Why? Because fear, of some sort, quite possibly may be holding you back from your joy as well as your success, as well as your deepest and truest you. When we are afraid, we contract. We close off and become smaller even in tiny ways. When this happens, we are obviously not growing. When we grow there is an openness and a more. Fear does not allow openness or inner growth. Fear controls and contracts. It does not liberate and expand. What does liberate and expand? When there is an absence of fear what is there? We can’t realize what is there until we begin to root out and dissolve the fear in us. When we do that then we see what is there and it’s propelling and very powerful, and deep, but this doesn’t mean anything until we do it. What’s real is when we do it and begin rooting out and dissolving fear in ourselves because then something has actually happened. How do we do this? How do we root out and dissolve fear? This is where a little bit of work comes into play. This is the action step versus just reading about it and being interested.
The first (powerful) step is to be able to recognize when we are afraid and get to know this feeling in ourselves so we can recognize it and then do something with it. We can’t dissolve fear within us until we recognize it. I know what fear feels like in me. I used to not be able to recognize fear within me even though I was afraid at least 50% or more of the time of something or another. How can that be? How could I be so afraid so often and not recognize it as fear in me? It’s called being cut off from my feelings and if I did feel afraid, I never thought of it as fear. I may have never thought of it as fear but it sure as hell was. Not only did I not know it was fear (mainly because I wouldn’t be honest with myself) but I tried to get the hell away from whatever that was as quickly as possible. Therein was the lost opportunity to connect deeply and profoundly. Choice did not exist. Choice did not exist because I hightailed out of there when that whatever thing (feeling) showed up in me. When you rush to flee are you choosing? You are not choosing. You are panicking. It makes sense that you would panic because it does not feel natural to sit with fear. The message fear naturally delivers is get out of there! Or it delivers the message “Fight”. If we flee or fight, we don’t get to know the fear or how it affects us inside. It’s very hard to just allow fear and follow how it affects us inside. Just try and you will see. So, how do you do it. The first step is to desire to. If you don’t desire it, you won’t really try and then it won’t happen. Okay, so you desire it because you want something different for your life and you’re willing to try this to see if something different can come about for you. You want this because you are willing to accept that perhaps rooting out and dissolving fear inside you may bring peace, fulfillment, happiness, and even success, and maybe even more. You don’t know if it is true or not, but you will never know until you give it a shot and try and see. Okay, so the first step in allowing fear in us and then following how it affects us inside is to decide that you want to be able to do that. The next step is to start experimenting. It’s just like when you try something new. You just start trying, just like riding a bike or anything. When we experiment, it may feel clumsy and unsuccessful and awkward. That is how you start. You start by jumping in and trying and experimenting. So, don’t try to do it perfectly or right. So, the way to recognize fear in you is to start being aware of how you feel. Ask yourself, how do I feel right now? Then just kind of feel that feeling or sort of intentionally let it be there. When you get in the habit of that in general then it makes doing it with the fear feeling a little more doable. When you ask and then allow it more so and let it kind of take you and keep breathing and trust and hang in there with it then you’re starting to do it. The fear feeling will try to make you feel like this is wrong to just let this be here and to move closer to it. Just allow that feeling and move into it as well. What happens is not your responsibility when you allow the feeling and move closer to it with your being. You may feel like you have to be in control of what is going to happen next and that you have to have the answer out of this. Practice not falling for that. Practice letting whatever thought and whatever feeling is there at that instant to just be there if it wants to. Let it do what it wants. If it wants to hang around then let it and move closer with curiosity. If it wants to leave, then allow that as well. This is not up to us what we feel or think next. Our job is to be with what is when it is and keep breathing and keep practicing in allowing it to be there and maybe moving closer to it, having a curiosity about it. Ask yourself what this is as if you have never felt it before and keep feeling it as much as you can for as long as it is around. We always want to be in control including being in control of what we feel next or getting out of what we are presently feeling if it scares us. Practice resisting the impulse to get out of the feeling that scares you. Practice allowing it and looking at it and breathing and allowing and feeling it more. Feel it. Feel it. Feel it. Sit up straight and look at it and feel it more intentionally while never losing your seat no matter how scary, sad, bad, or hopeless. That’s the work. The work is practice more than anything. Keep coming back. Discover your core by allowing all of your feeling. Whatever is there let it be there. Feelings and thoughts come and go and are not up to us. It is up to us to allow them to be there if they want to be. It is up to us what we do, not what we randomly think or feel at any time. Be responsible allowing and be responsible choosing our actions not necessarily based on our thoughts or feelings. Choose to do things in your life that are based on what is important to you in the big scheme of life not based on what you are feeling or thinking in a given instant. Remember not to fight what you feel but practice allowing it and kind of being curious about it like it is a separate entity and as if this is this first time you ever felt this. Ask, what is this, and then allow, follow, and watch. There is no you changing it.
I use to think that my thinking was the way to resolve an issue that bothered me until it no longer did. It was a realization for me to learn that thinking is not the end all to getting rid of unwanted thoughts, sensations, or emotions. Some unpleasant thoughts, sensations, and emotions were spontaneous in that they just showed up randomly. Others were a result of my own anxious thinking. I thought for sure that the ones that came from my thinking could be resolved by my thinking. Not the case. Thinking is only 1 tool we have. Thinking is only good for certain things such as practical matters and choices, etc. It is not to be used to undue intrusive thoughts or worries. If I can’t think my way out of it then I’m screwed, right? I certainly believed that for the longest time and so I persisted for decades to undo unwanted, intrusive thoughts. All it got me was exhausted and precious time wasted that could have been spent living my life. If not thinking, then what? I learned through experience that action and commitment to what is important to me, if this troubling matter wasn’t present in my life, was and is the answer. Now that’s powerful. Wow. Can I do that? It takes work but I learned yes I sure can. So when an intrusive thought, worry, sensation, or emotion comes to me what do I do? The 1st step is not to think on it. Rather, I know ahead of time what kind of life I want to live based on what is important to me and what I want to be remembered for when I am no longer here and then I DO something that has to do with that. That’s it. The problem, you might say, is that you feel bad still while doing that thing that you value or that matters to you personally. That is true. That does happen. When an unpleasant or intrusive thought or sensation comes to me and I don’t try to think or reason it away then it feels uncomfortable to me and I do feel distressed. This is the price for freedom. I and we have to be willing to feel uncomfortable temporarily as a result of not getting in the mind trap but rather getting in action, regardless of how we feel, doing something that is consistent with what we deeply value in life. There it is. That’s the path to freedom I found. Try it for 2 days and you won’t be disappointed with the results and don’t keep track if you are feeling good or not. Just do it for 2 days! Fight through the discomfort and do it. Persist. You will see. Let’s do our work on the path to freedom!
Many times when we think of someone who has OCD, we think of an adult or even a young teen, but rarely a child; however, one in 200 children suffers from OCD. Keep in mind that all children have fears, worries, or negative thoughts at times. If your child continues to have these negative thoughts, which lead to compulsive behavior, they could be showing signs of OCD.
Some obsessive thoughts that happen with children suffering from OCD include:
- Excessive preoccupation of germs, dirt, or illness
- Repeatedly expressing their fears and doubts (i.e. if the stove is turned off)
- Intrusive thoughts about a parent getting hurt
- Unreasonable attention to detail
- Excessive worrying about something bad happening such as a car accident or home intruder
Some examples of compulsive behaviors in children can be:
- Excessive hand washing
- Checking to make sure items are turned off or doors are locked
- Excessive counting and recounting
- Rigidly following rules set by themselves such as arranging items or toys in a particular way and getting upset when that alignment or arrangement is disturbed
- Repeating words, numbers, or sounds to him or herself
Treatment for children with OCD can be accomplished in many ways. I have suffered from OCD for 33 years and have learned to overcome the obstacles and fears that OCD has added to my life. I have not only helped numerous children with their symptoms but also the parents of these children. It’s important to know as a parent of a child with OCD that we empower them to overcome their symptoms and not enable them to succumb to their fears and anxiety brought on by OCD.
If your child is showing signs of OCD or has been diagnosed with OCD, contact me today at (636) 236-2267. Together we can conquer this debilitating disorder and restore your child’s confidence by helping break the cycle of OCD!
A goal is a dream with a deadline. Figure out what your dream is…….this is the only life you have to live so what the hell. Don’t think small or cut yourself short like we always tend to do. Link up inside yourself with what is important to YOU and only you. This is 100% your life. You have the right. That’s not selfish. It is self growth. Doesn’t it make sense to take your life and try to make it the very best, productive , fulfilled, and powerful you possibly can? So figure out your ultimate dream, not whether you think you can attain it or not. Just have some guts, figure it out, and write it down. Doing just that is very hard to do……really hard. I haven’t done it yet. I always keep putting it off but I will do it today. After you write it down, attach a deadline to it. I know this may feel fake and like make-believe but just try it anyway. We don’t know everything we think we do. Then work backwards. If your deadline is 3 years to attain it then write down where you would expect to be in 2.5 years in your dream becoming real. Then do the same thing with 2 years, 1.5, 1, 6 months, 3 months, 2, and 1 for example. Then you know where to start and what to do if you want to reach that 1 month deadline and so forth. Go for it. Try it. There’s nothing to lose only a great life by not doing it. If a bunch of questions come up about how and reasons why it won’t work, then know that that is your friend who follows you around all the time……fear. Analyzing why this won’t work or improve your life is just that. We have no idea unless we try, no matter what our thoughts tell us ahead of time. Don’t kid yourself, its fear. I know this to be the case with myself. Action trumps fear and thinking, but it does require movement as opposed to comfortable, relaxed, safe, cynical analysis. That whole “play it safe easy way route” will continue to give us the mediocre, unfulfilled life it always gives. If you aren’t up for doing it, at least don’t give those who are a hard time about it. If you are up for doing it, nice job and let’s go. Everything we want is always on the other side of fear. Action gets us there.
It can be tough to watch someone you care about suffer from depression. You will probably struggle with helplessness and frustration as you search for ways to help your loved one in any way you can. Many times, too, a person who has depression is looking for help of some sort but isn’t sure where or how to start.
Here are 6 ways you can give even just a little bit of help to that person in your life.
*Be a good listener. If your loved one wants to talk about what’s bothering them, be attentive and caring. Remember that he or she might not be speaking well right now and might even speak more slowly and less clearly. Just do what you can to be patient and don’t interrupt.
*Take care of the pesky little tasks that need to be done around the home. Do the laundry, wash the dishes, keep things tidy, and make sure that the dog or cat is fed as well. Most importantly, do these things with love – never complain in front of the depressed person. It will only make him or her feel worse.
*Always keep in mind that the depressed person is not being lazy. Remember a time when you felt so sick that you could barely get yourself to get up to go to the bathroom. That’s what depression feels like, and it’s constant. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to help that person in your life.
*Depression is a hard, sometimes impossible battle to fight alone. Encourage this person to receive professional help for their depression if he or she hasn’t received any yet. If treatment has already begun, do what you can to ensure that he or she is keeping doctor appointments and doing whatever the doctor says.
*If the depressed person begins to talk about self-harm, take it seriously. Call the doctor for advice on what to do.
*Finally, remember to take care of yourself in the process. Helping someone deal with depression can be taxing. Remember that your feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness are valid. Talk to someone about it, and make sure that you do things that make you happy as well.
Like I said before, depression can be an incredibly difficult battle, especially if you attempt to go it alone. The great thing is that you don’t have to! Join us for one or both of our two support groups in St. Louis. Contact me at (636) 236-2267 for more information!
All children have different fears, worries, and doubts, but children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are unable to stop these thoughts or worries. This then compels them to carry out certain behaviors over and over again. For children with OCD, it may be more difficult for them to explain why they feel worry or doubt and why they carry out ritualistic behaviors.
It is important to know and always keep in mind that OCD is never a child’s fault. One way to help the child is to make sure that they receive treatment. Treatment is not only important for the child suffering from OCD but also for the parents to understand how they need to interact with their child to help and empower their child and not enable his or her behaviors.
Each child is different and will improve at different rates, so please don’t compare your child’s progress with another’s child or even to how your child was doing the day before. There will always be days that seem better or worse than others. Just stay positive and recognize any improvement that they display with praise and positive reinforcement.
It is also important to help keep routines for your child and also for your family. Inform other family members and people close to the child so they can be aware of routines and different strategies or techniques that should be used to help your child progress with his or her treatment. Don’t let OCD control the family or household! Giving in to OCD worries or rituals will not help them go away; in fact, in most cases, it only makes the OCD worse.
Having a child who is suffering from OCD is never easy, but you CAN help your child recover! Stay strong and never give up!
Take a moment to think about all of the good things in your life – your friends, your family, your favorite foods, drinks, and activities. Does thinking about these things fill you up with joy? Of course! You’re probably even thinking of calling up your friends to see if they want to do some of your favorite activities or if they want to go eat at your favorite restaurant together.
Now think about some of the things that scare you, some of your greatest fears. How do you feel thinking about these things? Anxious, right? It’s natural to feel fear when it comes to the things that scare us the most, whether it’s heights, snakes, public speaking, or any other thing under the sun. It’s also natural to want to stop thinking about these things as well, to retreat and seek shelter.
Oddly enough, however, when it comes to overcoming your fears, the safest place for you to be is closest to the things that scare you!
Equate facing your fear with paddling out to the middle of one of the Great Lakes or an ocean. When you start at the shoreline, the waves undulate and do their best to force you back. It takes quite a bit of force, patience, determination, and courage to keep pushing past the waves and currents and out to open water. Once you get there, though, you’ll find that the deep waters are calm.
Getting over our fears is very similar to the scenario above. It’s very hard work, and the waves (your fears) will work to push you back into submissiveness. Of course, you can let them, but it will only cause your victory over your fears to be delayed and harder to obtain each time you let the fear win. Moving toward the roar (your fear) won’t come naturally – after all, you’re essentially retraining the fight or flight response within yourself. Trust me when I say that it is absolutely worth the battle!
Look your fear directly in the eye and don’t back down, no matter what. No matter how afraid or tired you feel, choose to go forward and face it. I promise, your fears will shrink if you race toward them. Sure, the task of provoking your symptoms requires courage, but you’re much stronger than you think. Even if you’re afraid, it’s okay – be afraid and keep running toward your fear anyway. Choose to do the work now and the benefits of freedom are soon to follow.
Remember, the deepest part of the waters – the closest you are to your fears – is the scariest place, but it really is the calmest. Be brave and move into the deep waters. See what happens. You won’t be disappointed.
Hi everyone. I did a radio show this morning on 1380 am on OCD. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to reach out to fellow sufferrers who are living in silence and shame with their secret.
The message I want to send out to you is that I have been where you are with no help or relief in site. The reality is that you are not alone, you are not crazy, your secret thoughts and things you do to feel safe that you are ashamed of are so remarkably common. I also want to tell you that what you are struggling with is not you. It is your OCD and there is a big difference between the two. You can definitely get better and have a happy life. The first step for you could be to go to our support group. You don’t have to say a word if you don’t want to. Just observe and listen. You will be amazed at how common your “higly unusual” thoughts and rituals are. Come to group. It very well may change your life. I think it will. It did mine.
The group is called ShowMeOCD. I started this 3 years ago and CenterPointe Hospital sponsors it along with more on the way. Stay tuned. We meet every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 pm at the CenterPointe building located at 763 South New Ballas road in creve coeur, suite 130. There is no charge and the only requirement to attending is that you are struggling with OCD and/or Anxiety.
Would love to hear from you. I have been through the mill with this condition and I have come through it. I have come to believe that it is my calling to share my story and what I have learned that gave me back my life of happiness, to those of you who are sufferring, confused, anxious, feel alone and isolated and don’t know what to do. Reach out if you would like and I will be glad to share everything I learned in successfully overcoming OCD and Anxiety. Your life can be great. It is far from hopeless. I have been there.
Thanks and talk soon,