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THOUGHTS

Tug-of-War with the OCD Monster

5.1.19

When you struggle with OCD, it may feel like you are constantly fighting a monster that just won’t go away. Day in and day out you keep fighting it, and you feel exhausted. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) researchers and clinicians use the Tug-of War with a Monster metaphor to help people realize that there are better options than fighting their thoughts and feelings each day of their lives. Let’s pretend that your fears and doubts are like a big, hideous, and strong monster. You hate it, and you want to destroy it. The monster is holding one end of the rope and you are at the other end. In between the two of you there is a huge cliff with hot lava. You don’t want to fall over it. You want to control the monster, and so you keep pu

A Panic Attack, the Wrestle Within

3.16.19

View original article published in Psych Central– Samantha felt overwhelmed by her school assignments, her relationships, and her job. She often felt like she was walking a tightrope while holding a pole that contained all of her “should” and “must” type of thoughts. “It’s not a matter of if, but when I’ll fall and crash!” she’d repeat. She would imagine placing her thoughts and feelings in a bottle and shutting the lid tightly. “I place them there so I can cope,” she would declare. She recognized her panic attack cycle: stress, anxiety, tension build up, and suppress until it shatters. Then starting all over again. She hated her panic attacks, but said she always felt better after experiencing one. Do Samantha’s struggles sound familiar?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

12.20.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Children sometimes have meltdowns when they don’t get what they want. Some adolescents can feel destitute when their wishes aren’t granted. When you feel confident about your plans and they don’t turn out the way you hoped, what is your response? As we run into bumps and storms in life, we may need to detour, delay, or completely cancel our plans. When we were young, we may have used words such as “It’s not fair,” and soon enough we found out this was true more often than not. Still, we protest, get mad, and blame others or ourselves for not obtaining our desires. When this happens, many of us get entangled with “should’ve,” “could’ve” “would’ve” type thoughts. Have you noticed the results

Pedophilia OCD: The Conundrum to Let Go of the Fight

10.13.18

View original article published in Psych Central– If you experience pedophilia OCD, you are someone who loves children. You may also struggle with unwanted sexual thoughts. Before OCD began to trigger you with this type of thoughts, you may have believed such thoughts would never cross your mind. And when they did, you felt ashamed, guilty, and confused. Trying to suppress and fight those thoughts appeared to be the most logical solution. The idea of not doing anything about intrusive thoughts seems despicable. Your mind may say, “If I let those thoughts happen without doing anything, it probably means I enjoy them!” You may respond, “Of course not! But what if I do? Oh no!” Then you begin the circular fighting tour in your mind again. Con

The Scrupulosity OCD Mind is The Human Part of You!

10.10.18

“I want to go the extra mile, and when I don’t, I feel like I’ve failed.” “I can’t ever be good enough.” Those who struggle with Scrupulosity OCD can continually feel guilty because they want to serve God perfectly. They constantly feel the burden of possibly having sinned and offended God. Many individuals with Scrupulosity OCD may not realize they have the illness and may suffer in silence. Their repeated confessions and repentance is a short-lived reprieve from perpetual feelings of guilt. Do you struggle with Scrupulosity OCD? Is OCD targeting one of the values you care about the most? Yet the constant nagging inside your head with thoughts such as, “I’m not pure and deserving of God’s blessings” probably lead you to feel miserable and

The Battle with OCD – Are You Winning?

10.8.18

Many individuals who suffer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and those that support them often talk about the fight with OCD. “I won’t give up the fight with OCD.” It feels hopeful and encouraging when you say those words. Certainly, individuals experiencing OCD do not wish to let OCD get them down in life.   If individuals stay focused on what matters most despite their OCD, they can continue to pursue life with vitality. They would not let OCD get in the way of their relationships and their values. This is what they mean when they say, “I’m not going to let OCD beat me!”   Though people’s intention is not to let OCD ruin their lives, the mind grasps the word “fight” and it changes things around for them. Without realizing it,

Anxiety, Thoughts, Boats, and Automobiles

10.5.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Under Title: Thought Watching Exercises to Increase Awareness & Reduce Anxiety We often go about our lives without noticing what our mind is telling us because we are too busy attending to our hectic lives. Blithely unaware, we comply with the advice our mind dictates to us all day long. Some of you may say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there is nothing wrong if the advice is helpful, and it moves us closer to our values and goals by following it. But when we are unaware of what our mind is saying, we can end up making unwise choices. For example, if you experience social anxiety, your mind may provide advice that to stay home from a social event is the best option. You believe your

When It Comes to Your Anxiety, Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

9.25.18

You probably haven’t thought much about the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer. Let’s review their differences. A thermometer measures your temperature. If you have a fever, it reacts to your temperature. A thermostat is something we place on the wall of our homes and purposely set the temperature where we want our environment to be. Let’s say, in wintertime we may want the temperature to be 72 degrees and the number doesn’t change at all. When the thermostat detects it’s getting colder than 72 degrees, the signal is sent to the heater and yes, the heater clicks on. However, the thermostat does not react and the temperature remains steady unless you change it. Thus, the thermostat responds to the temperature, where as the th

Getting Stuck in the Emotional Funnel - Nancy Larsen, LCSW

8.26.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Have you ever found yourself caught in a downward spiral of negative thoughts? It’s as if your mind is like a funnel with thoughts racing towards the bottom only to get stuck in the neck. The more you try to think your way out of the funnel the more distressed you become because there appears to be no way out. Negative thoughts can be overwhelming, and if we are not careful, they create pathways in our mind from which we draw. Unfortunately, thoughts rarely occur without emotions. When we add emotions to our negative thoughts, we try to think our way towards a solution yet as we spiral downward, a solution seems out of reach. So much so, that we start to panic. It may look something like th

How to Cope When the Anxious Child Has a Meltdown

1.22.18

View original article published in Psych Central– When our children exhibit disruptive behavior and appear to be out of control, we can feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. When we realize that their actions are no longer isolated events but have become part of a distressing routine, our mind may come up with myriad of solutions. When our children have anxiety and we know that this a contributing factor, our amazing problem-solving machine — the mind, might also say to us, “You are a terrible parent. It’s your fault.” This is a thought that our mind is providing to help us make sense of the situation. It is only trying to find a solution to match our distress and our child’s behavior. Those thoughts may match the situation, but it is not h

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