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, wwwallergycenter.com - 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 http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=Bess

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 www.alaskanorthernlights.com. 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 www.alaskanorthernlights.com, 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.