Welcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I am sharing my takeaways from the 2019 International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) Conference. I just got back and it was possibly one of the most wonderful experiences. This year, the conference was in Austin, Texas, and I won't lie…it was HOT. I was super impressed with the people from Texas, as they were so kind, cheerful and helpful.
In today’s episode, I wanted to give you guys a quick peek at what I took away from the 2019 IOCDF conference this year. The 2019 IOCDF Conference is a conference that is held annually to help provide education, support, and advocacy for those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Health Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, Tic Disorder or Tourette's Disorder and general anxiety. It is a wonderful opportunity for those who need extra support or want to learn the gold-standard treatment for OCD.
Not only is it an educational weekend, but it is also a weekend filled with hope, love, and unconditional acceptance. Here is what I took away from this year’s 2019 IOCDF Conference.
First of all, you guys are so kind. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed and honored I was to meet so many of you. Thank you to each and every one of you who came and said hi, gave me hugs, thanked me for the work I am so honored to do and for those of you who showered me with the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, once again this year, I was honored to host the 2019 Compassion Collective support group for Self-Compassion with my dear friend Michelle Massi. Michelle and I met each morning at the very early hour of 7 am to sit with a group of beautiful humans who are invested in being kinder and more compassionate to themselves. It was a beautiful group and, once again, we got to peek inside their minds for an hour each morning and learn just how hard you all are on yourselves. Wowsers, you guys. Humans are FAR too hard on themselves. The main message we tried to share with y’all (We were in Texas hehe) was to drop the idea of getting A+ in life and to shoot for a B-. Be a B- human. Give life a B- effort. Give yourselves a little break here and there.
In addition to running the Compassion Collective group, I also had the honor of running the Women’s OCD Support Group with my dear friend, Beth Brawley. The one big takeaway from these amazing women was to be unapologetically yourself. As women, we need to stop apologizing for ourselves and just own the struggles and wins that we have.
Another thing I heard from attendees over and over in the elevators and hotel halls is the strong urge and pressure to make themselves attend each and every presentation. If anyone has attended and IOCDF Conference, you will know that the schedule is JAM PACKED every single hour of the day. There is no way we can do it all. I figured you guys are hard on yourself in daily life also so my message to you is that you don’t have to do it all.
This one is SUPER important. You are alone! You really are not. Each year, thousands of people meet in a random city in the USA to learn about OCD. I know at home you may not know a single soul with OCD, but please know that people like you are out there and they are wonderful and kind and smart and funny and make my heart so full, just like YOU.
The last takeaway from the 2019 IOCDF Conference is this. YOU ARE SUPPORTED! I was honored to attend the OCD Game Changers event at the conference and there I met a large number of OCD treatment providers and OCD Advocates who are on a mission to help you all and provide good treatment and to advocate for you and to fight for you. You may have had terrible experiences with some therapists, but please know that there are some incredible therapists out there who are such badasses and they are fighting for you.
In today's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast, we are discussing a compassion practice that will change your life. Today, we are talking about the Buddhist practice, Tonglen Meditation for anxiety. The ancient meditation practice of Tonglen is known as a practice of “taking and sending”.
Tonglen Meditation for anxiety is a practice that is similar to everything we talk about here on Your Anxiety Toolkit. Tonglen Meditation for anxiety reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. Commonly, people with anxiety want to learn how to eliminate their own suffering and pronouns such as “I”, “Me” and “Mine” is the focus of their attention.
The use of Tonglen is a practice of compassion for all humans, including ourselves, that allows us to visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process of Tonglen Meditation for anxiety, we let go of patterns of selfishness and we bring love to both ourselves and others. We create a practice where we take care of ourselves and others.
Tonglen Meditation for anxiety awakens our compassion and introduces us to a view of reality that is wider and more realistic. Tonglen meditation for anxiety can be a formal meditation practice or can be used at any time for even brief periods of time.
Tonglen Meditation for anxiety also allows us to send compassion to all humans and see that many other humans are just like ourselves. This Tonglen Meditation for anxiety will bring you to see that you are not alone in your suffering. The practice is to bring love and compassion to all living beings, as everyone is suffering in one way or another.
Instead of beating ourselves up, we can use our personal struggles as a way to access common humanity (understanding what people are up against all over the world). As we breathe in the pain and suffering for all of us and breathe out love and compassion for all of us, we create a space where we can feel more deeply and honestly. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.
Please use this Tonglen Meditation for anxiety to remove the suffering of mankind, while also sending the relief. Breathe out while releasing out comfort and happiness. Radiate love as widely as you can, CBT School community!
This episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit was not an easy one to record. No one likes to have a conversation about suicide, but we need to. We need to have a conversation about suicide more than ever and we need to keep having these conversations until we break the stigma of suicide.
Recently, one of our dear CBT School members died by suicide and our community was heartbroken. My heart was broken. Even as a therapist, I cannot prepare myself enough for the conversation about suicide.
Thankfully, as we all grieve this sad loss, we are joined today by Joe Dennis to help us work through this difficult topic. Joe Dennis is the Clinical Director of Mindful Counseling in Utah with such a wonderful kind heart. In a flash, Joe agreed to join me for a conversation about suicide where he educated us about suicide and gave us some wonderful tools and resources for those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. We also discussed tools and resources for those with a loved one who has died by suicide.
Joe talked with us about why we now call it “Death by suicide” and the reasons for this terminology change.
Joe also talked about the difference between passive suicidal ideation and active suicidal ideation and how to differentiate between the two. Joe and I talked about why we struggle to talk about Suicide and how Depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. play into suicidal ideation.
Lastly, Joe talked about what is going through the mind of someone who is contemplating suicide and what tools/strategies/resources they can use when they are faced with this difficult time.
I really hope that this podcast helps you to understand and approach suicide in a way that is less stigmatized, less shamed and less frightening.
Thank you, Joe Dennis, for being on the show.
For more information on Joe, visit:
For more information on suicide awareness and prevention, visit or call:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1800-273-8255
Crisis Text line: 741741
Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. This week we are joined by the amazing Dan Furlong. Dan Furlong is the man behind @maleanxietydepression on Instagram and is an inspiration to many in the mental health field.
In this episode, Dan Furlong talks about his recent experience with running the Jungle Ultra in Peru through the Amazing Jungle. Dan Furlong called it a “self-sufficient race” where he had to run for 5 days through the Amazon Jungle, 3 of which had torrential rain.
Dan Furlong talked about his struggle with anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. Dan also talked about his struggles with suicidal ideation. Dan said many inspiring things throughout this episode, but here are a few inspirational quotes that really got me thinking.
When discussing his experiences with depression, Dan quoted, “You need to goal set your way out of depression. He talked about how he never lets himself give up and “only when you go through real pain do you find out who you are!”
As Dan ran through the Amazon Jungle and faced many death-defying cliffs and traverses, he repeated to himself, “If you get through this, you can get through anything” and he referred to his OCD recovery in this discussion also. Dan reported only getting 2-3 hours sleep each night and how he chose to run ahead to be allowed to take the “long course” which was running up to 1.5 marathons per day. Just so inspiring, right?!
Dan Furlong spoke extensively about his mindset during the run (and his OCD recovery) and how he has learned to “take the path of least resistance”. Dan stated that “your brain will always talk you out of doing hard things” and because of this, he learned to “take the harder route”.
To donate and help those affected by OCD, click HERE.
To learn more about Dan, visit:
To purchase Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins, click HERE