Let’s see….I’ve moved a lot. Before I went to college, I lived in five different countries and even more cities and consequently was often the new kid in school. I didn’t like that, but ultimately it proved valuable. It compelled an innately shy kid toward extroversion and sociability if I were to have any friends. Subsequently I now very much like change and meeting new people. Frequent moving also cultivated my love of travel. Frequent moving and traveling led to a lot of reading. All of which enhanced a roaming imagination that I try to apply when writing. Sometimes it works but a lot stays in my head, making it quite crowded in there, which is probably why I hate clutter. Writing seems to help with that, so I write to get things out of my head. I also love food – real food and not the processed variety….usually, and watching cooking shows while eating real food. I’m a coffee drinker but more for the idea of being one and the ritual around it than an actual liking of coffee itself. So, that’s essentially me – an avid wanderer (in every sense) who eats a lot, pursues coffee, thinks too much, and likes writing.
About The OCD Memoirist:
A personal blog is hard. It makes me feel exposed and open to all forms of judgement; things I had long guarded against. This blog is largely about my struggles with OCD so I knew I would sound crazy, odd, weird, weak, self-indulgent, whiney, paranoid, damaged, abnormal, and a slew of other criticisms I’m loathe to think would possibly be used to describe me. It may be naïve or defensive, but I’ve always liked to think of myself as the antithesis to all those things which is why I tried to hide my struggle with OCD for so long.
People who haven’t met me won’t know what I’m about, but they will know what my OCD made me think and do because that’s what I’m writing about. And therein lies the rub. Why be this honest about all this (struggles with mental health aren’t often warmly received) and lay it all out there now? Why open myself up to judgement at all, particularly when I’m private about things that don’t even need be private, let alone mental health? Well, because I got help. I was suffering severely and in a very dark place, but I came through that proverbial tunnel and into some light. And I hope by being honest about the struggles and the internal thoughts involved with OCD, someone else who may be suffering from it can identify and know there’s a way out. A sufferer can know OCD is not who you are. It’s not your beliefs or values. It’s the opposite of your intellect and conscience. You are not OCD. You are nothing like what OCD is trying to make you become. But OCD is an unscrupulous bully and tenacious usurper. Fear induced by OCD is so charged and overwhelming that despite the intrusive thoughts and subsequent irrational behavior being contrary to all that you believe and know to be true, you acquiesce and behave in ways the real you never would.
OCD takes fears you know to be a statistical or logical impossibility and makes you fear them as conceivable. Thing is, the real you doesn’t even believe this fear as a true threat because you know it’s false. You know! That’s what’s so frustrating. You already know all that others relay to you about the likelihood and tangibility of this fear. You know the reality. The real you probably isn’t even terrified by it. Possibly thinks it a concern but not an insidious, menacing one as OCD’s incessant misfiring fear signals have made it to be. So you’re constantly conflicted between your knowledge of reality and feeling compelled to engage in time consuming, irrational behaviors to avoid a harm that doesn’t even exist. Sure, you dread the judgement the odd behaviors will elicit – it’s because OCD sufferers have such an acute sense of self-awareness that they are so conflicted and ashamed. But that shame is dwarfed by the intensity of those false fear synapses gone amok. Yes, sufferers know the distressing, intrusive thoughts and subsequent odd behaviors are wrong. They just can’t stop them….despite being exhausted by them. OCD isn’t just wearisome because of the exogenous OCD symptoms that people can see, but more so for the brutal attack to the sufferer’s intellect, conscience, and sense of character. And because these thoughts are abnormal and senseless, they’re internalized. If they were ever communicated aloud, people could misconstrue them as the individual sufferer’s way of thinking, not thoughts manifested by OCD, leading one to possibly assume the sufferer is a really bad person or just crazy. Did the mother I met in treatment who had intrusive thoughts about violently harming her children, actually want to harm them? Of course not. She loved them immensely and only wanted to care and protect them. That’s why OCD is torturous. It evokes the opposite thoughts to what a sufferer innately feels and believes. The thoughts are disturbing, even offensive to the sufferer. That’s how OCD terrorizes those who suffer from it.
So when I thought about reading this blog from the perspective of someone who hasn’t had a form of OCD or mental malfunction, I was uneasy about the possible inferences. But if this blog is to serve as an inside perspective to intrusive OCD thoughts, those thoughts should be relayed openly, as I remember them; as triggers occurred and experiences unfolded. It has to be candid to reveal the irrationality, psychological manipulation, emotional torment, and mangled mental state wrought by OCD on an otherwise reasonable, well-adjusted person. I just hope readers will recognize the voice of OCD and the actions it leads to don’t represent the sufferer’s identity or beliefs. That the intrusive OCD thoughts are completely antithetical to the sufferer’s values and true beliefs. And I know that’s’ a big ask. As I often admit and still believe, if I hadn’t suffered from severe OCD, I wouldn’t be able to have much understanding, or perhaps even sympathy, for the behaviors of OCD sufferers.
Unfortunately I did get that unwanted insight, so I know the degree to which an OCD sufferer is beleaguered by unwanted ruminations and anxiety. As to exactly why I did, science is still working that out. In the meantime, I want to contribute in some way. Perhaps by making this very personal journal public, sufferers can know that despite OCD’s isolating path, they aren’t alone. There are people who understand and want to help. Indeed, there’s treatment which can afford tangible improvement with OCD and subsequently, quality of life. After I gained the proper tools to address OCD, I realized that it’s not just me and I’m not some kind of monster. I came to know the real me, my true self, doesn’t have to assume my OCD as part of who I am, but as a disorder to be dealt with and beaten. I’m not my OCD.
* Unfortunately, I had to turn off the “comments” function on this blog a while back. Despite the very kind feedback and comments, the blog was also getting spammed frequently, sometimes with links that could corrupt the site. However, I still love hearing from readers, so please don’t hesitate to send me an email via the Contact section.