Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Being a human being is a real trip, isn’t it?

Where did the instruction manual go?

Obsessive~ Compulsive ~ who, me?

If we ever find  we have recurrent obsessions, like persistant ideas, thoughts, or impluses which are intrusive to our life and cause us marked anxiety and distress, we might have obsessions.

If we find ourselves habitually expressing repetitive behaviors, like checking ourdoors or under the bed, or mentally repreatedly praying or counting, without being able to stop without experiencing hightened stress and anxiety, we might have compulsions.

If our thoughts and actions take us over with a life of their own, then we might have obsessive~compulsive disorder.

Do we bear a wearying consciousness of ourselves and our stresses everywhere we go?

There are two points to share here. One is to know that there are some self-help tools we can all do that are extremely effective. The other point to remember is that while we can do many things to help ourselves, there are times when we cannot simply “decide” not to have a chemical imbalance or other physical and/or mental condition which requires a medical physician or psychiatrist. While our insane ego might like not to require prescription drugs, it is sometimes exactly what is needed.

A human body or mind is no less a body or mind if it is in need of assistance in balancing us.

First, let’s take a look at self-help tools that work. Be honest with yourself. No one can lie to ourselves like we can when we do not want to address an issue we do not want to deal with. Rule number one is to drop the negative self judgement. Realizing who you are and what makes you tick is truly a wonder-filled thing. When we stop denying things about us that are there, we can make great strides in any direction we choose.

That’s right. We get to choose.

Rationally we may understand that our obsessions and compulsions are not necessary, while at the same time, we may not be able to stop them. Telling ourselves that we do have a choice is huge, because up until now, we may have understood ourselves to be at the mercy of the situation. Rule number two is to reprogram our mind. We need to reprogram the victim mentality, to a self-empowering mentality.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as “programmed.” But that is what has happened to us if we find ourselves with dysfunctional habits. We have been “programmed” by our families, our environments and life situations, and by what we take in, like television shows, commercials, movies, not to mention fear-based religious institutions.

How free are we, really?

To get in control of us and become self-empowered, we need to choose a mantra, an I AM statement as if we are already recovered from this problem. For example if we want to stop the addictive compulsion to always check under the bed, we can think, “I am relaxed and confident and no longer need to look under the bed,” or whatever the compulsion is. Does this work the first time we think it? No, it does not. It is in repeating this new mantra, even if it is the opposite of how you are feeling at this moment, and repeating this new behavior that re-trains the mind to think and the body to do something differently.

It takes 21 days to change a habit, any habit. New statements we think, and new behaviors we do will feel like we have two left feet at first. Expect that. It is part of the healing to step outside of our comfort zone. We need to remind ourselves that this new, odd feeling is OK. We will get past it.

Mantras work by changing the vibrational message in the mind. Mantras need to be repreated often, like at least 3-10 times each hour, or as often as you remember to say them. Sticky notes everywhere you look are also a help, like on mirrors, walls, doors, tables, our cars, everywhere.

We need to go easy with ourself. Any progress we make is good progress to build upon. No beating ourselves up. Be very loving and gentle.

We can stop fear and anxiety, worry and uneasiness from lurking around every corner. You are not alone. Know that everyone has something, some issue to work on. No one is perfect, so join the club. What we think about, we bring about. Everytime a dark or negative thought comes in, like,”This is stupid,” or “This won’t work,” tell yourself, “Yes, this DOES work,” which it absolutely does.

All of these self-help suggestions also work in tandem with doctor’s helps as well. We can make our life anything we want, so let’s make it beautiful.



Say What You Need To Say

Speaking our mind is easy when what we need to say is popular, politically correct and non-controversial. But how are we at saying the feelings and emotions of our hearts, stating the

Use your personal power to your advantage

important views of our conscience, and verbally standing up for ourselves in the presence of people with opposing viewpoints?

Some of us would rather climb under a rock, depending on the situation. But choking back what we have to say can make us sick. This is one of those times when emotional distress can cause physical ailments. It creates undo stress. It changes relationships. We need to be honest with ourselves.

Have we ever observed ourselves in these moments? Are we integrating our words and our actions? Are we fooling yourselves? How do we present ourselves to others? Are we coming from a place of integrity?

Depending on what topics press our hot buttons, we may be emotionally charged over one issue or another, one belief or another, or find ourselves in uncharted territory. The more this hot button is pushed the more we might find ourselves losing our peace, talking louder, or playing that tape recorder over and over in our heads. The more this happens, the more we feel out of control, unbalanced.

It is interesting to take a moment to stand back and observe ourselves. It is easy to be caught up in the momentum of the moment, and jump on the bandwagon. By taking a day or a week to watch what makes us tick, we can get a better understanding of exactly how we feel. Don’t forget to breathe, oh yes, breathing.

For some of us, we think we can make our point if we get louder or talk faster, when in reality, the opposite is true. Have we ever noticed that we can get someone’s attention by talking slower and softer? That is usually an attention grabber. This tactic even works well with children. One of the best ways to calm out of control children down is to use a soothing, softer voice. The reason this works well, is that people of all ages do not hear yelling. The wave of loud emotion hits like a wall. Rather than people hearing what is being said, we see and hear the emotion.

Saying what we need to say has two parts, saying and listening. Listening is really a beautiful artform. But have we ever tried listening to somone in a heated situation? We start out listening, then like a pressure cooker valve going off, we flip from really listening, to listening with an answer running. Listening with an answer running in our heads is not listening. At this point, the listening has stopped. We find ourselves mentally on hold, trying to keep control until we can say what is on our mind.

Becoming aware of how we communicate can help us communicate better. Take another breath before you speak, then say what you need to say, with integrity.

We all have a right to our emotions. We have happy and sad emotions. We have positive and negative, light and dark emotions. These emotions and feelings are not right or wrong. They simply are. They can trigger all kinds of emotional responses. It is important to remember that we are in control of our emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings do not control us. We have a choice.

It is liberating to realize this when we feel like we are getting out of control, out of balance. We do have a choice.

We can say everything we need to say with dignity and self-respect. We do not have to give our personal power to someone else.

Whether it is political debates, religious discussions, or relationship issues, these self-help tools work.

Many of us end up with ulcers and stress-related illnesses because in the past we gave away our personal power, our voice, and stuffed our thoughts, opinions and feelings. Other times the exact opposite is true. We yell, scream, and carry on to such a degree that we feel completely unglued. However, the physical ramification is the same; increased stress, and loss of personal power, and over-all feeling of malaise.

We do have a choice. We are the creator of our realities. We are not victims, unless we choose to be.


Bullying ~ No Man Is An Island

There are times we need to stand up, even when it is unpopular to do so, no matter what age we are.

No man is an island

We need each other.

In the case of the student shooter  at the Chardon, Ohio, High School, who was not a student at this high school, he was known enough to be taunted and bullied, bullied so much that he wanted his taunters dead. He pulled no punches on his Facebook page about his intentions. Was anyone listening?

We need to stop the growing tide of bullying, as if there is no solution. If someone is attacking us physically, it is assault and battery. The physical bullier is charged by a police officer and arrested. If someone is relentlessly bullying mentally and emotionally, there currently does not seem to be an answer. But our mental state is just as much a part of us as our physical state. We adults need to be accountable. We need to help. Adults need to stand up. Students need to stand up.

We need to empower our children to be able to stand up for young people around them, if they see someone struggling, being bullied, even then the person being bullied is not himself or herself. Adolescence is tough. But it is also an opportunity to teach compassion and empathy for others. Many young people are doing this already. There are so many teenagers doing wonderful things, on sports teams, achieving academic success. Teens, like everyone else, will have their own circle of friends, large or small.

As strong as life is, life is fragile. Life can change in a moments notice. We know this, but it still takes us by surprise when it does. In teaching important lessons to our kids, teaching them to stand up for injustice, for the student being bullied, even if that person is a loner, is important.

Every single one of us is important. Even people we do not like are important. Human life is important.

At times, we are strong, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Other times we are unsure of ourselves, cautious and fearful. Most of us know there is help out there with our friends and family. If things get out of control, we have counseling. It helps to talk things out.

If we, see something, we should say something. That goes for our students also. Students can always go to the guidance counselors, or their favorite teacher, or school principal to let them know if they think someone is in trouble.

The definition of  brave people is not that they don’t feel fear, but although they feel the fear, they do what is right, moral and just anyway.

We are not islands, no matter how private we choose to be. Not everyone likes the spotlight, to live out loud. Some of us are shy, maybe even withdrawn. We need to be observant of the world around us, for personal safety, but also for the safety of others.

Some would say we need to mind our own business. Only take care of the self. While self-improvement is a good thing, we live in a world where other people count too. And their lives intertwine with our lives, if only peripherally. We need to be aware, not fearful, but aware of others in our life.

Some might also say people need to toughen up. While that point might need to be made in some cases, we still need to be aware of other people in our world. It may not be our job to monitor everyone else around us. But it is our job to be responsible citizens in the world of us.

If a student along the way reported the bullying that went on in the Chardon High School while the shooter was waiting for a bus to go to another school, perhaps yesterday event might have had a different outcome. But we will not know for sure.

It is also possible that the student shooter mental state was completely unknown to students and his teachers.

One thing is for sure, no man is an island.


De-Stress ~ Where Is Your Bliss?

Have you ever found yourself taking on more than you planned or want to take on? Are you stressed???

My bliss is near the water. I went in this submarine and saw rare sea turtles.

There are many things we can do in these stress filled times that are self-help antidotes. They are things we already know. But in the snap decision moment, we can find ourselves doing the exact opposite of what we want to do, like staying calm, cool and collected.

How many times have we been in the middle of a project, or a meal, and the telephone rings, or our electronic gadget alerts us that some new bit of information is coming in? What do we do? Are we in the habit of  constantly jumping at everything else’s beck and call?

Are we a slave to modern technology, or are we free ranging humans?

Depending on what we have going on in our life, there are times when we absolutely have to take this call. It could be the doctor, or an urget call from our boss. There are many valid reasons we, from time to time, should drop what we are doing, and answer that call. It would be irresponsible not to.

But is this the normal routine for us every day, in every situation? Do we let everything everybody else wants to come before our peace of mind, our plan for our day, or our priorities? We need to become aware and take stock of our triggers, from time to time, because nothing stays stagnant. Things always change. It is a matter of staying in balance no matter how chaotic life gets.

Becoming aware of how we are feeling is the first step in the right direction to correcting what is off with us. Feelings are our Divinely given tools, given to us so we can assess where we are, and where we want to go. Good feelings are affirming and are a sign we are doing OK. Feelings of discordant energy are a sign that we need to make a correction somewhere to bring us back into alignment with our true purpose, goals, and get back on track.

Where is our Bliss? This is something we take it with us no matter how busy we let yourselves get. One self-help tool is to remember to take three, count them three, deep, cleansing breaths each time a challenge comes our way. Seldom is the case when we need to react so fast, as if we are running from a burning building. Yet that is exactly how we tend to dash through our lives, putting out everyone’s elses fires.

An amazing thing to remember is, just because someone throws us the ball, we don’t have to catch it. What a relief it is to remember this. Yes, we already know this, but somehow someone throwing the ball to us plays to our ego and we can find ourselves rising to the occasion when we don’t really want to. If this happens to us occasionally, then we are doing a good and noble thing. However, if this happens to us every time, then we are doing ourselves a disservice.

When and how do you start your day? Some of us wake up and immediately jump on the treadmill of life. No wonder we get so exhausted. If our plan is working for us, we should stay with it. However, this tends to be one of the best places to introduce change if we are not happy with our state of affairs.

What part of the day is your best work production, alert time? What part of the day is best for you to exercise? What part of the day for you to meditate, pray or recollect in peace and quiet? This is different for different people. There is not one best answer here. What is important is to take a moment to reassess our life. Are you a morning person, afternoon person or evening person? Does the life you are living match your most optimum work load times? What do you want to do about that?

You don’t have to catch the ball. Isn’t that awesome to remember?

If we are people pleasers, this concept may be somewhat startling. One good thing to remember is that we cannot please anyone until we please ourself. The same thing is true for flying in airplanes. You cannot save anyone else until you save yourself first, for example by putting on your air mask before you put your child’s air mask on. What is it about false pride that makes us think we have to come last in everything?

The Divine Creator does not want you to come in last for everything, have a hard time of everything, lose everything, and struggle with everything. Sometimes these things happen. But it is in becoming aware of where we are in our life, truly taking stock of where we are and where we want to go, that we can improve how we feel, and decide to change our lives for the better if we want to.

Again, we are not victims, unless we choose to be. That statement can be infuriating if you find yourself in a difficult situation you did not plan. Yes, bad things happen to us all the time. But it is in how we handle these challenges, and transform these energies that can help us. We can begin again. That is OK.


Freedom OF, NOT Freedom FROM …

We seem to have a problem understanding prepositions in this country.

Freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

Specifically, we have a freedom OF religion, not a freedom FROM religion.

This occurs to me each time someone has a problem putting a manger scene, or a menorah display on public property, like at Town Hall,        God forbid!

Will our eyes burn out of our heads if we see something that is not our very own rock-hard faith, agnostic “faith,” or atheist “faith”? Will a senior graduating from college have his or her faith waivered to such a traumatic extent, that rather than hold a baccoloriate service for FREE held in a church which, God forbid, displays a cross on the wall (and even if it is covered), decide instead to pay huge amounts of money at a civic hall, because this soon to be college student and their adult families need to be shielded FROM the religious beliefs out there?

Have our minds become so small and one-sided that we will be offended if someone says something we do not personally believe in? Evidently so. Our skin has become so thin in this country that a simple statement of what someone believes, is often attacked because someone else is “offended.” People lose their jobs now over such things. It seems we must have the group all think alike, come to a consensus, no individuals, and definitely no individual thinking. God forbid!

Oh, the outrage!

Above all else, we must be politically correct, but notice how this changes from year to year.


Should we change the name of the Red Cross, like we do in parts of the world that are run by theocratic governments, so in this country should be change the name to the Red Crescent?

Obviously we do not understand what freedom OF religion is.

Freedom is freedom, not oppression. We live in a land where freedom of religion, as well as freedom of thinking outside of the box, is encouraged. The last time this country had a Catholic politician run for the office of the president of the United States, it was John F. Kennedy. But he was a Democrat, and Republicans did not like that part. It seems now a Catholic is running for president, and it is OK because he is a Republican. Interesting.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, according to Answers.com, he had to make a statement that basically said although he is a Catholic, he does not represent Catholics, or the Catholic Church. Perhaps Rick Santorum should be made to make a similar statement, and include that he will not represent the ultra Catholic Opus Dei special interest either. Women would not stand a chance in the political world, work force, or any other place.

In this country, we are founded on religious freedom, not a dogmatic rhetoric for a politician to use at his or her whim. When the founding fathers of this country separated themselves from England, one reason was they were separating from religious tyranny. If we really want to get to the bottom of what the founding fathers stood for religiously, perhaps we should promote the Masons, not the ultra Catholic – Christian right-wing of thought.

We all seem to enjoy the benefits of practicing our own religions in this country. It seems ironic to me, that this government in this country, stamps its feet down to the tune of separation of church and state when it doesn’t want to see Christian or Jewish symbols on government property, yet when it is time to choose a politician, they bring in a right-wing Christian focus. Is that what Jewish people want? Is that what Muslim people want?

Does anyone remember the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades? Just wondering.

We want to live in a land of freedoms; freedom OF religion, freedom OF SPEECH (we need to get this one back), and FREEDOM FROM ALL RELIGIOUS TYRANNY.

It’s a sad day when we have to shield our eyes and ears so we don’t have to hear something we believe differently about. Rather than take offense at every difference, we should grow in heart and understanding and embrace our differences.

It is vital that everyone have the freedom to be able to worship the Divine Creator of All, or not at all, if that is their belief.

Perhaps our politicians ought to be people of integrity and honor and have a spiritual belief of their own, but not be priests and ministers with an agenda against other religions. And just maybe instead of calling each other “satan,” we can get on with fixing our country. That is simply the promologation of fear.

Everyone has to live by his or her conscience. My only point here is our interpretation of freedom OF religion to mean freedom FROM religion, which it is not.

By the way, I consider myself to be a Christian, a Catholic one at that. But I also believe Jesus came to teach us so much more than Rome allowed their flock to think some 2012 years ago, or so. It was very much a control thing then, and if we are not careful, it will be again.


Bullying and The Value of Life

Bullying is dehumanizing, both for the person who bullies, and for the person being bullied. Unfortunately there is no age limit for bullying. It happens by and to students. It happens by

Alcatraz Prison

and to prejudiced groups of all ages, sexes, and social economics. It happens all too often in today’s work force by employers, who know they can push people more because they know jobs are so hard to come by, to employees who allow themselves to be bullied for fear of losing their jobs. Bullying happens face to face, while cyberbullying relentlessly continues online. What can we do to stop it?

Stand up to the bully.

This does not mean turning everything into a fist fight. First, be smart. If you are the student being bullied, no matter what the bully is telling you, tell your teachers, your guidance counselors, your principal, and your parents. Know that you are not alone. It is state law that teachers must report the bullying to their superiors. Schools are improving their programs to address this kind of attack on students. If it keeps happening, keep telling. Never give up. There are some things you can do for yourself, beginning with bolstering your self esteem.

Just because someone says something about you, does not make it so. You are made in the image and likeness of God. God does not make junk. God made you and you are perfect, just they way you are. You will not be perfect if…, or when … you are perfect now. You are a whole person no matter what sexual orientation you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter if you are underweight, no matter if you are overweight, no matter what, you are perfect they way you are, right this very moment. That is the second thing to know. Do not agree with every negative thought, word or idea that comes from a bully’s mouth. Just because someone says something negative does not make it so. Understand that there are people willing to help you.

I’d like to think that prejudices are a thing of the past, but they are not. We’d like to think we are so advanced these days, but sometimes I think on many issues we are still in the caveman era. There are many kinds of prejudices that play into the hand of bullying. The person bullying decreases in character development by bullying. Seemingly good people, even Christian people, with not so good intent, harm others psychologically by badgering them, instilling them with fear if they are not like minded people, whether it’s for gay rights, birth control, immigration, or any other difference in belief. Bullying makes people less human. Bullying makes people less spiritual. No matter what our religious belief system is, bullying is not the way to get the message out. Attacking someone’s character either privately or publically is not a spiritual practice. Can you see Jesus or Buddha now, diminishing a person by personal attacks? That would be a twisted and perverted belief system.

Lady Gaga went on twitter to say “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”

Young people are not alone on the bullying front. Adults are also bullies and are victims of bullies. As sad as it is when young people get bullied, it is pathetic when adults get into the bullying game, and we do. It is pathetic because we should know better. Anytime we act out in ways that are beneath human dignity, we diminish our growth, mentally and spiritually. The first thing to do is the same first thing to do for a young person. Tell someone. If it is a prejudice hate crime, tell a police officer. If you are being bullied at work, go to your human resources department. That is what they are there for.

You have a right not to be bullied.

Bullies don’t really want to fight. They want to torment. They want to get their way. They have ulterior motives. Pure motives have nothing to do with bullying. Bullies are weak. They are vunerable. As more and more people, young and old, stand up and refuse to be tongue whipped by inferior, manipulating mortals, it will become easier to stand up for truth.

Standing up for truth, honor, and integrity does not have to be done viciously. Anger and hostility do not need to be present. We simply need to say what we need to say. Bullies know how to push emotional buttons. That’s part of the game. But if we can stay level emotionally, that will be one less battle they will have won.

You are a wonder-filled creation of God. You are filled with God’s spirit. You are not alone.