Letting Go

I have been having a bad month of anxiety & OCD, I feel like I have completely relapsed and the intrusive thoughts have become so intense that I am back to square one. My intrusive thoughts have caused me so much grief and sadness that all my tools I have learned have somehow slipped my consciousness and I have been in the belly of the beast.

At times I feel in control, and other times I feel completely overwhelmed by anxiety and worry. I thought to myself if this continues I don’t think I can function properly, and the urge to want to just stay in my room indefinitely provides me with comfort. As if quarantining myself would somehow lead to me being free of anxiety.

I forgot that I have dealt with this monster many time before, and the idea of  a quick fix or a “cure” just does not exist. I forgot that in order for this to become easier and better I have to force myself to face it head on and push myself through hard work. I forget that I now have to incorporate this into everyday life, it has to become a lifestyle change. Just like going to the gym is hard work, I have to exercise my mind and implement all my tools that I have learned.

The thoughts become so loud, that it can become self consuming the key is to not have any judgment NO MATTER how intense and unpleasant the thoughts may be. It is the balance between accepting the discomfort and loving the self that will ultimately free the grip of anxiety.

Anxiety exists regardless if it is invited in, and my fundamental flaw in my current approach is that I have re-entered the cycle of wishing and praying that my anxiety could just vanish. The notion of that is counterintuitive to my growth, because it assumes anxiety is capable of vanishing everyone has anxiety it is part of being a human being. The sooner I accept that as truth the less power anxiety has. The sooner I embrace anxiety, and stop going to war with myself the sooner I can feel a beautiful inner balance.

Discipline is so important when dealing with anxiety, the discipline to know that it is just anxiety, and the discipline to proactively use tools such as meditation, journals, mindfulness etc. will ultimately create an automatic thought response to counteract anxiety.

Going back to the example of the gym, at the beginning the idea of going to the gym can be so daunting,  especially if you have not gone in years.  The first few weeks seem excruciating, and many people quit never to come back because of the intensity and emotional obstacles they face. But if you stick through it eventually you’ve created a habit and your routine automatically incorporates going to the gym as a natural part of your day. You also start to feel better, enjoy it and even desire to go. This is the same idea for anxiety, the beginning will be so much work, and extremely uncomfortable and intense but eventually it will become an automatic part of your natural life.  A big lesson I learned is during good times I have to keep putting the effort in, just because I feel amazing does not mean I can just revert back to not working hard, that was my downfall this time and I have now been able to catch it. It is easy to slip back into old ways of thinking especially when things have settled down. The motivation for change decreases as the intensity of suffering decreases.

Consistently working on being present and mindful will create a beautiful inner happiness that glows and circulates throughout the entire body. The simple yet complicated practice of letting go…without fear or ruminating.






Amazing OCD Podcast!

I came across a beautiful couple Julie and Andy, who both dedicate time out of their life to host a podcast around OCD and Anxiety. This has been a wonderful resource for many people, and makes you realize that other people are also going through what you are. The stories of the guests will leave you inspired and encouraged. I really love their podcasts, not only do they interview people who personally are suffering with anxiety, but they speak with professionals and loved ones of sufferers giving a broader understanding of the disorder.

The link to the podcast is:



Video Journal


I suffer with anxiety and to elaborate more I suffer with OCD. In my previous blogs I speak about what OCD is, how it impacts someone, and what tools may help to combat the crippling anxiety. This week has been a tough week for me, I was experiencing a big spike in my anxiety, once the anxiety passed after a few days I was able to recalibrate and ground myself again. In this moment I wanted to create a reference point for myself for when my anxiety spikes again. I thought about how I was going to capture my ideas, and really communicate to myself in a rational way. I decided I was going to make a private video journal, in this video I would speak to my future self. I found this extremely effective because now I have a moment in time where I can refer back to and guide myself through my anxiety. Seeing myself so grounded and resilient to anxiety is truly empowering and has snapped me out of anxiously thinking. In the video I talk about my past few days of being suffocated by anxiety, I then move on to explain why it is so important to just accept the thoughts for what they are and not allow myself to label or “argue” with my anxiety. I go on to say how important it is to realize that I will never know anything with complete certainty, I wont even know what will happen 5 minutes from now. This was important for me to capture because a huge aspect of anxiety is the “what if” this happens and constantly wanting 100% certainty that it will not happen. Once that certainty is achieved at a level that my anxiety is content, it moves on to another subject matter and there in lies the vicious cycle of anxiety and obsessively wanting to achieve reassurance. In the video journal I remind myself of all the tools I have to tackle my anxiety, and I also address what anxiety is and why I am actually the one in the drivers seat not my anxiety. When anxiety takes over essentially “I” as the driver become the passenger, and it becomes very difficult to reassume the position of driver in these moments. I would highly recommend creating a video journal as a guide to help during times of anxiety provoking situations. It not only helps with combating anxiety, but it also is a great catalogue of showcasing personal growth.

Great Article about Mindfulness!

I wanted to share a great article and initiative by students of a Pittsburg university!

Students get their zen on at mindfulness fair

Will Miller | Senior Staff Illustrator

Andrew O’Brien / Staff Writer
March 27, 2017

Following the instructor’s lead Saturday, a group of students on yoga mats on the second floor of the University Club breathed deeply as they assumed happy baby and downward facing dog poses in unison.

The assembled yogis transitioned into tree pose, poised with one foot rooted on the ground and the other flat against the side of their straightened legs, hands pressed together in a prayer pose, arms stretched as high above their heads as they could go. Yoga — a spiritual and physical practice that originated in India — can strengthen the connection between mind and body by encouraging mental awareness, practitioners said Saturday.
The yoga exercises were just one part of Pitt’s Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies’ second annual Mindfulness Fair Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University Club building.

About 400 Pitt students and community members attended the event, which offered talks, family-friendly mindfulness activities including sculpting lotus flower tealight holders, yoga and tai-chi demonstrations as well as free food and various informational tables. The fair also included meditation lessons, a mindful eating workshop and a panel discussion between parents about how to teach children to be mindful.

David Givens, a Ph.D. candidate in Pitt’s department of religious studies and the associate director and co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies, sat behind one of the informational tables distributing information about the CMCS.

Given the increasing proximity of finals week at Pitt, it’s a good time for students to learn to exhale.

According to the American Psychology Association, meditation is the most well-established form of mindfulness. A novice meditator might sit for just five minutes a day, eyes closed and focus their full attention on breathing in and out.

Concentrating on the simple, natural process of inhaling and exhaling diverts attention away from anxious thoughts and depressive rumination. It should come as no surprise that mindfulness and meditation can help those with mental illnesses.
“People find mindfulness personally and practically fulfilling,” Givens said. “A lot of evidence and reports indicate that practicing mindfulness helps reduce stress and helps boost energy levels, focus and concentration.”

A 2011 study from Duke University found that mindfulness “increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity and improved behavioral regulation.”

Mindfulness is all about living in the moment. Practitioners focus all their attention on their immediate surroundings, allowing errant thoughts to drift in and out of their brainspace.

Though mindfulness can be useful for anyone, from any background, it is a key part of religions worldwide. People seated at tables throughout the room distributed brochures about more well-known religions, such as Buddhism, and less common faiths, such as Eckankar — a new-age religion that emphasizes personal spiritual experiences as a way to get closer to God.

Mary Diodati from O’Hara Township has been practicing Eckanar for 42 years. She came to the fair to learn about other spiritual groups.

“Mindfulness brings out individuality,” Diodati said. “It brings people in touch with who they are, and shifts their focus away from trying to control other people.”

While Diodati and many others turn to mindfulness for spiritual fulfillment, some, like Pitt senior mechanical engineering major Sean McCarthy, place a higher value on the emotional benefits of practicing mindfulness.

McCarthy meditates for 20 minutes a day, and said it allows him to better understand and react to his feelings.

“I’ve reached profound moments through meditation,” McCarthy said. “You can get to the point where you’re not just being pulled around by your emotions, you’re making a choice how you react to something.”

In one of the fair’s featured talks, “The Science of Overcoming and Mastering Mental Illness via Mindfulness,” Pittsburgh-based ADHD coach Tom Menditto explained that practicing mindfulness can help treat conditions like depression and attention deficit disorder.

Engaging with his audience and all but ignoring his PowerPoint, Menditto shared stories of his personal experiences with mental illness.

“I’ve gone through this myself,” Menditto said. “I know what it’s like to suffer through depression and anxiety … when I wanted to kill myself, learning to love who I was was what brought me out if it.”

He described deep insecurity, anxiety, depression and suicidal urges he faced earlier in life, but said he’s reached a point of self-contentment through his practice. He encouraged others to embrace the parts of themselves that make them different.

“You are not who society tells you you are,” Menditto said. “Stop trying to be like other people. You were born a certain way. Be that way.”



I wanted to share a beautiful piece my younger sister wrote. She too has struggled with anxiety, and this year in particular has been extremely challenging for her, as she tried to navigate life after high school. At the age of only 18 we are somehow supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our life, and what path we must take to get there…please enjoy my sisters beautiful words.
By Gabrielle:
This is something I’m writing on the spot, as these words flow through my head, it might not make sense or mean anything and jump from one point to the other but I hope you enjoy it
I took a year off this year, I took a year off and I learnt so much about myself, in more ways than I could have ever imagined- lots people frown upon gap years and such behaviour, but as a “honour student”, “valedictorian”, “leadership activist” if those prestigious, meaningless labels even meant something than I probably wouldn’t be writing this; People seem so perfect and posh, life is complicated and why can’t it be? I needed time to figure out my life… because the truth that so very few of us will admit is that we have no idea what we are doing in our life, we have no clue what we want from this strange world! And we are so afraid of being “wrong” and being imperfect that we place so much pressure on ourselves to become this person so far from who we truly are… that we don’t even recognize ourselves. We live each day with these constant expectations, this checklist that we must succumb to, these obligations, this “perfect life” when in reality we are all walking around dealing with life as it comes, because the truth is life is hard- we are dealing with our own problems, our own battles and making decisions that determine our “future”, and I say that in quotations because our future is yet to be determined- when I was in Australia one practice I hold so dear to my heart is this idea that you only have right this second, you can’t control yesterday or what is to come! You can plan the shit out of your life and make this agenda of your daily life events, but I can promise you life is unpredictable! Go back to a two weeks ago, when you were stressed about that thing you never thought you would ever make it through… now fast forward to the present, isn’t it amazing that you survived! Haha, you as a human being are an incredible species and all I have wanted is to inspire and motivate individuals to be happy, but you can’t teach people how to be happy it’s a skill someone must learn on their own! My dad always use to say to me, “your face looks ugly when you’re sad” and I use to get deeply offended, but as I have grown and matured I realized wow that is so true, it feels so good to smile and to laugh! When has laughing after been a painful experience? When you feel good, you look good! when you embrace the very essence of who you’re as a person you are more in control of yourself and your life! And I have noticed that by being okay with the unknown and living so freely in the moment without this perfect picture of my life ahead, sure I have goals as do we all, but Im not this perfect person, I am weird and ridiculously passionate, and extroverted and talkative but i love who I am because these are the things that make me who I am… I share pieces of my story with you all in hopes that you’ll feel inspired- deep down I think we all have a vocation, a passion that bubbles in our blood- a light that exudes off  of our skin, so powerful that being without it is truly like attempting to breathe without air… it’s impossible. I think that if we turn our backs on what we truly want in life and our dreams we are already setting our selves up for failure, a life fulfilled by materialism an a vicious cyclic void of deep pitted emptiness.
I think, in the little wisdom that I have gathered in my 18 years of life I have come to find that happiness is an essential part of of life- and I truly think happiness is extremely maintainable and attainable,
Being happy isn’t as complicated as people make it sound- it’s actually quite simple, when you do things you love you’re naturally a happier person, when you do things you don’t enjoy you’re unhappy-
People tell me, but Gabby, You don’t understand its a lot more complicated than that, I have no motivation to be happy-
These people are the type of people who are so afraid of their mind, and allow their thoughts to manifest and take over who they are as a person that they become so incapable of producing happy thoughts, because their mind has so much power over them- “gabby, you spam so much on istagram and write so many pointless things that no one reads”, instead of getting upset and sad and living in this vicious victim state I say I don’t  care tiny voice in my head because I love sharing my thoughts on life, I don’t care if people take something or absolutely nothing from  it because I wanted to write this
Another thing is reminding yourself to be motivated and ambitious, your motivation could be small things, the great little things that you enjoy or look forward to everyday! Like for me I love watching the sunset, or just looking at the sky…  when your allow yourself to feel good and take it in your body thanks you for that 🙂 it’s not a coincidence that we get sick when we are stressed… when it comes to life doing the things that make you happy, choosing a career path (even if it seems extremely impossible to do what you love- SO?? If you don’t who will?!) that makes you feel excited and brings joy to you is important for your own wellbeing!
I can’t stress how many times I have seen people forget that each day is a blessing- when I say people are facing their own battles each day it’s true… I have been blessed with an opportunity that allowed me to view life in a way of greatness and opportunity, rather than “what the world owes me”… I constantly would sit around waiting for signs and something to guide me in the direction I’m suppose to be in! Because I wished so badly to have some sort of control over my life and answers! Have a sense of direction- but when I started to be faced with certain challenges in my life I started to realize holy hell, life is a blessing and I’m grateful for even existing, I’m grateful to be able to travel, and see the world and to have my family and friends and to educate myself and stay humble and have the opportunity to take the steps towards fulfilling my dreams and reaching my goals…
I believe in empowerment and that humans can inspire each other in thousands of different ways and I truly believe that we are so capable of anything in this world- taking a year off was the best decision I have made in my life, and I am proud of the person I have become as I transition through the various phases of my life; through this all I was afraid, felt useless and allowed the fear within me to take over, but I persevered and created myself this year, built my life and have continued to throw bricks on my back to build the roof over my head. I have embraced who I am, and I accept who I am in my story and I have learnt to love and forgive and show sympathy and empathy for those around me. I have learnt not to judge- for I don’t know other people stories and their experiences, and I’m not entitled to attempt to understand who they are… people are complicated, life is complicated and we are all just finding our way day by day.
If you take anything from this, I hope it is this:
I hope you remind yourself that you’re an amazing person, whether you don’t agree with it, we all make mistakes, we are all weird and emotional and have flaws and are different but we have our own deep rooted aspirations and if you don’t go after that- for your self no one will for you!
Do what you love and inspire those Around you, life is meant to be lived ❤

Camila Cabello opens up about OCD

Great article on Camila Cabello’s struggle with OCD! So brace of her to share….
03/14/2017 01:37 pm ET
Camila Cabello Opens Up About Coping With OCD
“I totally understand now, being in it, why there shouldn’t be such a stigma on mental illness.”
By Carolina Moreno
Camila Cabello made headlines last fall after leaving a Fifth Harmony concert mid-set due to “too much anxiety.”

The 20-year-old singer had been vocal about her struggles with anxiety well before the incident, which came just months ahead of her decision to leave the girl group. The now solo artist recently opened up about coping with her OCD for Latina magazine’s April issue.

“Late 2015 and the beginning of 2016. I had terrible OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder], and it was just totally out of control,” Cabello told the magazine. “I would wake up with a super-accelerated heartbeat and really negative, intrusive, compulsive thoughts. I was so inside my head, and I didn’t know what was happening.”

Cabello says the experience dealing with her OCD has taught her about the importance of self-care and giving mental illness more visibility.

“I totally understand now, being in it, why there shouldn’t be such a stigma on mental illness, because it’s a pretty common thing for people,” the singer said. “But you can get help. If you’re dedicated to making it better, you can — because I’m in a much better place now. I started reading books about it and it really helped a lot when I understood [the illness], and that [the thoughts I was having] weren’t real. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to slow down and take care of yourself.”
The singer is not shying away from discussing her OCD.
The Cuban-born star described her bouts of anxiety to Billboard in May 2016.

“I was having terrible anxiety, nonstop,” she said. “My heart would beat really fast the whole day. Two hours after I woke up, I’d need a nap because my body was so hyperactive. It was so eff ― sorry, but it was so f**ked up. I was scared of what would happen to me, of the things my brain might tell me. I realized the stuff I thought was important isn’t worth my health.”

In the feature for Latina magazine, the singer credited her mother for helping her through it all. She also touched on why she decided to leave Fifth Harmony.

13 Things People With OCD Want You To Know!


By Lindsay Holmes

No, you’re not “so OCD” if you want a clean house.