Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Normal behaviors or not?


For as long as I can remember I have been a moody person, I'm a red head and my whole family always joked about how I was the definition of a red head temper. But these past few years I have gained a few other weird, I guess you could call them habits or behaviors.
       I constantly have to clean, I have gotten a little better but it used to be I couldn't leave the house till I cleaned a certain amount (basically till I felt satisfied) i hate dust with a passion, if I can't see it it's fine but I hate when I get into a car and their dash is covered in dust. It can honestly ruin my whole day. Another behavior is things have to feel right to me, my husband will take his shoes off and I will move them in a area and or position that feels right to me. Any decor or appliances in our house are now in weird places because that's where I feel they should be. My husband will mess with me and move them and make me watch him put it in a different spot and it honestly causes my neck and shoulders to hurt.
       Im also horribly worried that something will happen to our son, he is 1 and if we watch a show or movie about a baby his age being hurt or taken I will have thoughts or nightmares about something bad happening to him. Sometimes it can bring me to tears and I will bring him in our room to sleep because I'm so sure something bad will happen.
     My anger is my worst problem though, i can flip out at the drop of a hat and will stay mad for days. It's honestly a rare occurance for me to be in a good mood for longer than an hour. Like I said, I have always been a grouchy sort of "hermit" my whole life and most people just learned to deal with it. But it's making my husband really unhappy and now it's starting to bother me as well.
   My family says these are just normal issues caused by stress but a few other people I know say I need to go get looked at. Are these issues really serious or is there an easy fix for them?


Thanks you for your excellent and heartfelt letter about, caring too much. There are a range of things you brought up and each of them needs a different reply.

There is nothing wrong with being neat and clean and mildly OCD, we just have to appreciate and tolerate living in a world that is not full of people like us.  We keep that under control being remembering the Serenity Prayer which encourages us to control what we can and accept what we cannot control.

My son is 26, and as much as I like violent films I still cannot watch films or shows about kids getting kidnapped or killed, so welcome to parenthood, and don't worry about that.  If you love your child you will never stop worrying over them, and that is OK, too.

Anger is a problem because it is sometimes therapeutically releasing of stress, but if you are angry all the time and constantly trying to decide to let it out or keep it under wraps and suffer the internal pressure that strains your neck and shoulder muscles, that is not a good thing.

That is what the second and most difficult part of that prayer is all about, accepting the things that we cannot control.  If we let everything bother us we will be running at a constant low boil.  If you only get upset about the things you can control then your "anger" will always be channeled into constructive action taking.  So striving to not get upset about things we cannot control is a good path.

Remember you do not have to be crazy to benefit from therapy.  Therapy is very helpful for learning to deal with stress, and God knows we all have that in abundance.  If you are a good person who cares a lot, feels a lot and tries very hard to do the right thing, you are not crazy but your personality and living in this world may be straining your nervous system, so think about doing something on a regular basis that relaxes you and takes your mind away from all the important stuff you wind yourself up over.

Best wishes,

Dr. Andrew Elmore  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.


30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

©2016 All rights reserved.