Russ Cole

Father, husband, OCD sufferer, and tech geek.

My OCD journey has made me find things to research that do not involve my condition. This has brought me to cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Now, full disclosure here, I was into crypto before but; I let it fall out of my radar for a long time. I am not an expert but I have had a great time looking into the technology and how Bitcoin works.

I talked to my wife about sending some of our extra money during the month to Bitcoin. She agreed to do it! I also asked my daughter if she wanted me to invest her birthday money in crypto as well. She also said yes! I was super excited by this!

So, my first step was to figure out how to purchase some Bitcoin. The easiest and cheapest way that I had found was to use the Cash App. It is very simple to use but, the only crypto you can purchase is Bitcoin. This could be a negative for some, but I preferred to only invest in one coin.

My research also led me to storage methods for the crypto that we all now held. Most Bitcoiners recommended a hardware wallet. I saw the big names first, Ledger and Trezor. Unfortunately, these two devices had some drawbacks that I could not look past. The Ledger just had two massive data breaches that leaked a ton of their customer’s data, including names, addresses and phone numbers! This freaked me out, crypto is currently the Wild West and I could see how this information could make people who hold Bitcoin extremely nervous. Trezor does not have a secure element, so you can supposedly extract your keys to your crypto with very minimal equipment.

These devices are the most popular wallets, but their drawbacks gave me second thoughts. This led me over to the ColdCard. This device is pure Bitcoin. It is completely air gapped, which is awesome. What I mean by this is it never needs to connect to an internet linked computer. When you send transactions, you pass a MicroSD card back and forth to complete the signing. I will be honest, it is a pain to pass the SD card back and forth, but the security implications are worth it. ColdCard is also coming out with a QR code based wallet in the future. This will eliminate the need to pass the SD card back and forth.

I am no financial professional, but I wanted to share my experience. Bitcoin has given me something to look forward to and research. It has taken my mind off of the negativity of OCD. Plus, I feel good putting my money into something decentralized and immune from policy changes that your typical government controlled paper currencies have.

I am not a social networking kind of person. I do, however, find Twitter to be an excellent place to network with fellow OCD sufferers. It has given me a sense of community when I felt all alone. It is actually quite fun to share your OCD stories with each other. The OCD memes on Twitter are hilarious!

That brings me to my next point. Take some time to laugh, even if it is at your condition. I do it all the time. If a harm thought pops in, instead of ruminating, I look at how ridiculous it is. It makes me laugh out loud frequently.

On one of my previous posts, I talked about support systems. I think that definitely applies here. Twitter can definitely be a place to communicate with your fellow OCD sufferers. It is possible to have yourself a support group entirely online. Of course, I wish I didn’t have OCD but; it feels great to be a part of such a tight-knit and supportive community.

I am glad to have technology such as Twitter at my fingertips.

#OCD

I haven’t been blogging for all that long, but once I took it seriously, I knew it was time to get a true writing app. I went through quite a few of them; I was using the stock Wordpress app, I then tried Standard Notes, Ulysses, and now I am onto iA Writer.

Aside from iA Writer, I thought Ulysses was the best. The interface is awesome; it is good to focus on your task at hand, and it helps me take my writing seriously. I was pretty much dead set on using it until I realized it is subscription based. This always makes me feel like I never truly own the product. I hope that they reconsider this in the future.

iA Writer is pretty similar to Ulysses in the interface department. The focus mode is amazing on my MacBook. What you are working on fills the screen and helps eliminate distractions. Another perk is that it publishes directly to Wordpress which is excellent. Ulysses does this as well, but it has a subscription. The big reason I am choosing iA Writer is because it is a onetime purchase. It is $29.99 per device; I had to spend $60 to get my iPhone and MacBook on the app. Ulysses is $49.99 a year. I plan on blogging for longer than a year so the iA Writer purchase is worth it.

I wanted to get my experience out there for all the bloggers that do not have an app they use for their writings. I have found both Ulysses and iA Writer to be great apps, but the monetization scheme of the latter gives iA the edge.

Good riddance 2020, I am glad you are gone! Hopefully, 2021 will be much better. I have enjoyed working from home but; I am kind of sick of the COVID life.

To my OCD family, if you have not sought treatment, make 2021 the year you do. ERP is excellent and effective. Do yourself a favor and tolerate the pain, it is only temporary. What have you got to lose? If it doesn’t work, you are making your stress tolerance higher. If it does work, you are looking at breaking the chains of OCD. Make treatment your resolution and keep your promise.

My resolution this year is going to be to write more. Writing this blog has been therapeutic. I want to do it daily because it has benefitted me greatly. I hope you all continue to enjoy what I write and keep coming back.

Anyway, have a glorious New Year! Enjoy your life, spend time with your family (within reason because, you know, COVID), and live in the moment. Try not to get caught up in your intrusive thoughts, they are just noise.

Take care,

Russ Cole

A big challenge that I continue to face is my OCD rapidly changing themes. As soon as my Harm OCD would go away, I would switch to POCD or HOCD. This sucked big time, but let me tell you, ERP is like chemo. ERP attacks the OCD cancer at its core.

When I started to figure out my harm related thoughts were OCD, I went on a research rampage. I looked up everything related to OCD. This led me down a path of seeing other OCD themes.

These other themes were extremely triggering. I saw POCD, then I went to my daughters day care for a Halloween party. All the kids running around in their costumes got me questioning whether or not I could be a pedophile. I felt awful with myself. I have my own child. How could I worry about something like this. I constantly questioned how I felt. I was on guard all the time, did I have a groinal response? Am I attracted to kids?

Then came more research relating to my new theme. It led me to questioning my sexuality. Was I gay? Am I attracted to that guy in the movie we just watched? I am not against gay people, but this is not who I am. What would be the consequences if I did happen to be gay? Would I have to leave my wife and child? These thoughts horrified me and kept me awake at night.

Eventually, I had enough. I went to actual, good quality OCD therapy. This was a life changer, and like I said, it attacked my OCD as a whole. I felt like I was chipping away at the fortress that OCD had built in my mind.

Stay positive with yourself. Even if your OCD has morphed into many different themes. Therapy can help you with all of these. ERP gives you the tools to fight it all, and succeed.

#OCD

I was hospitalized for my OCD in 2019, and I distinctly remember creating a crisis plan. This plan included naming my support group. I named three people, my mom and dad, and my wife. They all were with me through the thick of it, and I felt comfortable adding them to my list of people that I could rely on.

Even if you have never been hospitalized, try and put together a support system for yourself. I have found it invaluable to have a few people who know my condition and what it entails. This is sensitive stuff because of the themes of my OCD. Most people don’t understand that there are themes associated with OCD. They just see it as a “quirk”.

Keeping these few people around can help you when your OCD starts letting itself out of its cage. Giving someone a call or text can snap you out of a cycle. I am blessed to have an understanding family who understands my illness. At the beginning of my OCD journey, I had lost the will to live, but my support system kept me going. They kept me going to therapy, even when it felt like it was making it worse. They helped me financially because therapy was not covered under insurance.

I know some people don’t have the luxury of having close family and friends that are willing to help. An online resource that I used heavily was Reddit. The OCD Reddit was great to browse to see how others were doing. However, I wished I would have built up the courage to introduce myself. Another avenue was Twitter. Twitter is awesome, and there are a ton of like minded OCD sufferers that would be glad to talk to you. I started this blog to act as a form of a support group. I wanted to show that OCD is more common and more treatable than people think. You are not lost, and you can get better. You just have to be willing to put in the effort.

One tip about support systems, though, try not to ask anyone for reassurance. All this does is feeds your OCD and confirms to your brain that it is correct in assessing your intrusive thoughts as a threat.

I’m a little late on this, but I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

#OCD

OCD has been a struggle for me for the past year. There were moments that I felt like giving up, and there were moments of triumph. I wish OCD upon no one, but one thing it helped me do was quit alcohol and caffeine.

I never was a big drinker, but when I did drink, I ended up over consuming. I would get depressed and down on myself as a result. I wasn’t always this way, but right before my OCD revealed itself, it had gotten out of control.

Alcohol was not my only crutch. I was also addicted to caffeine. I would have 4-5 cups of coffee before 2:00 pm. This was a contributing factor to my panic attacks and extreme anxiety. As a result of this anxiety, out came OCD.

Going to the hospital 3 times after starting a new job was my wake up call to quit caffeine and alcohol. These substances were a mask that was covering the real issues. My General Practitioner put me on Zoloft, and I knew the time of using these substances was over.

Over the past year or so, I have switched over to non-alcoholic beer. It has been a wonderful transition. I don’t worry about hangovers anymore, and my mind is always clear. I switched from coffee to a mushroom alternative called MUD/WTR, and it has been great. I am energized without being jittery.

I look at my OCD and feel like it has helped me in certain ways. I am thankful for what I have, and I am taking much better care of myself as a result.

#OCD

I am writing this post while sitting at a huge water park. This experience is very triggering. In my introductory post on this platform, I stated which types of OCD I had and one of them is POCD. This is where you are afraid that you could be a pedophile. More info about this condition is located here: https://www.madeofmillions.com/ocd/pedophilia-ocd

Needless to say, being at a water park like this is a tough endeavor. There are kids everywhere and all this does is increase the frequency of my intrusive thoughts. This really does suck, but instead of letting this fill me full of guilt or shame, I am going to use this as an ERP tool.

My previous therapist would have told me to purposefully think the thoughts and then you will habituate yourself to them and you’ll be fine with thinking these terrible things. I thought this was crazy. It turns out I was right. My current therapist told me that I will never be OK with these thoughts. I am not meant to be OK with them either and going about my OCD this way was causing more harm than good.

Her methods focused solely on my reaction to these thoughts. She said that having these thoughts is perfectly OK and even normal. She said what you do after is the important stuff. Normally what I did was analyze them. I would tell myself that I would never do that, or that I am a good person. Essentially, I was ruminating. All this does is tell your brain that there is something to be afraid of. It’s letting your brain know that its fear of the thoughts is valid. This is what keeps these thoughts around. It is an awful cycle that, unless you train yourself, feels like it will never end.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell you that you should utilize every tool available. I am on vacation, but I am still working at my OCD, and that is perfectly fine. I would much rather it be this way than what I was like before.

Take the first step and find yourself a competent OCD therapist. There is no reason to live in misery. You will wonder why you didn’t start to work on yourself earlier. You can do this!

#OCD

So, I just purchased a new MacBook Pro from Apple and I must say, WOW! This laptop has the new M1 chip and I seriously cannot believe how fast this machine is. I don't know all of the terms and stuff for talking about computers but I can tell you from experience, that this thing is on a whole new level.

I took it out of the box and this being my first MacBook, I was astounded by the build quality. This thing looks and feels incredible. It has some heft to it, and the all aluminum body just feels like a solid piece of equipment. I always heard and read about the “Apple Tax” but I am not seeing it here. Comparable laptops are going for around the same price for the same specs. The thing is though, the other laptops have old chips in them.

I have been taxing this machine with my standard workflow. Nothing extravagant but, enough to crank the fan up on my Windows laptop. This MacBook has not broken a sweat. I haven't heard the fan kick on at all. It has stayed cool to the touch. Don't get me started on the battery life either. It is mind bogglingly good!

OK, I will stop gushing about this thing. One negative that I have found, it is a pretty big one, is there is a lack of dual monitor support. Technically these first generation M1 MacBooks, including the Air, only support one external display. That is a major bummer as I have a setup for my work from home office that has dual monitors.

I did do a bit of research to see if there was some kind of work around for this limit. Interestingly enough, there was! All you need to do is purchase a DisplayLink compatible docking station. Once you have this and your monitors plugged into it, you need to download the drivers from the DisplayLink website and that is it! You are off and running with your dual monitors. There are some caveats to this setup though. I haven't tried it, but I don't believe you can use your Apple Watch to unlock your device while it is running, the MacBook sees this as screen recording. Not really sure why that would be a hold up for Apple Watch unlock support. You would think that the less typing of your password the better, especially if the screen is being “recorded”. This is a negative for me because I wished it had out of the box support for more than one external display. Plus, this is an additional cost to anyone who expects their laptop to support multiple monitors.

Anyway, I highly recommend this laptop for anyone who is in the market for a mobile workstation. Unless you are tied to Windows for some reason, this is the laptop to get. The performance and battery life have no match for this price range. This thing is beating out fully loaded Intel MacBooks on some benchmarks.

#tech

II have been blessed to have a job during this rough time of a pandemic. I have been teleworking for around 8 or 9 months and there is no end in sight. I enjoy teleworking slightly, but it is tough sometimes. I miss seeing my coworkers, and I miss having lunch with them and making trips to the coffeepot.

One day we all will get back to normal and our kids will go back to school, we will see family, and we can make trips to concerts or see our families during the holidays. My family attends a hockey game once or twice a year, but that is not in the cards for a while. We were planning to take my daughter to her first sporting event, but COVID has ruined those plans.

I notice myself in OCD mode a bit more than normal while teleworking. If I was in person at work, I would go talk to someone to help stop an OCD cycle. It is much harder to break the cycle now that I am home alone. We use conference software to stay in touch, but it isn’t the same.

I hope you all are doing well and are overcoming these tough circumstances. Vaccines are on the horizon, and COVID will be a distant memory soon. We will get through this and be stronger when we rise on the other side!

#OCD

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