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Your Anxiety Toolkit - It's a Beautiful Day to Do Hard Things

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Your Anxiety Toolkit - It's a Beautiful Day to Do Hard Things
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Now displaying: 2021
May 7, 2021

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.

ep 188 image How to Tolerate Uncomfortable SensationsWelcome back, everybody. Thank you so much for joining me. I know your time is very valuable and precious, so thank you for spending your time with me.

Oh goodness, I have so much to reflect on with you today. I’ve had a few aha moments, which I wanted to share with you because I wondered if I’m having these aha moments, maybe you are too.

Let’s just actually get straight to it. Shall we? Because it’s funny for me to say this to you. I’m sort of embarrassed to say this, but I also think it’s very hilarious.

I consider myself to be a very mindful person. I really do. When I’m struggling, I always practice what I preach. I observe that I’m struggling. I bring my attention back to the present. I engage back into the present and I usually feel better. This has been a profound practice for me in my life. I teach it to you guys because of how much of a huge difference it has made to me.

What has been really interesting is, I have taken some time off. I’m slowing down with work. My children have gone back to school. To adjust, we’ve had some massive, massive adjustments in our family. My husband took a year off work to be with the kids, so he could be their teacher. I, when COVID hit, went deep into just so much work and was really working to support the family in a way that I hadn’t had to do before. I’m so grateful and I really recognize how privileged we were to have this environment and this experience because I was writing a book and I had my clients and there’s just no way he could have gone to work.

So, he’s gone back to work. My children have gone back to school. I’m still finishing up the final stages of the book. So, it’s been such a huge difference for me. Because of this, I actually have been working with a coach, which usually I go to therapy every week. My therapist and I agreed that I would take some time off because I really felt like I was doing everything that she had given me. I was really feeling like my mindfulness skills are really helping me.

What was so interesting was that my coach – and this is not a coach for anxiety, this is more of a life coach – brought to my attention – and this is where it’s really funny – that even though my mindfulness skills are really effective and so healing and wonderful, he felt – and I thought it was shocking to start with, but I think he’s right– that I’m using it to avoid feeling my feelings and avoid feeling the sensations of anxiety.

Now, when he told me this, I’m not going to lie, I wanted to smack him upside the face. I was just really mad about it. I was like, “What? You’re telling me, I’m just this girl of mindfulness?” I don’t really see myself as a girl, but my ego was like, “I’m a guru at this. I’m so good at this. You’re telling me that it’s not effective?” I took some time. I shook off the pride, the pride issues that I was having, and I really let what he was saying to sink in. He’s 100%, right.

I really am so grateful for this opportunity to be called out on this one. So here I am sharing with you that I too am going through a layered experience of recovery. As many of you know, I’ve had an eating disorder, I’ve had anxiety my whole life. I have struggled with depression. I have struggled with medical issues that have been really, really stressful on myself and my family. I have handled them mostly really well, I think, but it never occurred to me in this idea of recovery that I may be bypassing the opportunity to really do some work around uncomfortable feelings and uncomfortable sensations.

Here I am. I’m going to teach you what I’m practicing.

Now, I’ve made some adjustments. Instead of noticing my discomfort and suffering, I tend to it with mindfulness and self-compassion. But instead of jumping straight into those skills, which are so good, by the way, I’m not discounting. These skills are gold. If you have mindfulness skills, it’s better than gold. It’s more valuable than gold or anything else that you could get. So I still am going to use those, but there’s this teeny tiny little space before that where I’m actually practicing feeling, allowing, and tolerating uncomfortable sensations, allowing uncomfortable feelings to be there.

Now, I know the title of this episode is How to Tolerate Uncomfortable Sensations. The reason I’ve done that is because even though I realized emotions was the thing I was avoiding, really when I get down to it and we break down a feeling, a feeling is just a combination of a thought with a sensation.

I’ve done episodes on how to tolerate thoughts, but I really wanted to really practice, and this is what I’m doing: Okay, I’m feeling sad. I’ve had a lot of sadness lately show up in my body. Where does it show up? For me, it’s right at the front of my shoulders. I want to just pull my shoulders forward and curl my spine into a C-shape and just contract and go into fetal position. When I feel sad, I just want to drop my head down onto the table. I want to drop the muscles in my face and I just go exhausted.

Instead of going, “Oh, I’m noticing that I’m sad,” be compassionate to your sadness, but bring it straight back to the present, pull your shoulders back. I’m actually just making space for the sadness. I don’t slump and jump into bed and stay there all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not engaging in sadness. I’m not just responding to sadness with apathy or depression, but I’m actually just spending time there and just going, “Yes, Kimberley, this is sadness. This is the sensation of sadness. It’s okay to have these.” Let’s stay with them. We don’t have to stay with them all day, but let’s just honor them first. Let’s stop jumping to mindfulness and compassion really fast. Let’s actually stay in the sensations. You can still go about your day. You can still be highly functioning. We still want you to be doing those mindfulness and those exercises. But my question to you is: Are you really allowing that to be there or are your emotions holding you hostage? – which I think is what was happening.

As I’ve always said to you, if you have a fear, stare it in the face. That’s how you get empowerment over that fear. If you avoid the fear, that fear has power over you. And then you’re always going to feel like your fear controls your life.

The same goes for sensations. If you have uncomfortable sensations and you immediately remove your attention from them to the present or other things, now your sensations have control over you. You’re giving them all the power and you’re afraid of them.

This is where I pose another question: Are you afraid of your uncomfortable sensations? If so, let’s practice feeling them as an exposure. Without knowing it, my coach who is not an exposure therapist is technically giving us a mini-exposure by saying, “No practice staying in the sensations of sadness or anxiety or happiness or exhaustion or whatever it may be. Practice tolerating and staying with them and still doing what the non-anxious you would do, or the non-sad you would do.”

Like I said, I’m not going to say, “Oh, I have to feel my sadness. I need to stop what I’m doing, stop this podcast and go and lay in bed.” I’m still going to talk to you guys and do what lines up with my values, which is to talk with you guys, connect with you guys, and so forth. But I’m going to say, “Okay, I’m observing that my shoulders feel that heavy feeling or my head feels that heavy feeling or my heart hurts. Can I just breathe into that?”

Now you may want to set some timers for this and say, once you identify it, “Okay, for the next 15 seconds, I’m going to just do this for 15 seconds.” Then you may say, “Okay, let’s try it for 30 seconds.” While I feel this anxiety – shortness of breath, tingling, tight chest, derealization, lump in your throat, panic sensations, racing thoughts – while I tolerate these sensations, can I practice coupling them with my life? So, while I’m feeling the emotion and the sensation, can I type up my email? Can I couple those two together? And when I do that, I might even say to myself, “Okay, this is me doing an email, writing an email while having the sensations of sadness or anxiety or anger or shame or whatever it may be.” Just by that, you’re having this experience of learning how to have emotions and sensations and you’re learning a sense of mastery over them.

Now, some of you have probably thought like, “Well, she’s told me this before,” which is why I said I’m slightly embarrassed because I know this stuff and I’ve probably said it on this podcast before, but I wasn’t practicing it.

Now, humbled to say that we’re all working this out. We’re all figuring this out. I was just listening to this wonderful meditation from my meditation teacher. He was saying that meditation is really like a huge Ashram. If you had the job of cleaning a large Ashram, you’d start in one room and you’d go to the next one, you’d go to the next one, and you’d go to the next one. You’d slowly get it done. By the time you finish, the first room you cleaned is dirty again. So you got to start again.

He’s like, the goal of meditation is not to get the house clean and be like, “Good, I’m done. I’m all done,” slapped my fingers together. “It’s all good.” That’s not what this is about. That’s not what recovery is. I really resonated with that. I feel like I have to tell my clients these stories as well because recovery isn’t a one-and-done. For me, literally, that’s me. I’ve cleaned every room in the house. I’ve circled back. And now I’m like, “Oh, there’s another thing. There’s another area of improvement for me. Oh no. Oops.” You know what I mean? My son always goes, “Oops.” It is total “Oops, okay.” This is a wonderful opportunity for us.

This is not about learning how to be uncomfortable and you’re done. This is about really having mastery over any sensation, any thought, any feeling that you may have. Any urge, any image, anything – having mastery over that. Not even mastery. Let’s just actually scale back. Let’s actually say, “Just knowing you can,” that’s enough. Let’s not talk about mastery. That sounds too big for me right now. Let’s just talk about knowing that I can. If I had to have anger or I had to have sadness or had to have anxiety, I know I could. Let’s stay there.

I hope this has been helpful. I am more than happy to share with you my shortcomings because I think that it makes me very human. It gives you permission to be very human. You guys know that I try not to take myself too seriously. I am on a journey with figuring this out too.

Hey, let’s just keep cleaning one room at a time and enjoy this learning.

Thank you so much for listening. Please do leave a review if you enjoy the show or not. Please leave an honest review. We would love to get a review from you. I’m just sending you much love. Take care, everybody. These are difficult times. I want to really offer my loving-kindness to you, offer a gesture of kindness and warmth and compassion to you if you are struggling.

Have a wonderful day. I will talk to you soon.

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area.

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.

Apr 30, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today we have on Christian Newman, the Health Anxiety Coach, to continue our discussion on health anxiety.  Christian was on the podcast a while back and because we get so many questions about health anxiety, we decided it would be great to have him on again to answer some of your questions.  On this episode, Christian answers “How do I know if my symptoms are anxiety or something else?”, “Is there anything other than CBT and ERP that I can use to treat health anxiety?”, “How do I stop googling my symptoms?”, “How do I stop focusing on sensations?”, and “How do I learn to accept a doctor’s diagnosis?” Christian also shares a bit about his 30 day detox program to help you recover from health anxiety.

Christian NewmanFollow Christian on Instagram @healthanxiety.coach

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Apr 23, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast.  Today, we are going to talk about BFRB’s. Now, a BFRB is body-focused repetitive behavior. Many of you know, I am an Anxiety Specialist; I specialize in OCD and OCD-related disorders. Those related disorders can involve body-focused repetitive behaviors including hair pulling, skin picking, and nail-biting.

Ep. 186: 8 Tips to Manage Your BFRB

Today, I want to give you eight tips to help you manage your BFRB. This is also really helpful if you have any behavior in your life that you want to adjust and change. It is also helpful if you are a family member or a loved one of someone with a BFRB.

The eight tips we are going to discuss today are:

  1. Identify specifically where you’re engaging in your body-focused repetitive behavior.
  2. Identify when you engage in your BFRB.
  3. Identify what emotions trigger your BFRB.
  4. Identify what thoughts you are having.
  5. Find alternative behaviors.
  6. Block the behavior specifically related to the body part.
  7. Find support.
  8. Practice self-compassion daily.

Above all else, I want you all to remember that you are not your BFRB. You are way more than this thing that you struggle with. You have so many other beautiful characteristics and strengths and abilities. If you can introduce a self-compassion practice, you will find immense benefit from just gently nurturing the suffering that you are feeling. This is so important for everybody, but particularly for those who are really hard on themselves.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Apr 16, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today I want to talk to you about a question that recently was asked by one of my awesome Instagram followers.  This person asked me "Kimberley, how do I relax and be self-compassionate when I suddenly find myself with extra time on my hands?" This is such a fantastic question and a really timely one as well.  So today we are going to discuss the skill of sitting still.  Ask yourselves "When was the last time you allowed yourself to sit still?" and "When was the last time you allowed the discomfort you may be feeling to just be there?"

how to sit stillMaybe you are thinking to yourselves that you have done nothing but sit still since COVID began, but even if this is true when was the last time you sat still and created space for your emotions to rise and fall? When was the last time you allowed yourself to experience your emotions and feelings without judgment?  This is key.  You may have been sitting still, but you may have been judging yourself at the same time. True restoration begins when you allow those emotions and feelings to be there without judgment. Are you resisting, pushing away, avoiding, or judging?  Or are you willingly allowing yourself to feel all of the feelings?  Often when we are stressed, we try to busy ourselves.  This is usually an attempt to not feel the discomfort.  Ask yourself, are my actions effective in the long term?  Resisting, avoiding, and distraction may feel helpful in the short term, but is it really effective for the long term?  I invite you to slow down and gently and compassionately make space for the present moment. You may not feel an overwhelming sense of calm and that is OK. Your self-compassion is not done to remove your discomfort, it is done to soothe the discomfort.  I am asking you to try slowing down. To schedule time to just be still. Allow the discomfort and the quiet. Make space for all of your feelings and emotions as they rise and fall.

I hope this was helpful and I hope that you remember to be kind and gentle with yourself.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

 

Apr 9, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today we have on the amazing Joshua Fletcher who some of you may know from Instagram as Anxiety Josh.  Joshua is a psychotherapist in the UK as well as someone with lots of lived experience with anxiety disorders.  He is here today to talk to us specifically about panic attacks and panic disorder. panic disorder
Joshua shares his lived experience with panic, derealization/depersonalization, agoraphobia, and anxiety.  He tells about his first panic attack and how that led to multiple panic attacks per day. This led him to planning his days around how to avoid having another panic attack.  He shares the importance of psychoeducation for people who are experiencing any kind of anxiety disorder including panic.  This is not for reassurance purposes, rather it is important to demystify the experience of anxiety.  Once you learn what is happening, the anxiety loses some of it's grip.  We know that anxiety thrives in the uncertainty and the unknown so becoming educated on what is happening in your brain and body is really so crucial for recovery. Joshua discusses hypervigilance and how this really is at the heart of anxiety disorders.  He gives some tips and tools to help if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder including panic disorder.  We end the discussion by talking a bit about self-compassion and how important it is to recovery.  I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.  Joshua has so much wisdom to share and I think you will find his words not only helpful if you are struggling with an anxiety disorder, but also really inspirational as well.

 

Instagram @AnxietyJosh

Click here to find links to Joshua's books, podcast, and more!

 

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

 

 

Apr 2, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today I want to share with you the 5 mindfulness tips that I use with my clients to help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. The first tip is to observe. Instead of taking thoughts as fact, try simply observing your thoughts. An example may be "I am having the thought that bad things may happen." The second tip is to be curious. If you are able to be curious, you can actually change the narrative. Instead of being rigid, try being open to other possibilities. The third tip is to leave judgment behind. We often make the statement that our thoughts and feelings are wrong. Instead leave out the judgment and try "I am noticing this feeling is making me uncomfortable." This brings you back to a place of objectivity.  The fourth tip is to be present. Bring your attention back to the present moment. Try to not focus on the past or the future.  The fifth and final tip is to catch the stories you tell yourself. Be very careful when you say things such as "I can't handle this." Try to reframe that statement with "I can tolerate the discomfort." or "I can do hard things."  I hope these tips have been helpful to you.  I know that I find them incredibly helpful and use them often myself and with my own children.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

 

Mar 26, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit. Today we are discussing Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP.  So what exactly is ERP?  Well, many years ago a psychologist created exposure therapy, which is where we expose people to their fears. If you were afraid of dogs, we would expose you to pictures of dogs and then videos of dogs and then we would probably ask you to go pet a dog, that is exposure therapy. What is ERP?This was found to be highly successful; however, over the course of time, more research suggested that doing exposures alone is good, but it doesn't completely address the whole picture of OCD because OCD does not just involve obsessions, it also involves compulsions. Exposure therapy did not really address compulsions. So a different method was added on and that is the response prevention. You expose yourself to your fear and then you would do response prevention, which would mean you would not engage in the compulsion to remove the discomfort, uncertainty, or  anxiety that you are feeling.

ERP  is a treatment that addresses both the obsession by exposing and the compulsion by doing response prevention. Now, this is groundbreaking and the research has shown that the outcomes are really good, which is wonderful because for many years, we did not have a great treatment for OCD. Since then we have actually added on other modalities to make it even better. We have inhibitory learning, acceptance and commitment therapy, compassion focused therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy. All of these additional modalities really help to increase motivation and help to manage your discomfort as it rises and falls.

A lot of people will ask if ERP can work if you do not engage in physical compulsions because as we know many people with OCD will engage in hidden compulsions that no one can see.  Those are typically avoidance and mental compulsions.  From the outside you may never know that they are struggling with mental compulsions all day because they are ruminating and playing out potential scenarios in their minds.  It is so important to identify the mental or avoidant compulsions you are doing and that would be a part of your ERP as well.

So that's ERP in a nutshell. Is it easy? Oh no, it's not easy. Is it hard? Oh yes, it is hard. But what am I about to say, say it with me everybody, it is a beautiful day to do hard things. Can you do hard things? Absolutely.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Beginning today March 19th and continuing until April 1st, ERP School will be available with bonus material. This will be an amazing training on the motivational skills Kimberley teaches her clients to help them in their treatment and recovery!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

 

 

Mar 19, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today we are so lucky to have Dr. Jonathan Grayson on with us again. Dr. Grayson is a psychologist who has been specializing in the treatment of OCD for more than 40 years. He is also the author of Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and founder of The Grayson LA Treatment Center for Anxiety and OCD.  He is here today to talk to us about magical thinking. I am actually getting asked a lot recently about magical thinking.  People have a lot of questions about what it is and how it relates to OCD and anxiety. magical thinking with Dr. Jonathan GraysonDr. Grayson starts off by giving us his definition of magical thinking.  He explains that magical thinking is really on a continuum. On one end you may have a person without OCD who engages in minor superstitions and on the far end you may have a person with OCD who has magical thinking that is actually interfering in their daily life.  He says that most of the time with OCD, the magical thinking does not seem to have an obvious connection between the fear and the ritual.

Dr. Grayson spends a good amount of time discussing magical thinking in the context of spiritual and religious beliefs as well as how magical thinking relates to scrupulosity.  He also shares his thoughts on scapegoating as a form of magical thinking. He shares with us a bit about how someone can get better and overcome magical thinking.  He says that this is really just about taking the risk of uncertainty similar to all OCD treatment. He says you should ask yourself "Is this magical thinking actually working?  Is it bringing you any peace?"  This episode is full of such wisdom.  I learned a lot myself and I hope you all will find it helpful.

Dr. Grayson's book, Freedom from OCD, is now out as an audiobook!  Click here for more information.

The Grayson LA Treatment Center for Anxiety & OCD

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Beginning today March 19th and continuing until April 1st, ERP School will be available with bonus material. This will be an amazing training on the motivational skills Kimberley teaches her clients to help them in their treatment and recovery!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

 

Mar 12, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. We have a lot to tackle in this episode!  We are going to be talking about a really important topic which has a lot of confusion surrounding it.  Today we are going to explore the difference between an intrusive thought and a mental compulsion.
OCD starts with an obsession. This is an intrusive, repetitive, unwanted thought, feeling, sensation or urge that you cannot control this.  Once you've had that intrusive thought, feeling, sensation and urge, you usually feel anxious and uncomfortable because it is unwanted.  You then have this natural instinct to try and remove the discomfort and the uncertainty that you feel. This is what we call a compulsion. Usually we feel some form of relief from the compulsion, but this becomes a problem because it only reinforces to our brain that the thought was important. Your brain continues to send out the alarm that the thought must mean something. Now many of us are aware of the form that physical compulsions can take such as hand-washing, jumping over cracks, moving objects and so forth. Actually one of the most common compulsions is mental and that takes the form of rumination. The problem people run into is that rumination is sometimes hard to identify. That is why I am doing this episode because so many people have asked, how do I differentiate between the intrusive thought and a mental compulsion? And what do I do? We know we should not be blocking thoughts, so how do we stop mental compulsions. If I'm not supposed to suppress my thoughts, what am I supposed to do if I catch myself doing mental compulsions? Is stopping mental compulsions thought suppression?"
I would say, technically, no. But it depends. Let's go straight to the solution. We want to acknowledge that we're having an intrusive thought, feeling, sensation or urge or an image. our job is to do nothing about it. We need to do our best not to solve that uncertainty or remove ourselves from that discomfort. That's our goal. And then our job is to reintegrate ourselves back into a behavior that we were doing, or we would be doing, had we not had this thought. So here is an example. Let's say I'm typing. I have an intrusive thought about whether I'm going to harm my child. So I have this, I'm going to acknowledge that it's there. I'm actually going to practice not trying to make that thought go away. But instead, bring that sensation or thought with me while I type on my computer. As I'm typing, I'm going to notice the sensations of my fingertips on the keyboard. I'm going to notice the smell of the office. I'm going to notice the temperature of the room I'm in. And I'm going to then catch if my mind directs away from this activity towards trying to solve. If I catch myself trying to solve it then I am going to bring my attention back to what I'm doing. I find that if I'm getting caught in some kind of mental rumination, I get down on the ground and I start playing with my son. The OCD may continue to try and get your attention, but you are going to continue with what you are doing and not engage with the thoughts. It is important to remember that compulsions feed you back into a cycle where you will have more obsessions, which will feed you back into having more compulsion's. It's a cycle. We call it the Obsessive Compulsive Cycle. So we really want to sort of be skilled in our ability to identify the difference.  This is really, really hard work. I think about when you're originally first learning anything, everything is really confusing and everything looks kind of the same. When you first start doing it, these are going to look very similar and it's going to be difficult to differentiate the difference, but once you get better at being around this and labeling it and catching it, you will be able to see the differences in these two things, even if it's very, very nuanced or they look very, very similar.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Coming in March 19th ERP School will be available with bonus material!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Coming March 15th, we are offering our free training, The 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About OCD.

 

Transcript of Ep. 180

This is Your Anxiety Toolkit episode number 180.

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I'm your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn't get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain't easy. If that sounds good to you, let's go.

Welcome back, everybody. Hello. Thank you for being here with me. We have a lot to tackle in this episode, so I am going to jump in as quick as I can. I know this is such a huge concept and topic, and there's so much confusion around it. So let's really today talk about the difference between an intrusive thought and a mental compulsion. We also want to figure out which ones we want to work with and which ones we want to allow. We want to talk about the difference between allowing a thought and engaging in a thought. There's so much to cover here. So before we get started, a couple of really exciting things, I really want you to keep an eye out for. On March 15, 2021, we are relaunching the free OCD training. It's called the 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About OCD.

It's not called the 10 things you need to know. It's called the 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About OCD. I have shared this free training multiple times, tens of thousands of people have taken this training. I've gotten nothing but amazing responses back. And the coolest thing is people even said, "I've watched it before. This is the second or third time I've watched it when you released it. And it really reminded me of these core concepts that we have to remember when we're talking about OCD." So even if you've watched it before, even if you're pretty well versed in OCD, I still encourage you to listen and take the free training. It's just jam packed with information and science and all the good stuff. And even if you're a therapist, I encourage you to take it. So if you're interested, go over to cbtschool.com/10things, or you can click the link in the show notes.

I am so excited to share that with you. Now, one more thing, keep an eye out, because as of March 19th, we are relaunching ERP School with some exciting bonuses, which I will announce in next week's episode. So excited again to share this with you. And what an amazing community, what an amazing opportunity I've had to teach so many people about ERP. And now also teaching therapists. We have now got ERP School approved by The National Association of Social Workers. So if therapists out there, you can actually get CEUs for taking ERP School, which is very, very cool. All right, let's get straight to the show. Let's talk about the difference between an intrusive thought and a mental compulsion first. So the first important piece to remember here, as we pull apart what to do with what thoughts, because that's really what this is about.

We must first understand the foundation of OCD. So OCD starts with an obsession. This is an intrusive, repetitive, unwanted thought, feeling, sensation or urge. It's not just a thought. It could be a sensation. It could be a feeling like de-realization or guilt. It could be a sensation like a feeling in your left finger or feeling in your nose or whatever that may be, everybody's different. But it does start with this intrusive thought. And the thing you must remember here is you cannot control this. This is the first experience of OCD, right? You have the intrusive thought, feeling, sensation or urge, and this is the thing you can't control. So there's a really big point right off the bat. The second piece here is once you've had that intrusive thought, feeling, sensation and urge, you usually feel anxious and uncomfortable and it's unwanted. And so your natural instinct is to do something to remove it.

You'll do it to remove the physical discomfort, the emotional discomfort, the uncertainty that you feel. And that is what we call a compulsion. Now, as many of you know, we know the kind of more mainstream compulsions that are known in our society. Hand-washing, jumping over cracks, moving objects and so forth. But one of the most common compulsions is mental. It's thinking. It's rumination. And that's the thing that's really hard to catch. And that's why I'm doing this episode because so many people have asked, how do I differentiate between that intrusive thought and a mental compulsion? And what do I do? Like I said at the beginning, I'm not supposed to block thoughts, but I'm not supposed to do mental compulsions. And that's thinking too, and what this does, right? So let's go back to the cycle. You have a thought, feeling, sensation and urge.

It makes you uncomfortable. Then you do a compulsion to make it go away. And usually you do get some form of relief. But the problem with this is that then it reinforces that that thought was important. Therefore, your brain continues to send out the fire alarm, the safety alarm, the smoke detector, it sets off all of those alarms in your brain and then sends out more anxiety with more of that thought, feeling, sensation and urge. So let's go back to the main concept. You're not to try and suppress your thoughts because the more that you suppress your intrusive thoughts, the more you have them. I've done full episodes about this in the past. So if you want to go back and listen, suppressing your thoughts will only make them worse. But here is where it gets tricky. People will say again, "If I'm not supposed to suppress my thoughts, what am I supposed to do if I catch myself doing mental compulsions? Is stopping mental compulsion's thought suppression?"

And this is where I would say, technically, no. But it depends. So what we want to do, let's go straight to the solution. We want to acknowledge that we're having an intrusive thought, feeling, sensation or urge or an image, right? It could be an image too. And then our job is to do nothing about it. To do our best not to solve that uncertainty or remove ourselves from that discomfort. That's our goal. And then our job is to reintegrate ourselves back into a behavior that we were doing, or we would be doing, had we not had this thought. So let's say I'm typing. I have an intrusive thought about whether I'm going to harm my child, or I have an intrusive thought about whether I cheated on my partner, or I had an intrusive thought on whether I'm gay or straight, or I had an intrusive thought about harming somebody, or a religious obsession, or a sensation, or a health anxiety sensation.

So I have this, I'm going to acknowledge that it's there. I'm actually going to practice not trying to make that thought go away. But instead, bring that sensation or thought with me while I type on my computer. As I'm typing, I'm going to notice the sensations of my fingertips on the keyboard. I'm going to notice the smell of the office. I'm going to notice the temperature of the room I'm in. And I'm going to then catch if my mind directs away from this activity towards trying to solve. If I catch myself trying to solve, yes, I am going to practice not doing that thinking. I'm going to practice not trying to solve it. And then bring my attention back to what I'm doing. I find that if I'm getting caught in some kind of mental rumination, I get down on the ground and I start playing with my son.

He's really into Lego right now. And so I fully, fully throw myself into this. I do my best to fully engage as best as I can. Now, I'm still going to have the presence of intrusive thoughts because I cannot control that. So it's going to sound a little bit like this. OCD is going to say, "Hey, what about this? What if this happens?" And I'm going to say, "Hi, thought. I'm actually typing an email right now. And that's what I'm going to do. You can be there. I'm going to allow this uncertainty to be here and I'm going to keep typing." So then I start typing. And then OCD will be like, if I were to externalize it, would be to say, "No, no, no, no. This is really important. You really have to figure this out."

And I'll go, "No, thank you. I'm really cool that you're here, but I'm going to type." And then it's going to say, "Hey, Kimberley, this is really important. And if you don't give me your attention, I'm going to... Something really bad is going to happen." And I'm going to go, "Thank you. But I'm writing an email right now." And then you're going to be like, wow, I'm doing pretty good. Look at me go. I'm fully practicing the skill of not engaging in my intrusive thought. And then it's going to say, "Listen..." Let's say I'm impersonating OCD. It's going to say, "Listen, I am not going to stop bugging you until you give me your attention." And I'm going to go, "That's fine. I'm actually going to call your bluff on that. I'm writing this email. You do not get to tell me what to do." And it's not going to give up.

It's going to keep going. "Kimberley, Kimberley, Kimberley, Kimberley, you must pay attention to my thoughts. You must pay attention. I'm trying to alert you to a very big danger." And often this is where people get worn down. They're like, "Oh my gosh, it's not going away. Maybe it is right. Maybe I should do it. Maybe I can't handle this anxiety. Maybe this is too much for me. Maybe it's just easier to do the compulsion." But I'm going to be here with you, urging you to keep allowing that intrusive thought to be there. It will basically roll over and start crying and fall asleep at some point, like a toddler, who's too tired and is rejecting his nap. But all he needs is to nap. It eventually will die down, but you have to be willing to stick and be consistent with not engaging in the pleads of OCD, the urgency of the obsession, the catastrophization of the obsession.

Because it's going to be making it into a... What do they say? A molehill into a mountain. It's going to be making a small problem, a big problem. And what I mean by that is the present of a thought is not dangerous. It doesn't mean it's a fact. It doesn't mean it requires your attention. Some people with OCD have a part of your brain that's going to set this thought on repeat. And because we've tried to suppress it in the past, it is probably going to want to be very, very repetitive. And your job is to do nothing at all. If you do, and I'll say this again, if you do catch yourself doing mental compulsion's, it's okay to stop doing that. That's not thought suppression. As long as you're... You don't want to over-correct. So if you catch yourself doing mental compulsions, don't over-correct by also trying to block the thought.

That's where we get into trouble. Instead, you just do a small correction back to what am I doing? What am I engaging in right now? What do I value? Because we do not value compulsion's. Compulsion's feed you back into a cycle where you will have more obsessions, which will feed you back into having more compulsion's. It's a cycle. We call it the Obsessive Compulsive Cycle. So we really want to sort of be skilled in our ability to identify the difference. If you can't identify the difference it's going to be really hard to know which is which, and how to respond in those moments. And a lot of this is when we're super anxious, it's really hard to think logically. It's really hard to think... Is this true or is it not? Or so forth. It's not even helpful in that moment.

Whereas, it may be like three days later. You're like, "Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? That was a bit strange. I wonder why I got so caught up in that." And that's because when we're anxious, our brain has a difficult time coming up with problem solving that is effective. So the more you can be able to identify it, and I encourage my clients throughout the day is catch yourself doing mental compulsion. Don't beat yourself up, but practice this idea of going, "This is me doing a mental compulsion. This is me having an intrusive thought. This is me having an intrusive thought and wanting to do mental compulsion." And being able to label them so that in the moment when you really are at a nine or a 10 out of 10 of anxiety, or uncertainty, or discomfort, you're able to be more skilled in your response.

Super, super, super important stuff here, guys. But we don't want to shame here. Again, this is really, really hard work. I think about when you're originally first learning anything, everything is really confusing and everything looks kind of the same. I always think of like The Devil Wears Prada, this is a crazy example, but the actress is laughing at these people because they're looking at a belt that looks almost the same, but it's very different in their eyes. And the one main character is like, "They're the same belt." And they look at her like she's crazy. And this is the same, right? When you first start doing it, these are going to look very similar and it's going to be difficult to differentiate the difference. But once you get better at being around this and labeling it and catching it, you will be able to see the differences in these two things, even if it's very, very nuanced or they look very, very similar.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say for now. The tools are the same. If you really want to go back and practice and learn these mindfulness skills you can practice, go back and listen to some of the previous podcast episodes. I actually encourage you to go back and listen to some of the earlier episodes, because in those episodes, I totally, I was laying out this awesome content on how to be mindful. Some of my best podcasts are the very first few ones, which is like back-to-back major skills, major tools. It was laying the foundation for how to be mindful with obsessive thoughts. So go back and listen to those or sign up for the free training coming up or, and you can also sign up for ERP School, which is coming back very, very soon.

We also have Mindfulness School for OCD, which is a course that really deep dives into practicing mindfulness related to obsessions and compulsions. So that's there for you as well. Okay. A lot. Sorry, I'm talking so fast. It's something I'm so passionate about and is something that I really wanted to make sure I covered and get very clear on. I've had a couple of you reach out and really be stressed about figuring out the difference. I'm hoping that's super helpful.

One last thing before we go, please do leave a review. I know I keep begging you at the end of every episode, but it really would mean the world to me. If you get anything from the podcast and you want to give back in any way, I would love a review from you. Your honest review, you don't have to fabricate anything. I really love them. I read every single one. And once we get to 1,000 reviews, we will give away a free pair of Beats headphones so that you can hear me crystal clear in your ears. And you of course can pick the color of your choice with those. So all my love to you.

Please do go and leave a review. I hope today's episode [crosstalk 00:17:05] was helpful. And get excited [crosstalk 00:17:05]. All right, have a good one, guys. All my love to you. It is a beautiful day to do the most beautifully difficult hard things.

Please note that this podcast or any of the resources from the CBTschool.com should not replace professional mental healthcare. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area. Have a wonderful day. And thank you for supporting CBTschool.com.

Mar 5, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today I want to focus a bit on OCD treatment.  I want to share with you all 8 tips that I think will really help to fast-track your OCD treatment.  The first tip is to get support. Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

That may people from people in your life or it may be from social media, organizations in the OCD community, or online support groups. The second tip is to pace yourself.  Find a pace that works well for you, not too fast, not too slow.  The third tip is to give yourself time to feel all the feelings about your OCD treatment. You are likely going to ride a wave of emotions and that is OK.  The fourth tip is to stop judging yourself for your obsessions and compulsions.  Being critical of yourself on serves to get in the way of your recovery. So go easy on yourself. The fifth tip is to embrace uncertainty.  Learning to live with uncertainty is key to recovery in OCD treatment. The sixth tip is to stare your fear in the face everyday.  Remember when we turn away from our fear, OCD only becomes stronger.  The key is to do those hard things. The seventh tip is to find your motivation.  What is your motivation for wanting to get better?  The eight and final tip is understanding and accepting that you cannot control your thoughts.  The only thing you can control is your reaction to those thoughts.  I hope these tips will help as you progress through your OCD treatment. If I can leave you with just one thought that would be "It's a beautiful day to do hard things."

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Coming in March 19th ERP School will be available with bonus material!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Coming March 15th, we are offering our free training, The 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About OCD.

 

 

Transcript of Ep. 179

This is Your Anxiety Toolkit - Episode 179.

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.

Welcome back, my friends. Hello, Happy Friday. This is when it’s released. If you’re not listening to this on a Friday, Happy whatever day you’re listening, Happy Day.

How are you? Take a breath. Where are you? What are you doing? What do you see? What do you smell? It’s a beautiful day.

Thank you for being here with me. It is a beautiful day to do hard things, as always. But today, we’re actually talking about exactly that, talking about how to do really hard things in the form of talking about the eight things you can do to fast-track your recovery. It could be OCD recovery, it could be health anxiety, panic disorder, eating disorder, whatever it may be. But we’re probably going to put a focus today on OCD, mainly because I am getting ready. This is very exciting.

Let me go off on a tangent. I’m getting ready to relaunch the free training that we offer twice a year called The 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know about OCD. It’s a free training. We’ve offered it now for almost three years, and I offer it twice a year over... not over a thousand, over tens of thousands of people have watched this training. It’s quite amazing. So many people have given me amazing feedback on it. A lot of people have said that this was their first introduction to OCD and the education to OCD. I’m just so happy to share this with you.

We will be releasing this training again on March 15, so get ready. I will send you all the details when we get there, but for right now, you could just get really excited and you can listen to this episode, which is really again, talking about not the basics of OCD, even though a lot of people who’ve taken that free training said they go back every time I launch it and rewatch it because it’s a really great reboot on these major basic concepts. Today, we’re going to talk about bigger concepts, like really looking at treatment and how to fast-track it. So, let’s get started.

Before we start, actually, again, I’m going to ask you for a favor, if you would have a moment and you feel so inclined, please go and leave a review. I am on a massive... What would you call it? Effort to get more reviews, not because I need the ego stroke at all, but because I have been told by multiple business people that if you want to help more people and get this free resource out to more people, you do have to have a ton of reviews. The more reviews you have, the more likely people are to click on the podcast and try it. My goal is to create really, really good content, but they have to actually click the content to get helped by the content. So if you could help me with that, that would be amazing.

I have offered an incentive. We are having an exciting challenge where we’re challenging ourselves to get a thousand reviews. Once we get a thousand reviews, I’ll be giving away a pair of Beats headphones to one of the lucky reviewers of your color choice as a thank you. So, that’s there. I would love to have you write a review. All right, let’s get into the show.

We’re talking about the eight tips to fast-track your OCD treatment.

  1. Get support. 

This was actually the #8 point, but I actually brought it up to #1. If you are willing to do hard things, which you will because OCD treatment requires you to do many hard things, you will need support. Now I know what you’re probably thinking. “I don’t know anybody who has OCD,” or “I don’t have enough money for treatment,” or “I don’t know who to ask.” And that’s why this podcast is here. This is a free service to help you feel supported. And if listening to this podcast is your form of support, well, I am so, so grateful and blessed to have that opportunity. But even better than that is to get support by people who are in a similar situation and it does not have to cost you money. It does not have to cost you time.

The use of getting support for OCD might look like social media accounts. There are so many advocates on social media, Instagram, Facebook. This is a really wonderful way to get support. You might go to OCD Gamechangers or the International OCD Foundation, where they have programs and free town hall and fireside chats where you can feel supported because you’re in an area of like-minded people. You might join a support group. There are many GOALS support groups. It’s G-O-A-L-S support group. If you Google it, there are many around the country of the United States where they’re free support groups for people. They are online forums. I have a free Facebook group called CBT School Campus, which is a group of the most kind of supportive people who are also on their journey.

So, get support. You can’t do hard things on your own all the time. You can do them on your own some of the time, but it fast-tracks it if you really do have support and people cheering you on.

The other thing to remember is you don’t have to know someone who has OCD. Find somebody who’s also doing something difficult and say, “Hey, I’m doing a hard thing. You’re doing a different hard thing, but I wonder if we could support each other.” Most of the time, people are so relieved not to do hard things on their own. So, get support.

  1. Pace yourself.

When you want to fast-track your treatment and your recovery, your instinct is to go in great guns. In Australia, we call it great guns. Great guns is full-on going in, giving it your biggest effort. And that’s good. Great guns is awesome, but you have to pace yourself. You can’t sprint a marathon. You’ll get into the first mile and you’ll collapse. This is about pacing yourself and having a clear plan.

One of the biggest areas I make as a clinician is when I create a treatment plan for my patient or my client, and it’s not a good pace. It’s not a good beat. You can hear me clicking. You can’t go really fast and then taper out. You lose momentum. So what you want to do is pace yourself at a cadence that feels really right and is doable and is realistic, that you can make a part of your daily life because it’s not realistic to do four hours today and then zero hours tomorrow, and then two hours the next day. Try and find something that you can do a little bit every day.

  1. Give yourself time to be mad, sad, sad, resentful, and have whatever feelings you have about this OCD treatment or this recovery process. 

You’re going to have lots of emotions and you have to prepare yourself for that. You have to be willing to ride the many emotional waves of recovery. It’s not just a matter of sitting down and doing exposures and going on about your life. You are going to have to feel all kinds of emotions, and that can be really overwhelming and painful. So give yourself time to have those emotions.

  1. Stop judging yourself for your obsessions and your compulsions.

One of the things that is the most demotivating actions we can do is criticize ourselves for where we’re at. This is a podcast episode about fast tracking. This means what slows us down, looking at what are the things that slow us down so that we can go at the fastest pace possible that is healthy and realistic. And that involves not being critical. Being critical literally does nothing good. It slows you down. It de-motivates you. It disempowers you. It makes you feel more secondary emotions. It does no good.

I know you know that, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves that in the moment, when we catch ourselves judging ourselves for the thoughts or feelings we’re having or judging ourselves for the compulsion we’re doing is to go, “Wait, that’s not helping. That’s not effective. That doesn’t get me closer to the goal.” Even if I feel that way and it feels true, I am going to catch this and step out because it’s not effective.

  1. Uncertainty is key. 

If you are not being uncertain, you are taking a detour. Think of it like you’re on a road and you’ve got a destination and you’re getting there. Every time you go off the road, let’s say, you’re going from A to B, going off the road, going towards C is the equivalent of going to certainty. You want to get off the road of certainty and get back on the road to being uncertain. And you will naturally, oops. Whoops, it’s easy. As we took a little detour back into certainty land, turn around, do a U-turn, come on back to the road of uncertainty. That is the fastest route to your recovery. Then you’ve got like a GPS. Over the GPS if you had one in your car, it would be like, “Please do a U-turn. You have taken the wrong route. You are on the road of certainty. Turn around and proceed to the road of uncertainty.” That’s how I imagine the GPS lady or man speaking to you when you’ve gone down that wrong road.

Again, when you catch yourself, don’t beat yourself up. The GPS doesn’t go, “Bad you. You’re a bad person for going on a detour.” She just goes, “Would you please do a U-turn and proceed to the route?”

  1. Stare your fear in the face every day, learn to play this game, and it is a gap. 

This is talking about a Reid Wilson approach who I adore. Reid Wilson’s approach is, this is a game. Your job is to accumulate points. Every time you stare fear in the face, you accumulate points. And we want more points. We want to take the points away from OCD.

I’ll often say to my patients and clients, “I want you to accumulate a hundred points a day.” Let’s say if touching... my bike’s right in front of me. So I’ll say, let’s say touching the handlebar of my bike is a 5 out of 10. If I do that, I get five points. Good job. I’ve only got 95 more to get today. If letting myself have certain thoughts, if that’s a 9 out of 10. Okay, great. Now I’ve got 14 points. I’m getting there. I’m getting closer to my goal. You could say 50 points. If you wanted to start early or easier, you could go to 10 points to start with. That’s fine. But learn to stare your fear in the face every day and play the game. We don’t want OCD getting and accumulating and racking up all the points because they win. Because when we avoid, OCD gets points. We want to try and prevent OCD from hitting its 10, a 100 mark every day. We want to be like, “Nope, I’m going to win this game today.”

  1. Treatment requires motivation and fast-tracking requires motivation. 

Your job is to identify what will happen if you don’t play this game and stare fear in the face. Identify what OCD has taken away from you. PS, little teaser. Next week’s episode is all about motivation. If you struggle with this, we’re going to deep dive into motivation. It’s something that I have been asked about so much lately. So I, of course, scheduled to talk to you about it.

Again, the motivation, it does require a ton. If you want to fast-track your treatment, it does require that you get your wheels moving and you don’t slow down. And that will require keeping in your mind’s eye right in the front. Like, I’m doing this hard work because if I don’t, OCD will take A, B and C from me.

Now, little side note, and we’ll discuss this next week. If that feels a little like pressure or shaming or guilt-tripping on you, we can learn to shift the language around that. Your job again is to try not to judge yourself for what it has taken from you in the past. That’s a really important piece here. But again, I’ll pause there because we’ll go through that next week.

Drum roll... The final major thing that you have to remember to fast-track your treatment, and I did originally have this as #1, but I’m going to finish with it because it’s probably the most important.

  1. Your recovery requires a deep understanding and acceptance of the fact that you cannot control your thoughts. 

Most people, by the time they come to me, have wasted so much time and so much of their life in a wrestle, trying to control their thoughts. No judgment there. That is the natural inclination of a human being. But you have to really drop down and recognize that trying to control, which thoughts come in and out of your mind, is a lose-lose for everybody. The only thing you can control is how you respond to your thoughts. Massive, massive point. That is one of the points we do cover in The 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know about OCD training, but I really wanted to bring it up again because it’s so important. Everyone gets caught in this one. So it’s just a matter of catching it and going, “All right, I’m in a wrestle with my thoughts. I know I can’t control my thoughts. So I’m going to have to try something different.” The only thing you can do differently is to change how you respond.

The answer to that, let me give it to you, is just to do something different. It’s basically to go, “Oh, this is too big. I can’t solve this. It’s unsolvable. I’m just going to walk away.” It’s sort of like, sometimes my son’s doing a Lego and he’s getting really frustrated because he just can’t seem to figure out this next step and he’s getting more upset and he’s getting more upset. Now he’s sort of ripping at it and pushing out it and things are suddenly breaking apart. I’ll say, “Whoa, this isn’t working step away. Let’s go do something else. We’ll come back later.” That’s really important.

I love you guys. That is the eight tips I have for you to fast-track your OCD treatment. If some of that went too fast and too much, get ready, we’ll do the free training here very soon. I strongly encourage everybody to take it, even if you’ve taken it again, because I’ve added a bonus point this time. Really now it’s 11 things you have to know, but you’ll see that when we get there.

All right. I love you so much. Have a wonderful day. It is a beautiful day to do one hard thing. Whether you choose the hard thing or it’s naturally happening, that’s okay. Just do the hard thing. Be in the hard thing. Give yourself permission for things not to be right and perfect.

Okay, I love you. Have a wonderful day and thank you for listening.

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area.

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.

Feb 26, 2021

ways to break the cycle of perfectionism with Menije Boduryan

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today we have on an amazing guest and therapist, Menije Boduryan. Menije is an OCD specialist as well as a specialist on perfectionism. She is here today to talk to us about perfectionism and to give us some tips on how to manage perfectionism in our own lives.

Menije defines perfectionism as a drive to do things perfectly with anything less than 100% being unacceptable.  It is a desire to want everything to be flawless and in that desire, comes a lot of expectations or rules that people set for themselves.  She explains that perfectionism becomes a mindset and you begin to operate in the world expecting yourself to be perfect, as well as your partner, your best friend, your clothes, your work desk, what you eat, and how you exercise to all be perfect. It becomes powerful because our self-identity becomes so attached to this idea of being perfect. It is not just about the desire to do things perfectly, but it also becomes a belief that once you do things perfectly, then you are enough, you are worthy.

Menije shares with us a bit about her own struggles with perfectionism and how perfectionism impacts our relationships. She describes how it is really possible to fall into a cycle with perfectionism. If you fall short in something you are doing, which you inevitably will, you start into the cycle of feeling shame and that you are not good enough so you then strive to work harder the next time to achieve that level of perfection.

Menije shares with us one of the best ways to break out of that cycle of perfectionism is really to just give ourselves a tremendous amount of self-compassion. Recognizing that whatever happens today, I am worthy and I am enough. She also describes that breaking out of the cycle involves being able to tolerate your imperfections. Really being able to sit with the discomfort and anxiety that will come when you have done something that is not perfect. She describes it as very similar to exposure therapy.

This interview is full of so many amazing insights. I hope you will find it as helpful and as meaningful as I did.

Menije's Instagram @dr.menije

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Coming in March ERP School will be available with bonus material!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Feb 19, 2021

long term goals

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I want to talk about a concept that is really important to long-term recovery or just life in general, which is this question: Does this bring me closer to my long term goals? 

Now, human beings are very reactionary. When there is an event, we quickly do a little data check in our brain. Is it safe? Can we proceed? Should we run away? Should we freeze? Should we just freak out? We have the whole process that happens in a millisecond, and then we respond.  Now the fight-flight-freeze system of the brain keeps us alive. It’s a reaction we have to danger. So if there is a lion, we know to either freeze, run away or fight it. For those with an anxiety disorder, we often go into the fight-flight-freeze when there isn’t any real danger. The more we react, the more we enforce our fears and the more that we get stuck in a cycle of reaction.

One of the most helpful things in life for me has been to step back and look at the cycle, look at the trends and ask myself, does this behavior, does this reaction bring me closer to my long term goals?  If you can, just practice slowing down and pausing and saying to yourself “Wait a second. Is there a trend in my reaction?”

I often say to my clients that my job is pretty simple. My job is to help you find the trends, find the patterns. If there is a pattern of reaction, that is where I intervene. I want you to be able to look at the patterns and the trends, and then decide for yourself what is good for you. We cannot live just in reaction because that is when we get stuck.

So I want you to try asking yourself "Does this behavior bring me closer to my long term goals?" Remember to be gentle with yourselves and give yourselves a huge amount of self-compassion.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information. Coming in March ERP School will be available with bonus material!

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Transcript Ep. 177

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.

Welcome back, friends. I am so happy to have you with me. How are you doing? How are you all? Sending you so much love. Checking in with you. Hey, how are you doing friend? Number one, thank you for being my friends. It really, really is wonderful. 

Up to this point, let me just reflect on something really quick. When I first started creating the podcast, I would look at the microphone and just talk into the abyss. Just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, say what I want to say, and get done. The cool thing is I was just reflecting on this before.

Now that I have met quite a few of you at either conferences or events or on social media or on the Facebook group, which is CBT School Campus, you can go to it’s a private group, and I know your faces, now I have this wonderful experience where I can look into the microphone and actually see your faces. It’s been so fun to actually meet you guys and just be like, “Oh great.” I know I have another face. 

Hello, welcome. Thank you for being here. I know your time is so precious and I’m so grateful that I get to spend this time of yours together. Let’s get straight to the episode.

In the last few episodes, these are building on each other. We talked about self-compassion. Last week, I talked about the lies we tell ourselves which, PS, was a really hard conversation. Ain’t going to lie. I hope that was a safe, healthy conversation. If you didn’t hear it, go back because it was me sharing my own experience of telling lies to myself and to my family, and really just breaking down the judgment around that. So, go back and listen. And me sharing with my family and with you guys about how I’m going to change.

Now today, I want to talk about a concept that is really, really important to long-term recovery in or just life in general, which is this question: Does this bring me closer to my long-term goals? 

Now, human beings are very reactionary. This is why we have survived for millions of years. When there is an event, we quickly do a little data check in our brain. Is it safe? Can we proceed? Should we run away? Should we freeze? Should we just freak out? We have the whole process that happens in a millisecond, and then we respond. 

Now the fight-flight-freeze system of the brain, we call it the FFF response, is a part that keeps us alive. It’s a reaction we have to danger. So if there is a lion, we know to either freeze, run away or fight it. We instinctively know this. But what happens is, if we have an anxiety disorder or little glitchy in the brain, often what we do is we go into the fight-flight-freeze when there isn’t danger and we’re in reaction. And the more we’re in reaction, the more we enforce that fear and the more that we get stuck in a cycle of reaction, reaction, reaction, reaction, reaction. 

Now, one of the most helpful things in life for me has been to step back and look at the cycle, look at the trends and ask myself, does this behavior, does this reaction bring me closer to my long-term goals? There’s this moment where if we can, we can just practice slowing down and pausing. This will be really important for you, folks, who do compulsions on autopilot. Slow down and pause and zoom out and go, “Wait a second. Is there a trend in my reaction?”

I often say to my clients and patients, “My job is pretty simple. My job is for you to tell me how you’re doing, for you to explain to me what’s going. My job is to find the trends, find the patterns. If there is a pattern of reaction, that’s where I intervene. If the reactor action is problematic, that’s where we intervene. If the reaction is really helpful and productive and brings you long-term joy and quality of life, I have no business messing up with that. I’m here to look at disorder.” That’s what disorder means, is to look at where there is a problem in the order of your life, to look at the trends.

The question here I want you to do is, take a step back, look at the trends in your life and see what is and isn’t working, and ask yourself: Does this behavior bring me closer to my long-term goals or to my values?

Last week, I shared about the lie that I told myself and my family about, “Oh, I have to work. I don’t have a choice. I have to work this hard.” And then I was like, “Wait a second. That’s a lie. I don’t have to work this hard. I make myself work this hard. I pushed myself to work this hard. I allow myself to work this hard.” 

I have to look and stop and go, “Okay, it’s cool. It’s fun. I get a lot done. I get a lot of fulfillment from it.” But if I step back and go, “Wait a second, does this bring me closer to my long-term goals?” some of it does. Yes, it helps me feel more fulfilled in my work. It gives me more success in my work. It makes me write a good book. But it doesn’t fulfill the long-term goal of me wanting to be a present parent, a good wife, have a connection with my family. This trend has its pros and cons. from that, I’m going to make a decision for myself on what brings me closer to the long-term goal that matters to me most.

Now, again, as I said last week, no judgment here. Last week, my husband said, “I think that maybe you’re pushing yourself a little too hard.” I might go. “Yeah, you’re right, but I’m still going to choose to do it because that’s what I value. That’s my choice.” You get to make those choices. No one gets to tell you what’s right for you as long as you’re being honest with yourself about what is the long-term goal.

Often with anxiety, clients will say to me, “No, no, I know that I’m doing this as a compulsion, but I’m cool with it because it doesn’t impact my grades or nobody knows I’m doing it. It’s just my time. It doesn’t take up all the people’s time. So I’m cool with it.” My job is to go, “No judgment. It is your life you get to choose, as long as you’re comfortable with the long-term outcome, which will be you’re going to keep having OCD or anxiety or panic disorder or health anxiety or social anxiety or phobias, because the more you react in that way, the more it reinforces that disorder.”

Again, I’m not here to judge. I just want you to be able to look at the patterns and the trends, and then decide for yourself what’s good for you. We can’t be just in reaction because that’s when we get stuck. If we’re only focused on short-term relief, we will get stuck. 

I feel really in this moment, I want to just stop and just check in with you guys. How are you doing? What’s coming up for you? Is there a lot of negativity or judgment around yourself? Maybe there’s some defensiveness of like, “What the heck is Kimberley saying? Why is she saying this to me? She’s so mean.” 

Often when I say this to clients, actually, let me share with you. When I’m with a patient and they’ll go, “You know? Yeah, I just avoided it. I’m fine. I’m not going to do it. I’m not ready,” and I’ll go, “That’s fine. I’m not here to judge you as long as you understand the long-term effect of that on your life.” They’re like, “Oh, Kimberley, you just always call it like it is. Why are you going to be so mean?” And then we giggle together a little. 

That’s right. Yeah, I’m not doing it to be mean. I’m trying to be a truth-teller. I’m trying to get them to come on board with just telling the truth to themselves because that’s how we get better. Now, some people will say, “Oh, but I don’t know what the truth is.” True, I get it. But you do know what your values are and you do know what matters to you most. I’m guessing it’s not staying stuck. 

That’s it. Does this behavior bring me closer to my long-term goals? We may need to weigh it up. Like I said to you, with me is, there may be pros and cons to it. We need to have a little conversation with ourselves. We still have to accept that nothing’s perfect, right? I think then we will wrap it up with self-compassion, and then the big bow on top is, it’s not going to be perfect. The long-term process may not look the way you want it to be. Then we just be gentle with ourselves. We can’t have it all, but just really lean into what’s effective, what truly brings you a sense of fulfillment, which brings you closer to your values. 

Sending you guys love. I love you guys so, so, so, so, so much. Got a little secret for you here. ERP School is coming back. It will be available in early March. Get very excited. We are offering ERP School again with bonuses. Even though it’s been available throughout the year, we always offer it twice a year with extra special bonuses. Keep an eye out. We will be offering that in March. 

Now we usually offer it in February. But remember how I told you I was going to walk a little less. There you go. Made some changes. Delayed it a little bit. How do you like that from being honest with ourselves? It will be available in March. Stick around. We are going to give you a little more information. We’ll be doing the free training again and offering some great bonuses. 

Also, let your therapist know. If you have a therapist who doesn’t know how to treat OCD, let them know that we now have ERP School with CEU so you can get continuing education units with the course and an extra training from me on how to be a stellar Exposure and Response Prevention Therapist. It’ll be here in March. So stick around again for that. 

Now, if you want more and more information, and if you want to get a ton more free resources from me, head over to Instagram, I’m most present there. I’d like to be more present in all the others, but again, cutting back on work. Go over there and follow me @kimberleyquinlan. That’s where you get a ton of free content every single day. 

I love you guys. One more thing, please go and leave an honest review either on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, all of the places where you can listen to podcasts. We are giving away a free pair of Beats headphones to one lucky person who leaves a review once we get a thousand reviews. I will send them your way. You get to pick the color. I’m very excited about these. Not the teeny tiny ones, the bigger ones. I’m so excited to offer that, that you can listen to the podcast with the best quality into your ears. Yay. 

All right. All my love to you guys. Sending you much love. I hope you’re taking special care of yourself. It is a beautiful day to do hard things. See you next week. 

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area. Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.co

Feb 12, 2021

What are the lies we tell ourselves

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit. Today we are going to have a hard conversation and it honestly is causing a little bit of anticipatory anxiety for me. I want to talk to you about the lies we tell ourselves. You might be thinking "I don't tell lies. What are you talking about? I am a good person." So I want you to hear me out for a little bit and I want to share an experience I had this week. I realized that I had been telling a lie to myself and to my family about my choice to continue working so hard.

I really want to take the stigma, the judgment, and the shame out of lies and just admit that we do it. That’s my main hope for today. Let’s just acknowledge that we sometimes lie to ourselves. We lie to other people, and we do it, not because we’re horrible human beings, but because we’re trying to protect ourselves. It’s a safety behavior. We’re trying to protect the story we create, and I had created this whole story of why I had to work so hard.

So I sat down and thought about the lies we tell ourselves and I want to share those with you today. The first lie is "I can't." We have to stop saying “I can’t.” We may want to start replacing it with “I won’t” or “I’m not choosing to”. That is actually a better way of saying the same thing without it being a lie.  The second lie is "I am less worthy than other people." We sometimes tell ourselves that we are less than, but that is a lie. We have to catch ourselves before we buy into that story. The third lie is "Just this one time." As we go to do something, even if we know in our hearts it’s not healthy, by just saying, “Oh, just this once I’ll do it.” That is a lie, because typically is not just this once. The fourth lie is "I should be able to do this by myself." Let's get rid of the word 'should' here. If you need help, it is ok to ask for support. The fifth lie is "I can't upset other people." Actually it is not that you do not want to upset other people, you really do not want to tolerate your discomfort that goes along with hurting other people or making other people upset. 

So there are a few lies we tell ourselves. Think about them. Be very gentle and tender with yourself. Take your time with this. You may want to put your foot in the water and pull it out really quickly because it’s too painful, but then practice. I’ve been doing this for several years and it has very much benefited me. 

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Transcript Ep. 176

This is Your Anxiety Toolkit - Episode 176.

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.

Welcome back, guys. Today is going to be a hard conversation between you and me. Are you ready? Oh my goodness. Thank you for coming. I’m actually really excited about these episodes. 

Some anxiety-provoking. I’m having some anticipatory anxiety. I’m noticing some tightness in my chest, shortness of breath. That’s what we want to do when we’re feeling anxious. We want to just check in, where is it? We want to breathe into it and allow it. We want to honor it. We want to just go, “Yeah, it’s okay to feel this. It’s not my fault, but I’m going to allow it.” And then we want to lean in to do the hard thing. Today, we’re going to do that.

Today, we’re going to talk about the lies that we tell ourselves. Now, your initial reaction might be like, “Huh, I don’t tell lies. I’m a good person. I’m not a liar. Don’t tell me I’m a liar.” That is not what I’m saying, but I am, mainly because I have to tell you something that happened to me this last week because I, myself, am a liar. If you’re not a liar, that’s fine. I am a liar. So, let’s address that. 

This last week, I have been editing, editing, editing, editing. There are so many stages of writing this book. I thought you just wrote a book and sent it in, and were like, “Thank you for letting me write a book. Good luck with finishing it.” It turns out that’s not the case. You write the book. Then they check the book. They send you back notes. You write more. They check it. They send me back notes. You have to change a bunch of stuff. Then you write some more, and you finish the book. You go, “Hooray, I finished the book,” and they go, “Psych, just kidding. Now, we’re going to review the book and edit the book. And then you have to go and fix and correct and approve all the changes we made. And then we’ll do it one more time.” I’m like, “Boo, I didn’t want to do this. That’s not what I signed up for.” Being so naive, that’s what I am. 

Anyway, I’ve been working my butt off. In my private practice, I’m trying to do some really big changes to CBT School and make it much, much better. I’m trying to hire more staff because we’re so busy right now. I really want to make sure we’re not turning people away too. I’m not a specialist care. I want to be a good mom. I want to be able to do podcasts. I want to do social media. I want, I want, I want. And then I get to do this additional book edit. 

Now, on Saturday, I was in a terrible mood. The stress that was overwhelming me was just painful. It was so much. I thought I was being a rock star. I was using all my skills. I was still engaging with my kids. I was breathing. I had meditated. I had taken a walk. I was using all my skills. 

At the very end of the night, my daughter came up and she shared a balm as she often does at the very end of the night like, “Okay, I’m not doing well and I need your support.” Usually, I handle this really well, but on Saturday night, nope, not me. I did not handle it well. My reaction was like, “Come on, you’ve got no problems. I’ve got problems.” Number one, PS, that was not a good response. I don’t encourage you to practice that because that’s not helpful and not kind and not productive.

Of course, I slowed down. I caught myself in my reaction. I am a human. I make mistakes. I caught myself in my reaction. I apologized to her and I sat down and we talked it through and we came up with some solutions. I offered myself self-compassion and her, just like we did in the episode last week. 

And then when she went to bed, my husband sat me down and he said, “You’re working too much. This is not okay. It’s obviously impacting the family.” He said it kindly, but he said, “We try to be as honest as we can with each other.” My reaction was this: PS, it wasn’t great either. So go with me here. I am a, like I said, so much more to learn we’re all on a learning curve. But my reaction was, “How dare you say that? I’m working so hard and I don’t have any choices. It’s not my fault that I have so much work to do. I didn’t ask to do this second edit of the book or the 15th edit of the book. It’s not my fault that the links on the website are broken and blah, blah, blah.” And I stood by my theory. This is where the lie was. I doubled down.

He backed off a little because he could tell I was super triggered, but I doubled down on this lie. And then I had to step back and go, “Okay. That was a lie because I don’t have to work this hard. I don’t have to put this much pressure on myself.” I like to work. I love to work. I love what I do. I love talking to you guys. I love being a therapist. I love having businesses. I really love having a person who does business. I really love the therapy work and I also really love the business side of things. I’m just a bit of a dork that way. I love growing things. I love creating things. 

This whole lie that I was saying, like, “I don’t have a choice,” it’s just ridiculous. It wasn’t true. It was straight up a lie. It got me thinking, well, number one, let me backup. I went to my husband. I said, “I’m so sorry. You’re right. I am working too hard. I am pushing myself too hard. I need to find some better balance. I can’t burn myself down to nothing and have nothing left for you guys at the end of the day,” even though I thought I was using my skills, that’s just not okay.

I will talk about this again next week in a different concept. But I was telling lies when I reacted and I’m sorry about that. It got me thinking, “What other lies do we tell ourselves?” Let’s take the stigma and the judgment and the shame out of lies and just admit that we do it. That’s my main hope for today. Let’s just acknowledge that we sometimes lie to ourselves. We lie to other people, and we do it, not because we’re horrible human beings, but we do it because we’re trying to protect ourselves. 

It’s a safety behavior. We’re trying to protect the story we create, and I had created this whole story. “Oh no, it’s not my fault. I worked so hard because A, B, C, D, and it’s not completely in my control.” It is if I’m going to be honest. Maybe not for you in your case. Maybe you do have a situation where you have to work these certain hours. I’m not talking. I’m just a bit talking specifically to my own lives here. 

So then I thought, “Okay, let’s just go through.” I sat down, got a piece of paper, and I thought, “What are the main lies that I probably tell myself or I’ve heard my patients and clients say to themselves?” I’m going to bang through them really quick. 

1. I can’t. 

This is a lie. Not a good one, not an easy one. Again, when I talk about “I can’t”, I also want to preface that there are certain situations where people can’t do things like certain disabilities, medical disabilities. They can’t run a marathon or so forth. I’m not speaking specifically to that. I’m talking about “I can’t” when it comes to feeling emotions or facing our fears, or doing things that are hard. 

The main reason I say “It’s a beautiful day to do hard things” is to counter the thing I hear the most, which is “I can’t”. Yeah, you can. It’s going to be hard, but you can do hard things. It’s a lie. We tell ourselves.

Now I’m not saying that from a place of criticism or even lacking compassion. There’s deep compassion in what I’m saying here. I’m not saying, “Oh, you can.” I’m not saying it in a condescending way. What I’m saying is, be honest with yourself. It’s not that you can’t. We’re talking here about being honest with yourself so that we can actually solve the problem. 

I can’t solve this problem of overworking until I’m ready to be honest with myself and go, “You know what? You’re right. You’re 100% right.” I have to be honest with myself. I am choosing to work this much and it is impacting my family. That has to change. Let’s say I decided it wasn’t going to change, that’s my prerogative. But at least I have to start by being honest with myself. 

We have to stop saying “I can’t.” We may want to start to replace it with “I won’t” or “I’m not choosing to”. That’s a much more wise way of saying the same thing without it being a lie. Ouch, I know it’s not fun to hear this. I’m saying this to myself. Please don’t feel like I’m bullying you here. I’m also telling myself this, because a part of me wants to go, “No, I can’t. I can’t slow down. I have A, B and C.” It’s like I won’t slow down.

2. I’m less worthy than other people…

Because of my weight, the way I look, my social media, following, my mental disorder, my income.

We tell ourselves these lies all day long, this lie was the absolute basis of the eating disorder I had. I’m less worthy than them. The only way I can get more worthy and be as worthy is if I drop a body size, if I exercise compulsively. For some people, if I can be as popular, or if I could have as much money or have the same car. We tell ourselves it’s a lie, that we’re less than. That’s a lie. We have to catch that we buy into that story, and that when we do, that story can feed many problematic behaviors in our lives. 

3. Just this one time. 

“I’ll just do it one more time. It was no big deal. This one time won’t hurt.” That’s a lie guy. Ouch, I know, right? But we do it all the time. It’s fine. Just this once I won’t do it. Now, let me also stop for a second and go, you’re not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be perfect. We’re humans and we’re going to make mistakes. If there are times where you have fallen off the wagon, or you do a compulsion or you engage in a behavior that’s not helpful, this is not about me saying, “You’re bad for that,” and you get a rap across the knuckles. Absolutely not. We’re talking here about stories we tell ourselves, the lies we tell ourselves. As we go to do something, even if we know in our hearts it’s not healthy, by just saying, “Oh, just this once I’ll do it,” that’s a lie, because it’s not just this once.

I have a dear friend and this dear friend has OCD. I love when I hear this dear friend say, “Kimberley, I’m going to be honest with you. I know I shouldn’t do this, but I am choosing to do a compulsion this time. I know it’s not what’s right for me. I’m going to do it. And then as soon as I do it, I’m going to A, B, C, and D.” That’s the truth. That’s honesty. That’s not saying, “Oh, just this one time. I’m just going to do it once.” What she’s saying here is the truth. “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m going to do it. And then I’m going to take the consequence for it.” That is so much more healthy for you and honest for you than any other way of saying it.

Some of you may say, “Well, if I say that, then I’ll beat myself up.” Well, a part of telling the truth and not lying is also not beating yourself up for the truth, because the truth is the truth. No matter what you say.

4. I should be able to do this by myself or any other should that you do. 

I hear a lot of people say, “No, I don’t want to get therapy. I should be able to do this by myself.” I want you to recognize that the stigma at play. No, often we need help. We need lots of help. Often people will say, “No, I should be able to do this without medication.” No, that’s not true. That’s you telling yourself a lie because maybe you’re afraid of taking medication. 

These are just ideas, guys. I don’t want you to walk away feeling bad here. I just want you to reflect on, could any of this be possibly true? Maybe even just listening to this is you opening a small door into you being really honest with yourself. I promise you, being honest with yourself will be the most freeing thing you ever do.

When I really made a deal, it was like two years ago, I was like, “You know what? No more easing anyone, Kimberley. Just tell it like it is.” Don’t be mean about it. Don’t criticize yourself. Don’t be unkind. But just be honest with yourself and others, please. 

No more shoulds. “I should do this. I should do that. I should be able to do it by myself.” If you’re struggling to do it by yourself, you need help. It’s very factual. It’s pretty A to B. If you’re struggling to do it for yourself and you need help, there’s absolutely no shame in that. I really hope you can ask for help, whether it be a loved one, buying a book, buying a course, going to therapy, going to a doctor. Whatever it is that you’re trying to succeed with, ask for help. 

Here’s a big one. I have one more to go, then I have a bonus flippity-flop lie for you. I’ll explain it in a second. 

5. I can’t upset other people. 

I often hear clients say, “I can’t do that because it’ll hurt them. It’ll upset them.” No, that’s not the truth. It might be the case. It might be the truth and that is the consequence, but that’s not why you’re not doing it. You’re not doing it because you don’t want to tolerate the discomfort that goes along with hurting other people or making other people upset. 

A lot of this is like teeny tiny details, but I really want to inspire you guys here. Be as honest as you can with each other. It hurts, but it’s better. Then you can actually work with the system. 

Now, here is a flippity flop. When I say flippity-flop lie, it’s often, a lot of my clients will say, “Bad things are going to happen. Bad things can happen. Bad things are going to happen.” Often we will go, “Oh no, that’s just my anxiety talking.” We’re reacting to it in a really negative way. 

I want to flippity-flop lie this one. What I’m saying is, that one’s actually not a lie. Bad things will happen. That is a part of life. We must accept that scary things do sometimes happen in our life. I don’t want you to talk yourself out of that one. Instead, I want you to practice being honest, which is when I’m having the thoughts, “Bad things are going to happen,” I go, “Yes, Kimberley, you’re right.” 

How can we practice being accepting of that? It doesn’t mean all of your thoughts are going to happen. It doesn’t mean if you’ve got an anxiety disorder, your thoughts are on rapid-fire telling you all the 17,000 things have gone wrong. I’m not going to say all those things are correct. But the general idea that bad things will happen is not a lie. I want you to actually settle into that a little bit and be honest with yourself in that, instead of trying to control your life, thinking that that control will protect you from bad things from happening.

See, it’s like a flippity-flop. What I’m saying is it’s not a lie. It’s actually a truth. If you can handle it and respond to it like a truth, then you’re not getting yourself into trouble. I’ll talk more about this next week, I promise. 

So there are a few lies we tell ourselves. Think about them. Be very gentle and tender around these. Take your time with this. You may want to put your foot in the water and pull it out real quick because it’s too painful, but then practice. I’ve been doing this for several years and it has very much benefited me. 

Let me share with you to round the story out. After I had 24 hours to simmer myself down, give myself a talking to, and pull myself out of my own lies, I sat down with my children and I said, “Daddy brought up that he felt I was working too much. How do you feel about it?” I’m not in the business of trying to talk myself into being who I’m not. Interestingly, one said, my son is five and he’s learned the art of expression in his voice, and he went, “Oh yeah.” When I asked, “Do you feel like I work too much?” his response was, “Oh yeah.” So there is an answer. Honesty, thank you, five-year-old. 

My daughter who has more of a need to protect me went, “Uh, kinda, no, but you’re still a great mom and you’re too great and I love that you work hard.” And then her dad was like, “No, please. Mom asked you to just tell her the honest truth and you can be honest with us. How are you feeling about how much mom’s working?” “Yeah, I think she does work a little too much.” “Excellent.” 

Now, my team, the people I care about the most, have shared with me their opinion, whether I like it or not. I hear it. I take it into consideration and I choose whether I’m going to implement it. No more lies. I could go, “My husband is wrong. My kids are wrong. I didn’t even want to know about their opinion because my story is that I have no choice.” I could do that, but that doesn’t help me. It keeps me stuck. It cuts me off from the relationships that matter to me most. So I’m going to choose honesty. Does that make sense? 

Tough conversation, friends. How are you doing? Are you guys all right? Are you having a panic attack over there? Are you breathing okay? Check in. Take care of yourself. None of this is a judgment. This is mostly me giving you real-time on a stuff of my own that I work through. Often when I’m going through something, I want to share it with you because I’m guessing you are going through something similar. I’m trying to be ballsy enough to say, “Hey, let’s just talk about the real stuff. Let’s address the real stuff that impacts our daily lives and our mental health and anxiety.”

I love you so much. Please go and leave a review. We are giving away a pair of free Beats headphones so that you can hear the podcast so clear and wonderfully to one person who leaves a review once we get 1000 reviews for the podcast. So go to wherever you listen, leave your honest review. I would be so, so grateful. I do not take any sponsorships for the podcast. I do not do much sales here at all. This podcast is really here to help people who don’t have access to medical or mental professional care in these areas. Please, if you have a moment, go and leave a review. I would be so, so grateful. 

Have a wonderful day guys. I’ll see you next week.

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area. 

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.

Feb 5, 2021

how to practice self-compassion

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I want to talk about something that is so important to me. This is also something I think we all need a little reminder about from time to time and that is the importance of self-compassion. Today I want to share an exercise on how to practice self-compassion.

I want you to imagine that someone you care about comes to you and says that they are struggling or having a hard time. What is your first reaction likely to be? You probably will say something along the lines of "Oh I'm so sorry. How can I help you?" Now I want you to try this same approach the next time you are struggling. You can learn how to practice self-compassion by treating yourself how you would treat a loved one or even a stranger who is struggling. Stop and say to yourself "Ok you are in pain. Let's tend to that pain." Our work is really to tend to ourselves the way we would tend to others. Respect ourselves the way we respect others. There is no exception to this. You deserve kindness every step of the way.

The awesome thing about self-compassion is that it has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, improve treatment outcomes and improve quality of life. So let's learn how to practice self-compassion and really honor how we are feeling, giving ourselves the same loving kindness that we show to others.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Transcript of Episode 175

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I’m your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn’t get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain’t easy. If that sounds good to you, let’s go.

Welcome back lovely, lovely friends. How are you? How are you doing? Just checking in with you guys. Thank you again for being here with me. Once again, I am so grateful that you choose to spend your time with me. So thank you so much. 

Today’s episode is a little bit of an impromptu, mainly because I recently did an Instagram post, and it’s on a concept I talk about all the time, but it got a lot of traction. It really made me realize that maybe you needed that reminder. I always think it’s interesting when a concept sticks really heavily with people. It makes me realize like, “Oh, okay, that’s where I need to head. That’s the direction that people obviously need help.”

Let me share with you what this concept was. One of the core concepts of self-compassion is to treat yourself how you would treat someone else if they themselves were suffering. What I want to do is, I want you to go with me on a little exercise, just to check in and see if there are any areas that you could up your self-compassion game, because if you’re going to up your self-compassion game, every single goal of mine has been won and we can all go home really, really happy. It’s one of my core missions. A part of my mission statement is to hopefully create a world of people who have anxiety, who stopped to treat themselves better, kinder, more compassionately, more respectfully, just nicer. 

Here’s the exercise. I want you to think back to a time where someone you love deeply was struggling. If you can’t think of a time, just imagine it. Think of someone who you care about, who you genuinely wish well. Think about them coming to you and them saying, “Hey, I’m having a hard time.” 

Now, when someone you love, someone you care for, someone you wish to be well, comes to you and says, “I’m having a hard time. I am suffering,” what is your immediate response? Usually, our immediate response is, “Oh my goodness. That is so painful. I’m so sorry. You’re going through that. How can I help? What can I do to support you?” That’s the best kind of care. 

Now, for those of you who, when I originally asked the question, had a different reaction, that’s fine too. It’s common that when someone else is suffering, sometimes we may feel defensive or we may feel angry because we haven’t got the space for it. Or we may feel resentful because we assume their pain doesn’t compare to our pain. 

If you had any of those reactions, that’s fine. I’m not here to tell you how to feel. And that may be something you want to go and work through because if those reactions were strong, those reactions need to be tended to with self-compassion too. We don’t want to just judge you and go, “Oh, that’s wrong,” and move on. No, no, no. That does not add to a self-compassionate practice. That just takes you away into self-criticism and self-punishment. So we don’t want to do that. Back up a little. We don’t want to do that.

But let’s just go to this genuine innate reaction that most humans, almost all humans, or actually all humans were born with, which is the genuine care to help and take care of each other, which I know is you. I know it’s you deep, deep down. Now, that reaction, that desire, that impulse to go, “Hey, how can I support you?” that is exactly how you need to tend to yourself when you’re suffering, when you’re having a moment of pain.

Disregarding where the pain came from, disregarding whose fault and who’s to blame and how you could have prevented it, I want you to lean towards speaking to yourself, how you would speak to another person or even a stranger. Sometimes we treat strangers better than we do our loved ones. That’s the truth too. But again, I’m not here to judge. I’m not here to tell you how to feel and how to treat others. I’m here to talk about how you can up your self-compassion game. 

When you’re in pain to say, “Hey, I am so sorry you are going through this. How can I be there for you? What do you need? What will get you through this?” And often the person, let’s say we were talking to a loved one, they would have some wisdom for us often. If I were to say like, if my husband came to me and he was venting and he was telling me how much pain he was in, usually he just wants me to listen and be there. Very few people want advice. 

That’s what I try to do for myself. There will be times when I’m in pain, where I need to stop and go, “Okay, Kimberley, you’re in pain. Let’s tend to this, but let’s also work to solve this problem.” The long-term problem, not the short term problem. We don’t want to just get rid of short-term relief. That usually ends up flopping. We end up falling on our butt when we do that or getting stuck in a cycle of problematic behaviors. But we may want to zoom out and go, “Okay, let’s take a really big look at the big problem here.”

Our work is to tend to ourselves like we would tend to others. Treat ourselves as we would treat others. Respect ourselves as we would respect others. There is no exception to this. You cannot give me one reason why you are exempt. 

A lot of my patients and clients will say, “Oh no, but I deserve this. I did this to myself.” It doesn’t matter who you did it to, why you did it, and who’s to blame. You’re in pain. You’re suffering. You may have chosen this suffering or this behavior that caused suffering because you were in pain. There is no exception. You deserve kindness every single way, every single step of the way. 

That’s all I have to say. Put it into practice. Nothing changes if nothing changes. We really want to focus in on this as being our highest priority. 

A little bit of science, self-compassion helps everything. We don’t have scientific evidence of exactly that, but almost we do. It helps with motivation. It helps with anticipatory anxiety. It helps with treatment. It helps with treatment outcomes. It helps with success performance. It helps with quality of life. It reduces depression. It reduces anxiety. It increases quality of life. Go for it. That’s our in sparks. Don’t stop. 

All right. I’m going to say goodbye. Before I do so, I’m going to let you know, again, please do go and leave an honest review wherever you listen to this. I would absolutely love it. It would be the best, best, best thing for me if you could. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choosing of color for one lucky person who leaves an honest review. I’m not just saying the people who leave the best ones, but I have loved reading all of the reviews. Thank you so much. It really does help me find other people who need my help. So, go ahead and leave a review if you feel so inclined.

Have a wonderful day, and I’ll talk to you next week.

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area. 

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.

Jan 29, 2021

tools to manage the bully in your life

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast. Today I want to share with you all something that has been going on for a while now. For months, I have been harassed online by an anonymous troll who has been leaving really terrible, disgusting comments on my social media accounts. I want to share with you today some ways that I have dealt with this situation and to really give you some tools to manage the bully in your life, whether that takes the form of a real person or if that bully takes the form of fear and anxiety.

Initially I tried doing what I would do when I am faced with fear. I simply tried not engaging. These are the same tools you would use to manage intrusive thoughts and anxiety, which is, you just don't engage with them. You set strong boundaries and you bring your attention back to the things that you value. So I was trying that for a while. Then I realized that I wasn't setting strong enough boundaries. I was keeping what was happening a secret because I was feeling a lot of shame around this situation. When shame shows up, we tend to go underground. We keep it from people. But shame lives in the darkness. It can't survive in the light. So bringing it out into the light is where you actually have less pain because you've shared it with someone and you are validated. That was an incredible lesson to me.

If you have a bully in your life, or if fear is your bully, you can apply the same things, which is, I am not engaging in any bully-like behavior. Not today, not tomorrow because I matter. My values matter. The people I love matter. I'm not giving attention to this, which is ineffective.

I hope that this podcast today gives you some empowerment and permission to set boundaries and disengage with people who are ineffective in your life, who hurt you, who say unkind things, who do not treat you well. 

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Transcription of Ep. 174:

Welcome to Your Anxiety Toolkit. I'm your host, Kimberley Quinlan. This podcast is fueled by three main goals. The first goal is to provide you with some extra tools to help you manage your anxiety. Second goal, to inspire you. Anxiety doesn't get to decide how you live your life. And number three, and I leave the best for last, is to provide you with one big, fat virtual hug, because experiencing anxiety ain't easy. If that sounds good to you, let's go.

Welcome back, friends. How are you? I'm really happy to be here with you. I actually needed this moment to just slow down, settle into my chair, pull out my microphone and say, “Hey, how are my crowd? How are my people? How is this amazing community doing?”

First of all, thank you for being here. Second of all, I'm grateful for you guys. So grateful more than I ever, ever have been for reasons I will share in this episode. I have to first start by saying, I have literally got the best community. You guys are so cool. I have learned this through a very difficult process in the last couple of weeks, months, year, because it's been going on for a while. 

For those of you who don't follow me on social media, I have been just recently public about one or two social media trolls who have recently really heavily and aggressively attacked me both verbally and, mostly verbally, but with significant sexual content. If this is a trigger for you and you have some trauma around this, I won’t be giving details, but I just want to give you a little trigger alert because the degree in which I was being harassed on social media was sexual harassment. I wanted to just reflect on this today. 

I'm always going to be honest with you. I'm going to keep it real. I'm going to share what I feel is helpful, and I hope that this is helpful because there is a really, really powerful message here. I'll give it to you right up the front. 

The powerful message is: Don't ever allow a human being to change the way you think about yourself. That's going to be one of the main messages. 

The second message is, I have been on this podcast for many, many years, telling you guys how to manage intrusive thoughts and anxiety. It turns out the cool news is that you can handle other social media trolls or people who don't really bring a ton of value to your life in exactly the same way that you do intrusive thoughts and anxiety, which is you just don't engage with them. You set strong boundaries with them and you just bring your attention back to the things that you value. It's a cool approach. 

Let me tell you the story. For many months, I am and other OCD advocates actually, probably ones you know very well, have been receiving these most hateful, disgusting, just mean comments and messages, and that's fine. That's okay. I mean, it's not fine, but what I'm saying is, that happens, unfortunately, to anybody on social media. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people can get behind an Instagram handle or a Facebook account and spinelessly throw a bunch of mean hateful words at people. It happens all the time. A lot of my high profile clients that I see in my office have reported this to me for years, that social media can be a really, really scary place. 

Like I said to you guys, and let me segue back to, this has made me appreciate you guys more than ever, because you guys have been nothing but supportive to me, kind, helpful, warm, supportive with each other and me. It is so cool. I'm so grateful for you. I really, really am. But for almost a year, I have been getting these messages, and my approach was, like I said, to do what I do with anything that doesn't bring me value in my life, which is I delete it or I block it, and I don't engage with it. So that's the piece I do with fear. 

Fear can show up. I don’t block that, but I don't engage with it. I'm not going to give it my attention. Often it doesn't require my attention. It's just going to be there. So that's how I handled it each time. 

But what was happening is I would delete and block this person or these people. At a higher and higher frequency, they were creating more and more and more and more accounts under different names and doing the same behavior. The reason I knew it was one to two people is because they were using exactly the same hateful language. 

There's a couple of messages here, a couple of lessons myself, and I just wanted to share them with you and reflect. At one point, it was getting to be so disturbing that I started to share with a couple of really trusted friends what was happening. They immediately said, “Huh, this is very similar to OCD work. You have the thought or you have the feeling and you don't do anything. You just don't engage.” I thought, “Yeah, that's so cool.”

But what quickly became apparent is they started to say, “Why aren't you calling this person out? Why aren't you setting stronger boundaries with this person?” I had reflected on this, and I thought, “Well, I think underneath, I had a tremendous degree of shame around this. I had a tremendous degree of distaste about this and I wanted to just push it away.” 

It got to the point where, one day, I basically deleted probably up to 20 accounts. I spent pretty much the entire day on social media, trying to block this person. They said, “Why would you put in all that effort? Just tell people that you're struggling with this and call it out.” I thought, “Huh, that's such an interesting thought.” It was shocking to me that I had a ton of shame around that. 

I wanted to tell you this, not because I just wanted to blab on about my experience, but I'm just hoping that you, if anything similar, or someone has been unkind to you in person or on social media, that you can recognize that when shame shows up, we tend to go underground. We keep it from people. We hide it from people. But shame lives in the darkness. It can't survive in the light. So bringing it out into the light is where you actually have less pain because you've shared it with someone and they've acknowledged you and they're validated you and they're helping you. You're not alone now. 

That was an incredible lesson to me, which is ironic because I talk about it all the time and I share about this concept all the time. Because it was happening to me, I got short-sided. Again, I'm going to keep saying, if this is happening to you, catch how much you're silencing your own pain. Catch how you're doing it on your own in isolation, not sharing it with people.

What was really wonderful is, once that they said, “Hey, shout it out. Let people know what's happening. You can't protect people from this all day. You can't be blocking this person all day just to protect others from seeing this message about you. Tell them what's happening.” 

You know what shocked me here guys? Within four hours, a whole bunch of people who I know, but not that well, came out in support of me. They were ready to support me, and that blew my mind. It made me realize how incredibly strong this community is. It made me realize how much of a team we are, that they, on a topic that I had a lot of shame around, came out and stood up for me and said, “We stand with you in solidarity. This is not okay.” 

I want you to know that you have a community right here who will do the same for you, who will stand up and say, “Please be aware of your stigma that you're saying about mental illness. Please let me educate you about what OCD is because it's not what you think it is. Please let me help you understand that depression is not laziness. Please let me help you understand that people aren't struggling because they want to, they’re struggling because they're stuck.” There's a part of a community who's willing to stand up for you as well. 

This was just mind blowing to me. And for any of you who have been trolled on social media or harassed, or have any kind of bully in their life, I want to really, really encourage you to treat it with the tools that you've already been given to manage fear. Don't engage in it. Stand up for yourself. Set strong boundaries with it. We just did a huge podcast on that the other day. Set boundaries with it. And then you return back to the thing you value. 

What I noticed is, this was so shocking and horrifying to me that I couldn't stop thinking about it for a little bit. And then I was like, “Wait a second. My children are right here. I don't value this human being. I value my children. I value my husband. I value you guys, my community. I value my work. I value my health.” 

Let's practice. While we have this discomfort, while this event happens, which means nothing about me - it means everything about the person and nothing about me - while this happens, I'm going to go back to engaging in what I value. 

Now my mind kept saying, “Oh no, no. You go back on. Just check, check, check, just to see.” I'll be like, “No, I'm not,” because I'm not going to let that kind of behavior change how I act today. I want to look back on today and say, “I'm really confident and proud of that.” This was huge to me. 

I wanted to share it with you because if you have a bully in your life, or if your fear is your bully, or if you are your bully, you can apply the same things, which is, I am not engaging in any bully-like behavior. Not today, not tomorrow because I matter. My values matter. The people I love matter. I'm not giving attention to this, which is ineffective.

Now, what am I going to say? Totally easier said than done. Let's be real. Totally easier said than done. But I hope that this podcast today gives you some empowerment that gives you permission to set boundaries and disengage with people who are ineffective in your life, who hurt you, who say unkind things, who do not treat you well. 

One of the most important pieces of self-compassion is self-respect. Self-respect comes first, which was respecting that you matter, that you're worthy and that no one's allowed to say bad stuff about you, including ourselves and what we say about ourselves.

Last piece of the puzzle here is that once I came out and said, “Hey everybody, this is what's happening.” I don't endorse it. It's terrible. It's disgusting. Please, if you see it, ignore it. Treat it like an intrusive thought. Everyone came out in drones and supported me, DM to me, commented, was so kind. 

What was so fascinating here is, this person then created another account and said, “Oh, you just took it too seriously. I was just giving you compliments.” I was like, “Wait a minute. That's the definition of gaslighting.” For those of you who don't know, gaslighting is someone doing a behavior or acting in a certain way and then turning around and blaming you for it. It's a huge problem in communication. We want to try to eliminate gaslighting in communication. 

Again, I felt gaslit, and my immediate response was, “Huh, was I being too sensitive?” That last did literally like a millisecond. And I was like, “No, that's gaslighting.” 

If you're in a situation where someone is being a bully to you, and then they tell you you're being too sensitive, that's gaslighting. You're not being too sensitive. You deserve to be treated well. You deserve to be taken care of. Really, really important stuff. 

In those moments, if you do feel like someone's now blaming you for something that they did, your job is to step down into compassion and go, “No, I'm going to honor that that was painful for me.” This is the same for when someone goes, “Oh, I'm so OCD,” or “I'm so bipolar,” or “I'm so psychotic today.” They’re using it as a joke and it hurts you. And then they turn around and they say to you, “You're being too sensitive. Why does everything have to be so pissy?” You're allowed to go, “No, you just gaslit me right. It's painful for me. Therefore, it matters. Therefore, it's real. You can't discount that.” Really important stuff. 

It happens a lot around mental illness. There's a lot of stigma there. I think there's a lot of opportunity for people to gaslight about that. I really want to make sure I brought that in as the final piece of this episode. 

So that's that. I'll keep fighting the fight. This person didn't go away, and I don't care, to be honest. 

What did I learn?

1. You guys are amazing. 

2. I feel so supported by you, thank you. 

3. I don't need to engage in this stuff. It doesn't deserve my time. 

4. Catch when people try to redirect blame on to you because that can help you go down a spiral of self-criticism and self-punishment.

I love you so much. Thank you so much for being here. 

Last of all, I'm going to ask you another favor. I'm going to stop mentioning this often in the podcast. My goal is to get a ton of more exposure with the podcast this year. It is a free service that we offer, offering free tools for those who don't have access to treatment, or if they do, it's to supplement that. 

If you have the time and you're interested, would you do me a huge favor and go and leave a review, an honest review? Let me know what you think of this show, with this episode. I would be so grateful. I have decided that once we get to a thousand reviews, I will give away a free pair of Beats headphones so you can listen to the podcast on full volume and hear my voice full volume. Add just one review by random. I'm so excited to do that, and I'm really excited to get that up and running. 

Go leave a review. I would love to see it. I might even start to highlight some reviews here in the next few weeks because I will be reading them and valuing every single one. Thank you so much.

Have a wonderful day. It is a beautiful day to do hard things that includes also sometimes being bullied by people or trolled. But we are strong, we are resilient and we are able to do this together. I love you guys so much. Have a wonderful day.

Please note that this podcast or any other resources from cbtschool.com should not replace professional mental health care. If you feel you would benefit, please reach out to a provider in your area. 

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for supporting cbtschool.com.

Jan 22, 2021

things to know when starting therapy

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I would like to discuss with you a question that comes up quite a lot when I am starting with a new client. So often my clients will say to me "What can I expect during my first session?" I want to share with you what I tell my clients about the things to know when starting therapy.

The first thing I say to my clients is that your brain can change. You may have a disorder that was inherited or triggered by a certain event, but the good news is that by changing your behavior, you can actually change your brain.

The second thing I say is that no matter your mental health struggle, there is a science proven way to treat that disorder. We have evidence based treatments and you can absolutely can get better.

Thirdly, I tell my clients that no matter what struggles they are going through, it is not their fault. This is not something they asked to have happen. We are going to move away from assigning blame and move towards self-compassion.

The fourth thing I would say is that you should not enjoy coming to see me. The work can be really hard and it will mean facing your fears, so if you are enjoying coming to see me then we may need to look at the reasons why. The goal is to actually give my clients the tools they need so that they do not need me anymore.

Finally I tell my clients that they need to be prepared to do the hard work. There will be lots of homework and a lot of facing your fears, but nothing changes if they are not willing to do the work. I always remind them that it is a beautiful day to do those hard things.

If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color once we hit a thousand reviews!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Ep. 173 Transcript:

Guys, I am so grateful to have you with me today. I know your time is incredibly precious and valuable, and so I'm so happy to just be with you. 

How are you doing? Just checking in. How is everybody? It is well and truly 2021. Lots and lots of happening in the world. Lots and lots of changes. I'm just wrapping my head around them all. 

In this new year, I made a deal with myself to spend a little bit more time on social media, which is so funny because I think most people were saying, “No, I think I'd like to spend less time.” I'm actually saying, “No, I'd like to spend more time on social media.” I hang out a lot on Instagram and on the Facebook group called CBT School Campus or on my Facebook page. I promised myself I'd spend more time there because I'm realizing after last year that I felt really disconnected to you guys and I really wanted to get back into feeling connected. I have loved it.

If you're on Instagram, go over and follow me @kimberleyquinlan, or you can go over to the Facebook group. It's CBT School Campus, or my Facebook is Kimberly Quinlan with CBT School after it. 

That being said, I just wanted to let you know that today, I wanted to chat with you about something I have not talked about, but I thought it would be a really great topic. A lot of people in the new year have been reaching out, looking for clinical services – help for OCD, help for anxiety, help for an eating disorder, or help for a BFRB. We love helping people. I have a great staff of seven licensed therapists who all treat the same disorders that I do. It's just been so wonderful to see all the new clients and people coming in really ready to get help. 

It really came across my mind in that one of the questions new patients and clients have is: What should I expect in the first session? What does the first session look like? What would you tell me in the first session? I thought this would be a great topic to talk to you guys about. 

So I want to share with you the five things I tell every single client or patient in their first session. Are you ready? Let's do it. 

Once I have introduced myself and they've introduced themselves and they tell me a little bit about their struggles and what they're wanting to work on, I, at some point in the session, are going to tell them I'll do a thorough assessment. But I will, at some point, either at the beginning or at the end or somewhere, wherever it's most appropriate, share with them one major piece of good news. 

1. Your brain can change. 

Even if you have a disorder that may be is hereditary, has been passed down from generation to generation, or you have a disorder that was triggered by a certain event, or you have a disorder or a problem that was triggered by societal expectations, such as eating disorders, I always share with my patients and clients the great news, which is you can change your brain. In some cases, for those of us who have anxiety, even though your brain might be firing away, setting off the alarm bells all day long, “Danger, danger, danger,” you can change the way your brain reacts to these misfires.

Now, you can't do it by simply trying to change your thoughts. We know that. Changing thoughts sometimes can be very, very important. I'm not going to deny that. It's an important piece of depression work. It's an important piece of, like I said, eating disorder work and so forth for everybody. 

But the cool thing here is more importantly, by changing your behaviors, you can change your brain. By changing the way you react to fear, you can change your brain. You can connect parts of your brains that weren't connecting. You can strengthen parts of your brain that is weak or they're not connecting and the connection isn't so strong. Your brain can change, and this is good news. This is great news. 

When we found this out in science, we all had a big party because it was really reinforcing that if you do a scan of someone pretreatment of their brain, and then you did a scan of their brain post-treatment, we would be able to see the changes in their brain, and this is really cool. 

2. If you have OCD or a phobia, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, health, anxiety, hair pulling, skin picking, and eating disorder, any of these, any of the mental health issues, that there is a science proven way to treat your disorder. 

This is good news. I fill you with hope by saying, I understand that what you're going through is really painful, but the good news is, we have scientific evidence to prove that we're on the right track and we're going to be administering the correct treatment. 

If you have OCD, the science proven treatment is exposure and response prevention. If you have hair pulling, skin picking or nail biting, the science proven treatment is habit reversal training. If you have depression or an eating disorder, the science proven treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy. If you have health anxiety, you're again going to have a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy with the focus being exposure and response prevention, same goes for phobias, same goes for social anxiety. 

All of these, we're going to, let’s say the frosting on top is that we're also going to apply science proven techniques, such as mindfulness and self-compassion. This is not woo-woo stuff here. This is science. We have tons of evidence to show that you can get better, that your disorder isn't a mystery. Thank goodness. 

Imagine back in the sixties if you had OCD, at that point, or even the seventies, there was no treatment for OCD that was proven. If you had OCD, you were told “Good luck.” A lot of disorders had this. If you had hypochondria, if you had agoraphobia, a lot of times back in those years, people said, “I'm really sorry. You have to just accept that your child is going to be this way.” But no longer. 

2.a We have tons of evidence to show that we're on the right track. 

We're using the right treatment and you can be hopeful. Really cool. 

3. The struggles you're having were not your fault, you didn't ask for this. You didn't want this. This is not your fault. 

The high levels of anxiety that you experienced, that's not your fault. The depression that you're experiencing is not your fault. The fact that you get stuck doing behaviors that you don't want to be doing, but you feel like you have to do, that's not your fault either. This was not your fault.

We're going to work on this treatment journey. We're going to work at not assigning blame to anybody. Mostly you were going to work at being compassionate instead of self-critical. This was not your fault. You didn't ask for this. 

Most of the time, people with OCD or anxiety, panic disorder, health anxiety, eating disorders, they say, “I would never wish this on my worst enemy.” Again, if you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, you wouldn't wish it upon yourself. It was not your fault. 

4. If you're starting a journey of recovery, you're in treatment, you're ready to get the work done, here is one thing you should remember: You should not enjoy coming to see me. You should not want to see my face.

I should make you happy. I should make you feel comfortable. I want you to trust me. I want you to enjoy my company. I want you to respect me, but you should not enjoy our sessions together. I know you are probably thinking, “What is she saying here?” But hear me out. The work that I do, and the fact that you're listening to me and hopefully you've listened to me for a while, shows me that you have had struggles with anxiety. This is Your Anxiety Toolkit, so we're talking about anxiety. And the natural response to fear is to run away, is to fight it, is to freeze. Naturally, you are biologically set up to go into fight, flight, or freeze when you have fear. 

The treatment that I use, the gold standard science proven treatment is the opposite of that. Treatment with me and with anyone who's trained in these disorders is going to mean that you are going to have to stare your fear in the face. You're going to have to in-session, be doing scary, hard things. 

Therefore, you shouldn't want to see me. If you want to see me and the sessions are only enjoyable, I'm missing the point and I'm not being the best therapist I could be to you. I really gauge myself. I tell them not to hold me accountable. I don't want to be giving treatment to people where they're not being forced to grow. Not forced, I shouldn't say forced, because I never make my clients do anything. But what I'm saying is, the session should be focused on this major concept, which is the more you lean into fear, the less power fear has. 

And so therefore, I say to my clients, “Please, if at any point in treatment you are looking forward to sessions, let me know, because it means I need to up the ante.” I don't want to be diddle-daddling. I want to be effective. I want to be immediate. I want you to get results. I want you to not need me. That's another thing. 

4.a I want to treat you. 

I want to give you treatment. I want to give you tools so that you don't need me anymore. I want to put myself out of business. I want to train you so well to do this, that you know what I would say and how I would say it and what you need to do.

For those of you who have OCD or a BFRB, you can go and download the courses, ERP School and BFRB school, which is me training you on what I would teach you. The cool thing about the courses is I'm teaching you what I would teach you in session. My goal is to teach you how to do it so that you can do it for the rest of your life, not just for a little while.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm giving you guys a big fat lecture, and I hope that's not the case. I'm getting all empowered here. You can tell I'm super passionate about the first session, and I am. These are key points to treatment. These are key points to providing good care. These are key points to your recovery. So they're really important to me. If you feel like you're getting a lecture, I'm very sorry about that. It's not a lecture. Pulling all the punches here. Sorry, you guys.

So that was a bonus point there for you. 

5. Be ready to do hard work. 

The patients and clients I have hear me say something often, which is nothing changes if nothing changes. Be prepared to do a ton of homework. The cool thing about cognitive behavioral therapy is there is usually a heavy component of homework. I give homework to all my patients and clients every session. I'll say at the end, “What's your homework? I'll put it in your notes. I'll hold you accountable. We'll check in next week.”

Be ready to have an assignment. And then be ready to execute that assignment every single day. 

I recently just finished the book on self-compassion for OCD. Yay! I know I'm really excited. The thing that was right at the very front of the book, and I'm giving you a spoiler alert here, which is, be prepared to do this work for around 45 to 90 minutes a day. That is important. Be prepared to do the work. Be prepared to practice because nothing changes if nothing changes. 

I know it sucks. I know that's hard truths, but I'm only telling you because I really want you to get your life back. I know a lot of you don't have a therapist. I'm telling you this because I want that to propel you into a journey where you feel really empowered and you understand what is needed so that you can get it done. Knowledge is power here. But then once you have the knowledge, you got to put it into play.

Now you guys know what I'm going to conclude here on, and this is something I should say. There are six points here really. So there's actually two extra bonuses.

6. It is a beautiful day to do hard things. 

I say it every day. I say it at every podcast, I say it in every Instagram post. I'm going to leave this podcast episode with that. Be ready to do hard work, but it is a beautiful day to do the hard things every day. I love you all. 

I'm going to ask you one big favor. I am early to announce this, but I'm actually just going to announce it now because I want to get the ball rolling. 

In 2021, I made a deal with myself because I love doing these podcasts and I love doing all these things. But one thing I noticed last year is, in order for these to really pack a punch, my hope and my goal is to get it to more people. The podcast is free. I don't make any money off the podcast. I don't do promotions or anything like that. The best payout here for me is that I get to help more people. 

After research, I'm learning the best way to do that is to get more reviews. The more reviews I have, the more likely someone is to click on the podcast. Once they click on the podcast, then I get to help them. But if they see the podcast and they move past it, then I don't get to help them. 

So would you do me a favor? If you get a moment, please go over to wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, and leave an honest review. Tell me how you feel about it, whether it's helping you, what you'd like to see. I encourage the feedback. I'd love an honest review so that other people can see that we're doing a good job and that you're getting help so that they can too. If you would be willing to do that, I would be so grateful. 

I am actually following what another influencer did, that I love her podcast. She made a deal with her listeners that once she got a thousand reviews, she would give away a free pair of Beats headphones. I was like, “That is a banging idea. Let's do it.” I haven't formally announced it, but I am now. 

We are going to give away a pair of Beats headphones of your choice of color. Once we hit a thousand reviews, we will randomly take a review and we will put you into the competition, the box. I don't know what you'd say. But even if you've already left a review, you will still go in. So for those of you who've already left a review, thank you, and you'll get put into the drawer. 

There we go. You have a chance to actually win something amazing, so we can go from there. Go leave a review. 

Have a wonderful day. I love you guys. I appreciate you guys. Again, really, really from the bottom of my heart, thank you for spending your time with me. I know your time is valuable. I just feel super special that I get to spend some time with you.

Have a wonderful day.

Jan 15, 2021

OCD mindfulness tools

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. Today I am so happy to have Jon Hershfield on with us. Jon is an author and the Director of the Center for OCD and Anxiety at Sheppard Pratt. The second edition of his book, The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD, has just been released and his new book, The Mindfulness Workbook for Teens, is scheduled for release in March. We had a great conversation about both books and Jon shares many of the OCD mindfulness tools that he describes in his books that are used to enhance treatment.

In this interview, Jon explains why he wanted to write a book for teens and how he decided to approach the topics of mental health, OCD, and mindfulness in a way that would be relatable to teens and young adults. He discusses in more detail some of the topics in his book including how to understand your diagnosis, how to respond to intrusive thoughts, and how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life.

Jon also shares some OCD mindfulness tools that he describes in The Mindfulness Workbook. These include thoughts are thoughts, not threats; feelings are feelings, not fact, and sensations are sensations, not mandates to act. He shares that mindfulness really involves calling things what they are.

Towards the end of this interview, we discuss Exposure and Response Prevention and the difference between habituation and inhibitory learning. He shares with us the five things we should consider when doing ERP with the goal of inhibitory learning.

This is a great interview full of so many wonderful mindfulness tools to help you manage your OCD. I hope you enjoy!

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsion Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Center for OCD and Anxiety

IG @ocdbaltimore

If you have some time, I would love it if you would please go and leave me an honest review wherever you listen to podcasts – Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or Stitcher. This would really be helpful to me in achieving my goal for 2021 of being able to reach and help more people. Thank you so much!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

Jan 8, 2021

setting boundaries with fear

Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast. It's a new year and as we settle into 2021, I am actually going to ask you guys to set a little bit of a goal. Not a resolution, a goal. I am so excited to talk with you all today about this topic because I really hope that this will be the goal you set for yourself this year.  I would like for you to start the year by setting boundaries with fear. 

Now why do I think setting boundaries with fear is so important? Think about it this way, if someone came into your home, you wouldn't just allow them to behave any way they wanted. Right? No, you set boundaries in your home about what kind of behavior is going to be allowed and we know that those boundaries must remain consistent. I want you to try setting those same boundaries when fear shows up in your life. I would encourage you to sit down and actually write out what boundaries are you going to set with fear this year? And then the work begins by holding those boundaries consistently.  You may say to fear “No, fear. I see that you're here. It's okay that you're here. I'm not going to wrestle with you and I'm not going to do the thing you told me to do. I'm going to hold that boundary very strongly.” 

I also want to encourage you to to set some boundaries with yourselves in the way that you speak to yourselves. Really try to be compassionate towards yourself and not use unkind words towards yourselves anymore. That's a strong boundary. You hold it, you set it, and you consistently put it into place. For example, let's say you don't hold the boundary very well with fear, instead of using unkind words about yourself try saying, “Okay, I'm not going to beat myself up. I made a deal and that's where I'm going to hold the consistency.”

I hope you will try starting the year by setting those strong boundaries with fear, uncertainty, disgust, OCD, your eating disorder, your body-focused repetitive behavior, whatever it may be. Not letting them walk all over your life. And most importantly, I hope you can start the year by being very kind and gentle with yourself.

If you have some time, I would love it if you would please go and leave me an honest review wherever you listen to podcasts – Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or Stitcher. This would really be helpful to me in achieving my goal for 2021 of being able to reach and help more people. Thank you so much!

ERP School, BFRB School and Mindfulness School for OCD are open for purchase. Click here for more information.

Additional exciting news! ERP School is now CEU approved which means that it is an accredited course for therapists and mental health professionals to take towards their continuing education credit hours. Please click here for more information.

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