The Worst Thing in the World

Understand that, although it may be painful, you can never not profit when you learn something about yourself.

Brain Game: What’s Playing "God Hand" Got to Do With OCD?

The same way you can learn to beat a videogame, you can learn to disrupt self-destructive thinking and replace it with newer, healthier behaviors.

Stuck: OCD and Writer's Block

Struggling through writer’s block wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me: There was a repetitive component. A compulsion to produce perfection. An irrational repetition of some circular and almost-totally-arbitrary task (in this case, compulsively scribbling things down and scratching out and re-scribbling) that kicked up a whole lotta dust but didn’t actually accomplish much.

Obsessing About Obsessing: When OCD Goes Meta

I was being terrorized not by the intrusive thoughts, but by the exasperating persistence of the OCD itself. Somehow, unbelievably, maddeningly—I had started obsessing about obsessing.

OCD Cupid

With nowhere else to turn, I held my nose, lay down my dignity and my personally-identifiable information at the door, and stepped into the preferred digital meat market of underemployed millennials … online dating.

Has "Girls" Cured OCD?

In HBO’s Girls, I believe Lena Dunham has come closer than anyone in popular culture to showing the pain and black comedy of long-term OCD treatment. But if the show wants to honor the character’s disorder, then I think she and her family (and Adam, too, if he’s committed to this relationship) have a lot of work to do.

Subtle Signs of OCD in a Young Child

Not every child who has an abnormal fascination with collections of things like dinosaurs, Beanie Babies, and Pokémon, or who exhibits anxiety, low self-esteem, or all-consuming guilt suffers from OCD. But a thorough evaluation for the spectrum of anxiety disorders might have revealed that we had been dealing with individual symptoms, but had not identified the disease.

Caring for a Child with a Mental Illness

In caring for a child with a mental health challenge, your responsibility is the same as any other parent’s: to support your child, to lift them when they stumble, to guide them away from dangerous roads, to help them until they’re ready to strike out on their own, if they can.

With OCD—Waiting is the Hardest Part

There is absolutely nothing more toxic to an obsessive-compulsive than boredom. Boredom is to obsession as an incubator is to an egg, or a compost bin is to rotten fruit: it adds heat and pressure and that accelerates the process exponentially. When you have nothing to distract you, obsessive thoughts can quickly escalate from annoying to excruciating.

Distraction: How Occasional Escapism Can Help With OCD

The trick is knowing when you can face the symptoms and deal with them productively, and when to use escapism to check out of reality for a while. OCD can be a terrible burden, and there’s no shame in occasional escapism.

Cutting It Short

Medication withdrawal: It feels like trying to use a computer that’s old or slow or has a lousy connection. You’re staring at the screen, waiting for the content to appear - there just isn’t any content there.

Chaos Under Control: Dealing with Anxiety about Moving

There’s nothing that can actually make moving enjoyable, short of an electrode that zaps the pleasure center of your brain every time you fill another 1.5 cu. ft. cardboard box from uHaul. And sadly, an anxiety disorder only compounds the problem—but going in with a game plan can help.

Coming to Terms With Mental Illness

The first step is learning to confront the bad stuff, or at least live alongside it, instead of hiding from it….The end result is that the trauma of those memories begins to fade, and larger parts of your history feel like they’re yours again. It’s a good feeling. It gives you room to breathe.

Why "Monk" Stunk

I have no problem with jokes about OCD, but I do have a problem with entertainment that permits audiences to laugh at the disorder without showing them the terror and despair and shame and self-loathing that many OCD sufferers endure.

Choosing a College When Mental Health Is an Issue

For those with a mental health disability, transitioning to college can lead to a spike in symptoms at the worst time imaginable. When choosing a college, there are programs and services to look for.

“Girls” Gets OCD

It makes me wonder how many sufferers don’t ask for help with OCD intrusive thoughts (often sexual or violent) because they’re ashamed or confused.

The Pains and Gains of Yoga for OCD

With Zumba, I had high school flashbacks of the annual spring musical and cross-country; it brought me back to the bleeding-lung exhaustion of the latter and humiliating, zombie-like choreography of the former. But I found it a useful way to confront my social anxiety and phobia of looking silly in public. Because I promise you - with Zumba, you will look silly in public.

Dating With Anxiety

While it may not as seem romantic as catering to the every whim of your intended beloved, exposing yourself to increasingly more challenging (but still manageable) social situations is a much healthier way of building the confidence you need to find a date.

OCD and Video Games

Video games can both offer relief from and aggravate Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Hope For OCD

I’m wary of clichés about illness and opportunity. Being trapped in your room by anxiety isn’t an opportunity—it’s a prison sentence. But at the same time, the therapeutic process didn’t just help me recover my mental health—it led me to a new and healthier way to live.

Struggling with Scrupulosity

Can you imagine how OCD interacts with religion, where absolute proof is unobtainable, and belief and tradition must suffice? Where ritual is non-negotiable? Where the punishment for failure is existential, eternal?

A Message to Creative Young People

Maybe the old myth about the tragic genius, wrestling with inner demons, doesn’t have to be true. You’re an artist, right? Perhaps you can write yourself a different story.

I Have OCD; Now You Can Try It Too

How do you know that you won’t be killed by a falling meteor? How do you know that you shut off the toaster oven this morning? That one of the seething millions of bacteria on your hands will not kill you? That your friends don’t all secretly hate you? Do you have religion? Do you have the right religion? Are you sure?

Try to Keep an Open Mind, Part 2

In this installment, we discuss the practice of meditating and why meditation doesn't have to be like eating your vegetables, as well as Andy Puddicombe's career in the circus, and the promise and perils of the information age.

Try to Keep an Open Mind, Part 1

Do you ever feel as though your brain has a mind of its own? It seems as though, in a world where we control so little, we should at least be able to manage the contents of our own brains.

Coming Out of the Asylum

Is it unreasonable to say that, sometimes, mental illness can make it really tough just to get through your day? The sad truth is that the disclosure of mental health problems is still taboo in this country, where we prize self-reliance and judge harshly those who appear to shirk their responsibilities.

Full Exposure: The Sickening Treatment for OCD

ERP works when, guided by a trained therapist, the sufferer approaches the object of his or her fear without indulging in any compulsive ritual behaviors. These exposure exercises often involve doing things that would make anyone, even someone without an anxiety disorder, deeply uncomfortable.

OCD: A Sufferer's Take on the “Doubting Disorder”

OCD is the pathological intolerance of risk, however minute, and the surrender to protective ritual, however unbearable. No matter how unlikely a feared consequence, if there exists even the fraction of a percent of a possibility that it could occur, the disorder is able to find purchase.

Obsession: Not as Sexy as it Sounds

“Oh my god. I am so OCD.” I know you’ve been obsessed, so tell me: what’s your poison? What did it for you? Was it an unrequited crush? Some esoteric branch of knowledge you could never quite master? A mop-haired teen idol with the face and vocal range of a neutered kitten? An old grudge you know will never be put right? Trouble at work, at home, in bed, in church?