Scrupulosity: Faith, OCD & ERP

Medill Reports Chicago published an excellent article on the struggles people with a type of OCD known as "scrupulosity" face, both in living life & in finding appropriate treatment. As with any type of OCD, a combination of CBT & ERP therapy can be most effective when employed by an experienced therapist. The article features a success story involving Chicago-based psychologist Dr. Karen Cassiday helping a 12 year old girl & her family overcome the hold scrupulosity had imposed on their lives. For those in Chicago, BeyondOCD is a great resource for finding such credible treatment & information on OCD.

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"The word scrupulosity means “seeking sin where there is none,” said Jonathan Abramowitz, professor & associate chairman of the department of psychology at the UNC, Chapel Hill, and people living with the disorder have intrusive thoughts that counteract their moral identity.

Experts say scrupulosity isn’t widely recognized for two reasons: It’s commonly mistaken for exceptional faith in religious communities, and religious leaders aren’t trained in mental health, making it difficult for them to recognize the symptoms."

 

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/scrupulosity-where-ocd-and-faith-collide/

How It Feels To Live With Severe Anxiety

In The Vice Guide To Mental Health, Eleanor Morgan shares her personal experience of life with anxiety & panic - from the time it first showed up thanks to a burst appendix in childhood to the time she learned to manage it using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) much later as an adult. Her column does an excellent job of laying out what happens when our brain's plan to keep us safe - fight or flight - actually turns against us.

"The fight-or-flight response isn't conscious—it's controlled by one of the most 'primeval' parts of the brain, which means it's often a bit simplistic in the way it interprets danger. It makes no distinction between an external threat, such as a tiger, and an internal one, such as a troubling memory or a future worry. It treats both as threats that either need to be fought off or run away from. 

Over the years, I'd become a master of disguise—no one, but no one, could have told you I had an anxiety disorder. Avoidance behavior after avoidance behavior enabled me to live what appeared on the surface to be a normal life.

I've realized that the absolute backbone of me being able to function properly was accepting that there was no "cure" to make me better—only techniques and interventions to make life livable. Frustration is too close to anxiety and the constant "WHY THE F*CK IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME" thing, like not talking to anyone, makes it worse. It's too much pressure.

See, this is the thing about being human beings: We don't stay the same. We change, we adapt and we can get better—just as with any other condition. We're highly evolved like that."

 

http://www.vice.com/read/anxiety-and-me-189?utm_source=newsletter

Imposter Syndrome: Have You Mastered The Art Of Pretending?

Ever felt like you were an imposter of sorts? Like at any moment you'd be "found out" & exposed for the fraud you believe you are? If so, you aren't alone. Imposter Syndrome is a phenomenon many people, especially women, experience in some aspect of their life. Julie Zhuo shares her experience of realizing she was a member of this group as well as the 3 tactics she uses to combat the invisible imposter inside.


"You don the disguise long enough & you can't even recognize that you are acting. That you are behaving inauthentically, from a place of fear & insecurity. That you can't figure out how to reconcile the real you with the pretend you. Because nothing is more important that not being found out as a fraud."

 

https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/the-imposter-syndrome-9e23e2326d88

A Better Way To Talk To Yourself

Psychology Today magazine revisits the topic of self-talk & how it impacts our mental health in the May 2015 issue. We already know that what we say to ourselves makes a meaningful difference in terms of how we feel. What's new is the notion that how we refer to ourselves also matters as well. While it might feel a big awkward to refer to yourself in the third person, it might actually be incredibly useful to drop the pronouns in favor of our own names.

"How people conduct their inner monologues has an enormous effect on their success in life. Talk to yourself with the pronoun I, for instance, and you’re likely to fluster and perform poorly in stressful circumstances. Address yourself by your name and your chances of acing a host of tasks, from speech making to self-advocacy, suddenly soar. 

When dealing with strong emotions, taking a step back and becoming a detached observer can help. It’s very easy for people to advise their friends, yet when it comes to themselves, they have trouble. But people engaging in this process, using their own first name, are distancing themselves from the self, right in the moment, and that helps them perform.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201505/the-voice-reason?collection=1073568

What's Really Scary Right Now

In case you missed it, Parade Magazine published a short article at the start of 2015 explaining why we fear the things we tend to fear & outlining which fears are truly worth our attention (i.e. the flu, not Ebola). There's also a great little chart that breaks down exactly what's happening in your body when intense fear strikes. 

file:///Users/aprilkilduff/Desktop/psychology/cbt/Cognitive_Therapy_Techniques_to_Change_Your_Thoughts.doc

Invisibilia: NPR Podcast Explores Our Worst Thoughts

I'm not usually one for podcasts - it's hard for my brain to process information without a visual - but this one held my attention. NPR explores whether or not our thoughts are who we are or if they are something else. Of particular interest is their deep-dive into the mind of someone with Harm OCD, which includes an overview of the most current, evidence-based treatments.


http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/375927143/the-secret-history-of-thoughts?showDate=2015-01-09

Our Love For Harm OCD

Clinical psychologist Debra Kissen & I have something in common - we both love working with "Pure-O" OCD, particularly a subtype known as "Harm OCD." In this post, she articulates what it is that's so exciting to work with from our perspective as well as what to do if you are someone suffering from these types of intrusive thoughts.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-kissen/harm-related-ocdthe-terro_b_6648582.html

Bounce Back From Any Setback

Polly Campbell, author of Imperfect Spirituality, writes & speaks on resilience & personal growth. Here she's put together the 5 steps for bouncing back from setbacks. It's pretty simple when you boil it all down, though simple isn't the same as easy. Still, knowing what to do is the first step.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201502/5-ways-bounce-back-any-setback?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

Language & Autism: What You Say Matters

Autistic blogger Paddy-Joe Moran wrote this excellent piece on the impact of language, especially when used by health care professionals. To demonstrate understanding & empathy as well as change the overall autism conversation to a more accepting one, check out his tips
(And if your initial urge is to correct my lack of person-first language, please check out the link!) 

http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2015/feb/11/language-autism-social-care-professionals

9 Panic Attack Myths

Even though panic attacks are an incredibly common experience, they are surrounding by several common misperceptions. And it's not just those who've never had a panic attack that are misinformed. One of the best coping skills for dealing with panic is understanding what's going on & not fueling the fire with false information. Take a read & see how many myths you might be buying into.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/29/panic-attack-myths_n_6509750.html

Simple Tips For The Worried

Short on time? Long on worry? Psychology Today has 4 quick tips you can follow to learn how to worry more realistically. We're going to worry from time to time, so make it worth your while!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201402/tip-sheet-what-me-worry?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

Do You Have A Case Of FOMO?

FOMO. It means Fear Of Missing Out. And while not an official DSM 5 diagnosis, it is very much a fear that can induce a great deal of anxiety & depression. Therapists & authors Linda & Charlie Bloom have created list of 10 tips for overcoming FOMO over at Psychology Today.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201501/10-ways-overcome-fear-missing-out?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

A Little Pause Goes A Long Way

Over at Buzzfeed, Nathan Pyle nicely illustrates with some simple visuals the often over-looked  importance of pausing before speaking. It's a simple habit we could probably all stand to benefit from. As a visual thinker myself, this handful of images will stick in my mind the next time I'm talking to someone else.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/nathanwpyle/this-is-why-i-pause-before-i-speak?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#.agz8w0ANE

Why OCD Is So Miserable: A Reporter's Perspective

Science reporter David Adam chronicles his struggles with OCD & his fear of contracting HIV in this new book that explores the realities of the disorder as well as evidence-based treatments. To learn more, check out this interview with David on NPR.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/12/376438311/why-ocd-is-miserable-a-science-reporters-obsession-with-contracting-hiv

Scheduling Mindful Worry Time

Paul Jozsef, Director of The Mindfulness Space in Australia, has put together a helpful set of instructions for how to practice mindful worry time as a way to manage excessive worry & anxiety. While it seems counterintuitive to purposefully plan time to worry when worrying is a problem you're trying to decrease, it actually makes quite a bit of sense once you understand the rational. Check it out & try it for yourself!

http://mindfulnessspace.com.au/mindfulness-resources/articles/mindfulness-and-scheduled-worry-time

Empathy & Social Anxiety. So Sensitive It Hurts?

Results from a new study indicate a possible connection between social anxiety & a strong sense of empathy. On one hand, an empath can pick up on others' discomfort & absorb it as their own. On the other, they can easily imagine what others may be thinking or feeling, leading to increased worry about what exactly those thoughts might be in regards to themselves. Either or both could lead to feeling anxious in social situations. So if you're feeling that anxiety, it might not be that there's anything "wrong" with you, but that you possess an incredible ability to know others.

http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/new-study-links-social-anxiety-to-being-empath/

Are You Living Too Small?

Dr. David Sack gives us 5 signs that indicate we might be living our lives "too small." 
Odds are, at least one of these is something we're doing, consciously or not. Start 2015 by making a conscious effort to live larger.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201411/5-signs-you-re-living-too-small?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost