areas that we enjoy thinking about. Fun stuff, laughter, thinking about our partner or the person we are dating, things we are looking forward to, etc. These are some examples of paying attention to thoughts that we want to spend time with, not just feeding the ocd with more rituals or rumination.

Choosing to play a video is intentional. Even if ocd has latched onto this, and watching another video is just another ritual. Yes it’s unfortunate, as ocd has many layers of cruelty, but it is still intentional. Leaning into what we value is intentional, it’s a choice, even if we can only do this in a very small way. So I am choosing to play the video, and also choosing to live my life, knowing that OCD can still pop up. Similar to active exposures, I am moving into a direction that I value. I value looking the beast in the eyes, because this is our path to more peace. If I want to watch that next video, regardless of the reason, I am willing to embrace the ads. We know OCD is often torment, but the truth is the next moments are unknown as well; bad, good, or somewhere in between. It’s just more uncertainty. Couldn’t that uncertain future be something different than what our fears tell us? Most of us know what that different feels like, we may have a time in our life where things were less tormenting. Can we use this as a time to remember for ongoing motivation to lean into our goals and treatment? Being mindful of a time when the mental pain was less, and trying to look forward to that future of uncertainty that could be filled with positive possibilities.

Jeremy Rudd

Better, not cured.

Our lives will never be perfect. We know that overall health is not just physical but emotional as well. We will never get it “just right”, or perfect, not in this lifetime. We can still strive for better moments and better days. No matter what we get done, there are times we feel there will always more to do, more to “fix, or more to say. We have our mental health to try and manage. We see more and more people talking about mental health in our society. As a therapist who treats OCD in the field of mental health, I have also embraced my own emotional demons. The increased talk of our mental health as a society, I feel that this is more positive than I have the words for. It’s been a long time coming. We will always have more to learn about our mental health, about ourselves, as well as supporting others. Trying to go in the direction of better, not expecting perfection.

All or nothing thinking seems to be an area that we can all struggle with at times. It can be seen as good or bad, clean or dirty, either way, it’s still all or nothing. We know with OCD struggles, this type of thinking often keeps us stuck. We know the freedom often lies in the areas of gray. Managing our mental health not only helps us seize our moments, but it can also can make our ongoing path more clear as we move ahead and enjoy our lives the best we can. We know the more our brain experiences something, the more that it expects that same something. It can be helpful to accept our situation, embrace the uncertainty, and move forward even though we don’t have everything “fixed” or figured out. Our present situation with this Covid virus is a good example. The uncertainty that continues to surround us all, this is talked about more and more. Regardless of where we spend the time in our day, we still have a life to live. Our life goes on, no matter how scary or uncertain it is. We often tend to feel better emotionally, if we can spend this time in areas we care about. No matter if that is only 5 seconds or 5 hours, it can be another amount of time that we felt like we are doing something we care about. Improved, more productive, better, but not perfectly finished.

I don’t have some kind of cute or catchy “social” media meme to add here. Just a reminder that hatred and a lack of compassion tends to add more unhelpful decay to the situation. This goes for how we treat ourselves as well as how we treat others. Keep going.

Jeremy Rudd

“If who I am today, is a sign of where i’m going, i’m ready to Embrace.” –

Up and Down and Back Again, Powderfinger

Rest Easy, Dad

My dad passed away recently. As we know, grief can feel like a sledgehammer to the chest. We know that none of us are getting out of here alive, however this is something that can still feel like a complete shock to our system when we lose someone close to us.

Below are some of the words that I shared at my dads funeral.

This is Jeremy, John’s youngest child.  Dad had so many interesting and funny aspects of his life and i want to share a few that come to mind.

I have an older brother and sister. Jody and Heather, for those of y’all that know them, we know they are 2 of the coolest, kindest, most genuine and down to earth people that you could ever know. My dad shared these same qualities and I am blessed to be a part of the same bloodline. 

 Heather, Jody and I could have brought up to my dad that we wanted to build an 8 person go cart out of junk and drive it to the middle of the desert and then have a waterballon fight and then follow that up with some s’mores and bottle rockets. “Ok, that sounds like a blast, What do you say we start bright and early Saturday morning?” Dad was down for helping his friends and family, and often strangers,  and was always down for a good time.Jody, Heather, and I always joke about how dad would ask us to “play a little game”, this often meant chore time but he would put a positive spin on it. “Hey guys, let’s see who can pick the most weeds out of the the front yard in the next 10 minutes, it’ll be fun”.  “lets play a little game” has always been a joke in my family.

We all know that big John kept Diet Coke and peanut butter companies in business. I would give anything right now to hear my brother in law, Tyler, god rest his soul, and dad debate about diet sodas and how it would be a healthier choice if he drank more water. “Tyler, diet drinks are 75% water.” The look on Tyler’s face was priceless when dad would say that. Not that drinking more water wasn’t an important topic, but to hear them debate over this was classic, and we all know big John was going to do what he wanted at the end of the day. 

For decades, big john was a true outdoorsman. Dad and I took a trip to Alaska in 2007 with and my brother in law Tyler and his best friend John Goolsby. We camped out in the middle of nowhere, 600 miles from Anchorage, for several days. One day, the river was really rising and moving rather quickly, we had to cross it to get away from camp to go on our daily journey. One day we get to the edge of the water and dad said: “Jeremy, you and I don’t have any business crossing this river” he and I both knew damn well we weren’t gonna not give it our best shot. Even if that ended up being our last mistake on the planet, we were going to attempt it. I gently disagreed with him as we showed ourselves that we were more than capable and crossed the river, it was a challenge, but we leaned on each other and made it through. Dad was a good wingman a lot of the times and I hope he felt the same way about me. I feel that dad and I leaned on each other a lot in some tough times and I will try to keep his spirit with me always as I move forward. My Ocd journey has been difficult to say the least, and some of my dad’s characteristics have helped me push through to meet another day. He helped me embrace uncertainty in his own way.

Dad and I went to the car auction on occasion. One time we ended up getting a car. At the auction, you could start the car but you couldn’t test drive it. It was always an adventure filled with uncertainty with Big John, especially  the drive home if he ended up buying something. I followed him home that day and he drove the car we had just purchased.  Every few minutes, and at every stop light on the way home, he would give me the thumbs up to let me know we were good to go. The thumbs up meant to Keep going. There were other times when he would tow me home from somewhere. I would be in one of our broke down cars steering ,and he would be in the other car towing. The kind and gentle thumbs up weren’t really happening often in these kind of trips. There were countless times when he would tow me home and we would use something that we had no business using as a tow rope, it often broke. Maybe he hit the gas, and maybe I hit the brake at the wrong time, and our tow rope would snap like a twig.   He would often say something like “Jeremy, why don’t you call a buddy and ask them to help us get this thing home, then we can all go get something to eat, we’ll go wherever y’all want to.” There was always some kind of positive spin on it and dad usually showed appreciation for the help. When he said thank you, or I love you, he truly meant it. 

One time we were up late working under a car in the driveway. He had asked me to jack up the car so we could get underneath it. I start woking the jack and a few second laters you can hear liquid falling on the driveway and this curious smell of radiator fluid. I had jacked up the car on the radiator. We didn’t have the best of light out there, but it was still a huge mistake on my part. “Oh Jeremy, tell me you didn’t. Tell me you didn’t” We spent the next 3 hours doing everything we could to bend and patch that radiator so I could drive the car to school the next day. At one point in the long night, he screams a cuss word at the top of this lungs from underneath the car. He quickly explained that he wasn’t mad at me but he was just frustrated because his arms were tired. He and I both finished up the night with a great triceps workout . So, of course, the phrase ”oh Jeremy, tell me you didn’t”, this became a punch line between our family members. I was able to drive the car to school for two days before the radiator completely busted.  

He would often send me inside to ask the questions when we were going to pick something up, propane, a car part, etc. “Jeremy, tell them that John Rudd called yesterday and that I talked to a nice lady and she said that this wouldn’t be a problem at all.” The employee that I was dealing with often looked at me with a blank stare not knowing what the hell I was talking about when I would say this.  I was more than willing to help him with whatever I could. I am nowhere near as handy as Jody and dad. I always felt that those two could literally do anything they wanted in this area. Dad was great at making a way when it came to building or fixing stuff before his health started to turn. It often had a touch of Sid Rudd, his father, maybe some Jb weld, duct tape , maybe hope and a prayer,  these were often the things that held the situation together. Later on in life, it was often: “Jeremy, call Jody and ask him to slip some pants on and come over and help us. Jeremy this project could take you and I all weekend. Jody will come over and have it done in 15 minutes…. in the dark”,  or “Jeremy, call Heather, and ask her if she would be willing to help us with something for just a few minutes.” Dad’s face would often light up when he talked about Heather.  

About 35 years ago, I was just making small talk with dad about how cool it would be to have a halfpipe ramp to skate on.  A few weeks later, he and I took a trip to Bachman lake in  Dallas where they had a killer state park. We hung out for a bit and got some 2 dollar pamphlet on skateboard ramps.  So he and Jody just flat out built one a few months later. It was a work of art. Me and some other 9 year old friends carried stuff and may have driven a few nails, but the credit really goes to Jody and dad. Another example of dad spreading good vibes and wanting his child and other kids in the neighborhood to have some fun.

One night at home a few years ago, I was telling my wife and step children one of the many adventures that I had with big john. After they listened to my story that was probably filled with some laughter, a broken down car, and possibly Whataburger. My step son looked at me and said: “Jer, I like your stories.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. That meant more to me than I could ever explain.   I shared that with my dad when he was in the hospital a few months later.  He took the words right out of my mouth “Jeremy, that’s like something you would say to me.” He was exactly right. His stories and opinions and beliefs have filled my mind for the last 40 years. Dad was a member of toast masters and man could he speak and tell a story.  A lot of us have heard some of the same old stories over the years, but it’s amazing that he could tell one with the same interest and excitement like the situation had just happened the day before.

My dad often assumed the best about people. We have all heard him say”hey neighbor” to complete strangers. He went in with a positive direction, hoping that someone would respond with kindness and decency. I see this in myself daily and I will always be appreciative of this.  There is part of my brain that I call the “big John filter” ….me wondering about his opinion, or how he would handle a certain situation. “ Jeremy, I will tell you this, that is not how they would handle it at bell helicopter”.This is the name of the company where my dad worked for 40 years.   We all know what it’s like to be talking to our parents and we feel that they couldn’t be more incorrect about a particular situation. Even if I completely disagreed with him on something, I usually cared what he thought about it. He may have completely disagreed with me,  but he took the time to listen and usually gave a damn about what I was saying, even if he disagreed.  I often worried too much about particular situations and and he often wasn’t worried at all. We made a pretty good team by meeting in the middle. Whether that was checking our blood sugar or maybe adjusting our tone of voice just a little when we were dealing with complete strangers asking for help. I would often be overanalyzing a situation wondering how we were gonna get something done, or fixed. I would be running down there, and possibly overthinking our next move, where he would often casually walk down and get it figured out. 

One time my brother and I were helping him build something at his place in Glenrose, TX. Jody and I had an interesting conversation the day before about how old the earth might be. So that day, a few hours into our project, I decided to ask dad what he thought as far as how old  the earth might be. He stopped hammering the nail, made eye contact with me for the first time that day and said: “ I don’t know, maybe a million years old. We’ll Jeremy, better yet, who gives a damn.” Jody and I laughed until our stomach hurt. That was dad’s way of telling me to not overanalyze stuff that I will never have an exact answer on. 

A friend and I tried to drive dad’s 69 Oldsmobile convertible to our high school graduation. My friend knows his cars and he noticed the car was getting hot so we did a u turn and went back home to get a more dependable car. Several years later, my buddy brought this up and bragged on big John explaining that he was always wanting us guys to “make memories.” My friend was right on. From my earliest memories, Big John was trying to have a good time and he often wanted his family and friends to be a part of this. 

Dad and I have had countless great conversations over the years, some in the middle of the woods and some while he was in the hospital. A little over a year ago, he was in the hospital and we were talking about movies. We started talking about Tom Hanks. He and I, just like a ton of other people, are big fans of Tom Hanks. Tom is a fellow diabetic and he and I have the same birthday. Dad’s voice started to crack and he got tears in his eyes and said: “Jeremy, how could one man be so good at his craft? Tom hanks didn’t make a bad movie” When dad was talking about Hanks, It would immediately turn into a Kleenex commercial. Especially when he would talk about Tom hanks jumping on that huge floor piano in the movie “Big.” He looked at me like we are having the most important conversation in the world. And maybe for that moment, we were.  

One night my dad and I were riding together in an old sports car. It was quite the sight with us two in that tiny car. We could have started a fire because we were shoulder to shoulder for miles. Later that night we had pulled over for gas. He was in a great mood. We were talking about life and whatever at the gas pump and he says” Jeremy, when I die, you tell everyone that your Dad had a good time.” That was the understatement of the decade. Big John had a good time, that’s for sure.

My dad had 3 rules- nobody gets hurt, don’t tear anything up, and to have fun. I think all of us here have witnessed different aspects of this in big John. It may not have always been obvious from the outside looking in, but this was a real creed that he lived by.  I can see that in myself when I am trying to be a quality step dad. Seeing Broken glass on the street or the beach, this really got his blood boiling. “Jeremy, now what if some kid is walking barefoot and cuts their foot.” I couldn’t agree more and have said the same thing countless times. My dad often assumed the best about people. We have all heard him say”hey neighbor” to complete strangers. He believed in the golden rule.

I have spent a lot of time off Elliot Reeder road in Fort Worth. As many of you know, there is a row of junk yards there. I used to go there with him or a friend, and often alone, often looking for a used car part to keep a car running. One time a friend and I went through half a junkyard looking for a brake part. I also can remember being on top of a mountain of used tires in the rain that was at least 20 foot tall trying to find that used tire size for a trailer we had.  It looked like some kind of  cross fit exercise before cross fit was a popular term, it was an absolute disaster.  This was also before cell phones. So I would have to borrow the junkyard phone or go to a pay phone to call him at work to check in about the possible lack of progress I was making at the junkyard.  At Bell Helicopter, he would always answer “inventory management, this is John Rudd”. I would give him a summary of what was going on.  He would often encourage me to not give up, “Jeremy, go back out there and look around, I know they have a brake caliper for our Volkswagen. It’s out there somewhere Jeremy, just keep looking, this is a fairly common car, and I just can’t believe they don’t have one.” My angel of a mom often was the mediator and would attempt to make things better or maybe encourage dad to make a possibly more reasonable decision on our car repair goals.    

Dad would often lend a helping hand. He truly cared about helping others, especially if they were down on their luck. He influenced me in the area of not judging a book by it’s cover. We never completely know what someone is going through. As a counselor, I keep this in mind daily, regardless of what someone sounds like, what kind of car they drive , or where they live, we never really know what the complete picture is. I go in with unconditional positive regard and so did my Dad. Dad would give people the benefit of the doubt. He would go into situations with good intentions and fairness. Our chaotic world can seem so damn overwhelming at times, especially with this pandemic. I often think a situation could use a dose of big John. He would often help bring me back to the present and reiterate the basics, and try to keep it simple, which was often very helpful. “Jeremy, it really ain’t that big of a deal”, this was a common term that he would use to bring us back down to the reality of the situation. These conversations between he and I about coming back to the basics, they weren’t always filled with puppies and sunshine, but he often got his point across. 

For those of us that were lucky enough to see dad sing karaoke, wow that was really something. He would only sing one song, “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong. He wouldn’t get on the stage, he would just go lean against it like he owned the place. It didn’t sound as flawless as Amstrong’s version, but man he gave it his all. We see these cliche slogans or signs in our society that often contain a lot of wisdom. The one that says sing or dance like nobody is watching, That was big John, he sang the hell out of that song and did it like no one was watching, he was cool with it either way. 

John Delano Rudd, the eagle scout, the story teller.  Husband, brother, a son, a dad, an uncle, a grandfather, a true friend, you were one of a kind. Your stories and spirit will always be with us until we join you on the other side. Thanks for everything, Dad, truly. We hope to see you again. 


“And if you are offering me diamonds and rust, I’ve Already Paid.” Diamonds and Rust-Joan Baez, and covered by Judas Priest.

Not Forgotten

Today is the 4 year anniversary of my brother in law’s passing. Tyler was an incredible person and we were lucky to have him in our lives.

Brother, taking that next step or breath can feel next to impossible on some days. Some days I still have a hard time accepting that I can’t call you for some common sense and laughter. As I have said before, I try to be mindful of your spirit that is still present in our lives.

Seeing Jackson and Sydney smile is an awesome reminder of how much you mean to all of us. Watching Sydney on the soccer field is really something. Watching Jackson on a skateboard or bike is also very impressive. Their laughter and excitement will light up a room. We talk about you all the time.

We wish you were here, man. Thanks for everything that you were and still are. We look forward to seeing you again.

Self and others

Shout out to the ones that are in the struggle. Shout out to the ones who attempt to understand and help others along the way.

Let us try to make the best of the time we have. Even in the darkness of emotional and physical storms, we can still try to take it one breath at a time, and attempt to move into what we are about, what we want to spend our time doing. See the bravery inside yourself and please keep going.

Jeremy Rudd

So much hate, Since you cut me down, So much waste. – +Live+, Photograph

Discomfort Can’t Hold Us Back

Pain is temporary, because our life on this planet is as well. We know we can’t avoid pain and difficulty. It’s right here in our face, whether we want to admit it or not. Avoidance or trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, this path can turn pain into suffering. We can choose to move through the pain and avoid some of the suffering by accepting what is. We want to embrace and enjoy what we can, 10 minutes at a time. We can still make positive changes in our life, or show others kindness, even though our hearts and brains may be full of hurt and confusion. We want to hold onto the hope that things can get better. The journey tends to be less chaotic if we are mindful of what we Can and Can’t control.

Let us remind ourselves and others that we are not in this battle alone.

Let us take care of ourselves, and lean on each other when possible. Even in a storm, our choices can lead to positive change. Keep moving forward.

Jeremy Rudd

“Oh the distance, it makes me uncomfortable
Guess it’s natural to feel this way
Oh, let’s hold out for something sweeter
Spread your wings and fly” +Live+, The Distance


We see the pain in our world. Treating others how we would want to be treated seems to go a long way.

We all have things that we are dealing with, some more than others. Then the Covid situation may have added countless layers to the anxiety and familiar rumbling in our minds. A lot of us have done enough thinking for 7 lifetimes. We seem to “waste” less time feeding the emotional demons if we continue to push ahead in areas we care about. Of course this is way easier said than done with our current situation. So much of these areas have gone digital. Faith, family, work, school, therapy, friends, etc. Our skin may crawl in social situations, and our skin can crawl at home. We know we take our brain with us, and the familiar pull in our brain doesn’t care what time of day it is or what environment we are in. We know the familiar patterns. I am grateful that even in times of darkness, I am still able to remind the people in my life that I care about them and that I care about how they are doing. The physical and emotional pain I feel can be hard to describe at times, however I can still try to give my wife a compliment. Something this “small” may not feel like an easy thing to do when times are tough, but it’s doable.

Grateful to be able to listen to music that has helped me through the darkest parts of this journey. Grateful for movies or laughter that I can revisit. Grateful for this phone/computer thing in my pocket. Eventhough I would like to throw it off a cliff some days, it helps me connect with people and areas that I care about. Always keeping in mind those that may not have these options. Food, water, shelter, doctor visits, clean clothes, technology, etc. Remembering that countless individuals in our world may not have friends, family, or a place to call their own. Trying to be mindful that we never truly know what someone is dealing with.

As a person with OCD, as well as a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment, I know that embracing uncertainty is my best chance of being able to enjoy this life. I learned a long time ago that assuming, and thinking I could be mind reader, it was a dead end road. I try to keep this in mind as I continue and try to help others in their journey.

Some of us have been on the trail of managing our emotional health for years. We know with OCD, the quicker we embrace the gray areas and refrain from the rituals, the better chance we have for more peace of mind. The OCD, depression, anxiety, impulses, these things may already be taking up our time. Our time is our life. We can be in a really difficult spot and still do something meaningful with our time. This could be for 5 seconds or 5 hours. It all counts. We know we aren’t going to “cure” our life, we just try to manage it. Eventhough the mental health monsters are throwing things our way, this is still a day of our life. Doing something is better than doing nothing, attempting to not get stuck just feeding the OCD. Is there something I can do to make my situation better? Is there something I can do to help others? Obviously this is another chance to be mindful of what we want to stand for in this life. Maybe we work from home, maybe we FaceTime with Grandpa on Wednesdays, maybe we “smile” at others through a mask. In my opinion, we don’t regret the extra kindness that we pass on to others and ourselves. We want to keep pushing forward. We want to remind the monster in our brain that we are in charge. We are the one driving the racecar that is our life. Thoughts, images, urges, cravings, these things exist, but so do we. How we respond matters. We Can make changes to continue to manage our life, no matter how small these changes seem. We have done it before, we can do it again. It may not always look the same, however our goal can be the same. To keep living our lives in a valued direction and reminding ourselves of the strength that we have. TRULY, think what you have done in life that took real strength and guts, maybe no one else even knows about it, that’s ok. But you know about it! Use this as motivation to keep moving forward. Let us push ahead and try to show ourselves and others kindness on this journey.

Jeremy Rudd