In this episode, I explain the biology and psychology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a prevalent and debilitating condition. I also discuss the efficacy and mechanisms behind OCD treatments—both behavioral and pharmacologic as well as holistic and combination treatments and new emerging treatments, including directed brain stimulation. I explain the neural circuitry underlying repetitive “thought-action loops” and why in OCD, the compulsive actions merely make the obsessions even stronger.
Hope without details is nothing.. It will shatter your confidence if you can’t even imagine what it might possibly look like.
Credible hope is the promise that something is out there. Something is out there. Something real. And reasonable. And within reach.
And you should be hopeful because we are committed to putting our hands on it as soon as we possibly can so we can relieve you from your pain.
Telling someone to be hopeful isn’t as helpful as giving them a reason to be hopeful.
Tell them what you will do.. Will you call them? Bring them? Take them? Will you find a doctor? Research medications? Explore treatment options?
Make a plan right now and say it out loud. Make a plan and write it down. Make a plan and text it. Make sure the person in pain knows what the next step is and how soon the next step will be taken.
Give hope, yes. But be sure to make it the valuable kind of hope. The kind of hope that means something now while the pain feels so so so bad. Make it the kind of credible hope that enables the person to get through one more day. Or night. Until things can start getting better.
I didn’t know precisely how my brain was carrying out its campaign against me, but I knew for sure there was a problem. I knew my brain was not helpful.
Even as a child, my thoughts were dark. My views of the world were morose. Any visions I had of the future were cut short by tragedy I could foresee.
In the beginning, my brain told me everything was doomed. Then, little by little, my brain told me anything I had would be ruined. Later, it told me to ruin things.
It was clear as a bell that brisk December night in my first semester of college when my brain directed me to withdraw from college immediately. I stayed awake all night until dawn, pacing from my dark college dorm room to the shared common room, where I smoked my way through boxes of Marlboro Lights. As soon as there was a little light in the sky, I moved to the frigid steps of the building that housed the Dean’s Office. I sat there for hours, waiting for the office staff to arrive and find my teary, tragic self looking hopeless and pathetic.
This is just a reminder to talk to someone besides yourself.
I learned the lesson AGAIN (and again and again and again) this past week when I literally almost blew up from the inside out from not saying things and keeping them inside of me.
I am still not sure how all of that works, apparently.
Keeping it in. Getting it out. Keeping it in. Getting it out.
It seems I’ll be doing a good job of getting it out as things come in and then OMG all of a sudden there’s something in there that gathered some traction and there’s nobody to tell about it because it’s too late to tell anybody because it’s too late for anything at all because OMG it’s too late.
And it took me a while to figure out why I was so obsessed. The Anna in the series is not likable or all that interesting. She definitely isn’t fascinating the way other scammers and serial criminals are fascinating. She isn’t Betty Broderick. I could watch Betty Broderick drive her SUV into Dan’s house on a loop.
But I eventually realized – after a little bit of reading and listening (see the pathetic, no-life list below) that the Netflix series raised a lot of questions but didn’t provide the answers.
Like how did she get all that money she was throwing around to pay for other people’s dinners and airline tickets? And where did all those hundreds come from? And how did she get lines of credit? Was she getting credit extended to her and then paying off enough that she could maintain a good credit rating? Is a good credit rating really not necessary to be a scammer? At one or two points I wondered if I was just stupid about credit.
As someone who became a syndicated cartoonist at the tender age of 50, I highly recommend you check out 10 Insightful Tips from People Who Prove It’s Never Too Late.. This great New York Times article provides powerful examples of people who jumped into new adventures in their middle and later years.
I became a cartoonist without even realizing that cartooning was in my future. I had long been singularly focused on my writing.
I didn’t realize I should try my hand at drawings too. I only got the idea after I made a doodle one day and paired it with a funny line.
It was cute and it was fun to share with everyone. And I wanted to do it more. So I kept doing it.
If there’s something you like or love, something you’re curious about, something you’ve always thought would be cool or fun or right for you, try it out.
You don’t need training.
I had no training in drawing or cartooning.
You don’t need money.
I had no major costs connected to drawing or cartooning other than my laptop (which I already had for my writing and work anyway). I needed Adobe Suite (which I already used for work and whose other programs I learned to use) and I purchased a relatively cheap electronic drawing pad which I then used an online tutorial to learn to use.
I still use the same tools.
My greatest expenses associated with my cartoons are snacks.
You don’t need a goal.
Just do it. Just try it. Just look into it.
Because trying something new that you might maybe get into and be all in love with is something that could happen.