Question for Bernie:
I have OCD and am struggling. I currently see an experienced and excellent therapist, but as you know, progress can be slow. I have been married for 20 years and have two children, 18 and 16. I am an RN and very high functioning.
One of my major concerns is my bad marriage. My husband doesn’t understand OCD so everything I do in his view is wrong. His negativity towards me is bringing me down, to say the least. I think, as does my therapist, that I am on the slow road to getting better, but my husband doesn’t acknowledge the disorder so sees nothing good in me or my efforts to overcome OCD.
Would you please give me some inspirational words or advice? Thank you.
What your husband sees isn’t the issue on which you should focus. I want you to act on what you see. It is time to reparent yourself and love yourself, something your parents didn’t do for you.
Create little shrines that you see every day as part of your therapy. Use pictures of yourself as a child and also place “mottoes to live by” around the house. Once you surround yourself with the reminders of the person you want to be, then begin to rehearse being that person. Before long, you will behave as the successful person you are, with a sense of self-esteem that no one can “bring down.”
Whenever your husband says anything—no matter how negative, say “ I love you” in response. Only you have the right to tell yourself how to think and feel—those are always your decisions. Part of loving yourself unconditionally (reparenting yourself) is to eliminate negativity coming from others, whoever they are. Create the loving environment you deserve.
You can also get a divorce.
Question for Bernie:
I’m a 28-year-old woman and have been struggling with depression for about six years. I’ve tried to kill myself three times. I’ve tried therapy and have taken different medications. I have also had several panic attacks.
I started feeling better and gradually stopped taking venlafaxine. It has been a few months off the medication now and my panic attacks are back. Usually they are irrational—I can’t name anything particular that I am afraid of; yet, I wake up early in the morning paralyzed with fear. I know that I need therapy, but I have to wait for those results over time. I have restarted medication, but that, too, takes time to take effect.
Can you please tell me how I can help myself? Can I do anything to stop the fear—to control it, and to calm myself? If there is anything you can advise, please do so. I will be grateful.
You can imagine loving arms around you before you fall asleep so that should you awaken with fear, you will immediately think of that warm, comforting thought to push away the fear.
I have had many patients who experienced similar depression and panic/anxiety in their lives. What I learned was that many of them just were not parented well—and sometimes really didn’t even realize that. Childhood development carries with it very specific times during which a child needs certain kinds of messages from a parent (or both parents) that will make that child feel loved and secure. If something was going on in your family during those formative years in your young life that interfered with you getting those messages, then you need to reparent yourself.
To reparent yourself, first, get to know yourself as a little child by taking any pictures of you during childhood and putting them out around where you will see them every day. Fall in love with that little child. Tell her that she is safe and loved and will grow to be strong. Tell her how wonderful it is that she was born. Then, once you have reparented yourself as a little child, extend that loving care to yourself as you are now.
A powerful tool to use to help restructure your thoughts is Creative Visualization. I have some CDs in my Catalog on the website that could be very helpful to you. You can be in complete control of your thoughts. Often it is the sense of being out of control that brings some level of fear to almost everyone.
Take time to ask yourself what you really want in your life. Make a list—you can always revise it, but just get started right away with what you think would make you love your life now. Remember the wonderful motto, “Love yourself and your life, and all will be made well.”
I will be your CD = Chosen Dad–and help you to move on because you can and will.
I like to ask this question of people who allow me to help them: What is your favorite animal and why? Let me know your answer—it will give me more insight into you which will help me help you.
Question for Bernie:
How can one let go of the grief that comes with the loss of both parents in two years? I feel orphaned and lost and so, so sad. Is there some way that I can move forward and past this feeling of being in limbo? I still have my Mom’s number on my phone, and all I want to do is to be able to call her again and say all the things I never did.
Please read my book Buddy’s Candle and learn what your parents want for you. The story will help you realize that consciousness doesn’t end, and you can still talk to your parents. You may hear them answer, have a dream in which they talk to you, or find meaningful things around the house.
I know how you feel about not being anyone’s child anymore. I went through that, but I have a portrait of my parents in the front hall and their photo on my computer as the screen saver, so they are always with me. You can create similar shrines around your house, too.
And yes, I used to dial my mom’s number forgetting that she had died and wanting to tell her something.
Celebrate your love for them and theirs for you, because only love is permanent and immortal and it is your bridge to them forever. They are perfect again so just share with them and they will know.