Pathological Liars: Understanding Compulsive Lying

woman embracing male partner staring blankly toward camera

A pathological liar exhibits the chronic behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. While it’s common to tell an occasional white lie, pathological liars tell more than a random fib — oftentimes lying has become part of that person’s everyday life, and telling a lie feels more natural than telling the truth.

While there are a number of reasons people lie — to spare someone’s feelings or avoid difficult situations — pathological lying is usually a symptom of a greater problem. Continue reading Pathological Liars: Understanding Compulsive Lying

Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Stressed woman in cafe

Some people know rumination — the repetition of the same thought in your head over and over — as obsessive thinking, and for those who experience it, ruminating can be a frustrating state.

Thinking over and over about a missed opportunity, an ex, or when you misspoke — it’s bad enough to live through a negative experience once without beating yourself up in an unvirtuous mental loop. While it can often be beneficial to allow yourself the time and space to think about things that are important, too much of a good thing might actually be a bad thing. And when it comes to dealing with issues like depression or anxiety, allowing too much time to ruminate could keep you stuck in a mental rut. Continue reading Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Tidying Up: What Cleanliness Says About Your Mental Health

Cluttered closet

One of the things I’ve always admired about myself is that sometimes my behavior, when overly stressed or anxious, can feel beneficial. A few minutes to whisk the vacuum across the living room floor, and it’s like I meditated; give me a sponge and a grimy bathroom, and I’ll give you shine and calm.

Looking at a spotless and tidy home, whatever’s bothering me feels temporarily paused. Cleanliness translates to lower stress and anxiety for me — and a flawless home for my family growing up, my roommates in college, and my husband now — how lucky are they? Continue reading Tidying Up: What Cleanliness Says About Your Mental Health

How to Receive Effective OCD Treatment

A therapist takes notes as she listens to another woman on a couch

Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious mental illness associated with high levels of disability, there are a number of OCD treatments that will significantly reduce OCD symptoms. Luckily, help is available — in a variety of forms.

It’s normal to go back and double-check that the hair straightener is unplugged or your car is locked — on occasion. But if you suffer from OCD, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors become so consuming they interfere with your daily life. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to shake them from your mind. Continue reading How to Receive Effective OCD Treatment

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Therapy – What it Is, How it Works

Organized tools

Many who struggle with recurrent, intrusive thoughts and behaviors wonder if obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) therapy can help them. The disorder is one of the most difficult psychiatric illnesses to understand and, only a few decades ago, it was believed to be a rare psychiatric illness that affected only a small fraction of the population. But now, OCD is known to impact millions of Americans at any given time.

It is a complex and difficult-to-treat condition if not managed correctly by a skilled professional. Thankfully, there are therapy practices that can help alleviate some of the anxiety individuals with OCD feel. Continue reading Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Therapy – What it Is, How it Works

How to Stop Obsessive Thinking

Woman sitting on bed thinking

It’s a regular Tuesday evening when I realize my Talkspace therapist, who consistently answers twice a day, didn’t respond a second time that night. A fleeting thought darts through my head: “What if she died?” With my life-long history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I am no stranger to such macabre thoughts, so I dismiss it. It’s just a thought without evidence.

Soon the thought pops back into my mind. I open the Talkspace app on my phone. No message, but it’s probably nothing. I answered her too late in the day, she’s busy, she’s taking a well-deserved night off, her app isn’t working…All reasonable explanations.

Not two seconds later, the thought’s back, and even with all my years of therapy and an arsenal of coping skills for moments just like this, that thought grabs me hook, line, and sinker. I launch into a full-blown panic, which eventually proves to be unfounded when my therapist messages me as usual the next morning.

Does this anecdote sound familiar? It’s just one example of obsessive thinking, and I’m confident we’ve all had a version of this experience at some point. These types of thoughts are unhelpful at best, and debilitating at worst.

Continue reading How to Stop Obsessive Thinking

My Struggle With OCD: Quieting the Mind’s Commands

ocd woman stressed out thoughts buzzing around her head

I see that stage of my life as dark pages to be flipped quickly. I still consider it the toughest struggle I’ve ever been through and hope my challenges don’t get harder than being a young patient dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD].

The symptoms first showed up during 10th grade. I had unusual thoughts instructing me to undertake certain actions. They were actually more like commands.

It seemed normal in the beginning, but these thoughts gradually increased. They became intense and repetitive, so repetitive it was distracting. I felt I had to obey the thoughts to stop them from recurring. As I yielded to a thought, obeying its command, it did shut up for a while, but only until another new one showed up in the same compulsive way. The thoughts followed one another in an endless loop. I couldn’t escape no matter how hard I tried.

The disorder got so severe that I sometimes wished for death, believing it was the only way to end the battle taking place in my mind. I lived in a state of perpetual mental exhaustion. Continue reading My Struggle With OCD: Quieting the Mind’s Commands