Monday, November 9, 2009

OCD and Depression and Medication

OCD takes a huge toll on the body, both mentally and physically. One of the worst side effects of OCD is depression. Like the recent TV commercial says, “Depression hurts.” It may help if you notice your physical symptoms. You may get body aches, headaches or stomachaches, which you may not realize is depression-related.

Speaking of TV commercials, we have been inundated with ads for depression medications, which promise relief from this distressing, debilitating disorder. Do they really work??

Recently, I have had the pleasure of corresponding with David, who has written articles about depression and antidepressant medications. He told me that 30% of college students are on antidepressant medications, which I found to be a shockingly large amount.

I share many of his views on the topic.

Here are some of the links that he sent me:

Treatment for Depression, What we Know « Health and Life

Do Antidepressants Work as Promised? « Health and Life

I also share David's view about the side effects of certain drugs - this one especially, which David also sent...

Problems with Abilify for Depression « Health and Life

Of course, medication my be necessary for some people, but at least, know what may be involved.

Also, there are several non-prescription remedies that can really help to relieve depression, and may make prescription drugs unnecessary. I will go into these in a future blog.

Thank you, David, for your very valuable insights!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Botox May Relieve Depression!

Researcher that I am, I’m always looking for new and innovative remedies. Recently, I stumbled upon what could be one of the greatest discoveries yet - Botox may help depression. Over the past few weeks I have read many studies and articles on this topic. This is one of them:
This article was written by By Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, May 21, 2006

“Kathleen Delano had suffered from depression for years. Having tried psychotherapy and a number of antidepressant drugs in vain, she resigned herself to a life of suffering.
Then she tried Botox, the drug that became a rage a few years ago for smoothing out facial wrinkles.

In 2004, her physician injected five shots of the toxin into the muscles between Delano's eyebrows so that the Glenn Dale woman could no longer wrinkle her brow. Eight weeks later, according to an unusual study published this month, her depression had lifted.

"I didn't wake up the next morning and say, 'Hallelujah, I am well, I am healed,' " she said in an interview, but she noticed changes.”I found myself able to do the things I hadn't been doing. I feel I broke out of the shackles of depression to be in the mood to go out, to reconnect with people."

The pilot study of 10 patients is the first to provide empirical support for what a number of clinicians say they have noticed anecdotally: People who get their furrowed brows eliminated with Botox (botulinum toxin A) often report an improvement in mood.
Until now, the assumption was that they were just feeling better about their appearance. But the new study by local dermatologist Eric Finzi suggests that something else may be at work. Finzi found that even patients such as Delano, who were not seeking cosmetic improvement, showed a dramatic decrease in depression symptoms.

"Maybe the frown is not just an end result of the depression; maybe you need to frown in order to be depressed," Finzi said in an interview. "I don't think it has anything to do with making you look better. These patients were not coming to me for Botox; they were coming because I was offering a new treatment for depression."
Some patients in Finzi's study were receiving other treatments for depression; Finzi required that there be no change in those treatments for three months before he injected the Botox.”

Finzi agreed that the effects of Botox on depression must be investigated in a much larger study before any conclusions about a link can be established, but a growing body of work suggests that changing expressions can influence mood. People asked to smile while watching a cartoon, for instance, report it is funnier than people who are not asked to smile.
Alastair Carruthers, president-elect of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, agreed that Finzi's study provides new insight into a phenomenon clinicians have noticed.

"Anyone who has injected much Botox into the frown area has had people come in and say they can't believe how they feel better as a result," said Carruthers, clinical professor in dermatology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, in an interview. "We've not really been able to put our fingers on why. . . . We have been doing research based on appearance, but it may be due to some mood-altering effect of Botox that we don't understand."

Finzi's study was published this month in the society's journal, Dermatologic Surgery.”

I have found out that Dr. Finzi has taken out a US Patent to be the first physician to treat depression with Botox.

Of course, I will have to try it myself and let you know my results. Of note, this is by far my coolest experiment to date. If this proves true, women all over the world will jump for joy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

OCD & The News Can Make It Worse

Over the past several months, we have been inundated with bad news. Seems like every time I turn on the TV, someone else has passed, or some major tragedy has occurred. It has been one horrible year for news, especially in the entertainment industry. This year’s Academy Awards could use up the entire show for remembrances. My head is spinning from Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Natashia Richardson, David Carradine, The Travoltas, Ed McMahon, Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze - I could go on to fill up this entire page with people who have recently passed. I can’t even watch an Oxy Clean commercial without a feeling of horror. The media has saturated the airwaves with extensive coverage of all these events. This just brings home the reality right that we are mortal, and no matter how much money, fame, or riches we have, we are all the same in the end. It is a sobering realization.

Whether or not we are fans of these people is not the issue. The issue is that we cannot escape the torrent of despair that is raining down upon us. It seems to have a snowball effect. Bad news is emanating from the TV, radio, Internet, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Even my e-mail is filled with threatening chain letters saying I will be a victim of bad luck if I don’t forward it to 25 people. I delete all of them, but it’s ridiculous – I don’t need stress from e-mail. All this can become very depressing for everyone, but especially to emotionally sensitive people. Life is difficult enough at times just as it is, and besides the world news and the impact it has on society, many people have been hit hard by their own realities, and have been dealing with personal issues.

What we desperately need is a dose of good feelings. I wish that the local news would have a segment about happy things, but until it does, I will have to avoid it. I also refuse to read the horrible stories that have inundated my computer screen. Can’t someone give us a shot of hope and happiness? I wish that people would spread happy news the way they inform others about the bad things. If everyone did this, the mood of the collective consciousness would vastly improve.

I hope that everyone can find the happy things in their lives and focus on them. If you have any good news, please contact me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

OCD and Today Is All There Is

I was sitting here and caught my mind drifting off to a September years ago when I had to go for medical tests (which eventually turned out fine, but caused me several weeks of terror, and ruined my month.) I think my mind automatically went to this scenario because it is once again September, and the cool weather triggered off this memory. I just realized that I am depressed for absolutely no good reason. A memory has done this to me.

Lately, I have been trying to catch myself from becoming immersed in negative emotions from the past, or worrying about the unknown of the future. If I think about all the time I’ve wasted due to lingering in bad memories, it may add up to years. I’ve also spend endless hours ritualizing, ruminating, worrying about the past and the future. How much of the present has been lost? Can it ever be recovered?

I must realize that the past is done and can’t be undone. I must realize the gift of the Present, the NOW. That is all there really is anyway. What’s good about that is that there is always a fresh NOW to become involved in. Right NOW is the best time in life to change the future. What we do NOW sets up the future. We can have hope, we do have choices. This applies to OCD as well as everything else.

I want to be aware of right now, and realize that it has absolutely no bearing on what was. The bad things are gone, so why relive them? I want to focus on the moment I am in. I’m trying to notice everything around me such as the sounds, the smells, and looking for happiness and beauty in whatever I am looking at. I am going to realize the abundance, not the lack.

If you are mindful, which means that you need to be vigilant of what you are thinking, and grateful for what is right now- what you do have, you won’t be so focused on what was wrong. Also, focusing on NOW takes away the worry about what may be. No more September blahs for me! I hope everyone has a fantastic September as well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

OCD & Hell Is Not For Children

Last night I went to a Pat Benatar concert. After all these years, she is still smokin’ hot and can belt out a song just like she used to do. I think she is such a great, talented lady. She also had a message. She was telling a story about how she witnessed child abuse, and that it had such an effect on her that her song “Hell Is For Children,” was the result of her emotional experience.

There are many children suffering from physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse, and it is not always from their parents. Listening to her emotional rendition of that song brought me back to my grammar school days. I not only was a victim of abuse from some of my teachers, but I also witnessed kids getting hit with pointers, having their heads slammed into blackboards, and many other things, which I write about in my book. In religion class, some of the nuns threatened us with burning in hell if we didn’t obey. This triggered off many of my fears and OCD problems as a child.

Abuse comes in many forms, and parents as by no means always to blame. Children can be victims of teachers, care takers, siblings, as well as other children. Little children may be too young to be able to verbalize these atrocities. I hope that everyone can realize the signs of abuse, some of which can be; increased nervousness, sudden fears, ritualizing, drop in grades, loss of interest in activities, depression, and withdrawal from others. If we can raise awareness, we can save much suffering in this world..

Hell definitely is NOT for children. They all belong to heaven.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

OCD and Remember To Remember

Sometimes people can get stuck in a bad pattern of thinking. Something triggers a memory; a picture, a song, a scent, just about anything, and you can be transported back through time, reliving a bad thought over and over again. Becoming immersed in bad thoughts produces bad feelings, which ruin the present. Wrong thinking can also project you into an imagined bad future.

It’s important to be aware of these negative thought patterns. It is only your past conditioning that has made you become stuck in this bad thinking pattern. Your past bad thoughts are no longer real, but your mind does not know this, and it will again become your reality. Recognizing this, and bringing your thoughts to the present moment changes your emotions. By right thinking, you can consciously carry better thoughts with you throughout the day, which will make life much more enjoyable.

In the book, The Secret, Rhonda Byrne says “Remember to remember.” If thoughts begin drifting to a bad place, catch them before they ruin your moment or your day.“Remember To Remember,” and consciously bring better scenarios into your now. Get off Auto Pilot and control your own destiny.

Also, if children were taught how to do this at an early age, they could be spared much anxiety and stress. Being conscious of negative thoughts will enable them to live much better lives.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OCD & Did the Contaminated Lady Kill My Cat?

People with OCD are victims of automatic thoughts which have been ingrained on the mind. Years ago I fell in love with a fluffy little kitten, who I named Lambchop. I took her home immediately. She made me incredibly happy, and if you have a pet that you love deeply, you will know how I felt.

One day, a neighbor of mine was passing by, and she walked up to my stoop and we started talking and the topic tuned to animals. I told her about my new kitten and she asked to see her. I really didn't want to show Lambchop to her, but she insisted. I felt uneasy as she was petting her, but didn't say anything.

Several days later, Lambchop became very ill and eventually passed away. It was very horrible for me, and I blamed my neighbor, and she has been "contaminated" ever since. For years, if I saw her, I would become terrified that something would happen to one of my pets. I would do a ritual to protect them.

This is the nature of OCD - We have experienced anxiety in the past, and are anticipating it again. In order to avoid the disturbing emotion of anxiety, we have inadvertently created a false belief system which tells us that our rituals will protect us.

I hope that people with OCD will be able to recognize this pattern in their minds and interrupt the OCD thought and challenge it.

I'd like to know your thoughts about this - sometimes I still wonder.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Many people don’t realize the enormous amount of mental and physical energy OCD uses and how it can deplete bodily resources. OCD is like the school bully who torments the same person day after day because he gets the reaction he wants, which is fear. Your fear makes him feel more powerful. In the past, I have often been a victim of this OCD bully. Mentally fighting him left me both mentally dejected and physically exhausted. This tormenter can interfere with eating, sleeping, working, as well as interacting with others.

One simple way to conserve energy when one is experiencing severe OCD is to just stop fighting it. Give up. Ignore your OCD bully. The more we fight him, the more powerful he will become, because anything we give our energy, attention, and focus, will only get stronger.

Accept that you feel this way at this moment and logically say to yourself that you are in the midst of OCD and that biochemical imbalance is causing this. Tell yourself that you will get through this and eventually you will feel better. Realize that you have more power than you think in this situation, and you don’t have to be a victim of this bully. It is only your past conditioning that has set up this attack. Do your best to ignore your obsession (which I know from personal experience is very hard to do, but with practice, really works.) Then try to refocus your physical and mental energy elsewhere. If possible, think of something pleasant. A past pleasant experience is just as good as a present one because your mind doesn’t know the difference. Take a walk, clean a room, make a phone call, take a bath, listen to music, eat something delicious, see a movie. Make a conscious effort to do anything that will make you feel better. What is important is the emotion that is projected. If you can manage to feel anything pleasant, it will immediately give you some relief. If you can be aware of this and practice doing it, it will make a huge difference in your life.

Refocusing your attention elsewhere and giving your OCD the least amount of effort is just like standing up to the bully and taking away his power. Ignore him and he usually shrinks away. I hope understanding this will bring you some relief.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OCD & The Man In the Mirror

This may make some people happy, and it may make some very angry, but I will say it anyway – I am a Michael Jackson fan, and I am very upset by his loss. Over the past few days, many people have shared my sentiments, but I have also been met with extreme hostility at the fact that I could feel this way about him. This is my story.

I am approximately the same age as Michael Jackson, and I literally grew up with his music. I was never a fanatical fan of the Jackson 5 like I was with the Beatles, but the little boy, Michael, had something unworldly about him, and I never tired of watching him perform.

Fast forward several decades. Within a 6 week period, my father and grandmother had just died, as well as the mother of my 2 friends who are like sisters to me. My own mother had a bleeding ulcer and was on the verge of hospitalization, and I was caring for her in my house. I also had a teenager who was going through a difficult period – he just lost the love of his life, his grandfather, and he needed me. My OCD had escalated out of control and it was all that I could do to function, and I wasn’t doing a good job of that. The grip of depression that took hold of me was so intense that breathing was difficult at times. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or concentrate on anything. I didn’t care if I was alive or not.

I remember it clearly, the night that I was sitting in a chair in the dark, in the quiet, crying and crying and hoping that the pain would stop. I remember the way my thoughts were just going around and around in my mind – they were unstoppable and driving me insane. I got up and put the radio on. I sat back down in the chair. It started playing “The Man In the Mirror.” The music, the emotional way he sang it -I felt it go right through my body and penetrate every fiber of my being. The words took hold of me and went right to my spirit:

Gonna make a change, For once in my life. Its gonna feel real good, Gonna make a difference

Gonna make it right . . . As I turn up the collar of my Favorite winter coat, This wind is blowin’ my mind...

I'm starting with the man in the mirror, Im asking him to change his ways. And no message could have Been any clearer, If you wanna make the world A better place Take a look at yourself, and Then make a change...

Man, that man With that man in the mirror. No message could have Been any clearer. If you wanna make the world A better place Take a look at yourself and Then make a change. Gonna feel real good now!Yeah yeah! yeah yeah!

Just lift yourself, You knowYouve got to stop it. Yourself!(yeah!-make that change!) Ive got to make that change, Today!Hoo!(man in the mirror)You got to, You got to not let yourself . . Youve got to move! Come On! come on!You got to . . .Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!(yeah-make that change) Stand up and lift Yourself, now!(man in the mirror)Hoo! hoo! hoo! Aaow. . .(change . . .)Make that change.

I was so filled with emotion when that song ended that I knew that this was a message that was sent to me through that song from somewhere else, I’m sure of it. I did get up, right then and there. That song was what got me moving again, made me get a grip of my life and take the steps to conquer my depression. Every time i hear it, I get the chills.

I am forever grateful to Michael Jackson for the gift of music that he gave to me. That is why I am going to the Apollo Theater for his memorial today – to thank him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

OCD & Intrusive Thoughts Have No Power

Many people with OCD or other anxiety disorders are victims of Intrusive Thoughts, which are scary thoughts that seemingly pop into the mind randomly, causing intense feelings of fear, anger, or sadness. They always produce extreme discomfort.

The thoughts themselves are bad enough, but is the emotions that they produce that can be disconcerting and damaging. But we are being fooled by our minds- these thoughts have no power unless we allow them power. We become victims of these thoughts because we think that they are messages or omens. Too often, people take these thoughts at face value and believe them unconditionally. That is because we have trained ourselves to do this subconsciously

I believe that our brains, from childhood, create patterns which trigger certain thoughts regularly and automatically. An example of this is once when I was a child I got a new necklace. I put it on and 5 minutes later the phone rang and I heard bad news. From then on every time I attempted to wear the necklace I believed that something bad would happen. It was such a strong thought that I couldn’t wear that necklace anymore. In addition, every time I saw a necklace, I would become afraid, and expect bad news. Now I know my own mind created that pattern, but back then I didn’t realize this and the fear was very strong.

If you can logically look into your minds and see that the patterns of automatic thinking which have been ingrained in you since childhood are causing your Intrusive Thoughts, they will no longer have power over you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OCD & Success Consciousness

I subscribe to a newsletter, by Remez Sasson. In today’s issue there was a great article will power and self discipline, with tips and exercises to help build these great qualities. I think that if a person can strengthen their powers of will and self discipline, their OCD or any other mental malady will be helped. Here is some information from this issue:
“Everyone possesses some addictions or habits they wish they could overcome, such as smoking, excessive eating, laziness, procrastination or lack of assertiveness. To overcome these habits or addictions, one needs to have will power and self discipline. They make a great difference in everyone's life, and bring inner strength, self mastery and decisiveness.
There is a misconception in the public mind regarding will power. It is erroneously thought to be something strenuous and difficult, and that one has to exert and tense the body and mind when expressing it. It is a completely wrong concept. This is one of the reasons why people avoid using it, though they are conscious of its benefits. They acknowledge the fact that the employment of will power in their life and affairs will greatly help them, and that they need to strengthen it, yet they do nothing about it.
Will power gets stronger by holding back and not allowing the expression of unimportant, unnecessary and unhealthy thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. If this saved energy is not allowed expression, it is stored inside you like a battery, and it becomes available at the time of need. By practicing appropriate exercises, you develop your powers the same way, as a person who trains his/her muscles in order to strengthen them.
An effective method for developing and improving these abilities is to perform certain actions or activities, which you would rather avoid doing due to laziness, procrastination, weakeness, shyness, etc. By doing something that you do not like doing or are too lazy to do, you overcome your subconscious resistance, train your mind to obey you, strengthen your inner powers and gain inner strength. Muscles get stronger by resisting the power of the barbells. Inner strength is attained by overcoming inner resistance.
Remember, strengthening one of these abilities, automatically strengthens the other one.
Here are a few exercises:
1) You are sitting in a bus or train and an old man or woman, or a pregnant lady walks in. Stand up and give up your seat even if you prefer to stay seated. Do this not just because it is polite, but because you are doing something that you are reluctant to do. In this way you are overcoming the resistance of your body, mind and feelings.
2) There are dishes in the sink that need washing, and you postpone washing them for later. Get up and wash them now. Do not let your laziness overcome you. When you know that in this way you are developing your will power, and if you are convinced of the importance of will power in your life, it will be easier for you to do whatever you have to do.
3) You come home tired from work and sit in front of the T.V. because you feel too lazy and tired to go and wash. Do not obey the desire to just sit, but go and have a shower
4) You may know your body needs some physical exercise, but instead you keep on sitting doing nothing or watching a movie. Get up and walk, run or do some other physical exercise.
5) Do you like your coffee with sugar? Then for a whole week decide to drink it without sugar. You like to drink three cups of coffee each day? For a week drink only two.
6) Sometimes, when you want to say something that is not important, decide not to say it.
7) Don't read some unimportant gossip in the newspaper, even if you want to.
8) You have a desire to eat something not too healthy. For the sake of the exercise refuse the desire.
9) If you find yourself thinking unimportant, unnecessary, negative thoughts, try to develop lack of interest in them, by thinking about their futility.
10) Overcome your laziness. Convince yourself of the importance of what is to be done. Convince your mind that you gain inner strength when you act and do things, in spite of laziness, reluctancy or senseless inner resistance.
Never say that you cannot follow the above exercises, because you certainly can. Be persistent no matter what. Motivate yourself by thinking about of the importance of performing the exercises, and the inner power and strength you will gain.”
I hope that this information will help. Also, this is a great E-zine, and I recommend it for everyone. Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

OCD & Hand Yoga - Mudra's for Health

Today I’m feeling tired and a bit under the weather. Perhaps it is because it has been raining for weeks on and off and summer has taken its time arriving. I was looking around for something to renew my energy and pick me up a bit. I remembered that my friend Jill sent me a great website which I found very interesting. It is is Yoga for the hands! It is something that people with OCD, or anyone for that matter, can do wherever they are in need of a quick pick me up. These hand exercises, which are called Mudra's, supposedly can address a variety of health issues, both physical and mental. I can't wait to try them!

Another hand exercise that I wanted to mention here is for anyone who needs a confidence boost. Spread your fingers out as wide as you can and make the space between your index finger and thumb as big as possible. It’s like standing straight and lifting your shoulders – it gives you extra confidence. I do this often and it does make a difference.

Below are the hand Mudra's that I have duplicated from


1- Gyan Mudra (Mudra of Knowledge):

Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger, with the other three fingers stretched out.
As it is a mudra of knowledge, it enhances the knowledge. The tip of thumb has centers of pituitary and endocrine glands. When we press these centers by index finger the two glands work actively.
Time duration:
There is no particular time duration for this mudra. You can practice by sitting, standing or lying on bed whenever and wherever you have time.
Increases memory power and sharpens the brain
Enhances concentration and prevents Insomnia
If we practice it regularly, it will cure all psychological disorders like Mental, Hysteria, Anger and Depression

2 -Prithvi Mudra (Mudra of Earth):

Tip of the ring finger touches the tip of the thumb, with the other three fingers stretched out.
It reduces all physical weaknesses.
Time Duration:
It has no particular time duration. You can practice it any time you want.
It helps to increase the weight for weak people
It improves the complexion of skin and makes the skin to glow
It makes the body active by keeping it healthy

3-Varuna Mudra (Mudra of Water):

Tip of little finger touches the tip of thumb, with the other three fingers stretched out.
It balances the water content and prevents all diseases which come due to lack of water.
Time Duration:
It has no specific time duration and one can practice it according to their time.
It retains clarity in blood by balancing water content in the body
Prevents the pains of Gastroenteritis and Muscle Shrinkage

4- Vayu Mudra (Mudra of Air):

Keep the index finger on the base of the thumb and press with thumb keeping the other three fingers straight.
It prevents all the diseases that occur due to the imbalance of the air.
Time Duration:
The practice of this mudra for 45 minutes reduces the severity of the disease in 12 to 24 hours. For better results practice it for two months.
It cures Rheumatism, Arthritis, Gout, Parkinson's disease and paralysis without any medicine
It is useful for Cervical Spondilytis, paralysis to face and catching of nerve in neck
It corrects the disorder of gas in the stomach

5- Shunya Mudra (Mudra of Emptiness):
Keep the middle finger at the mount of Venus and press it with thumb.
It reduces the dullness in our body.
Time Duration:
One can practice it for 40 to 60 minutes daily until to be cured from the disease.
It relieves an earache within 4 or 5 minutes
It is useful for the deaf and mentally challenged, but not for inborn ones.

6- Surya Mudra (Mudra of Sun):
Bend the ring finger and press it with thumb.
It sharpens the center in thyroid gland.
Time Duration:
Practice it daily twice for 5 to 15 minutes.
It reduces cholesterol in body and helps in reducing weight
It reduces anxiety
It corrects indigestion problems

7- Prana Mudra (Mudra of Life):
Bend ring finger and little finger and touch the tip of thumb with their tips keeping the remaining two fingers stretched.
As it is the mudra of life, it improves the power of life. Weak people become strong. It reduces the clamps in blood vessels. If we practice it regularly, we will become active.
Time Duration:
No specific time duration. One can practice it any time.
It improves immunity
Improves the power of eyes and reduces eye related diseases
It removes the vitamin deficiency and fatigue

8- Apana Mudra (Mudra of Digestion):
The tips of middle finger and ring finger touch the tip of thumb while the othertwofingers are stretched out.
Specialty: It plays an important role in our health as it regulates the excretory system.
Time Duration:
Practice it daily for 45 minutes, but practice for longer time yields more benefits.
It regulates diabetes
It cures constipation and piles
It helps excreting the normal waste regularly

9-Apana Vayu Mudra (Mudra of Heart):

The tips of the middle finger and ring finger touch the tip of thumb, while the index finger touches the base of thumb and little finger stretched out.
It benefits the heart. It works like injection in the reduction of heart attack. It is as powerful as sorbitate tablet. It reduces the gas content in body.
Time Duration:
Practice it as many times as you can. Heart patients and BP patients can practice it for 15 minutes daily twice for better results.
It strengthens the heart and regularizes palpitation
It regulates excretory system
It redeems gastric trouble

10-Linga Mudra (Mudra of Heat):
Interlock the fingers of both the hands and keep the thumb of the left hand vertically straight and encircle it with the thumb and the index finger of the right hand.
It generates heat in our body. Take milk, ghee, more water and fruit juices in addition to practice of this mudra for much benefits.
Time Duration:
Practice it any time you want. But don't practice it a lot as it produces heat in the body. It can cause sweating even in winter if you practice it longer.
It stops production of phlegm and gives power to lungs
It cures severe cold and bronchial infection
It invigorates the body

I hope that these Mudra's will recharge you and change your energy whenever you need it. Have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OCD and the Anxiety of Waiting

A dear friend of mine recently had to go for a medical test. She was pretty nervous in the days leading up to it, and near terrified about getting the results. This is a common scenario for many people, and not just those with OCD. Also, it is not just waiting for medical tests – waiting for just about anything can be an anxiety provoking experience. Whether it is an important date, phone call, or an upcoming event, waiting generally increases excitement, and can increase anxiety as well.

If a person who is waiting for an upcoming event feels good about it and has a good picture of the future, then I would encourage that way of thinking. I want to discuss the terrified people, when OCD and all the other nasty stuff kick in.

For a person with OCD (or many others for that matter,) waiting can be like torture. All kinds of thoughts can intrude on a person’s mind about the future, and people may find themselves mentally transported to the future and involved in various scenarios. Some of them can be terrifying, especially if the person is currently experiencing anxiety. Waiting can turn into a frustrating, demoralizing, aggravating, time consuming, and expensive experience. Like Tom Petty says: “The waiting is the hardest part.” I have been a victim of this way of thinking many times, and it always takes a toll, both emotionally and physically.

What we need to remember is that is only our minds thinking up these bad scenarios, and there is no proof that this will be the outcome. We have been tricked by our minds, which have created automatic thought patterns from events in the past, and we are projecting that onto this event and into our future. Why don’t we question our assumptions? Many of us just take them as fact.

We have the power to change the picture…..Visualize a great outcome to whatever it is that we are waiting for. I believe that we should play out the scene in our minds with the intended outcome as much as possible. Perhaps we will help to subconsciously attract the desired result. At any rate, it is much better then living frozen in anxiety.

I’m happy to report that my friend’s test turned out fine. My hope is that everyone out there now has the ability to question their assumptions and to positively anticipate, and turn waiting into a good experience.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OCD & The Gift of Listening

One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is our undivided attention. For people with OCD or ADD, or just people who are very busy, that may be difficult to do, as distractions almost inevitably occur when listening or following conversations.

In this very busy technological world, we are often overwhelmed with multi-tasking. I am often a victim of this. I will be reading something, or will be on the Internet, watching TV, cleaning, etc., and the phone rings and I try to keep up with 2 or more things at once, while having a conversation. The result of this is that all things usually suffer to some degree. Also, the person on the other end can usually pick up on my distraction. I have realized that this is very unfair. If I can’t give my undivided attention to someone, then I should tell them that I am busy at the moment and will contact them when I can concentrate.

Distractions, whether in the background or in the mind, sometimes makes listening difficult. The thing to do is to ignore all the surrounding chatter and try not to multi-task when listening on the phone, or even on the Internet. It is the same thing with thoughts that occur while talking face to face with someone. Sometimes we are so focused on our response that we don’t hear what the person is talking about. Make an effort to really absorb and listen to what the person is saying is saying. Focus on the words, live in the moment. Take yourself off auto-pilot.
I believe that giving the gift of undivided attention can reach people on a spiritual level, and that subconsciously, people know this. I hope that we all can put this into practice more often so that we can really connect as human beings.

Monday, May 18, 2009

OCD & The Economy

Many people are presently experiencing Economic Anxiety. It seems as if everywhere we look there is economic gloom and doom. Lately when I log onto my computer, I am greeted by headlines of stock market nosedives and watch lists for businesses that are expected to bite the dust very soon. The state of the economy seems to be the hot topic of discussion no matter where I go. It’s everywhere and unavoidable. I admit that this makes me a bit nervous.

This economic frenzy cannot be good for the mind and body. I’m sure it’s making a lot of people very nervous, and I know that it is exacerbating OCD in many people, as OCD gets worse in times of stress. I can just imagine the people out there who are frantic about paying their bills, or keeping their homes and jobs.

If your OCD was been acting up lately, perhaps it has something to do with the current financial crisis. Stop for a minute and think back over the past few months and assess your financial situation. If you have been feeling the current pinch, it may be linked to increased anxiety, tension, and for those of us with OCD, increased obsessions,compulsions, and rituals.

Just realize that we are all in the same situation. Also, I believe that the media is feeding off, and helping to create this frenzy. Frenzy sells more papers and causes people to watch more news shows. I think that things are not as bad as they would like you to believe. There are surely signs of financial stability that are overlooked.

If the economy upsets you, maybe you should limit exposure to the gloom and doom tactics of the media. Avoid the paper or news before bedtime if possible. This realization will hopefully make you feel better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

OCD & Your Inner Orchestra

We have thousands of thoughts every day. Most of us are unaware them because they usually come and go so quickly. Whatever you think of the most eventually turns into a feeling, which gets transmitted to the universe in the form of vibrations. These vibrations are like music, and the universe will read your symphony and harmonize with it. In effect, what you send out, you will get back. This is why it is very important to keep vigil on thought, and what gets filtered through the mind. If left unchecked, bad thoughts can randomly flow and send out bad vibes which are picked up by universal energy which matches them and gives us more of the same. What you may not realize is that your mind is your inner orchestra.

All of our personal symphonies are being broadcast 24 hours a day. We are responsible for playing the right tunes – ones that make us happy, not the mental music that saddens or agitates us. We need to play tunes that soothe and uplift us – happy, harmonizing tunes. Even if we can’t sit down and write a piece of beautiful music, we are all capable of consciously having a pleasant thought and generating beautiful mental music. We can write the play list every morning.

A mind that is not in the present is like an orchestra without a conductor. All the instruments needed to play a beautiful melody are present, but there is no one there to organize and keep the rhythm. If we leave our inner orchestra unmanned, what comes over the airwaves will be out of our control- static and unpleasant noise. These are our negative run-away thoughts, which always turn into negative emotions; fear, anger, anxiety, insecurity, etc. I hope that you could be aware that if you are not in the NOW, no one will be conducting your inner orchestra and it will be forever out of tune. Be present and see that when you stand in front and pick up the baton, you can create the most beautiful music. Your life can be more harmonious and beautiful then you ever could have imagined!

Monday, May 4, 2009

OCD & Paulie Gee's Pizza

Yesterday was a culinary delight! We were treated to a unique experience via an invitation to a “Pizza Tasting” at Paulie and Mary Ann Giannone’s house in Warren NJ. Paulie G, as he is known by friends and fans alike, is famous for his pizza, which he cooks in his beautifully pained and decorated outdoor handmade pizza oven, named Napoli. Paulie only uses white birch wood that has to be kiln-dried for this special wood-burning oven.

As we were seated at the beautifully set table drinking Paulie’s homemade Limoncello and sipping Chilean wine, I noticed that there was a detailed printed menu of the pizzas that we would be eating, some of which were “Margherita with Speck, Pecorino Romano and Sliced Red Onion - Bianco with Chopped Fresh Garlic, Pecorino Romano and Basil –Margherita with Sopressata Picante and Parmigiano Reggiano.” There were ten pies in all and my mouth was watering!

Looking around, I noticed that the table was set precisely, and asked Paulie about it. Paulie told me that when he hosts a pizza tasting, there can only be 8 people. At the table the place mats must be perfectly aligned and the white chairs have to be at the front of the table and the dark chairs at the rear. Also, the blue glasses must be with the white chairs, and he needs clear glasses to be with the dark chairs. This sounded a lot like OCD to me so I asked him if he had any more “rituals”. He told me that when serving his famous Limoncello, (I did hear that Jay Z has had some) he must pour the first shot into a particular glass with raised letters, then next 4 guests must have plain glasses, then the raised glass again. Paulie believes that if these things aren’t done, his pizza tasting will not go as well as it could be. He said people notice these things subconsciously. He told me that when he serves his first pie, it must be in his “Pucenella”(which is a theater comedy/drama figure) plate, and his 2nd pie must be on another special plate. These plates were gifts from Adam from Slice, (an online pizza magazine) and Andrew from Scott Pizza Tours, people prominent in the pizza industry, who were at Paulies house for a pizza tasting. Here is the great article about Paulie and Mary Ann from Slice…

For the record, I do not think that Paulie has OCD. He just does a bit of “ordering” when it comes to his pizzas. I have noticed that when people feel passion for something, it can trigger a touch of OCD behaviors. In this case it’s worth it. Every pie was a work of art, lovingly made and out of this world delicious! Thank you Paulie, Mary Ann, and their son Derek, for a fantastic experience!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

OCD & What to Look For In Children

This is for my friend Jim, who asked me to write a blog about the signs of OCD in children. Jim runs a daycare center, and is always searching for knowledge regarding the children that are placed in his care.

Children often spend more time with their teachers or caregivers then with their parents during typical weekdays. I agree with you Jim, it is important for everyone to look for signs of OCD in kids.


According to my own personal experiences, I have compiled a list of possible early warning signs of OCD in children:

• A child with red and cracked hands, which could mean excessive hand-washing rituals.

• Spending too much time in the bathroom, which may mean he is performing showering or grooming rituals.

• Constantly re-writing or erasing while doing assignments. OCD will cause some children to take a long time to complete their homework due to checking or repeating rituals.

• Constantly insisting that certain activities, such as your washing their clothes, are done in a specific way. This behavior could mean that they are enlisting you to perform their rituals.

• Repeating normal actions often, such as combing hair or brushing teeth, could indicate repeating rituals.

• Asking parents or friends to say certain words, or not to say them, may mean they are obeying mental INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS, which compel them to ask you these things.

• Always entering or leaving rooms in a specific way, which may indicate ritualizing.

• Excessive clutter or an accumulation of useless objects that your child will not dispose of may mean hoarding problems.

• Excessive neatness and having to have possessions in perfect order may be due to ordering compulsions.

• Counting while performing activities can be due to counting rituals.

• Constant preoccupation may be due to obsessional thinking.

• Praying for long periods, or in a certain order, or sacrificing things may be indicators of scrupulosity.

• Avoidance of certain objects or people may mean contamination issues.

• Constant asking for reassurance or asking if they are loved, may be rituals.

• Taking an unusual amount of time to move may mean mental rituals.

• Increased activity before bedtime may mean having to complete rituals before sleep, or constant early rising may also be a sign that your child is compelled to ritualize before school.

• Depression or winter depression that is accompanied by any other symptoms of OCD means your child needs help.

These are not all of the signs of OCD. Like in adults, the behaviors may encompass an infinite variety of actions. However, being aware of these signs may save a child from a lifetime of suffering.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

OCD & Subconscious Sabotage

Why do some people with OCD (or many others for that matter) sometimes subconsciously sabotage themselves? Why is that? Why do we sometimes stop ourselves from enjoying things and being happy? I’m trying to be aware of this in my life, and want to raise awareness of this in your lives also. It is not the universe that has it in for us – it is the constant, automatic thought patterns that we have created over the years which automatically kick in when we sense that something good is about to happen.

I found a good site, and got this:
“Self-sabotage is a term used to describe the things people do or say which ruins success or happiness they experience in life.” You are a victim of this if:
1) You acquire some degree of good fortune, success and happiness, but can never reach the next level no matter how hard you work.
2) You achieve something great – a high level of success or happiness, then quickly lose it.
3) You are close to achieving something, then it suddenly slips away.

I think that the causes are deeply rooted in the unconscious mind and mostly formed in childhood. Guilt or low self esteem that is instilled in an impressionable child’s mind could cause him as an adult to unconsciously think he doesn’t deserve anything good. Perhaps it could be self-hatred a child acquired from not living up to someone’s ideals. Perhaps a sensitive child was moved from place to place and never settled into a school or made friends. As an adult, any change or move could trigger unconscious pain. Maybe a child who got sick or failed at something was treated with love and attention or rewarded, so as an adult she may have a twisted connection between illness, failure, and pleasure.

I really liked how the site described all of this; we have created a “success thermostat” and the subconscious mind will automatically regulate our success and happiness levels with what we believe we are worthy of. The major areas of our lives that this affects are relationships, money, health, and career. There was a story about a girl named Mary, whose parents constantly told that she was not as attractive as her sister and that she would be lucky if men even looked at her. She grew to be a beautiful woman and attracted many men, but she couldn’t sustain a relationship with any of them. She had held that belief that she wasn’t good enough, and subconsciously reinforced this by being demanding, obsessive, possessive and controlling. She always got what she subconsciously thought she deserved.

Awareness of thought is critical. Identify the automatic negative thinking when something potentially makes you happy and link it to something in the past that may have caused this. Challenge your subconscious belief system – it is not real. I hope this helps all of us to move upwards, reset our “success thermostats” and to enjoy all the good things in life.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

OCD & Daydreaming

I’m thinking about my childhood and how many times I have heard “STOP DAYDREAMING!” Alright, I admit that sometimes it was in school during math class, but I looking back I wish that I did not listen to that advice. I wish I had my mental paradise back again.

Why have I lost or forgotten about my ability to daydream? Where are my magical creatures that would transport me anywhere through time and space? Has this also happened to you? OCD, or any mental affliction for that matter, can destroy happy thoughts and daydreams. The time is now spent obsessing about some disaster or anxious thought. We need to get these distressing things out of our minds! Maybe, by mentally time traveling back to our childhoods, and thinking like we did as children, we can regain some of that magical time and forget about our current circumstances.

When I was a child I used to daydream a lot. I had magical worlds that I could travel to in an instant. Within seconds I would be transported to a far away beach where I would find a Genie bottle with an infinite amount of wishes. Sometimes I and all my family and friends would live in mansions on mystical islands and discover great treasures. I had a forest full of magical animal friends who could talk to me and fly me wherever I wanted to go, or keep me warm and cozy in the softest, purest living fur. I could wear jewels and explore fantastic castles. I didn’t need a plane because I could teleport anywhere, or could sail the oceans at will.

I’m really looking forward to mentally time traveling back to my younger days, and experiencing the feelings I had when things were exciting and possibilities were endless and the universe was mine. I hope that we all can regain the art of Daydreaming, and I believe that if people did this more often, their OCD, mental afflictions, and their lives in general would be much better off. Pleasant daydreams to all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

OCD & Are You Settling For Numbness?

An OCD "attack"can become so distressing that a person would prefer to feel nothing instead of the unrelenting disturbing feelings of anxiety, depression, and panic that obsessions can cause. It's awful! For some people it's not even OCD - it can be an event, or a change in life circumstance which triggers very negative emotions. If you are at the point where numbness is preferable to what you are feeling, it is time to do something about it. Even just understanding this is helpful, because you need to realize that you are in a chronic state of pain and you don’t have to live this way. Don’t settle for numbness, even if it seems as if is an improvement. Your goal should be happiness, which is the absence of pain.

First thing, if possible, is to do something physical so that you can drain energy, which will lessen the physical effects of anxiety. I know that some people can become frozen and unable to move when in the grips of fear, but if you can work out, take a walk, run up and down the steps - do anything you can in order to tire yourself out.

When you get to the point where you can think rationally, entertain the idea that you do not have to live this way any longer and that your current state of mind or obsession is only temporary. You will look back on this episode one day in the future and it will be over. "All things must pass," as George Harrison once wisely said.

You are entitled to a life of happiness, and you can eventually live with joy as your normal state of being. This may sound like an unobtainable and ridiculous goal because of your current state of intense anxiety, fear, and depression, but it isn't. If you can just contemplate and nurture the idea that you can feel happiness, that will be one step towards achieving it. Believing is not always easy though, it takes practice. If you can get a picture of yourself at one point in the future being happy, perhaps doing something you have always wanted to do, that is a good start. Concentrate on this image and bring it to mind often. You can change it, add to it, whatever works for you. If you do this often, it will not seem so foreign and will eventually get into your subconscious.

I wish you happiness always.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

OCD & Your Pet Can Have it Too

A friend of mine, Stella, responded to my last blog, OCD & Your Vinyl Floor, and raised a very good point. Stella wondered that if environmental pollutants can cause OCD in children, what about our pets? I do believe that OCD is not just a human disorder and that animals also suffer from it. I think the triggers are stress and the environment. Today I will be writing about dogs, but OCD can affect cats and other pets as well.

In looking around the Internet, I found this:

” If you have ever wondered just why your dog will not stop barking, even when you see nothing to bark about, your dog could very well be suffering from OCD tendencies. Contrary to what was once believed, canines do suffer from forms of OCD disorders. The most common include excessive barking and compulsive uncontrolled licking and it most commonly occurs in larger breed dogs. Dogs that have OCD tendencies have both a genetic predisposition and environmental stresses that trigger the behavior.

OCD behaviors in canines resembles that of humans in that dogs demonstrate repetitive behaviors, apparently without being able to control it. The onset can be both gradual and sudden, depending on what triggered the behavior. Moreover, what behaviors are demonstrated depends on what type of breed the dog is. It is most common for longhaired dogs to over groom themselves. Dogs raised for herding may chase and hoard all of the time and predatory breeds such as a Doberman or rot may bite."
To read the full article, go to:

I also read that boredom is also a trigger for OCD in animals and shows up as compulsive barking, digging, running in patterns and tail chasing. The best remedy is tiring out your pet by doing safe and fun things – walks, fetch, etc. This also helps obesity.
"A tired dog is a content dog, and not a compulsive pet. Get out and play more!”

Also, “Compulsive Disorders can also be part of your dog's genetic make-up. Certain breeds are pre-disposed to these behaviors, such as Dobermans, who suck on their skin, German Shepherds, who chase their own tails, and English Bull Terriers, who have the odd habit of sticking their heads underneath objects and freezing in place.”
To read the complete article, go to:

I also found out that most dogs with OCD were obtained from breeders. I also read something that said plastic water bowls can cause OCD in pets. Also, there was some really scary stuff I read on about chemical exposure and pets’ health. I found this to be interesting also:

In my opinion, what causes mental and physical problems in people also causes them in our pets. Thanks Stella, for making us aware.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

OCD & Your Vinyl Floor

I believe that there is a link between environmental toxins and OCD and the related disorders, such as autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). We are being bombarded by an assortment of man-made chemicals which are saturating our environment and polluting the air and our bodies, such as plastics, artificial fragrances, scented detergents, artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, and way too many more for me to list here. These artificial pollutants are especially damaging to children, and could be affecting young brains and bodies in a negative way. Some research I did said:

“A preliminary new study from Sweden suggests that children who live in homes with vinyl flooring are more likely to have autism. The plastics used to make vinyl flooring can emit chemicals called phthalates, previously shown to contribute to allergies and asthma, and now suspected of playing a role in the development of autism. The study found that infants and toddlers who had vinyl bedroom floors (common in Sweden) were twice as likely to be autistic five years later than kids with wood floors. Scientists are still not sure which biological and environmental factors cause autism, which is dramatically on the rise, and urged further research.”

“In the last few decades, scientists have pointed out possible factors that may lead to the occurrence of ADHD. Some of these possible factors are brain injury, heredity, environmental toxins, maternal smoking and drug use or exposure of the mother to environmental toxins during pregnancy, and sugar and food additives.”

“If one identical twin has OCD, there is a 13 percent chance that the other twin will not be affected. This supports the idea that genes are only part of the cause of OCD. Other factors are also important. It may be a viral infection that occurs at a critical point in a child's development, or perhaps an exposure to an environmental toxin.”

I think that by being aware of the toxins around us, and by using natural products whenever possible, we can eliminate many mental and physical disorders in ourselves, and more importantly, our children.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

OCD & The Barbie Doll

When I was a child, my mother bought a Barbie doll for me. She was the only doll that I liked and the only one allowed in my room. Barbie was cool and had a boyfriend named Ken, who obviously adored her. Barbie had the nicest clothes, which you could purchase separately, and you could pick out what she would wear for her dates with Ken. Barbie had her own case, which I locked up every night.

When I was a child, Barbie was all the rage. I even had a Barbie game, where you could double date with Barbie, Ken and Poindexter, who I thought was geeky. Unlike many other toys who have been around for a long time, Barbie never lost her popularity. She has grown into a mega-bucks industry. Barbie just celebrated her 50th birthday on March 9, and she is still the top-selling toy in the United States, especially with girls under the age of 6. In today’s times, this could be a mixed blessing.

When I was a child, plastic surgery wasn’t a viable option for most of the population, and was considered a practice mostly for the rich and famous. As children, we were not bombarded with TV and magazine ads of perfect women, and the expectations for physical perfection were nowhere like they are today. We enjoyed our Barbie’s without anxiety. Now, little girls under the age of 6 are led to believe that this is what they should look like when they grow up. And it’s not just Barbie, it’s mostly everything their environment is being bombarded with – TV, magazines, movies, etc. I think this is fertile ground for OCD, body dimorphic disorders, and eating disorders.

Today, there is something known as the “Barbie Syndrome,” which is an actual disorder. I have seen TV shows and read articles about women who undergo drastic surgeries in order to look like Barbie. I saw a show about a woman, Cindy Jackson, who has had plastic surgery 47 times in order to look like a Barbie doll . “Toy manufacturers set this expectation by developing and marketing the Barbie doll, whose measurements are physiologically impossible," say Jennifer Derenne, M.D., and Eugene Beresin, M.D., in the journal 'Academic Psychiatry.' "With increased availability of plastic surgery, today's women are faced with similarly unrealistic expectations every time they open a fashion magazine. A growing number of girls are experiencing this pressure to be beautiful, have a perfect body and a boyfriend from very young ages. Unfortunately, this is becoming a bad part of our culture.

I hope that these false expectations can be removed from the minds of little girls in today’s society, and they could just go back to playing and relaxing, and being kids again. I think if that were the case, many mental disorders could be avoided.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

OCD & April Fools Day

I was looking around for some info about OCD & April Fools Day and came across this article written by Michael Brykov, On the Ezine @rticles website. Bad Jokes For April Fools' Day People with OCD may be very sensitive to April Fool jokes. I hope they are aware of the day, and on the lookout for pranksters…

“April 1st is a wonderful day when we are free to make jokes, pranks and gags on our relatives, friends and colleagues. However, the question is; why is it that human nature provokes us to laugh at the expense of others like we do on April Fools’ Day?
Let's observe the typical structure of a joke. It consists of two "messages" or, in general, "impacts". The first one is usually used to transfer some kind of misleading information to a person. At this point the information looks like a simple truth that people have no reason to doubt. Therefore a person begins to believe this information is really true. At the moment when a person puts absolute truth in new information the second "impact" is made. It usually contains contrary information, somewhat like this: "Relax, it is just a joke".
This kind of joke is harmful to a person’s mental state because each of us has his/her own "picture of reality". The information, which is in conflict with our "picture", enforces us to make certain efforts to change that "picture". This process is quite unpleasant, especially when a very important part of the "picture" needs to be changed. So, that is why jokes may be very harmful, even if done with best intentions.
At that, it doesn't matter how "good" or "bad" the first "message" (or "impact") is. Here is an example:
1st message: - Hello Mary! Did you know your husband died?2nd message: - Relax it is just an April 1st joke.
If Mary loves her husband, then the first message is a shock for her. Even the second message cannot compensate her stress. If Mary hates her husband, then the first message may even cause her to be delighted. But the second message immediately “turns off” her delight. Regardless the April 1st joke provokes a person to feel strong emotions which are later taken away from them.
Here is another very bad April 1st joke.
In connection with all these considerations the only acceptable jokes are those, which we all remember from our school years. For example, placing a sticker on a person’s back or singing a song whilst altering the words to parody news current news topics.”

Enjoy April Fools Day - but BE ALERT!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Welcome to the allergy season. Usually every spring when the trees bud, I sneeze and my eyes itch and water for a few days. This year my allergies have been much worse then usual and I developed a sinus infection which went into both my ears. Besides feeling lousy physically, I also noticed mental changes, such as anxiety and stuck thoughts.

In my book I have a chapter about OCD & allergies in which Dr. Albert Robbins, - who is an allergist in Florida, says that there is a close relation between allergies and OCD and the co-existing conditions, such as tics and Tourette’s. I believe this is very true as I can see it in myself, and it think it’s worth mentioning this because some people may not be aware of this.

In researching I read that some patients in mental institutions who get treated for overlooked ear problems such as impacted wax and infections get discharged and are found to be completely cured. I found this online:

“Blame It on Your Ears
Just when you think that your phobia may be all in your mind, along comes Harold Levinson, M.D., who says it's not in your mind, it's actually located in your inner ear.
Dr. Levinson, a Great Neck, New York, psychiatrist and neurologist who is coauthor of the book Phobia Free, specializes in inner ear disorders. While treating his patients for inner ear problems, he began to notice other changes. "Not only did their inner ear problems improve, but so did their phobia problems," he says.
It was his unique background as both a psychiatrist and a neurologist that led him to this conclusion. "A significant number of my patients with inner ear problems also had phobias identical to the patients I was treating in my psychiatric practice."
After 20 years of research on more than 20,000 patients, Dr. Levinson believes that 90 percent of all phobic behavior is a result of an underlying malfunction within the inner ear system.
"The mechanisms in the inner ear are not functioning correctly," he explains. For example, balance is controlled in the inner ear. If it is not working correctly and your balance is off, you might be afraid of heights or falling or tripping.
Dr. Levinson acknowledges that his is the minority point of view. But thousands of success stories are nothing to snicker at. Dr. Levinson is convinced that a trip to an ear specialist is at least worth a try for those suffering from phobias.”
I hope this helps – have a great day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

OCD & It Is What You Think It Is

Some people with OCD (or without it for that matter) sometimes automatically view things in a negative way. This is the result of years of ingrained patterns of thought that automatically kick in. Over time, people can believe that this is the pattern of their lives, and think they are unworthy, unlucky, or that nothing goes right for them. Unfortunately, this often becomes their reality. They believe that nothing good is in the cards for them. And we all know that if you think it’s bad, then it’s bad.

How can we break out of this mental trap? How can we turn constant, automatic, distressing thoughts into good ones? By AWARENESS of what is going on in our inner world. We have to take our thoughts off auto pilot and be conscious of these automatic and constant thoughts that sabotage our lives. Just by understanding what is going on in our minds, we can begin to shape our own inner worlds. We need to challenge these ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) and replace them with better ones, even if our good thoughts are imagined. Also, we can notice something that pleases us in the very moment we are in and focus on that.

It takes diligence and practice in order to begin to believe that constant negative thoughts are not reality or our lot in life. I believe that slowly and surely a transformation will take place and we can begin to think things are good – and if you think it’s good, then it’s good. I hope that everyone’s life can be what they want and believe it to be.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

OCD & Negative Thoughts

Sometimes people with OCD get stuck in a bad pattern of thinking. Something triggers a thought – like a song or a scent, and they are transported back in time, reliving a bad memory over and over again. They can also project themselves into a nightmarish imagined bad future. Bad thoughts produce bad feelings. I have been a victim of this type of thinking in the past and now realize that the bad feelings only multiply and seep into the present.

It’s important to be aware of these negative thought patterns. If we can recognize that our minds have become stuck in a non-productive and damaging pattern of bad thinking, and bring our thoughts to the present moment, we can change our emotions and consciously carry better thoughts with us throughout the day. I heard Rhonda Byrne say in The Secret, “Remember to remember,” and this has become a very important sentence for me. When I find my thoughts drifting to a bad place- a bad scene from the past or sometimes negatively anticipating a future event, I “remember to remember.” The future has not happened yet, so I try to project a better scenario.The past is done and there is only now, so reliving it is worthless. It takes practice and I haven't mastered this yet, but I am aware of it, and that can only be a good thing.

Being aware of what you are thinking can not only help your OCD, but it can make your life so much better!

Monday, March 23, 2009

OCD & The Present

Last week I wrote about St. Patrick’s Day and about the coming of spring. I was looking around to see if today had any significance, maybe the anniversary of something, or a holiday in another country – and then it hit me. Today is the NOW, the only day that really matters, and we can make it whatever we want.

Some people with OCD rarely live in today because they are stuck in yesterday or in tomorrow, reliving an event or fearing one. Today, the NOW is a clean slate for all of us to write our tomorrow’s on. What we do NOW will have a direct impact on what we do tomorrow. If we are on auto-pilot today, then our tomorrow will never be what we want it to be.

I have been trying to remain in the NOW, today, which is the only true reality. I am celebrating today as if it were a holiday, because it really is one. Today is a gift, THE PRESENT. I hope I can shape my tomorrow by what I do today, and I hope you can too.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


I think that many people with OCD will start to feel better soon. Some folks who live in the northern latitudes get depressed in winter, and this depression often co-exists with OCD. When the daylight increases in spring, the symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, improve. Many people have renewed interests and want to go outside, exercise, or lose weight.

The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning "equal night." The vernal, or spring, equinox is the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north, signaling the beginning of nature's renewal in the Northern Hemisphere

The equinoxes are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead. On the Northern Hemisphere's vernal equinox day, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight. A person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, but it would signal the start of six months of darkness.

In case you are interested in the changing of the seasons…. ...2009...

VERNAL EQUINOX.....(SPRING) MAR 20 2009 7:44 AM EDT - 11:44 UTC

SUMMER SOLSTICE....(SUMMER) JUN 21 2009 1:45 AM EDT - 05:45 UTC

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX...(FALL) SEP 22 2009 5:18 PM EDT - 21:18 UTC

WINTER SOLSTICE....(WINTER) DEC 21 2009 12:47 PM EST - 17:47 UTC

I hope that everyone will be in a great mood and I wish you all a HAPPY SPRING!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day- OCD Help From Ireland

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone! I was reading up on St. Patrick, who is the patron St. of Ireland. It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.

While reading this, I came across OCD Ireland which is a national organization for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the related disorders of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Trichotillomania. They have a very good website and I liked what was on there re “Mindfulness,” which I think is a great was to deal with OCD…
“Mindfulness a relaxation technique derived from meditation practice. It is about learning to observe your mind at work, without getting 'sucked into' your thoughts. It is about learning to allow thoughts to happen and to observe them. Normally, we do not pay much attention to what is going on in our mind. We just have thoughts and act on them. For example, when we smell a delicious aroma coming from a bakery, we might think "oh, I'd love a bun." It is only when we are deciding whether we will either purchase one or not that we become aware of our mental process. In mindfulness, we would be aware of the smell impinging on our senses, and aware of the thoughts arising from that ("oh, I'd love a bun", memories of tastes, images of our favorite bun) and we would then be aware of our decision-making process ("I don't have time to stop", "I shouldn't really have one", "I'll have lunch in half an hour anyway"). The idea in mindfulness is to become aware, dispassionately, of reality - of the environment and things going on around us which impact on us, of internal sensations and thoughts. In ordinary consciousness, attention is generally directed outwards, to some task or activity, or driven by habit. Our thoughts similarly are often operating in habitual patterns.” For more info go to…

I am also on Jacketflap

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Friday the 13th

In case you missed it in January...Friday the 13th is one of those quirky days that unite people in superstition. Many people fear the number 13, but Friday the 13th takes it to another level. Triskaidekaphobics are people who can be perfectly fine on any other day, but have a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Even people who are not usually superstitious take notice on this day. I was looking around the Internet and read that "According to experts it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people won't go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date." There are approximately 21 million Americans who will be very uncomfortable today.There are many superstitions surrounding this fateful day -- particularly Good Fridays: "a child born on Friday is doomed to bad luck; do not feed anyone butter churned or eggs laid that day. Courting, and especially marriage, on Friday is a folly. Do not move to a new home or new job on that fateful day; do not rise from an illness; and please, please do not take a journey -- for as the fishermen say, 'A Friday's sail, always fail." I would like to point out that it is ironic that some of these people can view OCD rituals as ridiculous and irrational. There is a difference between OCD and superstitions because superstitions are learned beliefs and OCD is self generated. However, if people with OCD perform rituals to avoid something bad happening, is that really so different from people who won't leave their homes or drive on Friday the 13th because they are afraid of bad luck? I hope you have a Great 13th!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

OCD & Alaska Northern Lights

I use a light box throughout the winter, and write about it in my book OCD&ME. My light box is from One of my reasons for using their product is that Alaska Northern Lights does not use UV light, which is not necessary for Light Therapy. I discovered that many light boxes from other companies had full spectrum light, which includes UV light, the kind of light that may cause skin damage. My light box has broad spectrum light, which does not expose me to harmful radiation. I highly recommend Alaska Northern Light's products. The staff is friendly, reliable, and the customer service is excellent. It has been a pleasure talking to Jennifer Christie, who works for the company, about my experience with their light box. Visit, where you can get more information.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jacketflap, and OCD In Children

Today I joined Jacketflap, which is a site mainly for people who write books for children or young adults. I would like to thank Jacketflap's CEO, Tracy Grand, who wrote me a personal E-mail welcoming me to Jacketflap, and telling me that I would be welcome even if I didn't write children's books. I am grateful to Tracy for that because I believe that reading is very important for children, and what kids read can have a huge impact on their lives.

In my book OCD&ME, there is a chapter about OCD in chldren, and there are stories from my childhood, which was greatly affected by OCD. Because I didn't understand what was happening to me, I couldn't explain it to anyone, and as a result I endured much anxiety and suffering.

I hope that today's children will be able to understand OCD at an early age and get help before it becomes ingrained in them as adults. Thanks to sites like Jacketflap, there is now a community of information, as well as many resources which are available in order to help and nurture fragile, young lives.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

OCD& the Internet

I have just created a Facebook account. In five minutes I had 10 people respond to my offers of friendship. I have to admit that I am very surprised at how much people now interact online.

For people with OCD, the Internet is a wonderful resource. Even if you want to remain anonymous,you can still feel support. I hope all people who feel isolated can take advntage of the comfort offered via their computers.

If anyone would like to contact me regarding their OCD, please don't hesitate. I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Friends Are Important

This week has been a challenging one and I have had to deal with several stressfull issues. By yesterday I was feeling somewhat anxious. Several of my friends wanted to get together, so we went to an authentic brick oven Pizzeria in Park Slope, Bklyn NY. It was so nice to sit and relax, eat great food and be with my friends. I feel much better today.

I think that it is important to do some pleasurable things when stress hits. Being with friends is good therapy and I hope everyone realizes the value of friendship. Thanksto my friends, and I hope that you can spend some quality time with your friends too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Much Energy Does It Take To Appear Normal?

I admire each and every person who has to function when they are experiencing a severe OCD attack. Living with OCD can be both mentally and physically debilitating. It zaps you, drains you, leaves you exhausted and depleted. Added to this is the fact that OCD is often embarrassing, and people suffering with it go to great lengths in order to hide it. The combination of these two things can be very draining on both mind and body.

If someone you know has OCD and feels like this, it could help them a lot if you were aware of this. You will then understand if they appear edgy, tired, or impatient. There is a certain comfort in understanding.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts and the Sky

I have been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, Are You the Thinker or the Thought, and it reminded me of something that I heard from one of Deepak Chopra’s great books. I have them on audio and it has been so great to listen to him that way. He has a very pleasant and relaxing voice which is great if I’m anxious or unable to sleep. Anyway, getting back to my topic, Dr. Chopra said to look at the sky. The sky is you, the thinker. He said to observe the clouds that are passing by. Those are your thoughts, they come and go, but the sky always remains constant. I really like this analogy because it makes me realize that I am separate from my thoughts. This helps me to realize that bad thoughts are like dark clouds; they pass over, but eventually clear. I hope that all your thoughts are like a sunny sky.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are You the Thinker or the Thought?

People with OCD often struggle with unwanted thoughts which produce uncomfortable feelings. If you have this problem, stop and think about this – where do these thoughts come from? Do they come from an outside source, or are you generating them? Are you the thinker or the thought?

Too often we with OCD take these thoughts at face value and believe them unconditionally. That is because we have trained ourselves to do this subconsciously. I believe that our brains create patterns which trigger certain thoughts automatically. An example of this is once I bought a new necklace. I put it on and 5 minutes later the phone rang and I heard bad news. From then on every time I attempted to wear the necklace I believed that something bad would happen. It was such a strong thought that I couldn’t wear that necklace anymore. Now I know my own mind created that pattern, but back then the fear was too strong. Just realizing this may bring comfort and help you to understand the nature of OCD.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exercise and OCD

Exercise is a big stress buster and can help relieve some of the symptoms of OCD. However, exercise shouldn’t become an obsession or you will be defeating the purpose. Don’t feel that you have to do it. You should just enjoy whatever your workout is and look forward to it.

It is a scientific fact that exercise raises endorphins, which are happy brain chemicals responsible for good feelings. Any amount of movement is beneficial. Also, household chores as well as climbing stairs, walking in the mall, or playing video games such as the Wii, count as a work out.

I know that I feel much better and less fatigued after physical movement. Also, when I’m feeling stressed out exercise always helps. Besides that, make a conscious effort to do any kind of physical activity will show on your body, and a better appearance is sure to make anyone feel good. I hope you have an active and happy day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Emotional Pain Always Has A Physical Component

OCD takes a huge toll on the body, both mentally and physically. Emotional pain always has a physical component. If you are having a bout with OCD or any co-related conditions, such as depression, generalized anxiety, attention deficit disorder, etc., it may help if you notice your physical symptoms. OCD can make you tired, achy, nervous, and depressed. You may get headaches or stomachaches.

If you are suffering from severe OCD please realize that you need to be kind to your body. If possible, rest up and get as much sleep as you can. Also, make sure you are getting proper nutrition and are well hydrated. Paying attention to the physical body will help the mind. They are not separate, and when one is affected, so is the other.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents and Mental Issues

Since this is Presidents week I wanted to write a little more on some of our Presidents who suffered from various mental issues. I read that Calvin Coolidge had hypochondria, and Grant and Thomas Jefferson were diagnosed with social phobia. Richard Nixon and George W.Bush had alcohol problems.

According to a Duke University study, "A fairly high number of people have mental disease at some level, so it would be surprising if presidents didn't," said John Aldrich, professor of political science. "Certain things, like depression, are associated with artistic accomplishment. At least 10 presidents were affected by episodes while in office, and the study found evidence that symptoms interfered with their performance in almost all cases."

According to the article, contemporaries of Grant, James Madison, Rutherford Hayes and Woodrow Wilson who watched them as young men would have thought that these men would do very little with their lives based on their seeming mental problems or deficiencies.

It is very difficult to function normally when faced with a mental issue, I can only imagine what the Presidents went through.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Did Any US Presidents Have OCD?

February 16th is President's Day. I am wondering how many of our Presidents have had OCD? I guess we will never really know. I do know that many of our Presidents suffered with depression and anxiety, which are co-existing conditions. I was looking around the Internet and came across this..."If you suffer from stress and anxiety disorders, you are not alone. Many famous people also suffered or have suffered from the same or similar illness. A survey shows that 49% (18 out of 37) of US Presidents from 1776 to 1974 suffered from mental disorder. The most common disorders are depression (24%), anxiety (8%), bipolar disorder (8%), and alcohol abuse/dependence (8%). ¹"

One well known presidential depression sufferer was Abraham Lincoln, who many consider our greatest President. If you want to read about it, check out From Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness Copyright © 2005 by Joshua Wolf Shenk. Shenk says that many people in Lincoln's family suffered from a variety of mental issues, and that he often had thoughts of suicide. To me it is quite an accomplishment that Lincoln was able to function as he did and turn the destiny of our nation. I will write more about our Presidents tomorrow.

I hope that you have a great President's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday the 13th and OCD

Friday the 13th is one of those quirky days that unite people in superstition. Many people fear the number 13, but Friday the 13th takes it to another level. Triskaidekaphobics are people who can be perfectly fine on any other day, but have a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Even people who are not usually superstitious take notice on this day. I was looking around the Internet and read that "According to experts it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people won't go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date." There are approximately 21 million Americans who will be very uncomfortable today.

There are many superstitions surrounding this fateful day -- particularly Good Fridays: "a child born on Friday is doomed to bad luck; do not feed anyone butter churned or eggs laid that day. Courting, and especially marriage, on Friday is a folly. Do not move to a new home or new job on that fateful day; do not rise from an illness; and please, please do not take a journey -- for as the fishermen say, 'A Friday's sail, always fail."

I would like to point out that it is ironic that some of these people can view OCD rituals as ridiculous and irrational. There is a difference between OCD and superstitions because superstitions are learned beliefs and OCD is self generated. However, if people with OCD perform rituals to avoid something bad happening, is that really so different from people who won't leave their homes or drive on Friday the 13th because they are afraid of bad luck?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OCD and Your Pet

OCD and Your Pet

I think that pets are amongst the most wonderful things on earth. A beloved pet, dog, cat, bird, etc., can be beneficial in relieving some of the stress associated with OCD. There are several reasons for this. One is that there have been scientific studies that show that interacting with animals in a positive way reduces blood pressure. Just stroking an animal can be very relaxing and calming, relieving some of the stress OCD can cause. Also, pets listen to you. They don’t care what you say or how long you talk, so you can tell you pet anything. They never judge you and don’t care what you look like, how you are dressed, or how much money you have. They don’t care if you have an addiction or an illness. They just want to be with you.

Another reason why pets can help OCD is that they always live in the moment. Animals do not focus on the past or the future, the only thing they know is NOW. This can be a valuable lesson for people because the only reality is NOW. The past and the future are only in the mind.

You are the center of your pet’s life. Doesn’t it feel great to be the center of someone’s universe? You are your pet’s reality. If you have a pet, focus on the feel of the fur or feathers, look into your pet’s eyes and remember the moment and the joy you feel. That is a great mood enhancer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

OCD and the Inner Fire of Happiness

People with OCD have a biochemical imbalance. It’s not really a “Mental Illness.” I have seen people who have “the right stuff” in their brains walking around with the cozy fire of happiness inside themselves. They are able to feed the fire from within, keep it nice and stoked no matter what life throws at them. Having OCD has made me feel like a person who is in a wet forest with no matches. I’ve been cold and damp and desperately in need of a warm inner fire. I have tried to generate one, and every once in a while have produced a spark, but the gloom and damp of Intrusive Thoughts overtook me.

I did not give up hope. One of the things I did was to constantly challenge my automatic Intrusive Thoughts, until I managed to produce a spark which ignited a small flame. I nurtured this flame of hope until I was able to bask in the warm glow of self contentment.

I want everyone with OCD to be able to produce their own inner fire of happiness, to be able to change their brain chemistry naturally, and to realize that they can break out of the cycle of frustration and despair that OCD causes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

OCD and Happiness

Happiness, true happiness, has to be self-generated. It has to come from within the spirit. I’m sitting here with the realization that sometimes my OCD has been so severe that I have been unable to generate even one happy feeling that would sustain a good mood. I would get fleeting glimpses of what I believed felt like inner happiness, but then they would flicker away in an instant. I have discovered that I have been great at instantly generating INTENSE feelings of fear, depression, and anger.

This is not the way things should be. I now know that my OCD automatic Intrusive Thoughts have been responsible for most of this. If your OCD is responsible for producing negative moods that are disrupting your life, it is because your thoughts are producing a potent batch of neuro-peptides, which are the brain chemicals responsible for mood. If you can understand this, then you will realize that by practicing to focus on something that is pleasant to you, real or imaginary, you can change your brain chemistry. This won’t happen instantly, but it can be a new beginning.

One of the best things a person can do is to focus their attention on only the good things that are happening in their lives. Looking around the Internet, I came across an article by Rick Hanson PhD - how to trick your brain for happiness. Part of this article says to focus on happy thoughts. I agree with this and hope all your thoughts are happy!...

Just having positive experiences is not enough to promote last well-being. If a person feels grateful for a few seconds, that’s nice. That’s better than feeling resentful or bitter for a few seconds. But in order to really suck that experience into the brain, we need to stay with those experiences for a longer duration of time—we need to take steps, consciously, to keep that spotlight of attention on the positive.
So, how do we actually do this? These are the three steps I recommend for taking in the good. I should note that I did not invent these steps. They are embedded in many good therapies and life practices. But I’ve tried to tease them apart and embed them in an evolutionary understanding of how the brain works.
1. Let a good fact become a good experience. Often we go through life and some good thing happens—a little thing, like we checked off an item on our To Do list, we survived another day at work, the flowers are blooming, and so forth. Hey, this is an opportunity to feel good. Don’t leave money lying on the table: Recognize that this is an opportunity to let yourself truly feel good.
2. Really savor this positive experience. Practice what any school teacher knows: If you want to help people learn something, make it as intense as possible—in this case, as felt in the body as possible—for as long as possible.
3. Finally, as you sink into this experience, sense your intent that this experience is sinking into you. Sometimes people do this through visualization, like by perceiving a golden light coming into themselves or a soothing balm inside themselves. You might imagine a jewel going into the treasure chest in your heart—or just know that this experience is sinking into you, becoming a resource you can take with you wherever you go.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who Am I Protecting and What Can I Do About It?

I’m thinking about OCD rituals, and the many that I have performed in order to “Protect” someone. Thinking about this has helped me to go back in time and freeze my actions in my mind and dissect them. I’m thinking about exactly why I was performing them. Who was I “protecting,” and what was I “protecting” them from?

Think about the odds of what you are worrying about actually happening if you don’t perform the ritual. Challenge your actions. Realize that your ritual is a by-product of habit. You are conditioned to do this. The process has been embedded into your subconscious, and helped along by your brain chemistry.

If possible, sit down and list your ritual in detail. Then write the reason you are performing it. Then next to that list the degree of anxiety you feel and the probability of the event occurring.

TEST your rituals by beginning with the least powerful ritual and see what happens when you break it down this way. You may be surprised by the results!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

OCD and The NOW

I’m sitting here thinking about all the time I’ve wasted due to OCD. It may add up to years. I’ve spend endless hours ritualizing, ruminating, worrying about the past and the future. How much of the present has been lost? Can it ever be recovered?

I must realize that the past is done and can’t be undone. I must realize the gift of the Present, the NOW. That is all there really is anyway. What’s good about that is that there is always a fresh NOW to become involved in. Right NOW is the best time in life to change the future. What we do NOW sets up the future. We can have hope, we do have choices. This applies to OCD as well as everything else.

One of the things that help my OCD is focusing on the moment I am in. I notice everything around me such as the sounds, the smells, and I try to see beauty in whatever I am looking at. I realize the abundance, not the lack. If you are mindful and grateful for what you do have, you won’t be so focused on what is wrong. Also, focusing on NOW takes away the worry about what may be. I will be writing more about this in future blogs.