Tag Archives: Obsessive–compulsive disorder

How Buddhist Rituals Helped My OCD


Our society likes to portray obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a cute quirk, a goofy, if irritating, eccentricity. It is not. For the person undergoing OCD experience, it is a form of mental terrorism.

This terrorism takes the form of what psychologists call ‘intrusive thoughts’ — unwanted, painful thoughts or images that invade one’s consciousness, triggering profound fear and anxiety. This is the ‘obsessive’ part of OCD, and it can arise in even the most mundane circumstances. Sitting here typing, for example, I sometimes feel modest pain in my fingers, and my mind kicks into gear: You’re typing too much and causing permanent damage to your hands. Feel those little irritations at the second knuckle of your left ring finger? Those are the harbingers of arthritis. This is how it starts.

read the rest of the article by Matt Bieber here at Aeon.


Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

The following post was originally written and posted by Stephen Ames.

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

I am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

prison of painI’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Prison of Pain” by Franck Vervial
“Ice Eye” by Nicolo Paternoster

Obsession and Love


I invite you to take a peek into the life of someone in the grip of a fairly devastating mental disorder, generally considered to be organic in nature (but…that’s not the whole story, as you’ll find out). This fellow has a degree of courage that I find fairly astounding. He’s clearly speaking in front of some kind of support group, which is wonderful, but he tells a personal story that unlike any I’ve heard before. Notice the sudden cessation of symptoms at one point in the story. Think about what that means, why that might be. Definitely thought-provoking.

The range of human variety is astounding. I would hug this fellow just for sharing, if I could. What I CAN do is invite you to listen to him. It doesn’t take long.

Note also – this is actually a poetic utterance, incredibly enough. Poetry, I will assert, is in us all, and sometimes it emerges at the most unexpected moments. It pays to be alert for them.

She was the most beautiful thing I ever got stuck on

The Most Honest And Heartbreaking Reason To Leave Your Front Door Unlocked I’ve Ever Heard


Taming Obsessive Thoughts


Taming Obsessive Thoughts


Obsessive thinking can be tamed using cognitive-behavioral techniques.
Published on June 28, 2010 by Robert London, MD in Two-Minute Shrink

Have you ever gotten a thought stuck in your brain, akin to an awful pop tune from the eighties that just keeps replaying in your mind and won’t go away? A person I’ll call Rachel came to me to help her with a horrifying obsessive thought that was starting to affect her daily functioning. In it, she was being destroyed by a plague of locusts, much like the one that had attacked Egypt in biblical times.

cycleA successful physics professor at a West Coast university, Rachel needed professional help for this recurring, obsessive thought, which had become so vivid over the years that living with it had become almost unbearable. She tried five years of psychotherapy, and then switched to a psychiatrist, who recommended medications that were ineffective and caused unpleasant side effects. Finally, the patient tried a “geographic cure”– a sabbatical to New York. But Rachel continued to experience the terrifying obsessive thoughts. At that point, she was referred to me.

As always, I took a thorough history. I then explained the type of treatment I had in mind. The time frame was to be three or four sessions lasting 90 minutes each. I planned to apply two cognitive techniques and one behavior modification strategy to treat the patient’s obsessive thoughts.

First, we discussed the P&P (possibility and probability) concept. There was certainly a possibility that the locusts could attack her (this generated some humor), but the probability of this happening was significantly slim. As a physicist, she easily related to that concept. That discussion lasted about 30 minutes.

Next, we discussed Newton’s third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When translated into her treatment strategy, this became “for every thought, there is an equal and opposite thought.”

She easily accepted that theory, and it helped to relieve the anxiety of her obsessive thoughts. Taken further, that concept evolved into thinking that for every thought there is a lesser thought — and possibly even no thought. The no-thought concept helps the patient get long-term relief from the obsessive thought.

Finally, we applied the practice of thought stopping. Thought stopping is a method in which the patient induces the thought that is so distressful and is then taught how to stop it. We used guided imagery to induce the terrifying thought of the locust attack.

Here’s how it worked: I asked Rachel to imagine a large movie screen, onto which I invited her to project the scene she had so often envisioned. As she progressed into this stressful imagery, I made a loud noise by hitting my desk with a ruler and simultaneously shouting “Stop!” In that procedure, the image she was thinking or projecting was automatically interrupted, blocked, and stopped. We practiced several times. After six trials, I stopped using the ruler and just shouted “Stop!” It worked. As we proceeded through this technique, Rachel began to take over the entire strategy and began to shout the word “Stop” to control the obsessive thought.

Moving along, we reached a point at which she was able to subvocalize the word “stop” and get the same result as if an outside force had interrupted, blocked, and stopped the thought.

Rachel’s treatment was completed in three 90-minute visits. She was quite pleased that she had gained control over her obsessive thoughts. To reinforce our work together, we audio taped the sessions so she could review them whenever the obsessive thinking began to recur. Having learned how to use the movie-screen approach to project an obsessive thought, Rachel now had a tool she could use on her own. I explained that she could also change images from the obsessive thought to a pleasant scene to help reduce the anxiety that the thought produced.

When Rachel returned to her university, she resumed her thriving and demanding academic career free of that terrifying obsessive thought.

Behavioral treatments like these are hard work, for both the therapist and the patient. Often, we need to structure the treatment to the patient’s thinking, career, and lifestyle, as I did in this case by using the laws of physics for the physics professor. In this, as in so many cases, I am continually amazed at how resilient and changeable the human mind is when people really want to heal, and customized cognitive and behavioral approaches have proven time and again to provide a quick and effective solution.

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This blog aims to present psychiatric/psychological information to a general readership, offering insights into a variety of emotional disorders, as well as social issues that affect our emotional well-being. It includes the ideas and opinions of Dr. London and other leading experts. This blog does not provide psychotherapy or personal advice, which should only be done by a mental health care professional during a personal evaluation.


From “glee”
“Emma” has OCD