A Storyteller's Life
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- Finding God... In Your Past Pain
He was shot... he was buried alive... he found extraordinary healing! You can, too! Sometimes, the most difficult times to sense God’s presence is in the difficult things that have happened in the past. Where was God when it hurt? Where was God when my friend ditched me... when I was left alone in my trauma... when I had no one to help me through my childhood pain? By faith, we know that God was present in your past. But it's also true that God is present in your past--right now. Jesus claimed, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8) He exists--present tense--in 2000 BC when Abraham was alive. And he stands beside you in the memory of your greatest pain. God is willing to walk with you back into the challenging memory with you. He can help you process it. He will show you that he's glad to be with you, even in your pain. A few years ago, Dr. Jim Wilder flew to Asia to meet with a group of mental health professionals and lay people. Recent violence in this Asian country had left the trainees traumatized and confused. Everyone listened closely to what Dr. Wilder had to say about Immanuel Prayer. A few nonbelievers had been sent to the training by their therapy practice. They also listened eagerly as Wilder explained how to connect with Jesus inside past traumatic memories. As they experienced Jesus' gentle presence, they realized that God’s presence had been there all along, even in those dark places. Their debilitating memories were resolved, and many of them decided to follow Jesus. One of the participants had been shot by terrorists. Assuming he was dead, the terrorists buried him in a shallow mass grave. The man suffered considerable PTSD after he woke up, found himself suffocating underground, and had to dig himself out of the grave. However, during the week of Immanuel Training, he gained a visceral realization that Jesus had been with him, even in the darkest pit. As a result, his PTSD symptoms appeared to resolve permanently. Karl Lehman's Immanuel Approach is based on a simple gratitude exercises that activates our relational brain circuits, preparing them to connect with Jesus. In today’s digital world, we don’t use use our relational brain circuits very much (thalamus and basal ganglion for relational attachment and cingulate cortex for relational synchronization). That's why we need to be intentional about activating those circuits so that we can connect with God and others. Once participants feel deep appreciation and have their connective brain circuits online, participants ask Jesus to help them sense his presence. With a two-way connection to Jesus established, they ask him directly about the questions or traumas that are bothering them. Around the world, this method has succeeded in healing trauma at a much higher rate than normal therapy, even higher than EMDR. This method has healed trauma on many people, including nonbelievers who were sent to the training by their therapy practice; people who were angry at God; people who are afraid of God; people who have been sex trafficked; people who have experienced extreme trauma, including being shot, buried alive and crawling out of a mass grave. Karl Lehman explains that each of us has a pain-processing pathway in our brains. If a difficult experience makes it all the way through the pathway, the pain adds to our empathy, wisdom, resilience and strength. But if it gets stuck, it becomes a traumatic memory. It's a bit like a digestive system. If the food makes it all the way through, we digest it and it gives us strength. But if there's a perforation in the system, the leaking digestive material gets stuck, causing infection. It never processes... it never heals. We need God, like a loving surgeon, to revisit those areas of "stuck" pain and help us process and heal. Every time we are triggered by an unresolved memory, God is giving us the opportunity to resolve that pain. And through Immanuel Prayer, Karl Lehman has developed an effective, safe way to meet Jesus in the pain. We often don't sense God's presence while we are going through the pain. But looking back, we can see how God was with us all along. Try Immanuel Approach today! To learn more about the Immanuel Approach: Immanuel Approach Basic Training Video Immanuel Approach Website Learn more about the Pain Processing Pathway  Immanuel Approach https://www.immanuelapproach.com/ “Brain Science, Emotional Healing, and the God Who is With Us” are very technical, scientific articles that are available as free downloads on the Internet that explain this method.  Jim Wilder, Outsmarting Yourself, 81 http://www.immanuelapproach.com/pdf/Chapters1-5%28Draft%29NewBook.pdf  Jim Wilder, Outsmarting Yourself, 81 http://www.immanuelapproach.com/pdf/Chapters1-5%28Draft%29NewBook.pdf  See Karl Lehman, The Pain Processing Pathway: Outsmarting Yourself Lecture 1 https://vimeo.com/49404723 See also https://catholicpsychotherapy.org/resources/2019%20Conf%20Handouts/Session%20223_1%20Immanuel%20Terms.pdf  Go to Immanuelapproach.com, and you can read as many scholarly articles as you want.
- Does My Parent Have Autism?
Saying that life is lonely for people for children of autistic parents is an understatement. Throughout my life, I felt unseen by my neurodivergent mother. I spent many sleepless nights researching and obsessing about relational cues that other people seemed to take for granted. Afraid I was weak and sensitive, I lost all confidence. I was sure I wasn’t okay on my own. In an unsafe and confusing world, I felt abandoned. Since my mother tried to be loving, I felt alone and ashamed. I repressed my feelings of rejection. At one point, I even wondered if my life was worth living. I never realized that these experiences are common. That there are other people out there who’ve gone through the same thing. What I can tell you is there is hope for adult children of autistic parents. As you’ll learn in my new book, you are not alone in your experiences. You can find communities that accept you and your family, and who can help you navigate your struggles. You can learn to overcome your anxious attachment, build healthy relationships, and feel seen by God. Like me, you can gravitate toward people who see you for who you truly are. You can move toward understanding your parent’s limitations. And you can celebrate your strengths, like I celebrated my depth, beauty, art, or creativity. As I worked with a therapist, I learned ways to repackage my traumatic memories of feeling unseen and misunderstood. I learned to be the person God created me to be: sensitive, artistic, creative, and courageous. The gift of my new memoir, Shimmering Around the Edges, is the gift of understanding. I share my story so you know you are not alone in your anxious attachment, relationships, and struggles with faith. You can discover the God who is with you, even through compulsion, confusion, and chaos. “A profoundly moving journey of self-discovery. Kathrine's narrative is so vivid that you can relate to her experiences as if they were your own. This book makes one feel seen and heard — an important step toward healing and liberation.” —Hicham El Amrani - Author, VIP Trainer and Executive Coach Besides the new, healthy practices I’ve learned along the way, you’ll find resources for: finding emotional healing feeling God’s presence in uncertainty overcoming painful memories If my story resonates with you or someone you know, please consider purchasing a copy of Shimmering Around the Edges. Or visit kathrinesnyder.com to browse blog posts, watch a video trailer, and more. With blessings, Kathrine
- Agents Seeking Memoir in 2023
This list of Literary Agents is seeking high-quality, well-crafted literary memoir. Deeply felt stories, beautiful prose, and riveting storylines are their forte. Read each agent's entry to find out their specific requests. Updated January 2023. Ethan Bassoff of Ross Yoon agency is seeking memoir and narrative nonfiction. He specializes in guiding emerging writers through their first publications and advising them on how to build long, successful careers. He looks for original stories told by equally original voices. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore and Company is seeking memoir and narrative nonfiction. She is particularly interested in finding emerging and underrepresented voices, and she loves reading and representing books that focus on diversity. She searches for books that draw her in and give her a new perspective on a world she doesn’t know, or make her think more deeply about a world she does know. Miriam seeks books with a heart and writers with wonderful storytelling abilities. Her email address is email@example.com. Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary is seeking memoirs and other books that ask difficult questions, illuminating common issues in new ways. Gordon is looking for fresh concepts that excite him before he even starts reading and tension-filled prose that won’t let him stop. Contact Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jody Kahn from Brandt and Hochman is seeking beautifully written works. She enjoys literary memoirs that contain rich storylines, deeply drawn characters and voice-driven narratives. specializes in nonfiction narratives related to culture, social justice, sports, food, history, literary memoir and journalism. She’s also interested in untold stories, misunderstood populations, and anything that’s plugged into the current cultural conversation. Above all, she wants to be gripped by what she’s reading and taken into a new and riveting world, one that touches her with layers of complexity and does not easily let go. You can reach Jody at email@example.com. Emily Forland from Brandt and Hochman represents voice-driven memoir and literary nonfiction with original writing that jumps off the page and beautifully crafted writing. firstname.lastname@example.org Iwalani Kim from Greenburger is looking for literary memoir, as well as coming-of-age narratives, family dramas, and stories that challenge systems of power. Loves lush prose, wry humor, irreverent characters, and a sense of yearning. Drawn to narratives about identity, deep dives into subcultures, and writing that complicates the idea of ‘paradise’ or explores progressive movements such as prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition. Contact her at email@example.com Nicki Richesin from Dunow, Carlson & Lerner would like to see memoir that makes an impact and becomes part of the larger cultural conversation. She is invested in discovering underrepresented voices. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joanne Wyckoff of Carol Mann Agency has a particular love of the memoir, narrative nonfiction, the personal narrative, and narrative journalism. She is always looking for writers with strong, original voices who explore a subject in new and surprising ways. Get in touch at email@example.com. Thomas Hill from Martin Lit enjoys authentic voices in narrative nonfiction and memoir who strive to raise the consciousness of the reading public through satire, humor, brilliant prose, and/or a sobering examination of issues and situations currently impacting the human experience. Reach Thomas at Thomas.Hill@MartinLit.com. Roz Foster from Frances Goldin Literary Agency is seeking exquisite linguistic skill. She is interested in books that grapple with what it is to be human, books that confront big human themes—love, morality, purpose, freedom, faith or its lack, hierarchy, success, violence, meaning, and death. She looks for stories that make sense of the chaos of life and the harshness of reality. She loves writing that has emotional depth, makes insightful observations, and demonstrates exquisite linguistic skill. Get in touch with Roz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dana Newman from Dana Newman Literary loves compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down. Contact her here: email@example.com Christy Fletcher from Fletcher and Co. is drawn to memoir and non-fiction that uses narrative to explore new ideas and present novel frameworks for understanding the world, especially when written by someone who comes to their point of view via professional experience, scientific research, or deep investigative journalism. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah Levitt from Aevitas Creative Management is looking for nonfiction so enthralling and far-reaching that it feels like a novel. She enjoys strong female and underrepresented voices. She's looking for biography, cultural history, memoir, science, and ideas books. Query her here.
- Sensorimotor OCD
You’ve probably been told the importance of good posture. You've heard the common hints and hacks: “Imagine you are being hung from a string…” “Shoulders back, butt in.” "Tuck your chin." Our bodies are created to constantly adjust and regulate our bodies automatically: our posture our breathing our blinking other automatic functions. But imagine that none of that was automatic. Every few seconds, you were consciously thinking about that posture, or that blinking, or that breathing. You might feel that you could never be free. Sensorimotor OCD takes everyday regulatory functions and focuses on them obsessively. With Sensorimotor OCD, "You may be very aware of your posture, for example how you sit or how you hold yourself when you walk." You walk around constantly worrying about whether your back and head are "hanging from a string." Your neck becomes sore because you constantly move your head back to make sure your ears are above your shoulders. You put your hand on your back to make sure the curve is right. You check mirrors to see if your posture looks good. You wake up during the night to make sure you’re on your side with the correct curvature in the back. Or you may start worrying about the movement of your legs. You become obsessed with "how [your] body parts are positioned... where your legs and arms are placed when you’re sitting down...how your limbs move when you’re walking ... sounds that your limbs make as you move, such as creaking of joints. This can increase fears about whether something is wrong." Are your legs straight as you walk? Is your hip going to pop out of joint? Are you walking unevenly on your feet? Are your feet turning in? Is your back getting scoliosis? It takes all the joy out of your walk, doesn't it? It adds so much anxiety to your day. When your life is consumed with automatic functions, such as blinking, breathing, posture, or leg movement, you may have Sensorimotor OCD. As with all subtypes of OCD, the solution is Exposure and Response Prevention. My therapist helped me uncover specific fears related to posture and helped me find greater freedom. Nathan Peterson has excellent videos that will help you learn more about Sensorimotor OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention. His series is gentle, reassuring, and comforting. I also encourage you to find a local or virtual OCD therapist who can guide you personally about your underlying fears.  Your Guide to Sensorimotor & Somatic OCD
- Openness: Escaping Closed-Mindedness
by Kathrine Snyder For years, I lived in panic. My religious life rotated around a few limited questions: “Did I pray enough? Did I sin? Did I lust?” My tunnel vision was only big enough for a few specific rules, regulations, and fears. Everything was black and white. I was either good, or I was bad. The more fearful I became, the more I constricted my focus on making sure I was always perfect. I’m not the only one. If you have anxiety or OCD, you know that anxiety blocks out the beauty in life and focuses only on the terrifying parts. If you have a painful condition like PGAD, it consumes your whole focus. And if you’ve grown up in a controlling religion, you know there’s often no room for questions, for pondering, for taking in the big picture. You stop embracing the beauty of God and focus only on behavior: Making sure you’re good enough. Making sure you’re safe. It’s natural to want to be safe. Narrowing your focus is a natural, knee-jerk reaction to threats. When you’re suddenly confronted with a scary situation—like a wasp flying around your head—you flinch and narrow your eyes. It’s natural to try to protect yourself. But the Japanese Aikido Masters propose a different way of staying safe. Instead of narrowing your eyes, try opening them wider. Japanese Masters encourage athletes to use “soft eyes” that can take in a full range of vision, including possible threats. George Leonard says that soft, open eyes make "colors seem remarkably vivid.“ Rather than developing tunnel vision, you activate your peripheral vision. You soften your view and widen your perspective. You develop “wide-angle seeing.” “Soft eyes” means you gently blur your vision. You stop straining your eyes. You stop forcing yourself to understand every nit-picking detail. You embrace uncertainty. (If you have OCD, this will sound familiar! Embracing uncertainty is the gold standard treatment for OCD!) When you do, you’ll realize you’re finally able to see the big picture. You'll see you're more protected than you ever dreamed (2 Kings 6:16-17). Parker Palmer says, “Eyes wide with wonder, we no longer need to resist or run when taken by surprise. Now we can open ourselves to the great mystery.” If you grew up in a closed-minded religious system full of anxiety and fear, opening your eyes is the first step. Soften your vision. Embrace the goodness of God and the hope that exists. Start to think in different categories. Be ready for new thoughts about God's mysterious kindness (Ephesians 1:9). Are you ready to explore a new way of seeing? Seeing through the Gentle Gaze of Love A New Way of Seeing: Take the Risk! Seeing through Eyes of Patience Seeing through Eyes of Humility Seeing with Eyes of Love Seeing through the Lens of Pain Seeing what our Body Knows And more! Subscribe so you get updates as the series unfolds! To learn more about OCD and faith, visit Justin K. Hughes' excellent blog series.  Parker Palmer, https://kaikleinbard.tumblr.com/post/8598855418/aikido-soft-eyes#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIn%20the%20Japanese%20art%20of,filight%2Ffight%20response%20takes%20over.  https://kaikleinbard.tumblr.com/post/8598855418/aikido-soft-eyes#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIn%20the%20Japanese%20art%20of,filight%2Ffight%20response%20takes%20over.  Rod Windle , https://kaikleinbard.tumblr.com/post/8598855418/aikido-soft-eyes#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIn%20the%20Japanese%20art%20of,filight%2Ffight%20response%20takes%20over.
- Finding God: Change the Soundtrack
Imagine your favorite lyrics had been set to a jarring soundtrack. How long would you keep listening? When the soundtrack of our religious experience has been set to a terrifying, fear-inducing, or mechanical jam, it’s hard to change it on our own. Every time we think about God or religion, we hear the same jarring mental music. We hear the grating broken record of OCD warning us that we lied three years ago and may not be saved. We hear the voice of a pastor or church leader telling us we haven’t tried hard enough. And we hear the music of anxiety blaring that God may not love us after all. Christopher West explains, "What affects the heart more: the words or the melody? We may have been given correct teaching in our Christian upbringing, but if it was set to the wrong music—that is, if Christian teaching was presented in a dry, cold, mechanical doctrinaire way, for example—our hearts couldn't respond openly and positively. No matter how awesome the characters in the plotline, if a movie has an abrasive soundtrack, you'll still want to leave the theater.” Changing the soundtrack can completely change your experience. This video demonstrates how music changes your internal world. When beautiful music is playing, what do you imagine around the bend? When the dramatic, suspenseful music is playing, what does your body tell you is around the bend? Try it out here. But changing the soundtrack is not easy. At four years old, Karl Lehman heard a sermon that terrified him. The preacher was talking about Matthew 19:21: "Jesus told him, 'If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Young Karl assumed that if he sold all his possessions, that would include his clothing. He imagined himself living outdoors, naked, hungry, and hopeless. He finally decided he could hide under porches during the day and rummage through the garbage bin at night in order to survive. This fearful story was the soundtrack that played in his mind when he heard about self-denial. For many decades, the same soundtrack continued to play when he heard about God, giving to others, or following Jesus. No matter how hard he tried to rewrite the narrative with thoughts of God's kindness, it was difficult to do. Why is it so hard to change the soundtrack that is playing in our minds? Karl Lehman says that we all have implicit memories that are based on past experiences. Whenever we encounter a similar situation, our mind’s orchestra cues the same “background music” that we heard the first time we experienced that situation. The “background music” in our minds is automatic. Is it difficult for you to sense or experience God? Perhaps your mind is playing the wrong soundtrack. You hear the terror in your minds and shy away. You're afraid to come close to God. Karl Lehman experienced freedom when he learned to invite Jesus into his traumatic childhood memories. He learned to experience the kindness and sweetness of God. God’s values and character would seem vastly different if your mind had a different soundtrack. To learn more about the Immanuel process, click here. Let's change the soundtrack to a lovely melody of empathy, inspiration, healing, and art. Try the Immanuel Approach today!  Christopher West, Fill These Hearts, pg. 20  Karl Lehman, Outsmarting Yourself
- Finding God... in Your Curiosity
Have you ever been hunting for something you weren’t sure existed? It may seem foolish. But you can be glad that several important scientists kept following their feeling that there was something yet to discover: · Thomas Edison was confident in something he hadn’t quite seen yet: the ability to channel electricity in a long-lasting bulb. · Alexander Fleming knew he was onto something when he discovered bacteria did not grow near Penicillin mold, and he kept hunting for ways to isolate it for medicinal purposes. · Isaac Newton knew that gravity was out there, even before he could quite define it. · Henri Becquerel knew he was searching for something, but not quite sure what. As he experimented with phosphorescence, he discovered radioactivity. Each of these scientists knew there was something there, even if they didn’t know quite what it was. The Bible says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” NIV Hebrews 11:1 The fact that we are grappling towards something unseen provides a clue to its existence. We see signs of God all around us: · Our sense of wonder · The beauty of the natural world · Our deepest yearnings · Even art and mathematics point to someone there. This doesn’t mean that everything we search for exists, but it does provide clues. When we’re responsibly following our creative intuition, the yearning itself actually provides evidence that something is there. C. S. Lewis points out, “'Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.” Christopher West believes that even sexual desires hint at the existence of God. In his book, Fill These Hearts, he explains, "Sex hints at the infinite and is meant to point us to it and even allow us to participate in it. But it seems we often mistake the hint for the reality hinted at. And when we take our desire for Infinite and try to satisfy it with something finite, we are always left wanting." West believes that “sexual morality is all about learning how to aim our desire for heaven toward heaven.” Our sexual desires are ultimately a longing for God, and our inability to fully satisfy these desires on earth points to an eternal, infinite fulfillment. How does your yearning and curiosity about God actually point to God’s existence?  The Discovery of Penicillin—New Insights After More Than 75 Years of Clinical Use  Becquerel discovers radioactivity  Loving to Know by Esther Lightcap Meek  C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity  Christopher West, Fill These Hearts, pg 28
- Anxiety, Shame, and Sexual Health
September 12-18 is Sexual Health Awareness Month. As we launch this week, it's important to understand the impact of shame and anxiety on sexual and mental health. Several shame-related and anxiety-related can affect sexual health. First, Purity Culture raises shame levels. Young people raised under the influence of the Purity Culture movement in the 80s and 90s learned that all sexuality was a sin to be feared. Any sexual desire was lust, which must be pushed down. Meagan Turner writes that in Purity Culture, "if you felt “turned on” or attracted to another person, you had to turn it off and shut it all down. Just as you cannot selectively numb emotions, you cannot selectively shut down bodily processes. Your brain and your physiological, anatomical body parts react to feeling turned on. Years of practice of shutting those down can lead to mental health and physical concerns." In some women, this repression exacerbated a condition called Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, or PGAD. This disorder seems to occur frequently in women who are fearful about “sexual conservatism” and who see “sexual desire as a sin.” When a woman fears sexual desire, the more her brain focuses on it. Eventually, she is saddled with the shame-producing arousal nearly 24/7. But many authors agree that shame only makes things worse. Debra Hirsch points out, “Our young people don’t need fear-based counsel that compounds the shame they already feel. This only keeps their sexuality in the dark.” Jay Stringer agrees, "When a religious community practices shaming, the eradication of desire, and silence, it colludes with the effects of sexual shame and trauma.” Curt Thompson says that it's important that we explore those "deep feelings of shame" that crop up in the "intimate places of being known." In this blog, we will learn about overcoming shame. We will be learning how to reconnect with our bodies. We will learn how to discover a more healing approach to our selves and our bodies. Subscribe to the blog to keep up-to-date on the upcoming articles.  Joana Carvalho, PHD, Ana Verissimo, PHD, Pedro Nobre, PHD, “Cognitive and Emotional Determinants Characterizing Women with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder,” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 6, June 2013, Accessed February 3, 2022, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609515303969  "Purity Culture: Repercussions & How to Heal," https://www.choosingtherapy.com/purity-culture/  Redeeming Sex by Debra Hirsch  Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson, pg 38  Unwanted by Jay Stringer
- How to Hear God’s Voice (part 1)
If you’ve grown up in a controlling religion, you may have been taught that your intuition is bad. Your heart is deceitful. Your feelings cannot be trusted. Adding anxiety and OCD to the mix makes it extra confusing. Your feelings really can’t be trusted all the time. You feel like giving up in despair. Is it possible to gain an understanding of God’s will? Can you feel his Spirit guiding you in everyday life? Mark Thibodeaux, in his book, God’s Voice Within, believes that we can hear God’s voice speaking to us about our everyday decisions. He quotes Ignatius of Loyala, who did extensive research about how to tell the difference between God’s voice and the voice of the enemy—or our own anxious thoughts. Ignatius says, “The good angel touches the soul gently, lightly, sweetly, like a drop of water going into a sponge. The evil spirit touches it sharply with noise and disturbance, like a drop of water falling onto a stone.” Mark Thibodeaux summarizes Ignatius’s teaching like this. When I’m on the right path: o “I feel a little nervous, but deep down, I’m at peace o I don’t have all the answers, but I feel confident God will lead me step by step. Despite my lack of certainty, I feel I am walking in the light.” This sounds a lot like walking by your values… even if OCD is telling you something else. You don’t have to feel completely free from distress to move forward. Even if you don’t have certainty, you can trust God to lead you. Even if you feel tormented by OCD thoughts and doubts, you can head toward the light God is giving you. But what about those times when you’re in a downward spiral of doubt and anxiety? During those times, Ignatius comments that “often the person will do something—anything—to get out of this discomfort.” But Ignatius says that during those times, we need to continue on with our original plans—not making big changes or decisions. This sounds a lot like the concept of continuing in the direction you have decided with God, your therapist, and your trusted guide… even if your mind seems to be telling you to change course. What are some signs that the voices you are hearing are not from God? o “I feel fearful, anxious, or disquiet deep down o I am agitated and confused. I am fretful about the future. I’m groping in the dark. o I do not feel God’s presence. o I feel paralyzed. I feel tepid, bored, slothful, lazy. I feel unattracted to faith, hope, and love. o I am stirred to inaction or to action that severs ties and burns bridges with good things and people in my life. o I am moved to neglect healthy, well-established relationships and to neglect prayer, church, and healthy behaviors. I am attracted to bad influences in my life.” Doesn’t that sound a lot like the voice of OCD, anxiety, or controlling religion? If your deep disquiet, agitation, fretting, and moving away from good things in your life, this is not the voice of God guiding you. You can safely ignore it. Continue with the plans you made when you were thinking clearly. Stay true to your values.  Mark Thibodeaux, God’s Voice Within, 198 https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Voice-Within-Ignatian-Discover/dp/0829428615/  Mark Thibodeaux, God’s Voice Within, 69  Mark Thibodeaux, God’s Voice Within. 198
- My PGAD Story
When it comes to PGAD, many people suffer in silence. It's easy to find help for so many other conditions. A simple online search produces dozens of beautiful books and memoirs that explore eating disorders, OCD, suicidal thoughts, and other conditions. But when it comes to PGAD, there are very few PGAD stories or books available. I want to change that. My upcoming memoir will bring awareness to the stigma-filled and little-discussed condition of PGAD. It will also encourage people who suffer with OCD and the extra obsessions it brings to the world of sexuality. But my book is not just a medical recitation about PGAD. It paints a vivid picture of the pulsing rhythm of life itself... life outside and beyond the margins of our suffering. I portray not only the pain of PGAD, but the peace of finding purpose. I am not afraid to paint my own dark inner enemy and the ways I worked to overcome my own weaknesses and attachment wounds. I want to share my PGAD stories so that others can find support. One beta reader stated, “This book speaks truth and beauty. It was so powerful and I didn't want to put it down. It shows that there is hope to be found during the journey. Through the liberation at the end of the story, I felt liberated too. It gave me such a sense of peace. I felt seen.” There are many others around the world who need this message of encouragement. Join me in spreading the word! Please share, comment, subscribe, and support me! I want to launch my PGAD stories, website and book toward hundreds of silent sufferers around the nation and world.
- When Religion and Anxiety Collide, Will Your Faith Survive?
Welcome to my brand-new website, where I explore topics related to OCD, Religious Anxiety, and Faith. Perhaps, like me, you've been stuck for years in a dizzying cycle of religious anxiety. Your religious life rotates around a few specific rules, regulations, and fears. You have tunnel vision. Like me, you need to relax, open your eyes, and fight against the closed-mindedness of fear-based religion. If this sounds familiar, join me as we discover a New Way of Knowing. Or perhaps you’re here in hopes that you can rediscover faith. Perhaps your hope in God has been shattered by religious abuse, repeated rejection, and shattered dreams. In this series, I’ll be sharing posts on finding traces of God in your past, present, and future. Learn how to find clues about God in your pain... in your curiosity... in your assumptions... and even in your anger! If you struggle with OCD, you know that it makes everything more complicated. Letting go of certainty is difficult, but it’s not impossible. We'll explore the vast range of OCD themes, as well as helpful resources. You may also enjoy this series on a New Way of Knowing. Learn a new way of knowing that includes love, humility, patience, and even dance... instead of rigidity, fatalism, and bondage. I'd like to hear from YOU! Send me an email at email@example.com and answer one question: What's the most important thing you want to learn about OCD, religious anxiety, and faith? If you know someone who might enjoy our content, please share with your friends and family members.
- Memory Hoarding OCD
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist. Consult a local OCD therapist for diagnosis or treatment. I sat across from my therapist, furiously writing. I didn’t want to forget anything she said. When I got home, I copied every word into my diary, adding to my ever-growing collection of sermon notes, memories, and detailed records. By now I had teetering piles of diaries in my closet. I had over 50 pounds of tiny-print, double-sided pages--from just the last dozen years of my life. There was no way I had time to review and reread all that information. Memories started slipping away--even though I'd written them down. Desperate, I started several new documents and books filled with just the most important insights. I wanted to make sure I didn't lose anything. Memory hoarding OCD fears that you must save diary records, biographical memories, photos, or memorized memories of every event that happens to you. You fear that if you forget something, you might lose yourself. Instead of a way to recall the joyful events of your life, remembering becomes an overwhelming burden. My local therapist says that fear of forgetting someone or something is common in OCD. That’s what kept me up at night, panicking that I had forgotten someone important to me. I always wanted to show people that I didn’t forget the anniversaries of their loved ones’ death. I even remembered people from my past who seem to have forgotten all about me. I tell more about my roller coaster journey of losing, hoarding, and finding my identity in my upcoming memoir. "I wanted to say what a profound effect your story had on me. It was so powerful and I didn't want to put it down."--Sarah from Faith, Me, and OCD Subscribe for more updates about how to preorder your copy! Exposures for Memory Hoarding OCD Rebecca Bilerio says an exposure for memory hoarding might look like "putting yourself in situations that bring up the urge to savor the moment or capture it precisely and then not doing compulsions. This means not mentally replaying it, not taking photos/videos, not taking notes, etc." For me, exposures mean not printing my diaries at every urge. Letting it go a little longer. And realizing that nothing bad has happened! Remembering the Right Things We do need our memory. We do need to learn and grow from the insights, therapy sessions, and memories we encounter. Rebecca Bilerio says, “Learning to manage [memory-hoarding] OCD usually involves a series of moments where the brain starts to grasp the treatment concepts and then it slips away, over and over, until eventually it becomes integrated.” But the experiences that really stick in our minds and form our identity and our character and our future—those are the ones that really matter. Those are the ones we internalize and come back to, over and over--even if we don't write them down. For further study: See Rebecca Billerio-Riff, LMSW, “Remembering to Forget: OCD and Memory Hoarding” See also “Mental Hoarding OCD,” OCD and Anxiety Counseling See also Nathan Peterson, “Mental Hoarding OCD | I Have To Remember”