Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Need to Get Help for OCD

DEAR HARRIETTE: I never thought I would be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other psychological issues. I was speaking with my psychiatrist the other week, and we were talking about some of the bizarre thoughts I have and the even weirder behaviors that follow those thoughts. We reached the conclusion that I have mild OCD when it comes to having bad thoughts that something might happen to my family, and if I did not knock on my head, those things would come true. I have been living my life completely normally, knocking on my head, and not thinking anything of it. My doctor thinks it’s something I should look into, but I think if my ritualistic behavior does not affect anyone but me, why go get it fixed? I have gotten many mixed opinions about what I should do, and was wondering what your advice might be. -- Knock Knock Knock, Little Rock, Arkansas

DEAR KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK: I want to start by pointing out that you acknowledge that you have a psychiatrist, which suggests that you felt the need to seek professional support. You should take that support seriously and follow whatever regimen you are given for an agreed-upon finite period of time to see if it helps you to lose some of your concerning behavior. You are describing your thoughts and behavior as “bizarre” and “weird.” Why not find out if those “bizarre” and “weird” things go away with treatment?

By the way, you should consider yourself to be the most important person in this scenario. Imagine how relieved you can be if the thoughts and actions no longer bother you because they dissipate?

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Read more in: Mental Health

Nanny Expected to Perform Tasks for Family

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been nannying for the same family for about three years now. I love the kids, and I genuinely enjoy working with them. Recently, I have been feeling a little used. The parents have asked me to go on errands such as doing their grocery shopping, or picking things up at the pet store. I don’t mind doing these things, but my friends have been telling me that it’s unusual. They say I should be getting paid way more than I already do for doing extra things. I had never thought much about this until they brought it up to me. I am pretty comfortable with my pay, but I see my friends’ point that I should be paid a little more for the extra work that I do. How do I bring this up to my employer in a non-awkward way and in a way that doesn’t make me seem too bratty? -- Nanny Who Needs a Pay Raise, Denver

DEAR NANNY WHO NEEDS A PAY RAISE: Tread carefully here. Since you have no issue with the requests of your employer, you do not have to make it an issue. Instead of immediately asking for more money, pay attention to what you are asked to do and how you spend your time when in their employ. At the natural end of an employment cycle -- or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by the extra work -- bring it up to your employer, explaining that the extra work that they have given you, beyond caring for their children, feels like a lot and you would appreciate being compensated for it.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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