Reflections: Day 70 | 100 Days

John discusses his mental health, OCD, and relationship with meditation by introducing you to how his brain sometimes works.

Some resources:
8 Minute Meditation Expanded by Victor Davich:

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36 thoughts on “Reflections: Day 70 | 100 Days

  1. I started crying watching this. Some of it was a sadness, a sadness for John because I understand what he's talking about, and a sadness for me for the same reason. But my tears were also happy because this is a beautiful reminder that someone understands, that I'm not alone, that the disgusting things I think are not my thoughts.

  2. Have had OCD since I was like 14, but at 18 I did a 4 day therapy thing where my brain got the tools I needed to fight it on my own. So I learned how to do exposure therapy on my own. Today my OCD is at 5%, but I still have to fight it every day. Now I have a physical disability as well, and I'm so happy I fought my OCD like I did before this. Being a Spoonie with OCD ain't great. I love videos like these because I feel like they explain it better than I can, so I can show them to friends and family that just don't get it.

  3. oh my goodness. I get those awful intrusive thoughts that don't go away from days on end. they're not severe enough to leave me shaking and screaming (I'm not an expressive person really) but they often interrupt my daily schedule. sometimes I can't eat, can't speak or can't leave my bed because of one, previously fleeting thought.

    They usually leave after 4 days, and they either return within the next two weeks or a new one replaces them. I can usually control done aspects of this by writing creatively about these thoughts, and using them add a prompt( e.g writing about a guy who is suspicious about his food being poisoned)— for a while I thought about them as prompts or ideas that won't leave me alone.

    An example was this one time I saw an image about people forcing enemas on autistic children to cure them, I was heartbroken, and disgusted but the image would not leave me alone. for nearly a week and even now that simple thought can still stop me from eating a meal. Is this OCD, should I seek help or just forget about it?

  4. Dear John, Thank you. Thank you for your bravery and openness to discuss your personal struggle with this. It was you putting words to feelings that allowed me to understand my own issues with "thought spirals". After years of therapy I was able to show your video to my counselor to help her understand my feelings. Upon hearing you explain this issue she has become better equipped to help me in my struggle. It is because of this that am now in the best place that I have been in my mental health journey in ten years. Thank you.

  5. Ugh, OCD is the worst. From one sufferer to another. It's also frustrating that most people have no idea what the hell it even is because it's so poorly represented in the media and in popular culture.

    P.S. – I've found that the book "Brain Lock" by Jeffrey Schwartz to be profoundly helpful for managing obsessions and compulsions. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants some practical methods to tackle their OCD.

  6. What an intimate sharing of your inner world! I was piqued by your experiences with meditation, and I hope it's not too presumptuous but as a Buddhist monk I thought it might help to have a wider scope of the varieties of meditation, so I put up this video with insights from the Dalai Lama:

  7. John, thank you so much for sharing this. Your explanation of intrusive thoughts is so well-put and describes just what it feels like when my brain won't stop thinking things I don't want it to. I never knew you had OCD until today and it makes me feel so much better to hear you talk about it so openly and honestly! It's things like this that remind me I'm not the only one facing my struggles.

  8. Thank you for sharing this with us. As a fellow mental illness sufferer, we're not brave for having our illnesses, but we're brave when we open up about them, and we help others to be brave, too. <3

  9. Calling them intrusive thoughts might already be helpful for me, because that distances them from what I am and what is imposed on me by bad experiences and what is basically a brain malfunction.

  10. yes like when you go for a walk and say good bye but then you say unless you get hit by a car or shot or killed… i think this is anxiety. i thought ocd was when you obsessivly clean

  11. As far as I'm aware, I don't have OCD (I have social anxiety and generalized anxiety and I'm pretty sure some brand of panic disorder) but this sounds so much like my brain it hurts a little. Thank you for sharing, John. I feel a little less alone.

  12. It wasn't until you first mentioned these thought spirals on the podcast that I realized a lot of the things that go on in my brain are not, for lack of a better word, normal. It was that, and the other times you have been kind and open enough to share your experiences, that have helped me gain some perspective and find ways to help myself, and I can't thank you enough.

  13. thank you John for sharing how meditation doesn't work for you all the time. I experienced exactly the same thing and because of that it created a new thought spiral that maybe I wasn't doing it right. then I would be forever doomed. I'm really happy to know I haven't been the only person to have this happen. ironically I also have found a lot of relief from my intrusive thoughts through exercise. though even that doesn't always work. thank you again John. what you shared has helped me feel a little more acceptably human.

  14. Had no idea you have OCD. Very nice of you to share about it. I made a video about how people confuse OCD with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. The colloquial use of "OCD" more closely aligns with OCPD.

  15. I would add that there are many kinds of meditations. I have always had problems with "clearing your mind" or "empty mind" types. Even trying to only breathe and think only of breathing, I can't do very long. Then I found "guided meditations" where you listen to someone talking you through a visualization exercise. Whether it's an imaginary walk in the woods, or focused tensing and releasing of muscle groups, or some other visualization; I can focus and concentrate much better and get the benefits of "quiet meditation". This kind may help those with more hyper natural thinking patterns, whether intrusive thoughts from OCD or Anxiety, ADD issues, or other concentration problems. And for those who can't physically exercise, other Mindfulness activities can do the same thing. You won't burn the calories, but the benefits from the focus and distraction of exercising are similar.

  16. I don't like the idea of the type of meditation where you think about nothing, for that reason, but the type where you think deeply about something positive…. couldn't that hypothetically be practiced in order to be utilized more easily during the intrusive thought cycle?

  17. I find this really reassuring honestly. I struggle with my own demons, as do we all, and it can be very helpful to listen to how others are fighting theirs. Its almost like we are all just stupid monkeys clinging to a tiny blue rock hurtling through space, were never designed to cope with the stress of consciousness at all, and are all just making the best of it anyway. But hey, that could just be an intrusive thought.

  18. One of my favorite things about your videos, John- no matter the channel- is your acknowledgement of moderation and variety within people. Exercise won't work for everyone, and it may not work alone (ie you are still taking medication), but it's important to consider all factors. There has been some debate about the "get outside" theory when it comes to mental health- I've seen arguments that it's minimizing mental illness to say that just being in nature can help someone's mental state. But there are studies that back this up, and while I have never been diagnosed with any mental illness it makes a huge difference for myself and others I know (some of whom have been formally diagnosed). It's not for everyone, and it may not be enough by itself, but it can help. So thank you for always (or at least usually) looking at things as pieces of a puzzle rather than pushing any one thing as a cure-all. That attitude is missing in America right now, and it's refreshing to see it in any context.

  19. THANK YOU, for sharing your experiences. I don't feel as alone in this – those damn intrusive thoughts suuuuck. Honesty about vulnerable things always, always helps other, so thank you for being one of the courageous ones.

    My OCD tale is odd, because I just developed the symptoms last year. I've been dealing with Bipolar Disorder since I was 13, and I'm now 45. It's been a "Are you fucking kidding me??" journey, to say the least. I asked my psychiatrist "Uh…does this happen to people often, where they develop a whole new disorder much later than the original one?" She said "Not often, but it definitely happens"

    It's given me a lot of empathy for y'all that have dealt with this your whole lives. You're rock stars, for walking through life with an OCD lens.

    I was fascinated to learn that OCD starts in a totally different part of the brain than depression, bipolar and anxiety. It's a stuck circuit, which then leads to anxiety, because it has trouble unsticking. Here's the link to the video where I learned this, if anyone's interested:

    I'm just beginning my journey of learning coping skills for this, so I really appreciate the links. Medication has been tricky, because of interactions with the other meds I take. So, coping skills seem to be the key. Mindfulness helps, especially practicing self-compassion. I also don't exercise, at all, so I'm wondering if even short walks would help (lol, probably). Luckily, a lot of skills they teach in therapy overlap, like DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), so I've got a base to work from.

    Actually, I think the whole world would benefit from DBT, lol.

    Again, thank you John, for your honesty, for sharing what happens in your head, and for sharing what's helping you. I definitely needed your experience on this.

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