How To Overcome Procrastination: 7 Tips To Get Going

Imagine yourself in this scenario… You have a difficult task ahead of you and you’re suuuper nervous to get started. It seems too daunting right now, so you put it off till later. The due date comes along, and you STILL don’t start the task until the very last possible moment…and when you do, it only takes you 25 minutes. Sound familiar? Yep, it does to us too.

Procrastination is a constant cycle of “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and then having a huge pit of shame in your stomach once tomorrow comes along because you still haven’t started. And yet, we never learn from it when it happens because we always somehow make it work! The good news is that you’re not alone! Almost everyone procrastinates in some way or another (heck, we were probably procrastinating writing this article). So, we’re going to dissect why we do it and how to beat it! 

What Is Procrastination?

Procrastinating something means constantly delaying or postponing something. You can procrastinate at work, you can procrastinate at school, and in pretty much every social situation and relationship! Pretty much everyone does it once in a while, but psychologist Dr. Joseph Ferrari has found that 20% of Americans are actually chronic procrastinators — which makes it more of an actual lifestyle. 

There’s a common misconception that procrastinating makes you lazy, which is defs not the case! It generally stems from feeling inadequate, thriving under pressure, or, for those chronic procrastinators, a maladaptive lifestyle. But, before we get into allll the other deets, here’s a little procrastination Ted Talk that perfectly describes what goes on in your brain when you put things off!

Types Of Procrastination

There are two main types of procrastination: active and passive. You either semi-choose to procrastinate because you think you work better under pressure (which is totally valid) oooor you get sucked into a wormhole of self-doubt and indecision so you leave it to the last possible second (also valid)! 

Procrastination also manifests itself in a few different ways. You may do it because something more interesting has occupied your mind, you may not have the mental capacity at this exact moment, or you feel like you have more control by putting it off (which quickly spirals out of control as soon as that deadline starts looming).    

Here are some other common ways we procrastinate… 

  • Anxiety Procrastination: Being so anxious about doing something that you keep putting it off.
  • Productive Procrastination: Working on literally anything else. 
  • Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: Staying up really late to get as much free time as you can.

Why Do I Procrastinate? 

If you’re asking yourself why you procrastinate, rest assured that it’s not because of laziness. You didn’t choose to become a procrastinator! It’s actually because there’s an emotional battle going on inside your brain and, rather than untangling all of those conflicting feelings, you just avoid what’s causing you stress. 

Now, we’re going to just take a second here to note that chronic procrastination can be a sign of a larger issue, like ADHD. If you feel like your procrastination is really impacting your life or it’s completely out of your control, we recommend you visit your family doctor. If you have a condition like ADHD then your doctor can help you come up with a game plan…like lifestyle changes, medication and different types of therapies (mental, physical, etc.).  

Alright, now back to the main discussion. Whether or not you have an underlying condition, these are some of the reasons you might procrastinate.

  • Fear: You’re worried that the final product won’t be perfect and that you might fail.
  • Impulse Control: Things like nice weather or friends distract you from your work. 
  • Dismissal: You don’t like doing certain things, so you choose not to think about them. 
  • Rebelling: You’re being forced to do something and choose to resist it instead.  

Effects Of Procrastination

Procrastination is definitely not the most effective strategy for getting stuff done. Yes, you’ll likely make it just in time for the deadline, but at what cost? Along with the expected lower quality of work, procrastinators also generally face stress-induced symptoms like insomnia, a weakened immune system and stomach issues. Not very comfy, right? But we’ve got some strategies that can help you avoid procrastination (and those not-so-nice symptoms, too)! 

7 Tips For Procrastination

Fighting procrastination can be very difficult, especially if you’ve gotten used to doing it for a lot of your assignments and projects. Your usual routine is likely perfectionism, procrastination and then…paralysis (panic). But we are here to help! You CAN change your mindset and break free of that cycle by following these steps

1. Lower Your Expectations 

Striving for perfection is like kryptonite for a procrastinator (and, newsflash, nobody has ever been able to reach it!). Try to strive for “good enough” instead. We promise it’ll seem MUCH more attainable and you won’t be as nervous to get started if you don’t put that pressure on yourself. Unlike the common assumption of some, procrastination and perfectionism are NOT synonyms. 

2. Keep Your Tasks Small

One of the biggest issues for procrastinators is leaving ALL the work to the last minute. Your best bet is to do at least half an hour of work a day, get that out of the way, and THEN enjoy yourself. That way, you’ll have bite-sized tasks that are a bit easier to digest, rather than a five-course meal that will take up all of your energy and more than likely make you a little uncomfortable.

3. Stick To A Schedule 

If you want to work on small bits of your project each day, you’ll also want to create some sort of schedule for yourself. Whether it’s a calendar, a journal, or sticky notes on your computer, it’ll remind you to get that shit done today — because it can be SO easy to lose track of the hours in a day.

4. Have A Support System 

Try to make sure you’ve got someone to help you. Whether it’s a coworker, a parent or a sibling, just find someone that can check in on you every once in a while. It’ll keep you in line and make it a bit more difficult to stray off your path.  

5. Learn To Say ‘No’

Now, of course, this doesn’t really work for things like school and work. But if you’ve already got waaay too much on your plate because you took on a buffet of responsibilities, don’t say yes to more! The more you take on, the more overwhelmed you’re gonna be, and that’s most likely gonna lead to (you guessed it) more procrastination. 

6. Incorporate A Reward System

Whether it’s using gummy bears to reward yourself for reading each chapter or 30 minutes of TV per 1 hour of work, a reward system can be super motivating! It turns the work into a bit of a game and makes it less daunting when you’re amping yourself up to start working.  

7. Practice Mindfulness

Breaking the procrastination cycle can be a bit hard on your mind at first. So, just make sure you listen to your body and give it what it needs (unless it’s screaming at you to abandon the project). Instead, maybe go out for a quick walk or take intermittent breaks! The fresh air and small intermission will give you some time to relax and refresh your brain for before you get back into your work.  

If these tips don’t help you learn how to avoid procrastination, we recommend seeing a mental health professional. They will be able to set you on a psychotherapy plan to help you beat the procrastination situation in your brain! Now, go forth and do stuff!

 

How To Set Boundaries In Relationships That Are Long-Term

When you’re in a long-term relationship it can feel like your boundaries are almost non-existent. I mean…that’s the way it should be, right? That means you’re as close as can be, right? NOPE! Even though you and your partner spend a TON of time together, share forks and drinks and maybe even live together, it’s still important to establish boundaries in relationships that are long-term. 

Boundaries are necessary for a healthy relationship. They help you and your partner know what lines not to cross, and basically give you each a yes and no list of what is okay and what isn’t. Everyone’s boundaries are different and you just have to learn to communicate them to your partner. 

Types of Boundaries

Get your pens and pencils ready because it’s time for a fun fact! Did you know that there are different types of boundaries? There are typically 5 different kinds (but we’ve added one more). Don’t worry, we’re going to dig into alllll of them.

When we think of boundaries, we usually think about people invading our physical space, but boundaries actually transcend into all areas of our life! Knowing and understanding these different boundaries in relationships helps set you and your partner up for success because they can help you navigate sticky and uncomfortable situations. So, let’s dive in!

1. Physical Boundaries

Okay, you’re probably super familiar with the concept of physical boundaries, but we’re going to talk about it anyway! It’s important! 

Physical boundaries in relationships are clearly about your space and body. But did you know that your privacy is also an important physical boundary? Even though you might be in a relationship with someone you love and trust, you are still entitled to your privacy. You also are entitled to your personal space, and to choose whether or not you want physical touch or intimacy (that’s HELLA important). 

And btw, it’s totally okay for your boundaries to change over time! Maybe you’ve sent sexy nude pics in the past but now don’t want to. Or, you were uncomfortable with being touched a certain way and now you’re not. Just make sure that you communicate these boundaries and changes to your partner so that they know how they can respect you and your space!

Here are some things that you can say: 

“Can we just cuddle instead?”

“I need some space and time to myself. ”

“I have the right to my privacy and that includes my phone.”

“Can you not touch me there? Thank you.”

2. Sexual Boundaries

We’ve already talked about nudes, but let’s talk about sex baby! You might think that you’re not entitled to have sexual boundaries with your partner, but YOU TOTALLY ARE.

This might mean not being okay with some things in the bedroom, or wanting to explore some more exciting ways for you to have fun with your long-term partner(s). The important thing is that you communicate your boundaries as soon as can. Here’s how you can work on establishing these boundaries (whether they’re new or being re-established) with your partner: 

“Are you okay with this?”

“This doesn’t feel good.”

“How does that feel?”

“I’m interested in trying ____. Would you be open to that?”

3. Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries in relationships are all about not feeling responsible for another person’s feelings AND taking full responsibility for your own. With these boundaries you should be able to separate your feelings from someone else’s, avoid sacrificing your own needs, and avoid blaming others for your uncomfortable feelings. 

Separating yourself from another person’s feelings might be suuuper hard for you — especially if you’re very empathetic. It’s natural to not want to offend anyone. But, if someone’s advice hurts you, if you’re not emotionally ready to communicate, or if they’re taking out their frustrations on you then it’s important to stand up for yourself and the boundaries that you’ve set. 

A big part of setting emotional boundaries is also knowing to ask for what you need. If you’re sad, angry, upset, or anxious and your partner isn’t responding how you need them to then tell them what you need from them to help this emotion pass. (A cuddle or two never hurts either!)

“When you criticize me for how I’m feeling, it makes me want to totally shut down. I want to share how I feel with you, but I need you to respond to me respectfully.”

“We should talk about this later. I’m not in a good place to discuss this right now.” 

“I understand that you’re frustrated, but it’s not okay for you to take it out on me.” 

“I’m not doing okay. Can you help me? I need ____”

4. Material Boundaries

Let’s talk about money, money, money! *Cue ABBA*

Money is always a tricky thing in relationships — especially if you’re living together! It’s one thing to alternate buying dinner and paying for dates, but there are a whole new batch of boundaries to navigate when you move in together. 

It’s also important to think about the things you have in your shared life together. Is the bookshelf you bought considered both of yours? What if you only have one car? Who owns what? Or, is it just understood that everything is collectively both of yours? 

Here’s how you can navigate some of these difficult conversations: 

“I’d prefer if you didn’t do that to the dresser. I know your things are in there too, but I want to keep it in good shape.”

“Please treat my things with respect.”

“I’m tight on cash. I can’t afford to go out this week. Can we stay in instead?”

“I’m entitled to handle my finances how I want to. I don’t have to merge my bank account with yours if I’m not comfortable with that.” 

5. Intellectual Boundaries

If you think you’ve never heard of intellectual boundaries, think again. You might just not have thought of them as a type of boundary. SURPRISE!

Healthy intellectual boundaries in relationships are all about respecting people’s thoughts, ideas and opinions. Maybe you and your partner disagree on some things…that’s okay! The important thing is that you respect each other and communicate your differences with kindness. Neither of you should belittle the other for believing what you believe. 

Do you have to accept all opinions and ideas that your partner has? Nope! In some cases you can just agree to disagree. But if their ideas go against your morals or values, it’s okay to end things with your partner. You can love someone and still have boundaries that can’t be crossed. 

If you find yourself in a debate or disagreement with your partner, try using these phrases:

“I see where you’re coming from, but have you considered _____?”

“I don’t want this to turn into a fight. Let’s table this discussion for now.”

“I’m fine with you disagreeing with me, but it’s not okay to put down my ideas.”

6. Time Boundaries

Your time is valuable! Setting time boundaries in relationships is all about creating time for yourself. People can violate this boundary by interrupting important moments or insisting on taking you away from what you’re already doing. 

Time boundaries also mean making time for yourself and spending it however you want to. This can be tricky when you’re in a long-term relationship because it can be hard to turn down your partner’s invitation to visit their family, go on a special date, or even just take a nice drive together. But it’s important to listen to your mind and body and do what’s best for you — and doing what’s best for you might mean some alone time! 

Here’s what you can say when your partner tries to disrupt, disregard, or disrespect your time boundaries: 

“Can we do that tomorrow instead? I just really need some alone time.”

“I can’t talk right now. I’m at work. ”

“I have plans with my friends tonight. Let’s visit your parents on Thursday instead. ”

“It’s important to me that I see my friends.”

 

Setting boundaries can feel like the hardest thing to do. We get it! It’s not easy saying no to someone or standing up for your needs. But it’s important that you do. Try your best to approach every hard conversation with kindness and strength. What you need matters and you deserve to have your boundaries set and respected. Now, go out there and start telling everyone your boundaries!!!! Okay, maybe not everyone, but you get the point. 

 

Psychoeducation & 4 Ways It Benefits You

If you’re not sure what psychoeducation is, let’s start off with a great example — it’s essentially what we do here at DiveThru! We give you education and info on allll the conditions that can affect your mental health. So, when you get that diagnosis you can turn to us and feel better about what’s going on. 

Psychoeducation shows you why the condition popped up the way it did, how it will affect your life, and what your treatment options are! It’s facilitated by therapists, psychiatrists, support group leaders, and psychoeducational specialists — who we turn to so that we can give you the most reliable info possible. So, let’s dive into the specifics of psychoeducation and how it can help you!  

What Is Psychoeducation?

The term psychoeducation was made popular by psychologist C.M. Anderson in 1980, so we guess we can thank her for helping us understand what we’re going through. Shoutout to you, C.M. Anderson! Now, let’s figure out what makes it so helpful. Chances are, with pretty much any diagnosis you’re going to be a bit anxious (totally valid! We’ve been there, too!). You’re constantly thinking about what’s going in your body, maybe because it wasn’t properly explained to you. 

That’s what psychoeducation is here for! It lays out the causes of your condition, the symptoms, how it’s going to fold out over the years, and what you can do about it. Because you should know that what you’re going through is normal and doesn’t mean you’re broken!

How It Works 

Psychoeducation can be practiced in two ways! If you JUST got diagnosed, or you’re experiencing hella symptoms and want to know what’s going on, you’ll probably turn to the internet. And not to brag…we’ve got a pretty awesome resources for you to check out! Here at DiveThru, we have a diverse group of mental health professionals who help us curate the best content for your needs (so you don’t have to self-diagnose on WebMD). Whether you need psychoeducation for depression, psychoeducation for anxiety, or anything in between we’ve got you covered!    

When it comes to psychoeducation therapy, a professional will sit with you one-on-one (or screen-to-screen) and explain everything there is to know about what you’re going through. They’ll be there to hear you out and walk you through any of the scary emotions you might be feeling. They might also give you homework through books, pamphlets, websites, videos, or support groups related to the condition! Family members may also be involved in those conversations because it’s helpful for them to understand what’s going on rather than you having to explain it ALL. OVER. AGAIN. 

4 Outcomes Of Psychoeducation  

Once all is said and done, there are a lot of great things you can get out of psychoeducation! Being left in the dark about your condition — or whatever is making you feel uncomfy — just brings about anxiety and fear! We defs don’t want that, so just look at allll the benefits that psychoeducation has to offer. 

1. The Facts 

You’ll know alllll the things about what’s happening in your brain; the what, the why, the how and everything in between! You’ll learn: 

  • Factors: You figured out what caused your condition (whether biological, genetic, or environmental).
  • Symptoms: You’re aware of common symptoms associated with the condition. 
  • Treatment: You were shown what your treatment options are and how each of them work. 
  • Prognosis: You know what you can expect in the future. 

These 4 points will be a BIG support in helping you feel in control of your body and mind.

2. Calmed Emotions

Like we mentioned earlier in the article, there’s a lot of anxiety involved with a new diagnosis or symptoms that you’ve never experienced before! Talking that out with a professional, or even reading about how what you’re going through is completely normal, can lift a HUGE weight off your shoulders. Knowing that you’re not the only person in the world that’s going through this can help you come to terms with your condition even more! 

3. Medication Specifics

Sometimes a condition can be managed with medications. It may be a hard journey to start because you don’t WANT to rely on them just to exist. But that’s another thing both DiveThru and a mental health professional can help you learn more about! 

Psychoeducation teaches you:

  • How and when to take them, what happens if you miss a dose, and the side effects you might experience.
  • How the medication works and how it helps your body and mind. 
  • What precautions you may need to take while being on them, or what things to avoid.   

And, finally…

4. Self-Support

If you choose not to go down the med route, there are other ways that you can cope on your own. It may not be a cure but it’s defs a way to calm down when things act up! A therapist can help you with that and, here at DiveThru, we make sure to always incorporate some effective strategies.

Psychoeducation helps you:

  • Know how to spot symptoms as soon as they come up, and when to get help.
  • Build skills to ease those symptoms when they do appear.
  • Feel better about what you’re going through and more confident that you can handle it.

Sometimes psychoeducation therapy isn’t an option. But, we’re always here to educate you when those resources aren’t readily available or if you don’t have access. Turn to any of our FREE articles reviewed by incredible mental health professionals, or check out our suuuper informative podcasts! 

 

Social Anxiety & Agoraphobia: What’s The Difference?

Call The Chicks because we’re in need of some Wide Open Spaces! Just kidding. Let’s stay inside today and talk all about the difference between agoraphobia and social anxiety!

Surprisingly yes, there is a difference between social anxiety and agoraphobia. You might think that they’re one and the same, but these two anxiety disorders are different AND related to each other at the same time. Does that make sense? They’re not totally different and not totally the same. Never mind, let’s just jump right into the article to talk about how social anxiety and agoraphobia differ! 

How Are They Related?

If you have experience with social anxiety and/or agoraphobia, you’ll understand how they differ from each other and how they’re also similar. If you aren’t familiar with these two anxiety disorders, it may feel a bit confusing trying to find the differences between the two because both can involve being afraid of public places, as well as being around other people. 

However, the two anxiety disorders have very different motivating fears. While the reasoning behind the fears of being in public and around others might be different, the actual fears of the public and people can look similar. Think about it like houses! Two houses can look identical on the outside, but the layouts inside can be completely different. 

Agoraphobia

At the beginning of this article, we made a joke about the song Wide Open Spaces by The Chicks. But being afraid of these wide-open spaces isn’t what agoraphobia is all about! So many of us think that it is, but it’s about sooo much more than just fearing the outside. In fact, that’s not even really what people with agoraphobia are afraid of! 

Agoraphobia is all about fearing situations or places that would make it difficult to escape or leave when the person is embarrassed or having a panic attack. The fears surround the possibility of embarrassment, embarrassing situations like having a panic attack, or losing control in a public space. 

It’s actually true that some people with agoraphobia are housebound. This self-seclusion and avoidance happens for a number of reasons. Most commonly, it is to help them avoid triggers or places with crowds, traffic, public transit, elevators, bridges, malls, planes, theatres…and sometimes being in public by yourself. 

This can result in a fear of leaving the house, and also play into the idea that people with agoraphobia are afraid of the whole, wide world. As you can see, that’s not always the case! 

Social Anxiety 

Let’s talk about the other star of the show — social anxiety! Like we said, social anxiety and agoraphobia can be super similar. When you have social anxiety, you can also be afraid of public spaces, crowds, meeting new people, small spaces and the inability to exit certain situations. 

Where agoraphobia is based on a fear of embarrassment, social anxiety is based on a fear of being negatively judged by others. While some people with agoraphobia might feel better being out and about with someone they trust and are comfortable with, someone with social anxiety might feel worse because they also don’t want their friend to judge them! Ugh, what a double-edged sword!  

None of us wants to be seen in a negative light, but for those with social anxiety that fear is amplified by a billion! 

How To Cope with Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia

Don’t think that it’s all bad news when it comes to social anxiety and agoraphobia. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel! That light just happens to involve a lot of therapy! 

That being said, there are so many different ways to treat social anxiety and agoraphobia! First, seek out the help of a mental health professional. Therapy, medication, or a combination of both might be recommended by the therapist. Thankfully, some therapists can now do appointments over video or phone, so you don’t need to leave your home if you aren’t ready to.

When you see your therapist, you’re going to work on a number of things to help you build the confidence you need to feel comfortable going out into the world! Here are some things that you might work together to treat social anxiety or agoraphobia:

1. Learn To Cope With Anxiety

Grounding yourself is so important when you feel anxious. You and your therapist can practice grounding techniques like deep breathing, creating a safe space, applied relaxation, 5-4-3-2-1 grounding and other coping mechanisms

2. Build Your Confidence

You need to know just how truly badass you are for even existing with this anxiety! It’s not easy! Working with a mental health professional can help you build the confidence that you need in order to challenge your fears (and know that you can face them)! 

3. Exposure Therapy

This kind of therapeutic technique was developed to help people face their fears. Not all at once, though! (That shit takes time!) In exposure therapy a patient practices facing this fear in a controlled and safe environment created by the psychologist. As the patient progresses, so does the exposure to their fears. 

4. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This is a specific type of therapy that centers around how your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs influence your emotions and actions. CBT teaches you how to challenge these thoughts and practice coping skills to help manage your anxiety. 

5. Medications

There’s no shame in the medication game! (We personally love our meds.) Sometimes they give us the extra boost we need to cut through the overwhelming emotions and fears. 

Are you feeling ready and willing to leave the house now? Not yet? Noooo rush! We’re right there with you. If you’re struggling with your social anxiety, agoraphobia, or both, we are SO proud of you for facing your fears every. damn. day (and even for being strong enough to read this article)! WOW! Give yourself a round of applause because YOU DESERVE IT, BABE! Clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap!

 

Pure O & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is suuuper complex and has a lot of different aspects to it! But when someone says they’re “soooo OCD” just because they like to colour-coordinate their closet, it makes it a lot harder for people who actually have OCD to figure out what’s going on with them! We’re going to dive into one specific kind that tends to go unnoticed just because it doesn’t have obvious, physical compulsions. This is your guide to Pure O and how it shows up!  

What Is Pure O?

Pure O (a.k.a. Pure Obsessions) is a nickname for the mental aspect of OCD that’s characterized by unwanted (and oftentimes distressing) intrusive thoughts that don’t respond to logic! It’s not as well-known as other forms of OCD only because it doesn’t show up as excessive hand-washing, counting, or rearranging. Kinda exclusionary, don’t you think? Well, that’s why we’re here to help you recognize it more easily!   

“The person has obsessions — unwanted intrusive thoughts — and then performs mental compulsions,” explains therapist and Anxious Like You podcast guest Alegra Kastens, who struggles with Pure O herself. “Mental compulsions are really common and they often get missed by therapists.” 

Here are a few ways these thoughts can show up:

  • Harm (thoughts of hurting someone you love or driving your car off a bridge)
  • Pedophilic (sexual thoughts about an inappropriate person, like a child)
  • Scrupulosity (a fixation on religion or beliefs surrounding your morals) 
  • Disgusting (just plain absurd thoughts…like drinking from a dirty puddle with a straw)

Let’s dive a little deeper.

Symptoms Of Pure O

Often, Pure O is labelled as “less severe” than other forms of OCD just because it’s not as obvious, but it’s defs not! It’s suuuper uncomfy for those going through it because they are the one experiencing these awful thoughts, even though they “seem fine” on the outside. It invalidates their symptoms…when it’s actually such a common experience! Now, symptoms of Pure O are divided into these two groups.

1. Mental Rituals 

These rituals include constantly going over memories to make sure nothing bad happened, repeating a word over and over in your head, and mentally doing or undoing actions!  

“A big one is mental checking,” says Alegra. “So, let’s say someone has a sexual obsession about a family member. It’s like, ‘let me check my groinal area, if I feel aroused.’ Or mentally reviewing the past, ‘when I was in my baby’s room, did I stab her? Did I do this?’ and constantly going over it in your mind.” 

2. Reassurance-Seeking

This may cause you to ask other people for assurance over and over and over! You may even keep reassuring yourself if no one else is around. This can include researching things online and avoiding any situations that can trigger more worries. 

“A lot of ruminating…‘why am I having these thoughts? What do they mean about me?’…trying to solve them,” adds Alegra. “Mental self-reassurance. Thought neutralization (trying to replace a bad thought with a good thought in your mind). The list goes on.”

Pure O OCD Treatment 

Fighting Pure O can be an uphill battle! It’s tough to recognize what’s happening at first, which may keep you from seeking mental health support. But once you get that diagnosis, a therapist will be able to set you up with a plan for psychotherapy and, possibly, medication. These two main things will help you overcome intrusive thoughts. 

1. Resisting Compulsions 

This is definitely easier said than done. But, compulsions are never the answer! It may feel like a relief to follow through on mental checks or seek reassurance at that moment, but it just keeps perpetuating the OCD cycle. Alegra recommends sitting with that feeling and not doing anything about it because when you act on compulsions you are just telling your brain that “the false alarms are actually real alarms.” It’s a total waste of time and energy, so kick ‘em to the curb!  

2. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) 

This route of treatment is effective for OCD because it makes you challenge your thoughts without taking any action! A mental health professional will guide you through exposure to your intrusive thought and control your response. For example, if your fear is stabbing someone you love, they will have you hold a knife to their back! It helps you realize that you don’t actually want to hurt someone, and you’ll be able to use that knowledge going forward! 

For more info on Pure O, listen to “OCD & All The Ways It Shows Up with Alegra Kastens” on the Anxious Like You podcast!

 

Knowing When & How To Break Up With Your Therapist

Sometimes there’s just a moment when you’re sitting in your therapist’s office and thinking to yourself “I don’t think this is working.” It could be something as simple as the two of you not clicking, or as difficult as a therapist that’s plain ol’ bad at their job. Either way, recognizing that your therapist isn’t right for you is totally okay! It’s better to acknowledge when something isn’t helping you than to stay and suffer silently. Bottom line — you don’t want a Tobias Fünke from Arrested Development therapist, you want a Dr. Jean Milburn from Sex Education therapist! 

Well, we have some good news! We’re here to help you recognize a good vs bad therapist, know when to settle for a “good enough” therapist, and figure out how to break up with your therapist when the time comes! 

Signs Of A Bad Therapist

Okay, let’s start with the not-so-nice stuff. A bad therapist can be more detrimental to your mental health than beneficial (and that’s defs not what you went to therapy looking for!). Luckily, therapists and Anxious Like You podcast co-hosts Nadia Addessi and Micheline Maloouf gave us a list of things to look out for!  

A bad therapist might:

  • Joke about a trigger
  • Disregard your confidentiality
  • Not respect your boundaries
  • Judge you for sharing your problems    

Like, wtf, right?! This is AWFUL. But, try to remember that this is NOT a true representation of therapy. A bad therapist is an exception, not the rule. 

“I think a therapist who tries to push a client beyond what they’re ready for is not a good therapist,” says Nadia. “Maybe your therapist sees what’s best for you on the other side, and tries to push you to do it. But if you’re not comfortable, and they keep trying to force it more and more to the point that it makes you feel pressured to do it, that’s almost bullying.” 

Another way you can know how to spot a bad therapist is by watching their behaviour. Essentially, if they’re focusing on anything other than you, we’ve got a problem — ‘cause that’s LITERALLY what you’re paying them to do! So, keep this lil’ reminder in the back of your brain…  Any amount of eating, checking the clock, or inattentiveness is a red flag. If that’s what you’re experiencing then don’t worry about how to break up with your therapist and just get the heck out of there!     

“That hour is the one hour that is reserved for you,” adds Micheline. “So, if a therapist is using that one hour to eat their meals, to text a friend, to take a nap, then it’s not your hour. You’re being cheated of your hour.” 

Signs Of A Good Therapist

Now that we’re done with the negative stuff, we can focus on the positive! Knowing how to find a good therapist isn’t exactly second nature, but you can start by figuring out what you WANT in a therapist. The traits that probably come to mind are along the lines of “compassionate,” “empathetic,” “listens to me,” “genuinely cares,” and “is honest with me.” And those are exactly the type of things that a good therapist should be! 

Oh, and a good therapist does the exact opposite of everything we listed in the first section. All of their attention is on you, they respect your boundaries and confidentiality, they never joke about your triggers and they certainly never, EVER judge you!  

“When you genuinely understand someone it’s really hard to judge them,” adds Nadia. “This is what we’re trained in — learning to understand someone on a deep level. A good therapist is going to do that. And, that’s going to take away the judgment, or at least give them a better understanding of who you are and why you do the things that you do.”

Finding The Right Therapist

Alright, so you understand that nobody’s perfect, right? Perfection is pretty much impossible to reach — and the same goes for therapists! Plus, hunting for the absolute best-of-the-best therapist can be super time-consuming and expensive. 

So, your best bet is to find someone who meets you right in the middle. Someone who definitely doesn’t follow any of the bad practices we listed at the top of the article but definitely DOES listen to you and validate your feelings! Your “right” therapist may not be a “perfect” therapist, BUT they’ll be willing to work with you to figure out what works best for you. 

How To Break Up With Your Therapist

When it comes to ending therapy, there are four main ways you can go about it. And it all depends on the situation you’re in! Maybe they’re a really, really bad therapist. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right fit. Whatever it was, we’re gonna help you choose how to break up with your therapist!  

Be Honest

Honesty really is the best (and the hardest) policy. Sometimes you just have to sit with your therapist face-to-face and tell them exactly what is and isn’t working! Either they’ll be able to adjust their therapy style to better suit what you need, or you’ll have to tell them point-blank that you want to stop sessions. We know, not the easiest option…but hey, that’s why we’re giving you a few options to choose from! 

Communicate

If you want to stop therapy completely, make sure you let them know! Whether you say it face-to-face in your last session, call them and fill them in over the phone, or send them an e-mail explaining what’s going on. It’ll save them the hassle of trying to contact you to rebook and allow them to book in someone else who might benefit from their particular style. It’s also helpful to give them a little feedback on what did and didn’t work for you — so they can grow as a professional.

“From a therapist’s perspective, we like it when we know,” says Nadia. “It gives us a chance to build for the next person and an opportunity to grow.”

Ask For A Referral 

Believe it or not, a lot of therapists are friends with other therapists. So, if it’s reeeeally not a good fit, ask your therapist to refer you to another one! There won’t be any hard feelings, because they want you to get the best outcome from therapy that you possibly can. And if another therapist is the way to do that, then they’ll defs help you out! 

Ghost Them If You Have To

Ghosting your therapist is the last option, and is usually reserved for the worst-case scenarios! Let’s say you have one of the really bad therapists we mentioned above…that might make for a difficult situation when you try to break up with them. You don’t want to tell them to their face that they’re not doing a great job — and you might be sooo triggered that even the THOUGHT of talking to them again makes you anxious af. In that case, ghosting might be your best bet! 

“I think if your experience was horrible and you had a really bad first session and you never want to go back… You can ghost them, you can call them out, you can use your own judgement,” explains Nadia. “I think it’s really awkward and sometimes really hard, so there’s no shame or judgement here if you have ghosted your therapist.” 

For more insight on how to break up with your therapist (from therapists), listen to the “Good Therapists vs. Bad Therapists” episode of the Anxious Like You podcast! 

 

Body Neutrality, Body Positivity & Fat Liberation

Insecurities are the nastiest, meanest, and cruellest little shits that neverrrr seem to stop talking. Like, why?! Why can’t you just exist in your body without feeling afraid to look in the mirror? The media — and even real people in your life — has created a culture that values thinness over almost everything else. The messaging you’ve been hearing for your whole life has basically said that if you’re not skinny, you’re not worthy of love or even respect. All of this has us asking WHAT THE FUUUCK? 

We’re all worthy of loving ourselves, but when we have bodies that are outside of the ever-so prevalent (and impossible) beauty standards, we can feel like hot trash! You know what, though? That’s normal. It’s hard to undo years of fatphobic rhetoric that we’ve been fed by the media. 

Having these conversations about how uncomfortable we are in our bodies is so important, but it’s particularly important for fat people. They are marginalized and excluded from media and society, face discrimination and ridicule, only to be met with more challenges. The concepts of Body Positivity, Body Neutrality and Fat Liberation are important for all of us to understand in order to dismantle the fatphobia that lives in all our minds and in our systems. 

The History of Body Positivity

The body positivity movement actually started back in 1969! The Stonewall Riots and Gay Liberation were taking place, and the world was about to be introduced to fat activism! 

Bill Fabrey was upset with how poorly his wife Joyce was treated because of her size. He found an article written by Lew Louderback about how differently fat people were treated and the kind of hardships they face on a daily basis. Bill loved this article so much that he printed off copies and gave them to anyone who would take one. (We love a supportive husband!) He even went the extra mile to found the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) — the world’s longest-running fat rights organization. 

At the same time in California, a group of feminists fed up with the treatment of fat people in society and the systemic barriers they faced founded a group called the Fat Underground. Tbh, that sounds like a badass band name! But what NAAFA called fat acceptance, the Fat Underground called fat liberation. And, when 1973 rolled around, they released their very own Fat Liberation Manifesto that demanded “equal rights for fat people in all areas of life.” 

Fat activists became more and more involved as the word spread and they began to realize how fat liberation was connected to other systems of oppression. Mainstream fat activism often diluted and excluded voices of fat BIPOC fighting for rights within their own communities. And, White activists thought that because BIPOC communities were accepting of fat people, these groups didn’t need activism or representation. But this couldn’t be further from the truth!! BIPOC communities were marginalized and oppressed for centuries. And, this exclusion of them in these initiatives in the 60s and 70s only helped further erase their struggles and experiences.

Fat Activism And The Internet

The 80s brought about excitement and growth for fat activism. Body positivity wasn’t yet a term at this point, but throughout the 80s and 90s activists of the movement were appearing on daytime television, hosting protests in front of gyms with fatphobic ads, and becoming involved in Pride! 

As the internet expanded, so did the message of body positivity. Now, more than ever, people are aware of the body positivity movement! And, fat people participate in fat activism by simply being visible online to help spread unapologetic body acceptance and love. But unfortunately, the body positivity message is polluted with damaging messages from well-meaning (we hope) thin — and conventionally attractive — creators. And with that comes the message that body positivity is only acceptable if the end goal is to be thin (a.k.a. The world only accepts fat people if their ultimate goal is thinness.).

This has soured the taste of body positivity for many people, but some activists still see it as a gateway to deeper liberation and understanding of fat people’s struggles, and the injustices that happen against people in this community. 

Body Acceptance For Everyone

People in the queer and disabled communities have used the basic principles of body positivity to help them accept their own bodies. Many trans people suffer/suffered from gender dysphoria and battle with the expected binary roles and looks that men and women in society are expected to ascribe to. Gay men often feel like they need to look a certain way or be a specific weight to fit into the beauty standards within their own community. Challenging those ideas can be difficult and heart-wrenching! And, it can feel like facing a battle that no one understands. 

Disabled people face a similar struggle, but this time, their bodies might be causing them pain or difficulty. It can feel like they’re fighting against their own body while simultaneously trying to love it. Again, the guiding principles of body positivity can lead someone to acceptance and liberation, but their journey can be a difficult and emotionally wrought one to travel. 

The Black History of Body Positivity 

Let’s take a trip in the way back machine. Ready? Okay, set your clocks for 1904! Yep — we’re going back more than 100 years. 

Between the early 1900s and the 1930s, writers and health care professionals would use a certain list of words to describe fat women in some of the most popular Black news publications. Because of this racist language, the words lazy, sluggish, mammy and ugly are still commonly used to describe fat people. Advertisements leading back to as early as 1932 depicted fat Black women in a negative light that reinforced stereotypes and generalizations against them. 

By the time the 50s and 60s came around, Black women were on the front lines of fat activism! Margaret K. Bass wrote an essay titled “On Being a Fat Black Girl in a Fat Hating Culture.” Not only did she discuss the kind of prejudices she encountered as a young black girl being raised in the segregated South, but she also addressed the self-hate she endured. 

The year 1972 introduced Johnnie Tillmon, a welfare activist who said “I’m a woman…a Black woman…a poor woman…a fat woman…a middle-aged woman. In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being.” 

The Whitewashing Of Body Positivity

Today, body positivity faces all of these same challenges, but with one more added to the list — colourism. The movement of body positivity has been infiltrated by light-skinned, conventionally pretty, cis women.

Blogger and ELLE UK contributor Stephanie Yeboah said “Arguably, much like the feminist movement, body positivity has become non-intersectional and prioritizes/celebrates the thoughts, feelings, opinions and achievements of white women, with a small number of ‘token’ people of colour to help fill up the ‘look at us being diverse!’ quota.” 

Many Black people have set, and continue to set, the foundation for work that other people create and promote their activism and body positivity from. Unfortunately, these Black activists and creators don’t receive the kind of acknowledgement, acceptance, respect and admiration that they so deserve for helping create a space that was designed to benefit everyone.

What is Body Positivity? 

Okay, so we just gave you the biggest history lesson in the history of DiveThru! Now it’s time to get into the details about what body positivity is! 

It’s the philosophy that all people deserve to view themselves and their bodies in a positive light, regardless of how society dictates what is (and is not) the “ideal” body type or beauty standard. And, it recognizes that people face biases and discrimination based on size, race, gender, sexuality, disability and age.

The movement aims to help people break down the negative messages in media and throughout our societal fabric, develop a healthy relationship with their bodies, challenge society on beauty standards and body ideals, and address and change unrealistic body standards. 

What Is Body Neutrality?

Have you ever heard of body neutrality? No? Well, think about it as the cousin to body positivity. Body neutrality is different from body positivity because it has the same basic principle of accepting your body. The difference is that it doesn’t put as much emphasis on the idea that you have to love your body. That might sound confusing because, for so long, we’ve been told to love ourselves! But some of us have a hard time loving ourselves no matter what we do or how hard we try! So, that’s where body neutrality comes in. 

Body neutrality is all about accepting your body for what it is, as it is. It puts emphasis on recognizing your body’s abilities and non-physical characteristics rather than believing your weight or body shape are indicative of your worth. It also shows that it is possible to remove body talk from conversations.

Body neutrality is a neutral way to view yourself and your body. It challenges the idea that you have to love your body (or work at loving it) every. damn. day. Instead, you focus on how you feel within your body as you use it. 

That’s not to say that loving your body is a bad thing! No, no, noooo! If you already love your bod, go for it! We will ABSOLUTELY stay out of your way! This is just a great alternative for people who don’t want to think about their body, how it’s perceived, or even how they perceive it! It’s nice to just exist sometimes. 

What Is Fat Liberation?

If you recall from our earlier section, fat liberation began in the 60s with the help of the Fat Underground. As fat activists made strides throughout the 80s and 90s, fat liberation became more respected and relevant in academic and legal circles. 

Fat activists won lawsuits that made it illegal for employers to discriminate against anyone because of their weight in select states and municipalities in the United States. Although there is still a very long way to go and a lot of work to be done before fat people will have equal rights. In an article written by Sarah Simon, she explains that “…multiple books, both for academic purposes and for-pleasure, have been published, allowing fat liberation to become part of the cultural zeitgeist and the fabric of academia through the fields of Women’s Studies, African American studies, Psychology, Literature, History, Sociology, Queer Studies and American Studies.”

Unfortunately, it seems as though fat liberation has been eclipsed by the body positivity movement over the last few decades. But, fat liberation has been experiencing a revival in recent years! It’s important to remember that fat liberation comes from Queer rebellions. The messaging of fat liberation is more radical and requires more action than body positivity because it’s political and centres the conversation around rectifying the various ways fat people are continually mistreated, misrepresented and discriminated against  by the systems at hand. Fat people still experience discrimination in healthcare, employment, housing, education, travel, fashion and more. Fat liberationists fight for fat people to have access to the same rights, resources and respect that thin people receive without question.

Who To Follow 

We know that we’ve thrown A LOT at you today! You’re likely having some lightbulb moments… And, maybe even realizing how much inner-work you need to do in order to correct your biases. But don’t worry. We know it can feel like a lot some days, so we’ve compiled a list of people that you can follow on Instagram to keep learning!

@hannahtalksbodies

@fatmarquisele

@yrfatfriend

@dashaunlh

@fattymph

@fatlibink

@fatwomenofcolor

@fatangryblackgirl

@ragenchastain

@sparklejams

@syddskyy

@lindobacon

@chr1styharrison

@sheabutterfemme

@thebodyisnotanapology

@thebodylovesociety

@raffela_mancuso

@megboggs

@bodyposipanda

@kelvindavis

We hope that you can take ALLLLLL this info and use it in your everyday life! Maybe you found that you resonate more with the practices of body neutrality than body positivity. Or, maybe you’ve discovered incredible fat activists who inspire you to fight for equal rights for fat people! Whatever you found in this article, we’re grateful that you took the time to read it. You are worthy and deserving of love, happiness, respect and kindness from everyone, always!

 

CPTSD vs PTSD: Understanding The Difference

You may have heard Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) used as a joke at some point. “Oh, I have PTSD from that hairstylist because she cut my hair all weird!” Well, real PTSD is actually waaaay scarier than a shitty haircut and doesn’t go away as easily as just growing your hair out. It’s a difficult mental health disorder that affects 1 in every 11 U.S. citizens! 

There’s also Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) which, as the name hints at, is related to PTSD. There are quite a few differences, so we’re going to spend this article breaking down each condition and dissecting alllll the ways they vary.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD develops in people after they’ve witnessed or experienced something suuuper traumatic. It was often referred to as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” during World War I and II. But, despite those names, PTSD isn’t just reserved for veterans! It stems from a traumatic event and causes you to have thoughts and memories of the event even after the danger has passed. Basically, your fight-or-flight response is kicked into high gear at all times. There are several types of trauma that can result in PTSD, so let’s take a look at them.

PTSD Triggers

Of course, there are sooo many things that can cause trauma, but it’s usually very serious things like death, violence and injury that lead to PTSD! Whether it affected you directly, you’ve witnessed it, or it has happened to a loved one, these are some examples of triggers:

  • Natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc.) 
  • Military combat and wars 
  • Physical or sexual assault or abuse
  • Near-death experiences like a really bad accident or collision
  • Having a job that exposes you to trauma (first responders, medical personnel, etc.)
  • Hearing about adverse details of an event (first responders, police officers, mental health professionals, etc.)

Extra risk factors include having a history of mental illness or substance use, childhood trauma, and having little-to-no support after the traumatic event! 

Types Of PTSD 

There are multiple stress-related disorders connected to PTSD, but we’re going to focus on the 4 groups of symptoms! While depression and panic attacks tend to be pretty universal across the board, there are some specific symptoms that can be grouped together. Everyone will experience them differently, but they tend to fall under these categories: 

1. Intrusion: categorized by flashbacks, nightmares and distressing memories.

2. Avoidance: avoiding people, places and situations, and talk about the trauma.

3. Arousal: trouble sleeping or concentrating due to always being aware of the trauma.

4. Cognition: having negative thoughts about oneself or the world, trouble being happy.

PTSD Symptoms

Signs of PTSD usually show up within 3 months of a traumatic event, but they can sometimes pop up later! All of the symptoms associated with the 4 groups listed above can be hella uncomfy and disrupt your ability to function in everyday situations. So, let’s break them down a little more! 

Intrusion causes you to relive the event over and over. Whether through flashbacks, vivid memories, or constant nightmares it causes intense physical and mental distress every single time.

Avoidance, just like the name entails, is all about avoiding people, places and circumstances that remind you of the traumatic event! You also hate talking about it, because you want to avoid reliving the situation at all costs. 

People experiencing arousal and reactivity have trouble concentrating, are constantly on edge and have an exaggerated response when being startled! They also tend to be irritable and have bouts of anger.

As for cognition and mood, it shows up through mixed feelings of guilt, worry and self-blame. People experiencing this will have a hard time remembering important aspects of the actual event. They also will no longer participate in activities they once enjoyed!  

PTSD can happen to literally anyone and at any age. But women are actually twice as likely to get it than men and are less likely to ask for help right away! Women will also experience more anxiety, depression, numbness and sensitivity, while men have more concerns around mood issues, avoidance, re-experiencing and arousal. 

What Is CPTSD?

Alright, time to get into Complex PTSD and why it’s so different! CPTSD has been getting more recognition over recent years for being the result of a repeated trauma over months  — or even YEARS — rather than one singular event, like regular PTSD. The two are similar in some aspects because they include allll of the same symptoms. Except CPTSD actually includes a whole lot more on top of them. Let’s figure out what those are!  

CPTSD Symptoms

So, in addition to all of the shitty things folks with PTSD go through (the intrusion, the avoidance, and so on and so forth) here are 6 symptoms that are unique to CPTSD!

1. No Emotional Regulation: uncontrollable feelings, whether explosive anger or ongoing sadness.

2. Consciousness Changes: a lot of dissociation and forgetting about the traumatic event.

3. Negative Self-View: a lot of guilt and shame, to the point of feeling different from others.

4. Relationship Problems: avoiding them altogether out of mistrust, or seeking out abusive relationships.

5. Fixating On Abuser: either being preoccupied with revenge or giving the abuser full control of your life.

6. Losing Faith: no longer trusting long-held beliefs or your view of the world.

CPTSD Triggers

The events that trigger CPTSD tend to be more long-lasting and not just one, singular event! In most cases, it’s from being under the control of another person or situation and not being able to escape. Here are some examples: 

  • Ongoing sexual, physical, or emotional abuse 
  • Being held captive or being a prisoner of war
  • Prolonged childhood neglect
  • Living in a war-torn area for a long period of time

Like PTSD, there are also some extra risk factors that can expose you to CPTSD! That includes underlying mental health conditions, how the brain processes stress hormones and lifestyle factors like not having a solid support system.

What’s The Difference Between PTSD And CPTSD?

As you could probably tell from reading the different symptoms and triggers, there are TWO key differences between PTSD and CPTSD — the biggest one being the length of the traumatic event! PTSD usually stems from one major, life-changing event. Trauma that leads to CPTSD can go on for months or even years! And, while PTSD gets worse over time in terms of fear and anxiety, CPTSD can be worsened by the harmful effects of racism, oppression and a shitty justice system. 

The second big difference is the amount of symptoms! CPTSD exhibits all of the same ones as PTSD, and then some. So, not only did the trauma go on for much longer, but the outcome is more than TWICE the amount of symptoms. Doesn’t really seem fair, does it?

How To Deal With CPTSD vs PTSD

When it comes to PTSD treatment that also works for CPTSD, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been found to be very helpful! The process is guided by a therapist and focuses on using eye movements to process and reframe traumatic memories. Once all is said and done, the hopeful outcome is to be able to reduce any negative feelings associated with that trauma! 

With CPTSD, it may require a bit more time when it comes to treatment because you’re dealing with multiple traumatic experiences across a longer time period. Medication, such as antidepressants, can also be helpful in reducing anxiety and depression, in addition to psychotherapy.  

 

OCD vs OCPD: What’s The Difference?

You know that friend who likes to keep their apartment neat and tidy, and EVERY time they clean up a little tiny speck of dust they say “I’m soooo OCD”? Yeah, the normalization of that phrase is suuuper invalidating to people who actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Wanting to keep your space clean and only turning your radio volume to multiples of 5 are not characteristics of OCD, and they don’t typically cause distress like real OCD symptoms do to people who experience them.

Luckily, we’re here to clear the air! Let’s dive thru what OCD is, how it feels, the different types and what treatment looks like. While we’re at it, we’re also going to break down what OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) is. So, strap in and get ready to learn all the things about something 1% of the U.S. population (about 3 million people!) goes through.

What Is OCD?

OCD is a mental health disorder that causes people to get caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted and intrusive thoughts, urges, or images that are uncomfortable and often very disturbing. Meanwhile, compulsions are the behaviours or actions that someone performs to get rid of those uncomfy thoughts or urges.

Again, wanting to colour-code your closet does NOT fall under that realm. For something to be categorized as OCD, the obsession/compulsion cycle has become so severe that it takes up a ton of time and energy from the person experiencing it! There is absolutely no control over those impulses and, a lot of the time, the person with OCD is also very aware of how irrational those impulses are.

4 Types Of OCD

There are 4 main subtypes of OCD that are grouped based on the symptoms that are present! Although symptoms tend to stay relatively stable over time, they can change in nature or someone with OCD may experience a few symptoms from another subtype. 

1. Contamination: being worried about dirt or germs, to the point of cleaning and washing hands obsessively. 

2. Harm: constant thoughts about hurting yourself or others, and persistent questioning whether they have previously harmed someone.

3. Symmetry: feeling the need to arrange, or rearrange things, until they are in the “perfect” position.

4. Intrusive Thoughts (Tics): harmful, embarrassing, sexual, or religious thoughts that cause distress. 

What Are The Signs Of OCD?

You may be wondering, “What is OCD like?” And the answer is that it’s a bit different for everyone. So, we’re gonna run through all the different symptoms associated with the 5 types listed above that you might experience if you live with OCD. 

Contamination is allll about avoiding things that can cause contamination (and their sources): dirt, germs, blood, toxic substances, viruses, etc. There’s a LOT of fear about being contaminated! And because of that, there’s an urge to throw out anything that has been tainted, and to follow precise washing and cleaning rituals.

Harm shows up as intense fear that you have hurt yourself or, even worse, someone else! You’ll persistently fear harming someone and be bombarded with graphic images of hurting someone (or yourself). You also think that, just by thinking about something bad happening, it’s more likely to happen!

Symmetry comes out as exactly that: symmetry. For example, if you scratch one elbow then you HAVE to scratch the other! Everything has to be in its exact place, or you’ll feel incomplete. All objects need to be organized and aligned in a certain way, and there are often counting rituals involved! 

As for intrusive thoughts, you’ll experience sexual or even violent thoughts that cause you a lot of guilt and shame. You’re constantly worried that your actions will hurt someone and you’ll perform compulsions to hide anything that could be dangerous. You’re always seeking reassurance that you’re not a bad person and check your daily activities to make sure you didn’t actually do something bad!  

What Triggers OCD?

Fun fact, OCD doesn’t discriminate! It can come up for all genders, at any age, and in folks of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. However, there are two stages of life that tend to be more prevalent: between the ages of 8 and 12, or in the late teen and early adulthood years. 

Research has also found that these factors can sometimes play a part: 

  • Family History: genes are partly responsible for the development of tic-related OCD.
  • Biological Causes: problems with transmission of brain chemicals like serotonin.
  • Environmental Factors: trauma, abuse, illness, or other stressful events. 

What Is OCPD?

Okay, so The Big Bang Theory defs had some problematic undertones, but the TV show did get one thing right: Sheldon’s Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder! Throughout the whole show, he has a certain set of rules that he HAS to adhere to (like his spot on the couch), he has an overwhelming need for order, and he insists that his way is the only way things should be done. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. So, let’s take a deeper look at OCPD and how it shows up! 

OCPD Symptoms

There are quite a few symptoms that are very unique to folks with OCPD. We’ve already touched on some of Sheldon’s qualities but, once you read these, you’re gonna realize just how accurate that diagnosis is! 

  • Restrained emotions and wanting to control relationships with others
  • Devoted to work to a point that it hinders social and family activities 
  • Fixated on lists, rules and minor details
  • A high level of perfectionism that gets in the way of finishing tasks
  • Following strict moral and ethical codes 
  • Not wanting to assign tasks to someone else unless they’ll do it perfectly
  • Being extremely frugal and not very generous 
  • Exhibiting hoarding behaviours
  • Avoiding intimacy

What Triggers OCPD?

Much like OCD, the exact cause of OCPD is not exactly known. Research has proven a few theories, but it’s never rooted in one single cause! There are the 3 possible triggers:  

  • Family: having strict parents who punished you can cause you to adopt the “perfection” of OCPD as a coping mechanism. 
  • Genetics: like OCD, family history with the condition may play a role. 
  • Culture: some authoritarian societies with strict rules may impact early childhood development and personality expression.  

What’s The Difference Between OCD And OCPD?

As you can see, OCD and OCPD are very different. In fact, there are 5 main differences between the two. Sooo…get ready for some more long lists (sorry not sorry)!

1. Awareness

People with OCD are very much aware of what’s happening with them, and can recognize that their unwanted thoughts are unreasonable. Meanwhile, people with OCPD feel pretty comfortable with their self-imposed rules and rituals — their way is the best way!

2. Reality

The thoughts and behaviours related to OCD are not generally related to real-life situations. However, OCPD procedures make someone feel like that’s the ONLY way to manage daily tasks!

3. Work Life

OCD often causes problems at work, with family and in social life. OCPD also strains personal relationships, but can actually make work-life more efficient! Who woulda thought? Buuut, even though work performance isn’t hurt, there may be some problems interacting with coworkers and employers.

4. Perspective

Much like in point 1, people with OCD know there’s something funky going on. They genuinely hate the effect it has on those around them and they WANT to seek treatment. People with OCPD, on the other hand, don’t think they need treatment and want everyone else to get on their level instead! The only motivator would probably be the risk of losing a job or relationship.

5. Interpersonal Relationships

Family members, or roommates, of people with OCD can find the demands difficult and it can lead to conflict. But living with someone who has OCPD takes it one step further than that, to being criticized and controlled.

How To Treat OCD vs OCPD

One of the most effective treatments for OCD, once it’s been diagnosed, is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Essentially, a mental health professional will expose their patient to the thing that is causing intrusive thoughts and help the patient limit their response. For example, if they’re having sexual thoughts about children, the therapist will have them watch videos of children, or even go sit at a playground, and make them choose not to engage in compulsive behaviour! 

Treatment for OCPD typically uses standard psychotherapy approaches. The International OCD Foundation says “the goal is to lessen rigid expectations and learn how to value close relationships, recreation, and fun with less emphasis on work and productivity.”

Lastly, medication like antidepressants is also a good option for both! 

If you’re dealing with symptoms of OCD or OCPD then daily life is a bit more complicated and requires a bit more thought. If you are seeking a diagnosis, we highly recommend that you find a mental health professional who can conduct the proper tests and analyses to determine your situation. We hope this article has helped you better understand where your symptoms are coming from. And, we hope you feel less alone! WE LOVE YOU!  

 

How To Set Boundaries In Dating Relationships

You’ve probably heard before that boundaries are a good idea if you wanna maintain happy, healthy relationships. But maybe you’re not sure what boundaries even look like, especially when it comes to dating. Or like, ya know…how to actually set them? It would be 100x easier if everyone could just read our minds to know what we’re okay with and never cross our boundaries, EVER. If onlyyy it was that easy!

The thing about boundaries, though: they’re not some unspoken rule. You gotta make them crystal clear if you don’t want them crossed! Here’s a great definition of boundaries, thanks to our in-house mental health professional Natalie Asayag. A boundary is “a clear line or limit you draw with those in your life to maintain healthy relationships (with the intent that you don’t feel overextended or taken advantage of).”

So, whether you’re dating someone new or you’re in a long-term relationship, boundaries are a MUST! With them in place you feel safe, validated and respected (and you deserve allll of the above, okay?). Btw, it’s never too late to set boundaries no matter where you’re at in the dating game. So let’s dive thru the types of boundaries and how to use them in your dating life!

Types of Boundaries

Boundaries are a 10/10 measure for your mental wellbeing. They help prevent any added stress or anxiety that you wanna avoid (umm, yes please!). When it comes to dating, having those boundaries in place can make you feel more at ease when you’re getting to know someone. Being open with each other about what makes you feel comfortable, safe and heard? That’s the healthy communication we looove to see!

Okay, here are the different types of boundaries and some convo starters for common scenarios you might experience while you’re dating.

1. Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries include your body, physical touch and personal space. So, of course, things like hand-holding, hugging, cuddling and kissing. Your privacy is a physical boundary too. If you don’t want the person you’re dating to have the password to your phone to snoop around like a lil’ sleuth (even when you have nothing to hide), guess what? You have the right to your privacy! And if you don’t want them to spend the night at your apartment just yet, that boundary should also be noted.

Sending nudes can also be a privacy boundary, like whether or not you’re cool with sending them and receiving them, and of course, timing. For example…maaaybe you’re not super comfy with receiving a nude while at your cousin’s baby shower. And the idea of heavily making out with your partner in front of your whole crew at Sunday brunch? *Cringe*

Still unsure what to say when it comes to setting those physical boundaries, though? Hey, we gotchu. Try out some of these:

  • “I’m not in the mood for cuddling.”
  • “I don’t like being touched like that in public.”
  • “I need my personal space.”
  • “I have the right to my privacy, including my phone.”
  • “I don’t want to send a nude right now.”
  • “I don’t send nudes.”

2. Sexual Boundaries

Sexual boundaries are all about your comfort level as far as when you have sex, where you have sex, who you have sex with, and what contraceptives you want to use. These factors right here are up to your consent, 100% of the time!

These boundaries also include what you’re okay with during sex. Sex acts, sexual comments, you name it. Maybe certain things are triggering for you, so you ask to avoid them altogether. There could also be things you wanna explore sexually, like any kinks or fantasies you have. So be open! Share those desires with your partner and ask what they’re into.

Here are a few phrases you can use for setting sexual boundaries:

  • “Are you okay with this?”
  • “I don’t like this. Let’s try something different.”
  • “I don’t feel like having sex right now.”
  • “I have a kink/something new I want to try. Are you comfortable with that?”
  • “Tell me what you like/don’t like.”

3. Emotional Boundaries

Setting emotional boundaries means respecting and validating all of the #feels. But it also means separating your emotions from your partner’s — not letting their mood control your own, not taking responsibility for their feelings, and not sacrificing your wellbeing or comfort to please them. It’s knowing what your emotional limits are, plus communicating your needs!

If you’re dating someone new, opening up and being vulnerable with them can be, well…scary AF. So, here are some examples, ‘cause we aren’t just gonna leave you hanging: 

  • “I know you’re trying to help, but I just need you to listen instead of giving me advice or trying to fix my problems for me.”
  • “Can we talk about this later when I’m in a better headspace? Now’s not a great time.”
  • “It’s hard for me to share things with you when I feel like my feelings are being dismissed.”
  • “I can see that you’re not in a great mood right now, so let’s give each other some space.”
  • “It feels like when you’re upset about something else you take it out on me and it’s unfair.”

4. Material Boundaries

In relationships, material boundaries include finances and possessions. It’s safe to say money can be a touchyyy subject. In the early stages of dating, this might not come up right away. Except maybe when it’s time to decide whose turn it is to pay for the date (could be a red flag if they always “forget” their wallet at home).

For those long-term relationships, you’ll wanna talk about finances more in-depth and make the big decisions together. It’s a good idea to talk about your separate incomes, how you decide to split costs, whether you want joint bank accounts and all of that good stuff. You wanna be on the same page here!

These examples might help you out:

  • “I’m a little tight on cash right now. Can we have dinner at my place tonight instead?”
  • “I can’t lend you money. Is there anything else I can do to help you out?”
  • “Since we have different incomes, I think we should decide the best way to split our rent.”
  • “I bought groceries the last two trips, do you mind paying this time?”
  • “I don’t mind if you borrow my car this week, but please fill the tank for me.”

5. Intellectual Boundaries

These boundaries mean showing respect for each other’s differences in opinions, beliefs and ideas. You and the person you’re dating might have different faith backgrounds, political views, or maybe you believe Bob’s Burgers is the greatest show to ever exist but they’re “not really into cartoons.”

It’s okay if you don’t agree on everything. You decide what things you can “agree to disagree” on and what things are dealbreakers. If your partner’s values don’t align with your values, it’s okay to end the relationship. No matter what, your opinions and beliefs shouldn’t be put down in a relationship!

Try these out whenever you need ‘em:

  • “I can see where you’re coming from, but I don’t see it the same way.”
  • “I don’t like where this is going. Maybe we should drop it before this becomes a fight.”
  • “Let’s talk more about this later. This doesn’t seem like the best time for either of us.”
  • “It’s okay for us to disagree, but I’m not okay with putting each other down.”
  • “I don’t think this is going to work between us. I can’t move past this difference we have.”

6. Time Boundaries

We don’t need to tell you that your time is precious AF. You already know that! There are only so many hours in a day, and when you’ve got work, school or other responsibilities on the go, that doesn’t leave much free time. So, when it comes to making plans with your partner, like a fun date night on the town or a weekend getaway to the mountains, you really look forward to that quality time. On the flip side, you might just want some time to yourself. Both are valid!

You know what you gotta do: SET THOSE BOUNDARIES.

  • “I could really use a chill night by myself. Let’s hang out tomorrow instead.”
  • “It’s been a while since we had a date night. We should make it a regular thing.”
  • “I can’t, I have plans with my friends that day. It’s important for me to spend time with them.”
  • “I can come along, but only for a couple of hours. I have to be up early.”
  • “Can we cancel our plans with your family I’m not feeling up to it.”

Boundaries can be a scary thing, we get it. But they’re sooo important for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Don’t feel ashamed for asking for the things you need. ‘Cause your feelings matter, always!