Anger

4 Ways To Stop Overthinking Your Mistakes

You know how when you trip walking down the street, it feels like the entire cityscape of people is staring at you in amusement? Or when you’ve worn the same pair of pants three times in one week, you’re completely paranoid your colleagues are judging you for your lack of fashion sense (or cleanliness)? What about when you fumble over your words in a presentation, and then can’t stop thinking about how every person in the room now thinks you’re a terrible speaker?

As human beings with egos and an innate self-awareness of our own feelings, actions and thoughts, we tend to notice and greatly exaggerate our flaws while assuming everyone around us has a microscope focused on our faults, mistakes and slip-ups. In truth, other people don’t notice them nearly as much as we assume. Why? Because they’re too busy noticing and greatly exaggerating their own flaws!
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Anxiety and Panic

Mothering with OCD: You Can Call Me Crazy if You Want To

Day One: They say my soul is troubled and I imagine it stumbling through an alley somewhere, barefoot and drunk with no idea how to get home. “But beautiful,” they add, and I imagine it with lipstick. Maybe eyeliner too -- something bold and daring. Something that really accentuates.

It used to chase me in my dreams, my mental illness. It still does, if I’m being honest. Me in a red-hooded cape running through a forest as fast as I can (which isn’t very fast at all, if I’m being honest). It laughing maniacally behind the trees, always behind me, no matter which way I turn: The Big Bad Wolf, strong and powerful. Branches break underneath my feet as I run them over; they slow me down and give me pause. I know the monster from my nightmares will catch up with me. It’s only a matter of time.
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Disorders

Poison Pills? When Meds Strike Back

This narrative details my personal experience with medications. Medications impact each person differently; please consult with your psychiatrist if side effects persist.
The medication bottle gravely intones, “May cause drowsiness, use care operating a vehicle, vessel, or dangerous machinery.” If only.

Over 15 years ago, a well-meaning nurse at UNC-Chapel Hill prescribed an antidepressant. “It will make you feel better,” she soothed. Capitulating to her, I begrudgingly placed the tiny capsule under my tongue.

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Bullying

Family Matters: Self-Preservation Tips

“Maybe when he is older, he will understand mental health’s impact. He will have a girlfriend and, one day, he will get it,” my late mother whispers to me.

I nod, more to appease my weary mother. Her eyes glow when discussing her three sons. With an infectious cackle and mischievous smile, she would tease me about my eccentricities. When I absentmindedly misplaced that night’s homework assignment, she would endearingly refer to me as “Barnacle Breath.”

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Disorders

OCD’s Little Secret

This is our little secret: I robbed a bank.

At least that’s what my mind spits out. And according to my mind, I am likely to rob again and again.

When I walk into a bank to deposit a check, my heartbeat skips. Sweat trickles down my forehead. A boulder forms in my throat.

Why? Not because of my dwindling bank account or the imperious teller. My sneering mind is ready to pounce. An obsessive-compulsive disorder advocate and consumer, our vivid imagination has a darker side. We have committed unspeakable atrocities according to our deceitful thoughts.
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Brain and Behavior

The Thought Police

Embrace the thoughts.

I have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like you, my mind burps out intrusive, unwanted thoughts. They are real, striking at my core. I would banish them immediately. They would return with a sinister vengeance. Languishing in bed, sheets draped over me, I pleaded for divine intervention.

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Anxiety and Panic

A Bigger Deal than the Freshman 15

I was (Carolina) blue. Unlike my beloved Tar Heel hoops squad, my unstoppable opponent was bludgeoning me into submission. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety nearly toppled me during my college years. The issue is bigger than my beloved alma mater: On university campuses, mental health issues affect 25 percent of the student body.

I bleed Tar Heel blue. I founded a student organization on campus, graduated with a shiny GPA, and studied abroad in Australia. I rejoiced on Franklin Street when the Heels upended Duke. From riveting seminars to proud traditions, Chapel Hill provided the quintessential university experience.

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Disorders

Checkmate

The check. And here you thought I was talking about the dinner bill, didn’t you?

No, for those hearty souls battling obsessive-compulsive disorder, “the check” refers to something different than picking up the restaurant tab. For those afflicted with OCD, the check could mean ritualizing about the pedestrian they may have hit, sprinting to the restroom to scrub cracked hands, or fleeing a dinner date to check whether the garage door is shut.

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ADHD and ADD

How to Stop Stressing about Work & Finally Fall Asleep

If you’re like most people, you’ve been affected by stress-related sleep problems at some point, lying awake at night filled with anxiety about your career and the future.

Often everyday worries about impending deadlines and your to-do list give way to bigger, more stressful questioning, “Is this job really what I want to be doing with my life? What if I quit? Will I ever discover
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Anger

Past Tense

I stop: a droll smile and infectious cackle singe my synapses. I feel good. Like endorphins-are-murmuring good.

Maybe it is a sun-baked trip to the beach, the well-received Psych Central articles, or heartfelt conversations with my aunts and uncles. Or maybe it is learning to accept past failures for what they are: character lessons, not character flaws. The past can be a vengeful lover; she will terrorize you if you allow her to.

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Disorders

Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

“He is sooo OCD,” I overhear a 20-something snarkily remark to a friend.

The hair on my skin crawls. As someone with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) -- one from a psychiatrist, not Urban Dictionary -- I bristle. Sure, the remark was insensitive, even callous, but here’s why I cringe: the seemingly innocuous remark perpetuates public misperceptions.

OCD, the medical diagnosis, is far more impactful than OCD, the movie diagnosis. Unlike Jack Nicholson’s endearingly misfit character in "As Good as it Gets," OCD signifies more than an uncompromising adherence to routine. The person with OCD faces education and workplace stigma from puzzled colleagues. At its worst, OCD can be incapacitating.
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Anxiety and Panic

What it’s Like to Live with Hypochondria

My life is controlled by an endless series of obsessions, intrusive thoughts, rituals, and fears, but I don’t have OCD, at least not technically. Instead, I have a somatoform disorder better known as hypochondria.

Hypochondria, or health anxiety, is a preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness. As with OCD, health anxiety can cause persistent fears and reassurance-seeking behaviors, like, say, checking and rechecking your pulse. For the hundredth time. In under 10 minutes.

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