“Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny.” –Thomas S. Monson You are most likely familiar with stories of courage in the Old Testament. They can help you remember to utilize your faith while engaging in treatment for mental and emotional health challenges like OCD, severe anxiety, or depression. Courage and Trust Joshua was advised to be strong and of good courage. He trusted the Lord. He was told to take the Israelites across the Jordan River. If you had been one of the priests, how would you have felt if you had been asked to step into the flooding river while carrying the Ark of the Covenant? Would you ha
What is your vision of the possibilities for your young children and adolescents? What are your hopes and dreams for them? What critical life skills do you think they will need to realize that vision? Is your vision for your children to find their own unique potential in life, and feel good about it? Of course! Every parent wishes their children to know who they really are, and who they can become. You can teach your young kids and adolescents how to develop mental and emotional flexibility in their lives so they become who they are capable of becoming, leading them to successful and meaningful lives. Consider these points as you ponder how you can help your children along the way so they can reach their potential: F
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought of itself.” What happens when you keep worrying about the future, focusing on mistakes of the past, or judging yourself every day? Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” As we do this, we become observers without making evaluations or judgments about our internal (e.g., thoughts, memories, evaluations, feelings, sensations, and urges) experiences. When you struggle with life’s challenges, your anxious mind provides advice so you can protect yourself from pain and discomfort. Are the coping strategies you are using now providing you with a vital and mean
Allie seemed to enjoy her friends and extracurricular activities. She was a busy teenager but preferred to spend more time engaging in religious behaviors (e.g., praying, singing religious songs, and reading scriptures) than her friends. Allie’s parents had noticed her altruist behavior and dedication and often praised her for it. Allie’s behaviors were driven by her guilt, shame, and uncertainty. The urge to serve others did not seem to satisfy her doubts. Allie and her parents had not realized that her excessive devotion to follow her moral and religious beliefs were actually an indication she was struggling with scrupulosity OCD. “Do I deserve God’s blessings? Am I good enough? Didn’t Jesus say to be as perfect as he is? These
Julia loved her children more than anything else, but the intrusive thoughts about possibly harming them were relentless. She felt a great deal of shame. She didn’t dare share her thoughts with anyone for fear of being judged, or worst yet, losing her children. She had heard horrifying stories about mothers who lost their children because of abuse. “Will I be one of those moms? Am I going to harm my children?” The more she tried to get rid of those tormenting images and thoughts, the longer they seemed to stay. If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder, your OCD may be targeting what and who matters most to you in your life. That’s what the OCD mind does, and it is very painful. When those thoughts show up, you probab
Do we need a holiday about love to be reminded to love others? Probably not. How about a reminder to be kind and loving to ourselves? When things go wrong and we make mistakes, our natural reaction may be to beat ourselves up, but this response doesn’t provide the joy we all yearn for in our lives. Some people have a list of reasons for not loving themselves. The belief that “even a crumb of love” will lead them to become selfish and uncaring human beings might be included on that list. This assumption may be based on their mind’s unhelpful advice and negative experiences. Though this approach is ineffective, they become stuck with these views. According to research, in order to experience better mental, physical and emotional we
Last October, Madeline Johnson, a video producer for BBC Reel, reached out and asked if she could interview me about Scrupulosity OCD. There isn’t enough awareness about this type of OCD, so I was glad to be a small part of this excellent BBC Reel presentation: Scrupulosity: The obsessive fear of not being good enough. Many individuals throughout the world often ask themselves in confusion, “Why are my faith and moral values causing me so much pain and suffering?” Eventually, through friends, relatives, or internet searches, they find out that their anxiety related to their faith and moral values actually has a name: scrupulosity obsessive-compulsive disorder. They feel great relief that there is actually a name for their anx
There is clearly opposition in all things. The pain you experience with your current challenges wouldn’t be there if you didn’t care. What can you do when what you are doing is not working? You can learn how to respond to your unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations. You can find the joy and peace you used to enjoy despite your emotional and mental pain. You know, it is possible!
Faith may be a value that matters most to you. Yet, you may feel that you are not living up to it. You may believe that you are not deserving of God’s love. You may also think that your religion is too rigid, and may want to abandon it to find respite from uncertainty, anxiety, guilt, shame and other unpleasant emotions. No matter how much you try to change how you feel and think, you may have noticed that you keep getting stuck with those emotions and thoughts. Is your faith causing you to suffer? On one side, you value faith; on the other side, it may be causing you emotional and mental pain. Don’t despair. It is how you view your struggles that can make all the difference!
When things don’t go as expected, we can learn to respond in a flexible way. There are some days though, when we simply get stuck with our thoughts and feelings and react rigidly. That is just how it goes, even when we “know better.” For example, a few weeks ago, I had scheduled an appointment to have a standard medical exam that didn’t take place because “it got cancelled.” When the receptionist told me it was cancelled, I said, “I didn’t cancel it. If I had, I wouldn’t be here!” She didn’t seem empathetic. I asked her to check who may have cancelled it, and to see if I could still have the test. She called the lab and they said I could come back in two hours. After looking in the computer, she discovered their “system” had auto