I’m being bullied by four men and one woman. I see them two or three times a week, whenever I play racquetball. I used to not have a care in the world when I walked into the club. I was on cloud nine and couldn’t wait to play my two friends. Now, I’m feeling apprehensive and wondering “What’s this mob going to do today?” They kick us off the court we’re playing in, “This is our court. We’ve played here for 27 years and this has always been our court. Move it.” Even though we reserved the court! We tried ignoring them but they just walked right onto the court and started playing! The woman is the worst of them all—really mean and intense. She’s so mean the pregnant woman who works there had to go to the hospital because her blood pressure hit the roof when this woman berated her.
Sunday morning they interrupted our play once again to tell us to move our things off the bench in the hallway. “Benches are for sitting, not things.” We didn’t like their approach but could understand they wanted to sit on the bench. We moved our things to a different bench. They never even sat on the bench! They played at the other end of the hall. Where’s the logic in that!
I’m so mad at myself. Why am I doing whatever they tell me to do! They’re just harassing us for the fun of it! They sit around and drink shots of Fireball and apparently have a long history of bullying people at the club. Last week I told one of the guys not to speak to us ever again. If they had a problem, I told him to go to the front desk. And yet, this Sunday that very same guy told me to move my things off the bench and I immediately did it!!!!! WHY AM I DOING WHATEVER THEY TELL ME TO DO?
We were going to enter a Round Robin tournament, but I just found out they play in it every week. I’ll tell you what, when you get hit with a racquet or a ball, it hurts!!!! Why would I put myself through that torture? Ah… yeah, we’ll just avoid that scene. I’m sad about it but I know they’ll play dirty. So why bother? I know, I know I’m being robbed—a part of my life is being taken from me. I’m being victimized and there’s nothing I can do. All I think about now is quitting. The owner is scared of them too.
I bet you’re wondering where I play racquetball? You want to know the name of the club? It’s called OCD.
This is day 5 of the 30 day challenge. Here’s the challenge: Call up OCD and tell it you’re coming and it ain’t going to be pretty.
If you know the moral of the story, please leave an anonymous comment!
I recently read a blog titled, “The Ten Worst Things to Say to Someone With Anxiety.” I disagreed with mostly everything. The list included: “Don’t tell someone with anxiety to be grateful.” I get that the last thing someone in pain wants to hear is, “Suck it up and count your blessings.” And honestly, I’d never say it like that! But, I strongly believe gratitude can wash away pain and anxiety. I feel strongly about this because I’ve witnessed the benefits of it in my own life. I even thank my refrigerator for keeping my food cold! I also see how gratitude helps so many people manage their emotional energy from negative to positive. There are plenty of studies to prove how much it helps to express gratitude.
Expressing gratitude is very powerful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do when facing adversity. So maybe that’s why the person who wrote that blog says it’s the worst thing to tell someone with anxiety. Maybe the author of that blog is looking for an easier way out. Just because you don’t like something you hear, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If you know me then you know I’d love to ask the author, “You don’t express gratitude? How’s that working out for you?”
In the face of adversity you may not feel like expressing gratitude. You feel like crawling into a hole and never coming out. But, staying in that hole isn’t easy either. No matter what you do, it’s going to be hard. But, if you make a plan to express gratitude even in the face of adversity, and you stick to that plan no matter how you feel, it actually will be easier than you think. Because the plan is already made. Less energy is required to follow a plan already made.
This is day 4 of a 30 day challenge. Here it is: Make a plan to express gratitude at least once a day, no matter how you feel. You can thank a person for the smallest little gesture. You can thank any object that has energy. Just do it no matter how you feel. (By the way, the author of that blog also hates to be told, “Just do it.”)
It might even help to sit down and make a schedule of who or what you’re going to appreciate each day for the month of April. Then stick to the plan! Have your phone remind you to “just do it.”
I love all the comments so keep them coming!
If you have OCD, most likely you have experienced a storm or two (or ten). You know that OCD storms come in cycles and they change like the weather. Sometimes OCD is a small cloud, and sometimes it comes spinning into town like a tornado. I’ve had many OCD storms, several that knocked me off my feet, but I’ve learned that even when a storm knocks me down, I still have the choice to get back up, no matter how damaged or broken I feel.
When a storm blows through town you have two choices, lay there and wish it never happened to you, or get up dust off and deal with what is happening around you. Sometimes the clean up takes longer then we want it to. Often it feels like a waiting game, but if we don’t put in the time now, the next storm that comes through will hit even harder. We can’t stop a storm, just like we can’t stop OCD thoughts but we can choose how we react.
I am reminded of this choice everyday, what starts as a tiny cloud can easily take over the entire sky if I let it. There is so much in our lives both with OCD and without OCD that we can’t control, however I’ve learned we can control how we view our circumstances. How we view our circumstances gives us the power back. When we approach life with a grateful heart, we are more positive and kind to ourselves and others.
Maybe life with OCD doesn’t seem ideal. Maybe you’re stuck feeling like it’s not fair that you’re suffering from OCD. Maybe it seems like no one understands the hell you are in. OCD can make you feel like a victim of your own brain, but it doesn’t have to. As strange as it sounds I have found several reasons to be grateful for my OCD.
-Having OCD has given me the opportunity to meet some of the strongest and most compassionate people on earth
-Having OCD has made me a more understanding, less judgmental person
-Having OCD has made me more grateful for the little moments
Can you think of anything you have gained from having OCD?
Upsetting dreams, believe it or not, are a strangely wrapped gift. Scary, vivid dreams don’t look like a gift or feel like a gift…but they are! They’re just strangely wrapped. You’d think sleeping would give you a break from OCD, but that’s not the case for many. If you’re having upsetting dreams that’s great news! They can guide you to peace! Here are three clever strategies to turn your worst nightmares into bliss.
- Unpleasant dreams could be a sign that in your wakeful life you’re avoiding something. For example, I have this recurring dream about a gang of teenagers breaking into my house. They never harm me and I’m not afraid of them. I’m frustrated that they’re violating my personal space. This sort of dream makes me think about who I need to set a boundary with in my wakeful life. The content of your dream may or may not have anything to do with what you need to confront. So, don’t spend too much time analyzing your dream. OCD already has you analyzing way too much, so don’t add something new! Remember, the idea is to get out of your head and into your life! For quick ideas you can use an online dream interpreter. Action: Figure out what you need to face and begin to confront it. Once you do you will feel empowered by your victory and relieved of catastrophic thinking.
- You may be able to get out of a nightmare by hacking into the dream. People who are self-reflective during waking hours have a greater ability to change the course of a bad or frustrating dream. This means while dreaming you can tell yourself “it’s just a dream” or you can even stand up to who or whatever is causing you angst in the dream. In fact, people who self-reflect have a greater ability to shake off a bad dream upon awakening. Here’s why: Self-reflection helps grow gray matter in the brain. That can come in pretty handy for people with OCD who have gray matter deficiencies! Why do you need gray matter? Because it helps control your perception of what is happening around you, including in a dream state. Be more self-reflective and you will be better able to hack into a bad dream or squelch a bad dream hangover. Action: Take 10 minutes every day to reflect. Here are 3 powerful reflections to help grow gray matter so that you can change the course of a bad dream, and especially the direction of your life:
- Am I letting my core values drive my behavior?
- Am I taking care of my body and making it a lean, mean fighting machine against OCD?
- Am I thinking about my blessings and expressing my gratitude enough?
- But, what if you can’t control your thoughts when you’re asleep any better than you can when you’re awake? Your dreams can be extremely vivid as a result of the side effects of medication or other brain chemistry changes. If you’re dreading going to bed because you are worried about having more bad dreams, it’s probably better to surrender and say, “And so it will be.” Be willing to go for the ride. Be willing to have unpleasant dreams the same way you must be willing to have unwanted, intrusive thoughts when you are awake. Metaphorical Action: Instead of trying to push the beach ball down to the bottom of the swimming pool, let it surface. Let the ball float around you and do nothing about it. This takes less energy and frees up your arms. Treat your bad dreams in the same manner. In fact, treat your unwanted intrusive thoughts this way. It’s much more peaceful to accept than resist.
So in summary here are the three actionable steps you can take to turn your worst nightmares into bliss:
- Make sure you are facing your fears during times you are awake.
- Be more self-reflective.
One of the most effective ways to gain power over OCD and get super determined to “Boss it Back” is to get an Accountability Partner. Accountability breeds determination!
First figure out who you want to be, and what it is you want to change or achieve. In 2016, I’m going to try out something new. Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, that I end up drifting from, I’m going to use this blueprint and review it every 90 days with my Accountability Partners:
DESIGN YOUR LIFE BLUEPRINT
- The Purpose of my life is…
- My outer mission is…
- My inner mission is…
- The highest values I live and make decisions by are…
- My top goals for the next 90 days concerning health, spirituality, relationships, business and adventure….
- Books or podcasts I will use to enrich my life…
- Morning and evening habits I will stop or start.
- Daily routines will include…(e.g., Gratitude exercise, meditation, physical exercise.)
SHARE WITH AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Once you have the details of your blueprint it’s important to share it with someone. That person is called an Accountability Partner. When choosing a partner or partners:
- Look for someone who will challenge you but not condemn you. Accountability is not forced but chosen.
- Pick someone who is emotionally resilient and positive. You want someone who won’t accept excuses, will ask hard questions but won’t belittle or give up on you.
- It’s helpful to pick someone who has had some success in the areas you are working on. You want someone who can help problem-solve.
- It’s actually a good idea to find more than one partner.
- As a team or individually talk at least online weekly and meet every 90 days.
- When you talk with your Accountability Partner, BE HONEST!
Cheers to “Bossing it Back” stronger and faster than ever before!