On Your Mind: Are you “a little OCD”?

on your mindThere’s a running joke in our house about how I act a little “OCD” sometimes. But lately, the joke is not so funny because I’m really getting worried that my “routines” actually might be turning into a disorder like OCD. I’m not sure if I’m just super picky about door-lock-407427_640things or if this is an actual problem. I find that my routines (like what I do before I leave the house like locking doors, turning out lights, etc.) are taking longer and longer to do. Sometimes I do it once but sometimes I can’t leave my house until I do it three or four times. I just don’t trust myself to do it right, and I’m afraid my kids are going to feel compelled to do things just like I do them. Can OCD be contagious? How do I know when this becomes something I need to talk to a doctor about?

You raise an interesting question. The phrase “I’m a little OCD” is casually tossed around in today’s society. Let’s take a moment to consider how mental health professionals think about obsessive-compulsive disorder. Think about it like this: your brain is the clearinghouse for your thoughts and emotions. For some people, the brain can get stuck on certain thoughts. These thoughts make you believe that you are in imminent danger, and this can lead to feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety causes you to panic, and your brain turns to solutions to get rid of that feeling. For people with OCD, compulsions are the brain’s solution to obsessive thoughts. These compulsions lead to relief from overwhelming feelings of anxiety. If you were suffering from OCD, there would be nothing pleasurable about cabinet-334128_640acting on compulsions, yet you believe these actions are the only way to protect yourself from threats against you and your family.

Compulsions can include things like ordering, counting, cleaning, putting things in a particular order (symmetry), or checking to make sure nothing bad has happened to the people you love.

Since people with OCD derive no pleasure from acting on their compulsions, they’ll go out of their way to avoid situations that could trigger obsessions or compulsions. People with OCD believe these actions are the only way to protect themselves, and they would prefer to be doing anything else. People with OCD don’t believe they have a choice in acting on their compulsions. These actions help relieve the intensity of their obsessive thoughts for a short amount of time.

OCD is prevalent in a little over 1 percent of the population. While OCD is not contagious per se, it is more common in first-degree relatives. I tell you this with caution. It’s important not to self-diagnose or to begin diagnosing other members of your family. I would encourage you to seek the opinion of a mental health professional before jumping to conclusions.

People who suffer from OCD differ significantly from people who may consider themselves perfectionists that prefer order and people who enjoy arranging things in a certain way. People who enjoy ordering their home or their possessions are not necessarily suffering from OCD. If you have doubts as to which category you might fall into, Ozark Guidance can help. Please contact us at 479-750-2020.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.

Calling All Shoe Lovers: Save this date!

shoes conquer the world

If you love to shop for shoes and finding an amazing deal makes you crazy happy, write down this date because this is THE ultimate shoe shopping event in Northwest Arkansas.

Ozark Guidance_Horizontal_Banner_Color_1970 (2)The Walk a Mile in My Shoes shopping event happens this year on May 15-16, 2015. It’s an amazing fundraiser that helps support Ozark Guidance.

This event has grown like crazy since it was introduced several years ago, so the selection of shoes is ENORMOUS. This year’s event will take place at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale, right off the Interstate.

Shoppers at this event can buy men and women’s shoes for $10 each and kids’ shoes for $5 each. Handbags are $10 each, and there’s also a selection of high-end designer shoes for $20 each. (The shoes are new or slightly used, and there are LOTS of new shoes that are donated from local stores, too.)

There will be a Preview Party on May 15, 2015 and the Public Sale is on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (We suggest you get tickets to attend the Preview Party on May 15th if you want the very best selection. The tickets are on sale now. Click here for info.)

Note: If you’re going to the NWA Mom Prom this year, this might be the perfect place to get shoes to go with your Mom Prom dress! The Mom Prom happens this year on May 30, 2015, and the Walk a Mile in My Shoes shopping event happens just two weeks before on the 15th and 16th. Perfect timing!

For more info on the Walk a Mile in My Shoes event, click here to follow the updates on Facebook. We’ll share more details about it as they become available.

walk a mile save the date

 

On Your Mind: Is this a red flag for abuse?

on your mindNOTE: The question below reached us through our “online hotline” button which lets anyone send a question to a local counselor at Ozark Guidance — in a completely anonymous way. The email comes in with no email address and no identifying information. We set it up this way so women would feel free to write about anything on their mind.

pushed in angerToday my husband pushed me in anger. I was not bruised but it shocked me. I have an 8-year-old son (with him). I am glad at least my husband followed me into another room so he did not witness this because I would never want my son to do this to a girl.

We have been married 10 years. He sometimes gets angry and gives me the silent treatment, but has never touched me in anger before. I want our family to stay together and do not want to overreact, however, my training tells me this is a warning sign of potential abuse….

Thank you for your note. You’ve exercised good judgment in this situation in several ways; one is that you recognized that this was not OK. Your spouse should not physically react to you in anger.

Also, you recognized that you don’t want your son to witness violence in your home. Another way you exercised good judgment is that you paused long enough to say, “How should I react to this situation?” Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How did my spouse react after the incident? Did he recognize that this was not OK?”
  • “Have I seen my spouse react appropriately when he is experiencing anger?” (Appropriate reactions could include discussing his anger in a calm manner, taking time alone to process his anger, or anything that does not make you feel like your safety is being violated.)

Other questions you might ask yourself include:

  • “Was I able to discuss the incident with my spouse in a safe way?”
  • “Do I feel comfortable around my spouse following this incident?”

If you’re unsure about any of these questions, talk to a mental health provider about your feelings and concerns. You have an appropriate level of concern in this situation. I would recommend spending some time thinking through these questions and determining if your home is a safe place for you and your children.

You may decide that this was a unique situation that your spouse regrets, or you may come to the conclusion that you and your son should seek other living arrangements. Either way, this is an important topic for you to give a considerable amount of time, effort, and thought over. Ozark Guidance Center is here to help, so contact us anytime at 479-750-2020.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.

On Your Mind: How to deal with the holiday blues

onyourmindIs it weird that I don’t feel like it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”? During this time of year, it’s a real struggle for me to feel happy and festive. I usually just feel stressed or a little “down.” I get angry at myself for not being able to snap out of it and enjoy all the holiday parties and activities. I find myself “faking it” for the kids and my husband. Is this common? What could be behind this holiday gloom and doom?

Dear “Down around Christmas time,”

There are many reasons that someone might feel down during the holidays. It could be that the holidays are associated with a painful childhood experience or family issues, a lost loved one whom you typically see around the holidays, spending holidays away from people you love, or a variety of other factors that could contribute. If you feel your “doom and gloom” is persistent and feels excessive, please seek professional help to explore what could be triggering these feelings.

It’s also possible that, during the holidays, your expectations might clash with reality. You want the perfect party, perfect gifts, and the perfect family to get along all the time — happy and celebrating. However, things often don’t go as planned. A good place to start is to look at your expectations and determine if they’re unrealistic or adding to your stress.

Remember that there might be disappointments during the holidays, but there can still be some enjoyment even if all of those expectations aren’t met. Besides, the holidays will be over before you know it. Attempt to create realistic expectations for the holidays such as knowing that the entire family may not be able to get together at one time, or you might not be able to find that perfect gift you’re looking for. Focus on the times and activities you DO enjoy.

not most wonderful time of yearBelow are strategies to help you deal with the Christmas blues:

  • Try to get away over the holidays or change your routine.
  • Spend time with friends and family that care about you.
  • Create new traditions.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Develop short term, realistic goals you would like to accomplish during this time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities – yoga, massages, etc.

I hope some of these strategies help you feel better this holiday season. And if you decide that professional guidance would be helpful right now, don’t hesitate to contact one of the counselors on staff here at Ozark Guidance. We’d love to help.

Stanfill, Abby1214Abby Stanfill is a licensed professional counselor with Ozark Guidance, a local non-profit mental health center. Since 1970, Ozark Guidance has helped tens of thousands of children, adults, and families in Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll Counties live better lives by providing high quality, affordable mental healthcare services.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.

ADHD Specialty Clinic in Northwest Arkansas

As moms, most of us either have direct experience with a child who struggles with ADHD or we know another parent who does. What you may not know, however, is that our community now has a specialty clinic devoted to the proper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder that impacts so many families.

Ozark Guidance opened an ADHD clinic in Bentonville earlier this year, and the clinic’s sole focus is on ADHD. The laser focus on this one area makes it the perfect resource for families trying to get the right diagnosis and care. Here’s what you need to know about the new clinic.

  • All diagnostic interviews are done by a licensed professional.
  • Ozark Guidance_Horizontal_Banner_Color_1970 (2)Evaluations and assessments are done using the Connor’s and Achenback Child Behavioral checklists.
  • When indicated, comprehensive psychological testing is offered.
  • Clinicians will coordinate with school officials on diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
  • They offer IEP participation when parent requests it.
  • Clinic offers individual therapy and skills training.
  • Full evaluation by medical doctor is provided.
  • Clinic staff helps to manage medication.
  • Clinic offers family services including psychoeducation, family therapy and more.
  • Clinic staff is headed by Dr. Randy Staley, MD and Psychiatrist and includes Behavioral Health Nurses, Licensed Clinical Social Workers and a Licensed Psychological Examiner.

For more info on this new clinic and ADHD resource, call the clinic at 479-273-9088. The office is located at 2508 SE 20th St. in Bentonville. Click HERE to visit the clinic’s website. 

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