Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OCD and The Blue Moon of August 2012

On Friday, August 31, 2012, the second full moon of August will glow in the sky. When two full moons occur in the same month, the second moon is referred to as a "Blue Moon," and since this only happens about once every two and a half years, the term "Once in a Blue Moon" was coined. The next Blue Moon will be in 2015.

There had been much speculation, superstition, and folklore surrounding Blue Moons. I found a cool website, Keith's Moon Facts.

You can find! Moon phases, facts, events, travel, eclipse info, photos, maps,folklore,and some great links.

On a more serious note, The moon and mental health

(Following are excerpts from "Lunacy revisited: The influence of the moon on mental health and quality of life," published in the May 2000 issue of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing.)

Research has shown that a high proportion of health professionals continue to believe the moon affects the mental health of their patients.

According to CAPT Outreach magazine, "Evidence for the supposed influence of the moon on human behavior has proved elusive, but this has not deterred researchers. There is some evidence that there may be a greater amount of abnormal behavior at the times of full moon and third quarter (waning moon).

Researchers discovered an increased number of mental health admissions at full moon. Others have reported a relationship between the full moon phase and homicide rate."

I read many similar reports about increased emergency room visits, accidents, mania, etc. during the full Moon, so despite concrete scientific evidence, it must mean something. The conclusion of this article says..."For example, during the week of the full moon, extra attention could be given to the reduction of environmental stresses in individuals particularly vulnerable to the lunar effect. Similarly, increased counseling could be made available to vulnerable patients at critical times of the month." 

I think that there is something to these claims because personally, I can nave trouble sleeping when the moon is full. I hope people will be aware that a full moon can exacerbate certain states of mind and prepare for it.  Having said that- Look up at the sky, enjoy the moon, and have a lovely day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Loss of a Pet- A Year Later

Remy, comfortable as usual
Loss of a Pet- A Year Later

All of a sudden this morning, I was feeling very depressed, a feeling I always dread coming over me. I caught my mind drifting off to August of last year when I lost my beloved cat, Remy, who was my constant companion for the previous 18 years. I think my mind automatically went to this sad scenario because it is once again August, and the coming anniversary of her loss triggered off the blues. I found myself holding back the tears. A bad memory did 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, so I became aware that my thoughts of Remy’s passing were upsetting me.  I then began to think about all the time I’ve wasted due to lingering in bad memories- it may add up to years. I’ve also spent endless hours ritualizing, ruminating, worrying about the past and the future. How much of the present has been lost? Can it ever be recovered? That thought was not cheering me up either, just causing me to feel even more disheartened.

Unfortunately, the past is over and can’t ever be changed, so why wallow in it? We should realize the extraordinary gift of the Present, right now. That is all there really is anyway. The only thing that will come out of lingering over bad memories are more bad memories. That is the law of the Universe- you end up with more of whatever you think and feel.  Now is the best time in life to change the future because what we think and do right now sets up the future. We can have hope, we do have choices if we involve ourselves in what is going on, instead of being stuck on Auto Pilot, obsessing over previous hurts.

If you are find yourself in a bad mood over the past loss of your pet or for any other past hurt, command your mind to return to the present and focus on the moment you are in. Notice everything around you such as the sounds, the smells, and look for happiness and beauty in whatever you are looking at. Realize the abundance, not the lack. 

If you are in this unfortunate position, and many people are, try to focus on the abundance of good times had with beloved pets, not the short period of bad memories. Remy had a great spirit and a commanding presence, and was always healthy, happy, and confident, no matter what. Even though she was a cat, I always admired that about her. Knowing her, she wouldn’t want me to be upset- she surely wouldn’t be! I hope I will see her eyes once again in another animal that I fall madly in love with. In the meantime, I will shower more affection on my remaining cat, Squeaky Mouse, who has been a good companion to me, especially this past year.

If you are mindful, vigilant of what you are thinking, and grateful for what is right now- what you do have, you won’t be so focused on past hurts. Also, focusing on NOW takes away the worry about the future. I hope there will be no more August blahs for me, and I hope you all have a great August too!