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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22485
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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My OCD kicked in twice today the first time was at the jewel

Customer Question

My OCD kicked in twice today the first time was at the jewel I began staring at a label for birthday candles I began to feel my heart beat faster. I kept on staring at it for a few minutes and kept trying to divert my attention away from it. I walked around the aisle and looked at it again for a few more seconds then left. Even though the heart is racing is it safe to walk away from this? My CBT therapy tells me to. Also when my heart was racing after bringing up groceries from the stairs I hesitated closing lid on a gatorade bottle but closed it. My main concern as always is no matter what thoughts that the heart is affected and I divert my attention away from the hyperfocusing is this still safe for heart function?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
OK--let's try this--does your heart ever race and it be totally not connected to the OCD behavior?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

only when I am exerting myself like carrying something heavy up the stairs but it usually only races during OCD behavior like in the store

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
OK--another CBT tip here--you need to tell yourself that if there were a problem with your heart it wouldn't only happen with the OCD thoughts and actions. And again, by forcing yourself to stop these thoughts and actions you do absolutely no harm to your heart--no way, Jose
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much Dr Chip so the anxiety/OCD races the heart when the thoughts and actions start and as you said forcing myself to stop is the best way possible in that case to walk away from the item which I did

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
It's always best to walk away immediately--if you keep doing that it will become so ingrained that you may well stop having the thoughts
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

And I just have to keep telling myself that the heart is safe as well and that will eventually sink in?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Exactly--you just have to reboot your brain and that takes doing a good habit type thing over and over until it really does become a good habit
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

what I realizes scares me is my heart is beating fast when I move away from the object I am viewing and that is nothing to fear as we have talked many times and I have to learn that nothing will go wrong?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
You used the key word--scares--you already subconsciously think that by moving away you do harm and that will make your heart beat faster when you move away. Just keep working on rebooting your brain
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dr Chip I realized when my heart races my anxiety kicks in. I really have a question that I asked my therapist but I feel more comfortable with your answer. Last Saturday on my work break I kept checking my blood pressure with the automatic blood pressure machine. During the reading where you start to feel your pulse stronger in my left arm I thought that by concentrating on that somehow interrupted the pulse rhythm. Is that just anxiety? My therapist says that is impossible to interfer with the blood pressure pulse? My blood pressure has been averaging around 126/83. My pulse does run between 95-105 though.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Not at all sure what you were saying there--can you clear that up for me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

sure, when I was feeling the blood pressure cuff tighten on my left arm from the automatic blood pressure machine I started to concentrate on the pulse beating in my arm and thought that could interrupt the rhythm of the beating pulse is that false? My therapist says that is impossible. My blood pressure has been around 126/83 and my pulse goes between 95-105

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Interrupt--what do you mean by that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I mean can thinking about how the pulse is moving change or harm its movement in the left arm cuffed during the blood pressure reading or is that strickly involuntary like the heart?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
I still don't quite get what you're asking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

There is no way the pulse rhythm in the left arm can be harmed by concentrating or listening to the pulse on it during the blood pressure reading?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No--no way at all. Listen, except for being able to raise or lower the heart rate a little my either getting anxious or, say, doing relaxation exercises, thinking does not at all affect the heart
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So getting anxious during the blood pressure reading would not harm the pulse rate and that is impossible?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Well again you use the strange term pulse rate and I don't understand what you mean by that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I mean the feeling of the pulse when the blood pressure cuff tightens the arm I think I got anxious feeling the sensation in my left arm and thought by getting anxious that somehow changed the heart rhythm which is false

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No--absolutely no change in the heart rhythm
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22485
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I stood still in the work kitchen area and focused on a napkin holder to my right for a few minutes and my heart was beating fast. If I turned away from the object of focus while my heart was beating fast is that safe for the heart or if I froze up and was hesitating to turn straight is that just anxiety and also no connection to the heart? I do not understand why anxiety makes me freeze up and stare in mirror or fixate on certain objects? To break this ritual I back slowly away and leave room and go to work on some activity but I still worry if the hyperfocusing affected the heart since my heart was beating fast?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Why are you surprised that anxiety can cause someone to freeze up?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am just getting annoyed with it because then I go into the fast heart rate and start to panic if I move a certain way it will cause harm

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Well let me ask you this--I promise you I will never tell you in any new scenarios that the focussing or unfocussing ot whatever will ever harm your heart so why are you still having so much trouble with this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I get scared with the fast heart rate like if I break away from the staring my thoughts make me think that the heart will be harmed but this is again false thinking as usual?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No, that wasn't what I meant--I mean that somehow you don't seem to have made any progress whatsoever with the OCD and the CBT
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I just keep fearing of the fast heart rate when these ocd issues arise I feel bad about getting stuck

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Have you seen the new therapist lately and, if so, what went on with that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

he does most of the talking and said the diaphram breathing technique should work and help me the most he gave me a lot of worksheets to go over which I should allocate more time to read and journal

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
And what does he say with all that talking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I should divert my attention away from ocd ritual and do another task

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
That's all he has to say for what I assume is at least a half hour session?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

45 minutes he hands me a lot of worksheets

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
So what do you say during all that time?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

just my ocd rituals and ask reassurance that I can overcome them

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
What's in the worksheets?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ways to overcome the anxiety/ocd habits I know I should be using them more I just get so overwhelmed

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
I don't suppose you've mentioned to the therapist about the fear you have--not just the specific fear of the heart thing but fear of dying and fear of the unknown and the uncontrollable?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes I have he tells me that most case scenarios for emergency room end up in panic attacks rather than heart attacks he tells me I can defeat this but never to give up and keep focusing on positive

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
What about the loss of control--what about learning to let go?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

sorry I am back I am scared of loss of control and learning to let go and I have to overcome

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Overcome what?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

overcome ocd and continued worry and anxiety over heart when I have had all the test that show my heart is working fine

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Why fight in an attempt to overcome--that isn't letting go, that's holding on?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

You are right well this happened today, my anxiety this afternoon happened in my work kitchen where I stood facing a table and kept fixating on a napkin holder with a smiley face sun on it. I became worried if I move away and walk to my right away from it and it goes out of view that will somehow affect the heart negatively. I kept telling myself my heart is fine but it was very hard for some reason to move away for some periods of time. Does this affect the heart or is there no correlation to heart and this is just anxiety telling me false thoughts again?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
False again, as it will always be. Just tell yourself that in the past when you've stopped yourself from continuing the action and walked away, nothing serious has ever happened. Hey--this page is getting long, so we need to close it with a rating please
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22485
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dr Chip I goofed up and asked a question in mental health but I am sure you would give me better clarification would you be able to answer it?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Sure
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
But I need you to restate the question please
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I understand that I have asked this question many times but yesterday the staring episode from anxiety which caused me to focus on a napkin holder standing about 6 feet away had upset me. I know these thoughts are false yet they tell me that if I move away from staring at the object too fast it will harm my heart. What can I do to avoid the hyperfocusing and move away from the object. I am using tools to tell myself that the heart works on its own and is not affected by these thoughts or actions. Are there any other ways I can reinforce the fact that the heart is separate from this staring and moving away ocd behavior to stop doing it? If I have more positive thoughts about the heart being separate from this I think I can beat this finally.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Well, let me ask you this--can you remember the very first time this happened? And what exactly made you think that somehow the heart could be injured by thoughts or repetitive movements?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Its been going on for so long now I can only remember it originally began with worry about my eyes and if they were focused properly

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
But what made you worry about your heart--was there anything you had heard or read that made you do that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think it was from all the recent trauma from grandparents, cousins, uncles and friends passing away

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
OK--with your therapy thusfar has it always just been CBT based? What about working through past events like those and grief therapy?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think the grief therapy could work and past traumatic events. I had another incident a little while ago this time kneeling on the ground and obsessing over looking inside the top cover of the cat litter box then looking on top of it repeatedely and I am trying to break the cycle this is also harmless?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Let's stay on subject for a minute. I think the problem may be that you need more than the CBT for all this. I think you probably have underlying fear, anger, and depression that just won't allow the CBT to be effective. The obsessive thoughts and actions are just the tip of the iceberg and there's a lot festering underneath the surface. You don't have to agree with me, but does that seem to strike a nerve with you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Could you talk about this to your current therapist and, if he didn't feel qualified to be your therapist in that particular area, could you find another?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes definitely I could

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
OK--I think I really am spot on here and that's what you need to do. I know how hard you've been trying to work with the OBT but I think it isn't your fault right now that you constantly have to have people like me reassure you that no thoughts or actions ever harm the heart. Sounds like there a psychic boil you have that needs lancing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you but I was wondering if I can ask you about the cat litter box cover situation which happened a little while ago. I kept looking under the cover and on top while kneeling down. The crazy thoughts about it affecting my heart of course kept badgering me but I kept ignoring them. Again does this OCD in particular since I was kneeling and looking underneath the cover do anything negative?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Still absolutely nothing to worry about and please believe me, you're never going to come up with any new obsessive thoughts or motions or actions that will even cause me to tell you, yes, that would affect your heart
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr Chip I got over the cat box situation however when I was with my friend in dairy queen I kept looking at the sign with the ingredients and focused on the one that said Heath. Did looking at this a few times before walking away affect anything or is this just anxiety again? sorry to ask this

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Like I just said above--you'll never come up with anything that will change what I say and yes this was just anxiety and you didn't do any harm to your heart, brain, or body by doing that
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

today my anxiety acted up throughout the day but I kept fighting it. Basically what happens is I stand in work kitchen alone looking to the left corridor into the front room where there is a clock and lamp visible. For some reason I tend to stare at the grandfather clock and lamp and my thoughts of fear if I turn to left away from it something will affect my heart. My heart was beating fast from anxiety but is my mind again playing tricks on me and can neither the hesitation to turn my body left or actually turning left and away cause any harm to the heart even with it beating fast? Is it same as before heart has no correlation to vision function here? I know I sound like a broken record but cutting to the chase I know the anxiety needs something to feed off of thus it keeps changing objects to fixate on why does it feel so hard to break away the staring when the heart starts to beat fast?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Have you ever just told yourself that so far with all these episodes not once has anything bad happened and that you're fine between episodes? In a sense, what me worry?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have tried that self talk believe me I have in fact I even started cardio exercising at my parents house for the last three nights for one hour with my Dad my blood pressure after I worked out was 125/69 and pulse was 106. I just don't understand why my pulse is so fast. My Doctor put me on Losartan 100mg daily and I am on the same Depression meds Remeron 45 mg and Abilify 5 mg.


I wish you were my regular MD my doctor has not been agressive with helping me with my low testotesterone problem I am at 127 even with the Androgel daily. This could be throwing everything out of whack in my mental head over the constant worrying about my heart even after I had a stress test, calcium coronary study and ekgs. I also use the cpap for sleep apnea

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Are your testosterone levels back to normal? And why do you think a pulse of 106 after exercising would be abnormal?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have a blood test on May 6 to recheck levels and my insurance denied the pellet procedure. Maybe I need to get educated more on how the heart works on its own. Here's all cards on the table for me no matter how I move away from something turn my head in the opposite direction to move nothing bad will happen to my heart. Now here's where I get stuck in the moment as to why the heart is not affected by any motions or outside actions and my anxiety kicks in thus speeding up the heart rate. If I can place the why with how the heart is protected I can use that as ammo to stop these obsessive thoughts.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Well, what exactly are you telling yourself is potentially damaging your heart? How is your heart potentially being damaged? Be very specific here
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My anxiety obsessive thoughts are telling me that if I move too quickly away from the object I am fixating on that will hurt the heart from beating and it plays like a bad record over and over and then the heart starts to beat faster and I feel paralyzed. That bascially is the realm I want to break free of and just be able to look at something then move onward without having these thoughts that think the motion will have a negative outcome on the heart which I know is false but if I had the scientific fact on the heart working alone in a nutshell I could better handle this situation when it remorphs to some other object?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Sorry but that just doesn't cut it if we're going to break this cycle. "Hurt the heart from beating" is just too nonspecific. I need you to think of exactly what you think the damage to the heart will be--damaged how exactly? A heart attack from too little blood flow in the coronary arteries? The electrical system will foul up and the heart will just stop? See what I'm getting at here?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I see well specifically I think the motion of me turning away too fast will through off the hearts electrical system to be honest but since that is false so what can I use to tell myself it is false rather than just saying it is false?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Here's a thought--when a patient has a heart transplant the nerves to the heart itself--the vagal fibers and the sympathetic fibers from the cervical and spinal ganglia--all those are completely severed when the donor heart is taken from the donor body and placed into the other patient's chest. The arteries and veins are reattached but the external nerves are not. Do you think that could cause a problem with the heart function in the recipient's chest?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As long as the arteries and veins are connected I think the heart would function just fine as long as the patients body accepts the new heart as a match but can you explain the external nerves?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
The heart has it's own intrinsic electrical system--the sinus and atrioventricular nodes, the atrial and ventricular nerves and bundles--so it has it's own intrinsic pacemakers and wiring and you're right without the input of the vagus and sympathetic nerves from the outside it still does just fine, although it won't shift the pulse rate as widely as the normal heart would--the external nerves can slow down or raise the pulse some if they give their input to the heart. My point here is that there is no real need for the external nerve input and since that's true, there is no way that the external input (and, by extension, the brain) can ever really affect the heart. Does that make sense?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes so basically aside from the nerves being used for flight or fright reaction to make the heart beat faster the brain and vision function separately from the heart function?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Exactly--sine the heart does fine on its own it can't be affected by the brain or its thoughts. Try using that logic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

and it can't be affected by any kind of vision or staring as well?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Not at all--since the heart works fine on its own no input from the brain--thoughts, vision, hearing, touch, smell--nothing affects it
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr Chip just one quick question for the day say for example you are watching a neighbor use a broom from the window and you stare a little at the broom and then the person walks in the house with the broom and you can't see it anymore. I felt a little anxious not to see the broom again but I used the hearts works fine and no vision affects it and took a deep breath was that okay to do so I don't start to obsess?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
That was fine--you just use all the tools in your kit to stop the OCD action and thinking in its tracks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

so not seeing the broom out of vision is okay and I used my tool to not keep obsessing?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
That didn't in any way harm your heart and breaking the obsessive action didn't hurt it either. Listen--this page has gotten very long and that slows down my computer. How about we close with a rating and if you need me again you open a new question page?
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 22485
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

hi Dr Chip I will open a new page but I had one more issue I was dealing with this morning when I was leaning over to close the lid on the cat litter box I started to touch the front lip repeatedly and these thoughts of it affecting my heart started up and the fast heart rate I just ignored it and touched it a few more times then moved on should I worry about this?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No worry at all--didn't harm your heart one iota
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I started touching the tops of two water bottles that were empty and started thinking about my heart then I touched them two more times then walked away was this good?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Yes--keep moving away from the repetitive movements and no harm done
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

in one of the work rooms I was facing the wall with a table top fan and a wall clock and to exit the room I have to turn to my right to leave the room. Once the staring started I took in three deep breaths, smiled, then forced a laugh, then said this does not harm my heart looked ahead once then turned to my right and walked out of the back room. However I did this a few times. So again this is safe from the heart and no connection between vision and heart function?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No harm whatsoever and great job on the break-this-habit technique!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Dr Chip I felt uneasy walking out of room the first time but as we talked about I kept telling myself vision function has no correlation to heart function was that good to keep repeating that phrase?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Very good indeed--just keep doing that same regimen every time
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr Chip last couple days the OCD thoughts about the heart seem to keep hitting me with the staring. My plan is to move away quickly whenever I feel that the staring is going to begin does that sound okay? Also I have had all the heart tests over the past six months and also now know that there is no correlation between the heart and vision functions yet is there anything else I could use to validate the safety of the heart from my fear of the heart from these lousy anxiety thoughts?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Validate the safety?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I need to ask though I had the fear of going into my local comic book shop for fear of hyperfocusing. I said to myself in the car nothing can harm my heart and I got out and talked with some people in line about Iron Man 3 and the sales girl. However I did look a little at this picture of a comedian on the front of the cash register where it says absolutely no checks. To make sure I did not stare at that picture on the register I moved a little quicker to the opposite side of the counter where it goes out of view and was able to carry on a small conversation. My question regarding those quick movements are safe for the heart as well even though it feels like heart may beat a little faster like a quick sensation in the upper chest like if you move quickly. I did not feel out of breath or panting but I did not look back at the register and exited store normally. Did I do right by not looking back at that picture? again I told myself heart and vision have no connection

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
The best thing for you to do is to break the cycle the second the thoughts start--look away or walk away or just stop the repetitive motions--you'll never hurt your heart by doing that but you'll get into the habit of stopping things in their tracks immediately
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So I did right by only glancing at the pic on the register then moving away from it? I just told myself the heart cannot be affected by vision. Also if I did feel a little pull in the chest is that just because of the quick movement of my upper body to the left?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Yes the pull wasn't your heart just the movement and you did fine by moving away
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I did good warding off the anxiety today at work however I realized something. Before I parked my car and I was driving home the thought of if I keep staring at the fuel gage on the dashboard will something bad happen? So of course I parked the car spent less than one minute to look at it and wipe some dust from the outside plastic. I took three deep breaths, smiled and forced a laugh and said looking at this does not affect my heart then moved out of my car and I only looked back at it once when I had to get my work bag out of the passenger side then proceeded away from the car without looking again. Did I do write by shortening the duration of looking at the fuel gage and was it best to just ignore it and move away like I did? Again no connection to heart function and staring vision?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
No connection, no harm, and the more you can break the cycle as soon as it happens, the better
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you Dr Chip so the quicker I moved away from the view of the fuel gage for example the less anxiety cycle. If I think about going back to the car to look at the gage is that also harmless as well and should I do my breathing exercises when that thought happens?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Don't go back and look at the gauge--that's the best thing to do. Just take a deep breath and laugh
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Dr Chip so basically I have to keep telling myself once I look at something its okay to move ahead and look away because its still going to be there as before and again heart and vision have no connection?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Yes but it doesn't seem that telling yourself that alone has done much to stop the behavior and the thoughts--like I told you before, you've got other issues that really need to be addressed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Your right my therapist gave me trauma worksheets to go over as well which I promise to start using. Am I better off just forgetting about the fuel gauge and just know that no harm done by not going back to look? sorry to ask again

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Just forget about it if you can.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr Chip this morning I hesitated putting the cordless phone ontop of the charger because my heart was beating a little faster because I over slept and have a lot to clean up. I told myself again heart and vision have no correlationi and put the phone on the receiver clips and walked away. I stopped myself from feeling pulse so this was safe again?

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
Completely safe. Hey--this page is getting way too long. We need to close it with a rating and then you can start a new one with me when you need to
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Still having a tough time with the foot issue today. Is there something I can tell my brain to trick it into thinking that there is no harm being done by setting or positioning the feet on the ground whether with shoes or no shoes that there is no effect on the heart. When I think of the heart during this movement it tends to beat faster from anxiety. Any trick I can use so that when the feet are on the ground when I am sitting whether on the soles or heel of the shoes or feet that there is no harm? Thank you again

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 1 year ago.
We really need to stop using this page please--much too long. As for the feet thing, do what you've done before--remind yourself of the transplanted heart doing just fine with no connection to the brain

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