OCD Articles

OCD as a Barometer & How it Can Help

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

OCD as a Barometer & How it Can HelpAnyone who’s been around obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) knows that completely erasing OCD from a sufferer’s life is unlikely. I’m not here to imply differently.

However, I do think people can feel much better than they do now. I believe we all have health barometers that indicate when something is out of balance. We feel the pressure building inside us. As individuals, we’re wise to recognize our own barometers and learn from them.

Many people with anxiety disorders have thought “it’s all in my head.” After getting a diagnosis of OCD, I’ve heard folks express great relief when they realize they’re “not crazy” and begin to recognize the sneaky ways OCD obsessions blossom in their mind.

9 Ways to Let Go of Stuck Thoughts

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

9 Ways to Let Go of Stuck ThoughtsStuck thoughts… the brick walls that form a prison around your mind. The harder you try to get rid of them, the more powerful they become.

I’ve been wrestling with stuck thoughts ever since I was in fourth grade. The content or nature of the obsessions have morphed into many different animals over the course of 30-plus years, but their intensity and frequency remains unchanged.

Here are some strategies I use when they make a surprise visit, techniques that help me free myself from their hold.

7 Ways to Stop Obsessing

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

7 Ways to Stop ObsessingMason Cooley once wrote: “The cure for an obsession: get another one.”

That’s about as good advice as any that I’ve heard on how to quiet the annoying voices inside your head. They nag, persist, harass, and endure longer than your patience or composure.

I haven’t been very successful at managing mine, as I’m usually processing three obsessions at a time. But a few of my strategies have helped me from time to time. Here they are.

OCD & Living Without False Hope

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

OCD & Living Without False HopeWhen one has a breakthrough in therapy or in life, one experiences a feeling of aliveness. As a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these moments have been few and far between over the course of my 33 years.

It is natural for human beings to want to give other human beings hope. I am not trashing exposure therapy and the therapeutic process. These things work for a lot of people with OCD.

You’ve probably heard that people with OCD get intrusive thoughts. A simple question is: How many intrusive thoughts go away with exposure therapy?

Affirmative Action for the Mentally Ill

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Affirmative Action for the Mentally IllAfter reviewing most of what I’ve written about my obsessive-compulsive disorder in the last year, I came to the conclusion that vocational rehabilitation systems that succeed in putting recovering mentally ill people back to work are rare. Some would say this is too complicated and costly for the government. I say this is ridiculous.

I have been through many vocational rehabilitation scenarios — job coaches, agencies or programs that send me leads. All of these have led nowhere.

The real problem is finding people who actually care about getting you a job. They are few and far between. Or they don’t want you to get a job that is better than theirs even if your resume is a good one.

OCD & Trying to Catch Every Last Detail

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

OCD & Trying to Catch Every Last DetailLast Christmas, I received as a gift Deepak Chopra’s book, Super Brain. As a person with a mental illness, I wasn’t sure if this was good news or bad news.

A majority of my prior Christmases have been lackluster because I relive the same year, in and out, without seeming to make the progress I desire in my life. It’s kind of like the movie Groundhog Day , only for years and years. I wasn’t sure if analyzing my brain any further would be a good idea.

So how does OCD relate to all the books, paintings, and movies that a society produces? Essentially, these supposedly give us hope that our lives will get better. My real question is: Does art really achieve any more than false hope for those of us with mental illness?

Finding Work or a Job When You Have OCD

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Finding Work or a Job When You Have OCDI am generally a pretty positive guy.

A long time ago, when I was talking with a therapist during behavior therapy, I recall she was trying to tell me something about the nature of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She said that I seemed very happy talking to her while I was talking to her. However, she said, in the end, after the therapy session, OCD would try to remove the hope I was exhibiting during the session once I walked out to the sidewalk. Reality would take over.

In this article, I argue that it is OCD — and not reality — that tries to systematically remove hope of this particular sufferer. If it doesn’t remove hope about one subject, it systematically moves to the next thing.

OCD: Sometimes It’s Not You, It’s the Situation

Friday, September 13th, 2013

OCD: Sometimes It's not You, It's the SituationVirginia Woolf, the 20th century English author who also suffered from mental illness, once wisely wrote “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

Recently, I was talking to my psychiatrist. It was another one of those “Do I or don’t I?” medication moments that people with mental illness routinely have to live with.

He had treated me for my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for about six months before I decided to be treated by another facility. I didn’t like the new facility’s recommendations, so I had gone back to this doctor for a second opinion.

The Disturbing Discrepancy & Double Standard Between Mental Illness & Other Health Concerns

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The Disturbing Discrepancy & Double Standard Between Mental Illness & Other Health ConcernsIt would seem that the subject of mental illness has, at long last, captured the attention of the American public. Why, you may ask, is this so?

Perhaps it is the fact that when mind-boggling mass murders occur in such ordinary towns as Newtown, Conn. or Aurora, Colo., we are inundated with stories about the suspected mental state of the perpetrators.

Although the aforementioned individuals may suffer, or may have suffered, from any number of debilitating mental illnesses, the vast majority of the mentally ill are not violent. Unfortunately, their stories, and their daily struggles merely to survive, rarely make the 6 o’clock news.

Going to Battle with OCD is a ‘Colossal Struggle’

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Going to Battle with OCD is a 'Colossal Struggle'I was quiet in high school. Some may have described me as a loner, but I did have friends. I was awkward and scared that I would be judged harshly if I spoke my mind. Some things that gave me comfort during the first years of being diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were comedy (The Late Show with David Letterman), literature (Kurt Vonnegut), and music (Pearl Jam).

Society’s influence is at its worst during the teenage years. Sex and violence are pushed on teenagers through many different ways (music, TV, peers, et cetera).

I probably was somewhat of a loner because of these influences — along with having OCD, of course.

Can Distraction Contribute to Mental Illness?

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Can Distraction Contribute to Mental Illness?When Shakespeare wrote of “distraction” in his plays and sonnets, however, he was not speaking of something that diverts our attention. Back then, the word was used to describe a state of mental disturbance or insanity. Even today, one definition of the word “distraction” can imply some degree of emotional upset.

So was Shakespeare onto something? 

Certainly we can be distracted and not experience mental illness. A loud noise, unruly children or a sudden rainstorm are all events that can distract us from what we’re doing at the moment. 

But can repetitive distraction — nonstop ringing phones, incessant email and text message interruptions, meetings and co-workers who need immediate attention — contribute to mental distress or even mental illness?

OCD & Chinatown

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

OCD & ChinatownOne way to explain obsessive-compulsive disorder involves a comparison to the old Roman Polanski film “Chinatown”, starring Jack Nicholson. Nicholson plays a detective investigating a suspicious California land developer (played by the director John Huston).

As in many detective thrillers, the closer he gets to the truth, the more chaos ensues. He uncovers an incestuous relationship, innocent characters are murdered, and in the final scene, his friend declares his efforts to make the situation right a lost cause, a tragedy (“It’s Chinatown, Jake”).

Thankfully, I don’t view obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as negatively as the “Chinatown” plot. However, there are parallels.

Recent Comments
  • Raina: If you want to see a culture where the boys lean on each others shoulders and sleep on each others laps,...
  • Teeny: Get over yourself.
  • Heels: Nowhere in the article do I see insensitivity. Diabetes type 1 and 2 run in my family, and I know how...
  • Freyasmews: I appreciate this short list, as well. I’m currently grieving a death in a series of deaths that...
  • Heels: The writer says that her friend worries he has diabetes not that he does, speaking of fears that get out if...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12257
Join Us Now!