Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Thought Shift

My friend Richelle, who is waging an incredibly courageous fight against OCD recently said this:

Instead of looking at every trigger in fear and responding by avoidance or with compulsions, I am starting to look at my triggers as opportunities for freedom. Everyday I accept that I will experience discomfort and anxiety and probably cry but I know it will go away. I know this fight will be well worth it.

And there it is. The thought shift that does indeed bring freedom. A new perspective. It makes all the difference.

Fight on Richelle - OCD is no match for you!

Friday, May 23, 2014

OCD Special on ABC's 20/20 Tonight

I'm really looking forward to watching a special on OCD tonight on ABC's news program, 20/20. They will be reporting on children who have severe OCD but have also managed to face their fears and move forward, in an episode entitled, "The Children Who Break Away." It should be moving and inspirational. So set your DVR for 10 pm Eastern Standard Time!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rigid Thinking

"Rigid thinking occurs when an individual is unable to consider alternatives to the current situation, alternative viewpoints or innovative solutions to a problem. Rigid thinkers cling tightly to preconceptions and generalizations, and often react with fear or hostility in the face of unexpected change or challenges." www.ehow.com

Wow, this is the story of my life. I have had several conversations recently with a few different people about rigid thinking, and I've come to a conclusion. The happiest people in life are those that are able to adapt to change, let go of their expectations, and deal with each day as it comes. That is, essentially, the complete opposite of rigid thinking.

It wasn't until CBT/ERP that I discovered my struggle with, and virtual stranglehold by, this very destructive cognitive distortion. I suspect everyone fights this to some degree, or at least in some areas of their life. However, my existence was literally choked by it. It fueled my perfectionism, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Time and again I would discuss a scenario with my psychologist and explain to her how I was stuck between two bad outcomes, only to have her suggest an alternative that had never occurred to me. More times than not, I would marvel at the simple and unbelievably straightforward other possibility that I had never even considered. I would walk out of her office and think to myself, "How in the world did I not come up with that obvious idea on my own?!" Rigid thinking. All or nothing thinking. Polarized thinking. Call it what you like, but it all has the same result. An inflexibility that keeps us locked in the prison of our minds.

Like everything else in my world these days, this is a work in progress, but I have come a very long way. Whenever I feel cornered or threatened by a situation, I recognize that it can become a playground for rigid thinking. So I try to slow my mind down. I pray. I seek guidance from people whom I know are capable of seeing the bigger picture. I no longer rush to solve the problem instantly, so I can avoid making decisions out of fear. Sometimes, issues completely resolve themselves, because I no longer react in a panic before things have "played out."

If you are interested in working on rigid thinking, I found a helpful article entitled "Five Brain Exercises to Foster Flexible Thinking" at Gaiam Life.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I believe flexible thinking is a Biblical concept. See below what Paul has to say about dealing with his circumstances in life. Sounds pretty flexible to me!
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

Monday, May 12, 2014

Time To Lace Those Sneakers!

I posted this on my Facebook account last evening.


I debated about whether I should post this here as well. But, when it comes down to it, I want to spread awareness, help end stigma, and raise funds to bring hope to others, so, here it is! If you'd like to support the 5K financially, there is a link below, and that would be great. If you'd like to support the 5K with prayer, that would be great too! If you feel led to participate, then have at it! I figured that I would mention this in case someone is interested.

Oh, and if you are wondering, I made references only to the U.S. in my Facebook post, but it is just because my FB friends and family are all American. The 5K is to raise funds for the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.

The best part is that my husband, son, and parents have all agreed to walk with me! I'm so incredibly blessed to have such a supportive family.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Heads or Tails?

A friend of mine recently said this about reassurance:


Reassurance is the flip side of the same OCD coin, even though we don't always recognize that. If the fear is "heads," reassurance is "tails."

We seek reassurance to bring our anxiety, or fear, down. Anything that brings our fear down (in an artificially quicker way) is considered a compulsion. Performing compulsions only reinforces obsessions (fear inducing thoughts). So . . . the moral of the story? We need to stop seeking reassurance.

A lot easier said than done.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Am I OCD?

This morning, I was driving on the highway and listening to a local news radio station. I was pleased to hear the reporter talking about an upcoming NAMI Walk. It got me to thinking, though, when he referred to a woman, who was acting as a spokesperson for mental illness, by saying, "She is Bipolar."

She is Bipolar. That's like saying, "He is heart disease, or she is lung cancer." She is NOT Bipolar. She HAS Bipolar. I am not OCD, I have OCD. Even so, it's only a part of my life. It is not all of it. Just like whatever you struggle with is not all of you either.