So I’m currently seeing a psychiatrist for my Pure-O OCD but I’m afraid that it’s getting worse and I’m going to act on these obsessive thoughts that I have about hurting my family, friends, etc. I just have a really uneasy feeling and I don’t know if it’s from the depression or anxiety. I also don’t know what to do when the thoughts come on. I feel like I just dwell on them and get myself more worked up. Anything you suggest or any insight into this? Thank you.
OCD Free Response:
What you’re experiencing is your fight or flight response kicking in. Anxiety is a feeling that takes priority to us as it’s a survival mechanism. However we can look at this survival mechanism when it comes to Pure-O/OCD as glitchy.
Naturally you feel confused when these thoughts come on but the trick is to understand it as just a feeling. The feeling is connected to the thoughts you’re experiencing, but you can break this connection by altering your response.
Next time these thoughts enter your mind, remind yourself that sufferers of Pure-O/OCD do not act on these thoughts. They are the opposite of our character and there to protect us by scaring us. However, you don’t need to be scared. You can trust yourself.
Let the thoughts be there and continue about your day as normal. Do the things you enjoy doing. If OCD is ruining something for you that’s an innocent activity then keep doing it. You can teach your body and mind that these thoughts are not a threat by doing this.
If you want to give me some examples of your avoidance behaviours I’d be more than happy to give you some examples on how to get past them.
Keep your head up!
Why I’ve been ghost - or, the more somberly unglamourous aspects of poor mental health
This is absolutely beautifully written.
[Be forewarned, this is a lengthy, but hopefully rarely rambling and mostly informative, post. There will be extensively metaphorical and philosophical dictation ahead.]
I have not been writing enough, even, sometimes for shamefully prolonged periods, at all. In the wake of this negligence, it has become glaringly apparent that I’m suffering tremendously psychologically as a result.
Though I have long held an at least comparably related notion, after recent experiences of mine, and some considerable deliberation, I have recently come to wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that it is unendingly critical, and occasionally of unparalleled contribution, to your continued growth as a person that you be able to enact candid introspection - which includes the regular acknowledgement of uncomfortable or painful truths and, when appropriate, to concede that you may be at blame regarding their perpetuated and circumvented existence. Such lingering things are entities of your own design and creation, so you must take duly liable ownership of them.
Furthermore, to intelligently evolve is to critically examine your faults, shortcomings and flaws; performing reformation or excision where needed. This self-contained manner of personal betterment, as I have learned, is especially important to undertake if you can not accordingly divulge and relate these truths, whilst confess your complicity in their concealment, to your loyal companions, or even a most intimately entrusted confidant.
In my case specifically, in the interest in genuinely mending my own hypocrisy in the matter, I must accept that many of the flawed and problematic aspects of my creative process are of my own making. For quite some time, I have been the architect of my own sabotage in that most wearying of internal wars; artistic endeavour.
More generally, identifying the problem is the first obstacle you will encounter each and every time you embark on the journey of self-examination, and it is one that will often prove difficult, if not outrightly arduous. It is a discovery that must be earned, but one that will bolster your resolve. Then you must go about determining the cause of the hindrance, which is also a formidable quandary and as such can quickly, easily and irreversibly devolve into solely attributing any blame externally, rather than maturely acceding and allowing yourself to be held accountable for the mistakes which you are personally responsible for. Either way, despite the demanding and exacting labor, with enough honest introspection, you will find the basis of your impediment.
When you first begin the deep meditation required to determine the mistakes you’ve made and discern which areas of your life can be improved, it may seem as though you’ve entered a strange new realm wherein your role is the bewildered foreigner, one who is alarmingly feeble and unknowledgable about the the surroundings. Eventually though, with practice, you will greaten and hone your wherewithal here. A day will even come where you feel confidently powerful in this place, such that you are unquestionably the master of this dimension, but for now you are a trespasser in a dangerous land which seeks to suppress and expel you. Therefore, it is vital that you roundly respect your starting limitations.
You will likely encounter and confront the miscreated, degenerate monstrosities which your mind once birthed and has now imprisoned here. These are purposefully enshrouded things, and as such you will never have even partially espied them previously. Initially, they will seem paralyzingly frightful and horrific but you will soon become desensitized to their visual abhorrency and acclimatize to their otherwise petrifying physiognomy. You will even, with time, instinctually adapt to the fierce challenge they pose. Despite all this though, I will not lie to you, the circumstance will be still be stupefyingly alien and the task at hand will be disconcertingly daunting. However, when you forge ahead regardless and tackle what must be done, your capacity to overcome will imbue you with an astoundingly potent sense of personal pride at your bravery and fortitude. You will commence conquering the savage inhabitants, instilling within you optimistic expectations for your continued self-improvement.
Beware that you must pre-emptively steel yourself for the abrupt and unheralded emergence of many of the unpleasant discoveries you are sure to make. Often, you will not have time to do so, and their unceremoniously abrupt occurrence will be startling if you are caught off guard - in which case take care to regain your composure before you engage it. After sustaining enough of these ambushing staggerments, you shall no longer recoil in surprise for you will have become unflappable in the face of such things. Lamentably, the likelihood of these sudden assailments is quite high in the preferably effective method of detection. As you’ll largely aimlessly be wandering around until you come across an object of interest, or rather it reveals itself to you, the process is somewhat akin to catfish noodling, both in it’s mechanics of anxious anticipation and the peril it unceasingly exposes you to. This is especially the case once you begin blindly feeling around in the chasms where your darkest secrets are stored, as all manner of awful truths may await your tender probing with their locked jaw clamping of trying reality. You needn’t fret though, in this place your hand will grow back, and once you’ve suitably recovered, and braced yourself to return, you can commence your, probably more tentative, groping once more. Though it’s helpful to recognize that you are physically invulnerable to all of the harm perceived as inherent here, to recall Morpheus’ grave caution “the body cannot live without the mind”, though no bodily injury will befall you, be mindful that the things that occur in your psyche have a real effect within and unto it.
In my particular case, things were a little different, for my personal circumstances were suitably extraordinary.
I had explored my own instance of this strange realm on several different occasions already, though never very extensively, and rarely with any substantial haul of epiphanies but, having nonetheless earned the prowess befitting a journeyman in this place, I was fairly confidant in my abilities when I returned to uncover its guarded secrets yet further. On this fateful occasion, I sought it’s edifying refuge once more after enduring an incensing beleaguerment from an infuriating series of annoyances - the worst of it’s reoccurring sort so far - in the real world.
Upon my entry I, without really meaning to, descried that the land now bore an inconspicuously slight variegation. There appeared to be a sporadic peppering of singed perforation as though tiny meteoric impacts had occurred. Also present were examples of a similarly miniscule cracking of the ground, with charred edges reminiscent of the former. I was sure that this hadn’t been endemic to this land during my last visit. So, perplexed by this interim happenstance, and curious about it’s cause, I sought to unearth the nature of this bizarre development. After some familiarly wayward foraging, I noticed that the phenomenon which marred the landscape underfoot seemed to slightly increase its prevalence and severity towards a certain direction. At my inquisitiveness’ behest I resolved to acquiesce to this breakthrough’s alluring invitation. More than that though, I sensed that this newfound trail represented something significant, and this hunch further suggested that it must lead to something remarkable indeed.
I intently tracked the deformation’s gradual progression for quite some time until the harsh elements slowly intensified their resistance to my advancement, instilling a sense of urgency to my impetus. By the time I became conscious that I was now actually traversing a rocky wasteland of craggy terrain upon which nothing seemed to exist, nor had ever done so, a brutal sandstorm beset my wearied stride. I was weathering the gritty onslaught fairly well but the low visibility it’s haze incurred upon me meant that I had to determine my heading by scanning the surrounding ground for minutely incremented intensification of it’s now extensively and overlappingly latticed covering of cracks and sprinkling of large pockmarks. Unsurprisingly, the uncertain orientation this allowed was such that I repeatedly had to double back upon myself after venturing in the wrong direction. Still, my procession was steady, and I was still hopeful that I would reach whatever destination lay ahead soon. The prohibitive barrenness of this arid wilderness seemed as if a sure sign that somewhere within it’s forsaken expanse, that which I had ultimately been searching for not only existed, hidden somewhere indeterminable by the jealous abrade of the ages, but waited for me alone.
The sandstorm subsided eventually, seemingly quelled by my adamantly unswayable persistence - due to my paranoid indulgence in pathetic fallacy, I half-heartedly suspected that it was merely conserving it’s might for a second offensive sometime later. The dusty fog it had kicked up remained however, though markedly diminished it still reduced the range of vision so that the middle distance was once again indiscernible. Remaining unshaken, I continued to venture forth into this arid sterile stretch, struggling onwards despite the difficulties of the jagged, stony ground.
The land grew more and more scarred by apparently wrought open fractures, proudly bearing these vestiges of tremors long ago withstood. It was evident that whatever force had cleaved the rock I strode across apart had to have been of massive proportions. Still, despite the distractingly curious geological oddities, I managed to remain focussed on my search and endeavoured even further inwards.
Ensuingly, I encountered the abruptly distinct beginning of a region whose residually cleft ground now featured widened and enlarged fissures, presumably as a result of greater exposure to violent upheaval, and these forbidding openings thusly required me to hop across them. It was then that I suddenly comprehended that I was inadvertently travelling towards the epicentre of whatever unimaginable catastrophe had flung it’s mighty destruction so far afield. This holocaustal event had evidently been capable of launching a vigorously defiling assault, and one which had rippled so far outwards that it had henceforth forever disfigured the surrounding land. Realizing this, my unprecedentedly distant inroads became disconcerting, for not only had I never encroached even half this deep into uncharted territory, but I also, in truth, had no real conception of what danger may await me at my questing’s terminus. Defiantly, I somehow remained undeterred as I knew I had no intention of ceasing my pursuit before then.
In light of this revitalizing recognition that the deed’s completion was most imperative, regardless of it’s result, I redoubled my efforts and chased the yonder horizon with fresh zeal. It was satisfyingly reaffirming that the earthly devastation’s grew more severe as I proceeded onward, and I finally came across great gaping chasms that seemed to yawn despondently as befitting the grand fatigue the land had endured. Worryingly, it became necessary to precariously leap over these openings as the solid rock increasingly gave way to lengthy empty expanses. At long last, tremendously tired from my relentless journeying, I concluded that I had essentially reached the epicentre of whatever culminated cataclysm took place in this deserted and inhospitable landscape. As far as I could see ahead, the land was irreparably broken and splintered by massive gorges and canyons, and the remaining ground was strewn with huge boulders and slabs of rocks, impressive though they were they were merely remnant debris unearthed by the catastrophic ruination which had so long ago befallen this remote area.
Resting for a few moments, I walked around haphazardly surveying the various gorges until I discovered what appeared to be the largest one, which also seemed positively bottomless in the dim gloom of the enduring haziness. Something within it’s obscured abysmal recesses silently called to me with a chilling resonance which seemed to echo unremittingly inside the confines of my very skull. This roused a sense of fearful aversion within me, for I had experienced nothing of the sort before; it’s transmission was of inarticulately incorporeal character. I simultaneously wanted to madly dive into the gulf to answer the siren song whilst also wishing dearly that I should have the good sense to run in the opposite direction until I had shed my panicked consternation and thoroughly forgotten the evil thing which this awful place had apparently seen fit to subterraneously inter.
Before I could second guess myself any further, and throwing mild caution to the wind, I began lowering myself down the interior craggy rock face. I instantly suffered from the onset of some sort of blind vertigo which I simply could not seem to shake. My progress was predictably slow, for I became tentative in my manner of descent, constantly afraid that I would lose my hard-won grip or footing and plummet to certain death. My rampant curiosity burned regardless however, though my previously ironclad resolve was close to depleted as I sluggishly continued lowering myself yet further into the breach.
Some time thereafter, after a great deal more expended effort and as I was fast becoming physically enervated, I noticed that the chasm was beginning to narrow quite severely. Shortly following this, I actually reached where it began to taper into an indeterminably deep crevice which was barely wide enough for me to enter. The tunnel’s walls had largely been worn smooth and offered only the occasional foothold. Unable to conventionally climb downward, I grit my teeth in faltering determination and embarked upon what is best described as a controlled plunge into the hole’s depths; an exhilarating frightening practice where I would repeatedly purposely allow myself to roughly slide down the chute like shaft before thrusting my limbs outwards and regaining a stable outstretched position. This daring tactic meant I progressed steadily though.
A meagre sliver of light which I had been gratefully enjoying began to diminish as I went further into the earth, and I struggled to see much further down than my feet. I proceeded mindlessly, mechanically. It seemed, in my delirium, as though I was burrowing forever downwards.
As I was about to finally succumb to exhaustion and exasperation, I let myself fall once more, but this time, after a second or two of freefall, my feet hit a solid floor. I exclaimed in tired, triumphant surprise. I had reached the bottom.
Most strikingly, there was essentially pitch blackness, and the surrounding walls had narrowed to the point of being tightly confining and constrictive. I almost became hysterical as an overwhelming sensation of solitary claustrophobia washed over my now fragile disposition. Swiftly, I consoled myself with the realization that one way or another, my journey was ultimately at it’s end. I was then able to regain my composure somewhat. Unsure as to what it was I was supposed to be searching for, and all too well aware of a creeping fear that I might have incorrectly assumed that this niche housed what I hoped to find. I went about awkwardly maneuvering in the tiny space, feeling around for anything of significance. At about the height of my waist I discovered a small opening in the rock. I hunched over as best I could, pressing my face against the cold stone, and tentatively inserted a probing hand. Excitedly determining that the aperture was just wide enough for my arm to squeeze into, and with the wild abandon of expectant anticipation, I thrust it into the seemingly roughly bored hole as deep as possible and felt something prickly. An object that was, decidedly, not rock. In fact, though it was still fairly solid, it was relatively yielding to my touch.
Astonished, I mustered what little strength I still commanded and utilized it to pry the peculiar item from it’s nesting nook in this bedrock so far beneath the surface. It was quite spectacular really, for when retrieved from it’s resting place, it began to, rather blindingly, glow intensely. I sightlessly marvelled at this singular anomaly for a long while - half certain that I had gone insane, but content to revel in awe either way.
Exactly what it was that I fished out of that abominable abyss happened to be, I divined whilst bathed in it’s glorious light, precisely what I had long ago discarded into this antithetical microcosm’s incapable retention. All I could recall at this point was that having rid myself of it, I was greatly relieved as a terrible load had at long last been lifted from my shoulders.
The vast plains of my subconscious realm represented, I had believed, a fortress world where anything, no matter how ghastly or beastly, could be safely imprisoned. It was a vault, deep within my mind, where dreadful things which that very same mind, on a conscious level, could not hope to process or even successfully contain, could be indefinitely and, if necessary, definitively incarcerated.
Problematically, it actually emerged that, evidently, this Russian nesting doll set-up was not the ultimate and infallible solution I had pegged the arrangement as being. The smallest, densest doll mise en abyme within it’s own kin would prove the system’s eventual undoing. From the first moment of it’s internment, I made it a despised pariah, to be eternally condemned by it’s enveloping captors. I should have predicted that it, being a creature born of calamity, would only grow stronger from absorbing the vitriolic hatred spewed at it.
Once it had begun satiating it’s primarily weak form by imbibing the aura of malicious animus which surrounded it. Silently seething, it came to boil with ferocious rage and furor until the zenith of its tempestuous accumulation was reached. It collapsed into itself and became a singularity of ultimate wrath.
Unexpectantly, it obviously lay dormant for a time, totally concealed by it’s existentially abstruse nature. The catalyst for it’s actual implosion was, subsequent retrospective consideration has concluded, most likely my unknowing antecedent excursion, which took place before the momentous expedition previously described, into it’s overarching domain. I now comprehend that the far reaching pulse of it’s unimaginably violent annihilation actually travelled, though severely weakened by the effort, to the distant portal where I first inauspiciously entered into the realm most recently - a point situated incredibly far away from the blast’s epicentre - as the ground there clearly displayed such minor but telltale signs of it’s recent faint seismic duress.
Incontrovertibly, it meant to assassinate me with this apocalyptic release of energy. Somehow, it knew that I would indulge my curiosity once more someday and blithely venture into it’s particular province. It had waited with resolute patience and discipline in order to kill it’s creator and jailor. What I had seen was the aftermath of this failed attempt, which was so poorly timed that it was executed in my actual absence. Unsuccessful in completing its objective, it would seem that after expending it’s accrued might in enacting the targeted cataclysm, it’s brawn had deteriorated and degenerated via necrosis and was desperately cannibalized for sustenance. Consequently, it had reverted into the form it presented when it had originally been confined within this strange dimension.
As such, when I first perceived it, in that dark void, it seemed as though a relatively small but seemingly impossibly dense sphere of material light. Yet, when I held it in my hands, though it felt rather indescribable, and certainly unlike anything else I have ever encountered, it was undoubtedly of a physical nature and composition. Holding it was akin to weakly clutching an almost frictionless ball of lightning. With regard to it’s actual surface however, it seemed as though an outwardly facing covering of prickly needle like filaments which constantly minutely shifted position and shape. The sensations it induced were analogous to an, initially almost unnoticeable, delicate crackling of static electricity travelling up my arms.
Most of this I determined with touch alone, for it’s supreme luminesce instantly and invariably overwhelmed my vision with resplendent glare. To fully behold it’s effulgent majesty was a maddening trial. I simply could not physically bear to even gaze in it’s general direction, lest it acutely blind and disorientate me. Following some cautious but haphazard experimentation, and after shaking away the many instances of extensive scotoma which resulted, I managed to partially observe it in my extreme peripheral vision but discerned nothing other than my initial impression of a dazzlingly luminous spherical phenomenon which eluded continued study or even vague classification. My mind, in lieu of actual information to formulate a picture with, conjured ludicrous imagery of a literal fireball in my hands, ablaze with intense and violent energy, and yet, exasperatedly, I could retort with no better rational explanation.
Still, emboldened by my incredible journey of discovery so far, slowly, through severely squinting eyes and marginally parted fingers, I commenced probing through it’s outer core, towards whatever lay at it’s centre. Breaching the bristly shell via a small camouflaged slot, I reached into the conflagrant chamber beyond it, and my fingertips brushed against something peculiarly springy and pulpous but definitely solid, and without thinking I suddenly grabbed onto it. Fastening my clasping fingers around something cylindrical and ropey, I dug my fingernails into it’s writhing form and refused to relinquish the grip which I had, ultimately, fought so long and so hard to attain. It squirmed profusely; a slippery prey right up until the end. But after a brief battle requiring tremendous exertion, I triumphed. I pulled it from out of it’s incandescent husk, which responded by violently, but impotently, flaring in protest with hitherto unseen absurdly inconceivable luminosity. Torn from it’s protective chassis, it’s body bucked and flailed in enraged objection.
I felt myself dissolve from this realm, sinking back into the world I truly inhabited, with the foul creature I had dragged along with me still in my rigid clutches.
In the plain, authentic light of day, I regarded the displaced, and newly cognizable, horror with revulsion and loathing, for I saw it for what it truly was. In a way that was abhorrent to my very moral fibre, it was manifestly vile. The greatest surprise was that what I now at long last beheld was somehow instantaneously recognisable. At any rate, I remained wary as the danger it still posed, though now castrated and decrepit, was plainly unmistakable and enormously sobering.
In physical aspect, it was, in it’s entirety, about the size of a human head. It’s composition resembled a loosely spherical, by nature of their extensive entanglement, mass of wriggling black serpents, each about the width of a finger. The actual length of these things appeared to be several inches but was ultimately indeterminable due to their intertwining forms becoming extremely densely knotted towards the ball’s centre - an arrangement which reminded me of the semi-legendary rat king - making it impossible to follow any one example to it’s inwardly situated end at a glance. Furthermore, though I aesthetically related them to snakes, they did not look like any earthly variety I have ever seen. In fact, they were, peculiarly, uninterruptedly smooth all over; with no eyes or mouth present where one would expect, nor any other obvious external appendages or openings. In this way, they most approximated inexplicably animate instances of colored rope or vine. Also, despite being composed of some unmistakably organic material, there was an unnatural lustrousness to their, for lack of a better term, hide - which not only bore no scales but had a slick, polished, almost mirror like, quality that simply has no parallel in the conventional animal kingdom and can only be reasonably equated to the glassy sheen of polished obsidian. How then did my impression of their serpentine semblance arise? Simple; their manner of incessant undulating, abrupt tendency to wildly strike outwards and penchant for deliberately winding around your fingers and encircling your hand bore a terrible but patent likeness to the distinctive and universal counterpart mannerisms and movements of snakes the world over.
Coldly scrutinizing the thrashing throng, it seemed largely unbelievable that I had been able to ignore this abhorrent creature’s encroachment before, or had at least done so as best as was possible. It had once invaded my most intimate refuge, and that was a thoroughly mortifying and nauseating thought. The violation inherent to it’s infiltration of my subconscious induced an awful but gnawingly warranted appraisal of myself as debased and tainted. It was perplexing that I had even initially tried to devalue it’s significance, to disregard the threat it represented, and I cursed myself for my previous stupidity. Thankfully, the one thing you can quite confidently rely upon is how invariably impossible it is to lie to yourself whilst perpetually and genuinely believing the untruth.
The monster’s real world surrogate had a name that was familiar not least by it’s potently disquieting and blanching effect. Discerning this troubling revelation, I understood, unreservedly, what had been staring me in the face the whole time, and it’s icy breath foretold grim tidings indeed.
Disabused of my delusionary defense mechanism, I now realized that, gradually, over an emotionally torturous period which can be most precisely characterised by a wearying beleaguerment of intermittent flux, uncertainty and disappointment, I had developed a rampant, uncontrollable, insatiable perfectionism - perhaps better stated as a constant, overbearing fear of the imperfect, the deficient and the flawed - and it had subconsciously manifested itself most disturbingly as the insidious affliction commonly known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
And, oh doctor, did I have it bad!
Now, you’ll read well-meaning warnings against diagnosing oneself with any sort of malady without first consulting a professional, but I believe that in the much neglected and under examined field of mental health one, if possessed of competent and stouthearted introspective, is often entirely capable of at least identifying existing psychological problems. You do, after all, have the most immediate perspective, though, perhaps, not the most accurate or most reliable one.
Nonetheless, my mental distress was of undeniable origin. The candid veracity of my pronouncement was unmistakable and it was immediately and consumingly upsetting.
To preface, I absolutely was not a virginal victim in a state of indignant disbelief due to my previously unsullied and entirely unimpaired mental health, because other psychological problems aren’t, let’s say, previously, or currently, foreign to me. However, my intervals of overall convalescence generally outlasted the stretches of inescapable malaise - or at least, I, in my rare bouts of miraculous optimism, liked to think so. Regardless, in this matter I also enjoyed considerable solace from relishing the fact that a myriad of, relatively or at least usually non-debilitating, disorders I was (consciously) enduring were of the storied sort that have so often plagued the great burgeoning creative minds since the first consummate prosaic and poetic writings were completed. Perhaps indulging in foolishly sentimental idolatry, I even quite cherished that I was intellectually tortured in an indubitably similar fashion to some of the masterful writers I have come to deeply admire - Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft are two authors who illustrate this parallel best, and the ones that often sprang most quickly to mind when I was in need of affirmation and reassurance that my distempered mind was of a prodigious ilk. For examples, many of the aforementioned afflicted wordsmiths, at least in part, were embattled by problematic recreational substance abuse, peremptory schizophrenia, unbridled neurosis, casual sociopathy, crippling clinical depression, mild but absorbingly indulgent delusionality, ascetically reclusive misanthropy, occasional suicidal tendencies, et cetera, and, in this context, I have long since, rather unseemingly proudly, joined their veteran ranks.
Yet, this new addition to my already respectably long list of psychological complaints was unquestionably different for it solely filled me with a sense of misfortune and dread. The previously disclosed category of impairments I appreciatively bemoaned were, in my mind, mere eccentricities of the adroitly creative mind, and duplicated in the chronicles of, by means of personally troubling festerment in, countless historical figures of the sort. This current bane, oppositely, was literally and unstoppably incapacitating. Through it’s pernicious influence, it effectively deadened my motivation and my ambition. It enfeebled me, but most frustratingly, it had hobbled my actions with no identifiable means or motive. I was ignorant and impotent - a foiling combination.
Tragically, it began, and culminated, with it’s influence on my writing.
I progressively worsened from the first inklings of overbearing perfectionism. Soon enough, I became completely obsessed with achieving a sheer faultlessness of execution in every piece that I wrote. It became unavoidably and paramountly imperative that I craft only that which singularly represented the quintessence of my unadulterated creative vision. To which end, I would draft and re-draft and re-draft ad nauseum. I would excruciatingly obsess over minute, and realistically unnoticeable and ergo irrelevant, differences in grammar, wording and even formatting. Often, I readily discarded work which had, ironically via the process of continual alteration in the pursuit of improvement, became too distant from my original vision, and consequently what I determined as too unwieldy to mould into the supremely realized opus I now worshipped.
Hence, a suppressive duality was established. There was either sheer perfection, or there was, in the case of everything that fell short (no matter to what degree), the utterly shameful failing which appalled my newfound purist sensibilities and disheartened my future efforts immensely. Moreover I could no longer savour any sense of accomplishment unless I fully achieved the excellence I came to slavishly idolize, and so I was discouraged against even trying.
Although it isn’t the literal translation one might hope for, Voltaire’s popularly attributed declaration that the ‘perfect is the enemy of the good’ is a profound proverb which I’ve long known, and long contemplated. I think that it is a useful aphorism for every writer to consider during the potentially indefinite tinkering stage. Unfortunately, in my case, the ‘perfect’ was also the sworn enemy of any attempts at a productive undertaking and yield.
Something I only understood later on was that because I was so eternally hesitant to actually post anything which did not meet my unrealistic expectations of superb distinction it meant that I so rarely completed the vital conclusion of the creative process; earning the satisfaction of deeming it finished (and publishing it). This meant that I endured a perpetual feeling of jaded discontent, which is certainly not conducive to fostering inspiration as I consequently struggled to motivate myself.
Not only wasn’t I outright publishing any of my work online, nor privately sharing it with my paramour, I was actually writing less and less and less. The enormously intimidating and overwhelming requisite of the sublime meant that even the thought of writing filled me with a sense of dread at my perceived continual inadequacy and burdened me with predicted failure before I had even begun. This meant that my artistic efforts rapidly, as the degeneration of my creative self-esteem progressed, became a trickle, and then they simply ceased. The resulting impotent frustration both consumed me and made me empty. I was distraught. I was spent. I was hollow.
Whilst I futilely attempted to combat it’s campaign against my writing, the OCD launched new offensives directed towards other susceptible frontiers. Accordingly, it expediently bled into the many other vulnerable areas of my life. The infection spread, if you will. In retrospect, I recognize that, realistically, I had no real chance to effectively fight it’s conquest, let alone best it, for I knew not even what it was, and so despite my stalwart but insubstantial resistance, it soon took hold. It was akin to the murky waters of it’s swamp-born deluge mercilessly smashing into the makeshift dam protectively surrounding my consciousness, uprooting it with ease, and then washing over my defenceless mind with it’s full force, leaving behind toxic remnants of disease ridden sludge in it’s wake. Begrudgingly, I must admit that it delivered it’s virulent payload with admirable precision. Having devastated my last bastion, the epidemic began in earnest.
Following the pivotally widespread contagion, the various areas in which I developed OCD tendencies were both great in number and extensively distributed throughout my daily activities.
What I can say with some certainty is that the next area I recognised the contagion (though still without being able to actually identify it) had breached was my beloved hobby of playing video-games.
I think that every gamer endures some small number of irrational compulsion when playing video-games, and I did too before the OCD struck, but after it did I fully comprehended how unobtrusive these minor annoyances were in the grand scheme of things. As now most everything had to adhere to my idea of the ‘perfect’ way for me, in particular, to play my games. I had this conception of what ‘I’ would do in any given situation, and if I didn’t contrivedly match this projection in it’s entirety, I felt that it constituted some sort of existential error in the stream of my life - I hadn’t done what I was always ‘supposed’ to have done. [This, incidentally, was also implicitly the case for many of my other OCD habits too.]
For example, I often couldn’t miss, which sometimes actually meant that even though I had heard it I had not paid it sufficiently rapt attention, even a single word in lines of dialogue without needing to restart from an earlier checkpoint to dismiss, or at least stifle, the resulting compulsion by heeding the omission properly the second time around. Thankfully, as it could have been the most frustrating and time consuming of perceived obligations, I didn’t think it necessary to always amass all of the collectibles a game had available, but if I noticeably missed one which I thought I should have attained, because it was so in my ‘perfect’ playthrough, I absolutely had to return to do so. Simultaneously the OCD’s insidious treachery trickled down into smaller, more trivial matters: completing in-game objectives in a certain consciously stipulated ‘perfect’ order, ensuring I reloaded my weapon as soon as the ammo count dropped below the maximum, interacting with NPCs in a very specific mentally prescribed fashion, et cetera.
Additionally, I also began adhering to a very troubling routine of compulsion wherein I would, say, and this is just one of many examples (but it was the most prominently frequent), load my most recent save upon returning to a game, but then, after it had loaded, I would feel somehow unsure that I had actually selected the correct save (e.g. the most recent one), and I irrationally thought that I couldn’t be entirely sure I had done so unless I exited the game and very deliberately reloaded the most recent save again - this cycle could potentially be repeated several times until I had, with sufficiently comforting confidence, ascertained that the right choice (e.g. the one I intended to make originally) had most definitely been made. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds. And yes, that did occur to me at the time. Yet, distressingly, this pestersome second guessing was almost impossible to avoid indulging nonetheless.
The OCD’s dominion also quickly extended to matters of cleanliness. Though it fortunately wasn’t a subjugation of all of the various sub-categories therein, conformance to its perfectionist rule in those within it’s tyrannical jurisdiction quickly became extremely irritating and inconvenient to maintain.
To be clear, the compulsions and obsessions in these other areas of my life, individually, were never even nearly as strong as their counterparts in my writing, but due to their occurrence in recurrent daily activities, they were given opportunity to arise so much more frequently. As a result, they bombarded me routinely and without fail. The irksome urges my OCD manifested itself as would, if continually rejected, slowly coagulate and then collectively concentrate their wearying effect to chip away at my resistance until they finally and inevitably won out, overwhelming me completely. These moments of flustered perturbation were so truly awful to experience, and I’m sure quite troubling, not least for their apparent inexplicability, for my dear bewildered onlooker. Victory was distinctly impossible, but even in my wearied surrender I was allowed no manner of rest or quarter. When I had just about been beaten down by their harassing vexation, often to the point of wanting to abandon my particular method of relaxation or recreation, they would renew their assault with fresh malice and effectiveness, tirelessly eager to land that final killing blow. It was death by a thousand cuts, and I bled, often, and at length.
Unbeknownst to even my lover, I silently suffered for a while. Then I would occasionally grumble about the irritating compulsions I had apparently amassed, and the anxiety and duress they caused me. Amazingly, I even nonchalantly, and rather flippantly, suggested I may have something like OCD. Finally, things began to coalesce, and I gathered that I needed to engage in some unafraid, honest introspection.
That’s when I began to guardedly piece everything together. It was, in essence, an enormous jigsaw puzzle which, when completed, simply acted as a portal through which I could mutely peer, with new clarity and perspective, at the happenings of my past.
As such, it duly became manifestly self-evident when this had all been germinated, and how.
I am nineteen years old. About a year and a half ago, I decided to drop out (for lack of a more fitting term) from the college I attended. I was in the second year of my A-levels, and, due to mostly poor and uninformed decisions as to what to study and those, comparatively delightful, mental health issues I mentioned earlier, I was failing all but English Literature (which I excelled in). Since the self-pity long ago faded into obscurity, it is a decision which I rarely regret. Although I wish it was not so, it had been entirely necessitated by the circumstance. I often wonder what may of happened, what may have been possible had it not been so, but before I torture myself too much, I, thankfully, remember that such hypothetical imaginings ultimately constitute masochistic emotional self-harm and are largely pointless, because, of course, it was.
Nonetheless, it created a disfiguring fracture in what had been my, long settled, life plan; a plotted trajectory which allocated two, at least sufficiently successful, years of college before I graduated to the promised land of University. Naturally, this schedule was now no longer possible. No, not in the least, because, in fact, those formerly allotted two years have since doubled in length as I have chosen to study different A-levels - this time opportunely comprised of subjects I’m actually interested in, and, dare I say it, enjoying studying. It is, in hindsight, realistically a tremendously fine outcome for what was at the time, ostensibly, the end of my life as I knew it - I would never be able to get back on track for what I had always planned would be my route through academia, and I would, at best, have to instead take a fairly long and branching detour to simply rejoin where I had originally been shunted off of the path. And that, for someone whose life essentially consisted of academic ambition, was a cataclysmic hardship to endure.
Are you beginning to see now?
If you’re not, allow me to concisely summarise what this all effectively meant to me; my life, in it’s overarching course, had forever lost even the potential to adhere to my idealistic intentions for it. The epitomical journey had been prematurely truncated. I was once the eventual heir to the theoretically possible version of myself I espoused as paragon but I knew now that I would never become him, I would never assume his crown. The fulfillment of my grand destiny was absolutely and unequivocally impossible. Thereafter, I believed myself to have become eternally sullied by the egregious blemish of perpetual imperfection, for the ramifications of my deficiency would surely negatively affect all of my future endeavours. The outwardly racing ripples of this terrible impact would slow, and even become faint, but they would not halt or cease.
Hencely, the inconspicuous genesis of my deeply rooted craving for perfection was inspired - if I couldn’t have the indefectible path through life I had envisioned, I would ensure that everything else I did was perfect, lest I suffer a painful reprise of the profound disappointment from when the former’s actuality was enacted.
This realization, unsurprisingly, was initially met with crude denial, for it seemed as though an unfeasibly, almost absurdly, simplistic explanation. One that I should have been able to identify long ago.
However, my OCD only continued to worsen. Stricken with yet more of it’s intrusions, I resoundingly relented in my dismissal of the glaring truth. I eyed my newly acknowledged circumstance with equal parts of instinctual but pained disbelief and haughty resentment. The latter arose because, idiosyncratically, I actually begrudged my subconscious for betraying my confidence like it had. The two of us had, I felt, up unto that point, enjoyed a decidedly well balanced symbiotic relationship, and now, it emerged that my other half, my silent partner, psychologically speaking, had, albeit involuntarily, engaged in clandestine subterfuge and sabotage when it had failed to properly process and deal with the emotional trauma I had previously undergone. Still, in it’s way, it wasn’t all that surprising seeing as I had, even before the OCD, gratuitously deprived it of my sole form of therapy by neglecting my practice of writing regularly. I had replaced it’s only available means of introspective analysis and reconstructive faculty with weak facsimiles and bravado, so it was perhaps only to be expected that it should fail me so spectacularly.
Yet, worse still was the shameful sense of shortcoming I felt. I have always valued my intelligence and my mental fortitude above all other aspects of myself, and now I was forced to confront a glaring psychological flaw which had undeniably diminished the capacity and effectiveness of them both. It was a weakness woven into the very heart of my place of greatest strength. I was weak. And I didn’t know how to deal with that.
It is only when you’ve examined yourself with due candor and lucidity that it will become abundantly clear that the delusion of your immaculateness is juvenile and fundamentally detrimental to your development as a person. Following this, your residual subconscious vanity, arrogance and conceit should be examined with, initially unbearable, clarity and objectivity. Your ego will be shattered, repeatedly. It will undoubtedly be a thoroughly disquieting and humbling process, but you will be better for it.
This cleansing manner of self-examination, via that unpleasant internal confrontation, finally spurred my mind’s equivalent of the body’s immune system. My penchant to overcome was stirred, and rallied. My willpower was mustered. I was, in a recently unfamiliar positive way, compelled - to fight.
As a disclaimer, I’ve was never a big subscriber or proponent for the supposed power of positive thinking - it is, by it’s own admission, a placebo, and as I’ve since learned, hard truths are better than comfortable illusions. Now, whilst the human mind is clearly capable of affecting and changing itself by, seemingly, it’s own volition, I believe that it is terribly inefficient and moreover unwise to do so by means of deception and trickery. You are intimately and irrevocably in cahoots with one another after all, so do not shirk the many benefits of that relationship by trying to duplicitously manipulate your comrade-in-arms.
Trusting in my symbiote to redeem itself, I instead elected to utilize plain old willpower. It is the mind’s most simplistic and most powerful manner of weaponry.
When the heavens boil with thunderous jolting fury, and the earth shudders in it’s crude manner of intimidation, and a massive torrent rushes towards you portending untold destruction, you must hold and you must defiantly stand fast against their mindless assault.
As I know now that my recently acquired OCD is directly and mainly the product of unresolved psychological distress, I believe, with some certainty, that dealing with the latter properly will banish my plight. In a way, I am quite fortunate, for I have caught it at the onset, and I’ve already identified it’s main cause, and I’m positive that I possess the power to destroy it once and for all. Though I have suffered under it’s relatively brief reign, I would have continued to do so, with almost immeasurably increased personal detriment as a result, had it been allowed to truly take root and burgeon into a foundational, constitutional structure within my subconscious. At a certain point, a parasite’s growth so thoroughly infiltrates the infrastructure of its host, that a certain twisted symbiosis is established out of necessity, and to remove it would mean it’s absence could cause irreparable damage. I shudder to even imagine that possibility.
Onwards however. Ever onwards. I will work through the emotional issues I’ve unknowingly accrued, and I’ll mainly do so through my writing, for it is my greatest outlet. Unfortunately, this scourge has amassed many agents, several of which have already completed a preliminarily implantation, and their already powerful influence has revealed itself to be exceptionally onerous. Nevertheless, writing has proven time and time again to be the most predominantly effective manner of enacting the necessarily aggressive sort of catharsis.
So, yes, I shall write more. Whenever possible. However possible. About whatever needs to be purged from my imagination at the time. I shall not mean to, nor shall I merely resolve to do so, I will simply do so. I understand now that there need not be an intermediary prefacing the action. One need only exercise one’s will to ascertain that it be done. As such it should simply be undertaken and completed. To introduce the extra step of deciding to do something largely overcomplicates the matter, rendering ineffectual and inefficient what should be wholly an entirely unsophisticated, straightforward affair. The notoriously disregarded or short-lived New Year’s resolutions are a prime demonstration of this mechanism at work.
I do not think that I will publish everything I write, but most of it shall be uploaded. Shamefully, I have more than a hundred drafts languishing on Tumblr alone, with many more in Google Docs, and I hope to pardon each and every one that was unjustly sentenced to imprisonment and stagnation there under the oppressive regime which I am now an insurgent against. Some will be adapted, reworked, improved and published at long last, others will be completed but instead allowed the dignified repose within my records of posterity that they deserve, but I hope to imbue those hallowed halls with an aura of closure one way or another.
I imagine that only the revenant and the banshees, malevolent, shirked and relinquished, and perhaps even the transients, are likely to scour these words, but there is an (increasingly not so) short story under construction at the moment. With my writing prowess at it’s current ascendency, it is my most promising opus. If you are at all familiar with my work, you will also probably be so with the themes present in it as it is, unsurprisingly, a piece of work that was previously abandoned. That notwithstanding, I can assure you that it treads fertile new ground with my patent authoritative and unyielding footfalls - which my insurgency has also come to adopt. It is the most intricately constructed piece of storytelling I have written so far as much of the rich backstory for it’s interwoven plot is furtively insinuated or cryptically disclosed. It’s literary aspirations and even meagre quasi-historical allusions have made it a taxing endeavour indeed. I have previously written several examples of, naturally unfinished, short stories, and the practice thus seems as though an established and familiar one to me, yet I also realize that I haven’t actually published one online so far. So, overall, it should represent a pleasant departure, a breath of fresh air if you will, for the otherwise uninitiated reader of my work.
I imagine that I will only return to poetry in earnest when I’ve worked through what I need to, as any residual perfectionism is amplified tenfold when it comes to composing and tinkering with poems the way I like to. Still, my poetical output will only be, befitting it’s craft’s relapse inducing nature, somewhat decreased, but certainly not terminated.
Anyway, so there it is, the whole story; why I have been away, and also why I won’t be any longer.
And, yes, to alleviate your fears, there will probably be more crazy before we break through to the Dawn…
LDRs & OCD (ladyhomestar):
I have ROCD and I’m also in a long distance relationship (LDR). Yesterday one of my (ex) friends said “What if when you meet you’re not really in love?” This made me spike to hell. That wasn’t the only thing they said. They also said how they thought LDRs were “funny” and “stupid”. I cried so hard last night. I shouldn’t have to take this mental torture from a “friend” and my OCD too…It took me months to get better from ROCD and this just made me relapse. I just wish I was with my boyfriend right now and love him so my anxiety can be relieved…
Do you practise ACT a lot? It’d be really useful here. The thing is, it IS a possibility. There is a chance you’ll meet up and you won’t feel the love you think you do. I don’t find LDRs funny or stupid by any means but they do put a lot of stress on those involved and it’s even tougher with OCD because of the continuous pressure. I don’t mean to discourage you with those words, but it’s something to consider.
That being said love is complicated as hell and people have made it work in circumstances even tougher than yours. Only the two people involved know how they feel really, and what your friend said is both judgemental and insensitive. It has no reflection of your relationship however, so don’t let the words get to you, as they are nothing more than that.
I wish you the best of luck with it all but keep me updated if you’re struggling. I’ve actually tried an LDR before but at the time I didn’t know what I was going through and I ended up suffering rather than enjoying myself. I hope that’s not the case for you and if you believe you can make it work I highly recommend you go for it.
OCD Help (longlivemagic):
so lately, I’ve been contemplating self-harming myself again, or suicide. My OCD’s been acting up again. It’s been close to a year since my breakdown, and I’ve been good. I was able to graduate high school, get into a good college. Now I feel like under every achievement, or no matter how normal my life has been, the OCD undercurrents are still haunting me. I still have difficulty doing things because of OCD, and I just want it to stop. I don’t know how to make it stop. I keep thinking hurting myself is the only way to feel better, because I really just want it to end. Please please help.
It sounds to me like you’re dealing with more than just OCD here. There’s a fantastic blog I follow called believeinrecovery that’s brilliant for all forms of recovery including self-harm. I suggest following that as well as leaving an ask there about other self-harm recovery blogs so that you can get the help you need with it, as I’ve never had experiences with it myself. It also may be worth finding out if you’re suffering from depression too as it sounds like your moods reach dangerously low levels at times.
As for OCD, I know what a debilitating disorder this can be, but don’t let intrusives undermine your achievements. It’s brilliant that you’ve graduated regardless of what OCD tells you. Any failure just reinforces the fact that you’re human and you can use your failures to motivate yourself to come out on top next time. Give my page on how to face intrusive thoughts a read and then get back to me with what part of it you struggle with, and I’ll try to tailor some examples to fit your scenario.
Hurting yourself will not make you feel any better. That’s a self-destructive compulsion and a result of believing lies that you’re being fed. You are worth so much more. I can guarantee you that much.
please help me, i have suffered with HOCD for about a year now. recently i spiked badly and i keep getting thoughts like ‘if you do that action, you’re a lesbian’ ect. and now its fighting with ‘if you DON’T do it, you’re not a lesbian’ which is really frustrating me because i don’t know what to do! :( x
The problem sounds like you’re giving in to the thoughts left right and center. If you continue to do the actions you’re told to do and vice versa, then you cement the fear into your brain despite it being irrational. Try to wait as long as you can before doing what the thoughts say. If you can stop yourself doing the things you’re told to do then you’ll eventually not fear the thoughts as you’ll realise they don’t affect anything about you. Also if you want to do something and you get anxiety over it being a ‘lesbian’ thing to do, then do it anyway. It’s most likely your brain spiking over stereotypes but stereotypes are often inaccurate. Stay strong and keep me updated. Give my page on how to face intrusives a read too. :)
Resistance or not?
I’ve struggled with OCD for the majority of my life suffering various forms of Pure O, Confessional OCD, HOCD and I also think I suffer from GAD. It was only 2 years ago I realised I had the disorder and it’s only been a few months since I have been less reactive with the thoughts. I follow the “just let the thoughts be there process” and watch the anxiety fade this has worked to an extent but recently i’ve felt a bit of a relapse in that my thoughts seem to be answering themselves and I’m not sure whether these are compulsions or just thoughts on thoughts but the frequency of them has been pretty high during the past week? Have you or anyone else on here experienced a similar situation on the road to recovery and how long did it take you to recover from OCD so it is at a manageable level on a consistent basis?
The ask I’ve just answered covered the exact same thing. Basically it’s natural that we ruminate instinctively because our minds are so used to doing it, but distraction techniques work wonders when not used as compulsions. Basically go out with your friends or do something you enjoy when OCD acts up and you’ll forget you’ve been ruminating in no time.
I can’t remember how long it took me to get to a ‘manageable’ level but if I’m honest I deal with relapses even now. Remission depends on the level of dedication to coping mechanisms and calming the anxiety response, so it varies from individual to individual. Stress hinders recovery but positive emotions really help, so there’s factors either way too. I’d got it fully under control within a year but I struggle when in relationships because that’s when my thoughts go up in intensity and frequency. I’m working on calming the emotional response for that one soon!
s3nsual-hearts (submission 2):
Hey, i forgot to add to the other one. The school psychologist picked up on it when the school forced me to see her when certain stuff happened, and told me i had no choice but to talk to her and go to her. But she is a dumb ass never showed up for appointments anyway and eventually stopped going to her, she made me feel horrible. I dont think psychologists are suppose to bring people down. But yeah she picked up on it. Since that i have had trouble trusting people…well except for this.
That being said please don’t lose faith in people. There are amazing ones out there. As for the psychology field, my psychologist was amazing and without him I wouldn’t be as happy and helpful as I am today, so I guess I’m living proof they’re not all bad. On top of which, I like to think I can be trusted and that I ain’t a douchebag. xD
Hey, um did you get rid of your ask page or something? Well not really a freak out but more to the fact that i wont leave until i have checked pretty much 4 times. I have tried not doing it but i just stare at it and i dunno but i keep telling myself something will happen if you dont have/check it. Like if i dont have my phone my car will break down, if i dont have my wallet i will get pulled over by the police etc i feel like i cant stop it.
Nope, I’ve just had things to sort so I closed the ask box to avoid pile up whilst not active. To face thoughts like you’re describing you need to intentionally ignore whatever warning sign is going off in your head. You can only prove these thoughts to be irrational by treating them as such. Purposely go out without your phone just for a quick drive like to the shops and back. You’ll notice nothing bad happens, and by repeatedly ignoring the intrusives you’ll cement that into your brain until you eventually don’t find the thoughts threatening anymore.
I found this blog two days ago and it’s helped me so much :) I never realised how much panicking I was doing and now it really all does make sense thank you for running this blog :)
I’m really glad the blog has been of use even with admin downtime! Let me know if you’re struggling and I’ll do all I can to help.
Hey. I’m not a mental health expert by any means but I’ve noticed there’s a lot of worries about trans and gay issues. I am a fellow OCD sufferer- had it my entire life as far back as I can remember- and I’ve been following this blog a while, lurking but not really contributing or anything.
I’m not too public about it on my personal blog but I am a trans man, mid-transition, and I am gay-identified, engaged with another trans man.
If you get any asks or anything related specifically to any gay or especially trans issues, I would be willing to help with them with my real life experiences.
Thank you for everything you’ve done for me! Reading this blog has been a big help for both myself and my non-OCD partner. He’s my main recovery buddy, ahah.
Thank you so much for this! It really means a lot and helps to build up a community feel on here. I’m sure your advice will be helpful to many people. Good luck with your transition and if you’re struggling with OCD don’t hesitate to ask me for advice! :)