There are some days when, despite the on-going monologue (or should that be dialogue?) that’s thrashing around in my head, I find I am able to accept that there is a part of me that will always struggle with this thing called OCD. I don’t like it, in fact I hate it, but I accept it. And I understand that they are just the cards I have been dealt. My cards could have been infinitely worse. Then there are days like today, when I don’t know anything at all. When I can’t compose thoughts in my own mind without crying, can’t think about anything beyond the sadness. I am grateful that my tears are warm, even if they are salty. If they were cold it would seem worse somehow. I welcome the dehydration headache brought on by tears, for it distracts me from the thoughts. I can’t tell which is screaming the loudest, the depression or the OCD.
OCD is a bully. It makes you feel worthless, weak, pathetic, crazy even. It makes you do the very things that you don’t want to, It’s such a fucking snake, crafty and convincing enough to trick you into believing that it’s the only way to keep safe, to prevent disaster. It forces you to ignore all logic and reason in the name of a compulsion. It holds a gun to your head, all the fucking time. How many times have I wished that I could erase the settings of my own mind, restore original factory settings like some kind of external hard drive, clean up everything in it – even if it means losing my memories and myself – so that I could start again. OCD makes you feel small and insignificant. It turns living into a battle of wills, both of which are your own. It makes you hate the sunrise, despite its beauty, purely because you know it is all about to begin again, and you haven’t had enough sleep to function with a normal mind, let alone with one that has been hijacked.
Sometimes, I feel like nothing more than a vehicle for someone’s cruel little joke. Let’s see how far we can go with this one. Will she really take her trousers off on her own door step, in full view of any passers by, in the name of contamination? The answer is, of course, yes. And I can’t even describe how much it hurts to know that about myself, because I am smart. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a genius but I am smart. I have a decent level of intelligence and I like to think that I am fairly open-minded. I despise the blind acceptance of ignorance of any kind, not only because ignorance needs nothing but itself to breed, but also because, at the root of all hatred is ignorance. Why am I saying this? Because I am trying to demonstrate that I am of sound mind. Compos mentis. And yet I allow myself to get tricked into this.
And I guess it’s precisely because of that, because I do know better, that I find it so incredibly sad. I feel used. And I hate myself for not being able to say no to this. I hate myself for giving in, time and time again. Stand up to the bullies! That’s what they say. Try standing up to this one. Every minute of every day, no breaks, no on-call room to find refuge for a few hours before the next exhausting and soul-crushing shift. Because even when I sleep I see blood, and even in my sleep I can’t accept it – I am afraid and I am frightened. And those are the days that I wake up wondering if I have contracted HIV through my own thoughts. And that’s pretty terrifying.
I begin to lament the waste, the waste of the years that I have spent locked in battle with my own mind. What’s worse is that I am fighting a struggle of my own making – so how dare I be so sad? There are people fighting battles with real illnesses. Illnesses that are eating at their own body, illnesses that force loved ones to watch them rot away. How the fuck dare I talk about my own struggles? So, on top of the shame, the worthlessness, the dead hope, there is the guilt of knowing that I do this to myself. And that’s when I start to question the point of me, and I begin to wonder what it’s all been for, what have I really brought to this planet? I have made myself miserable. I have made others miserable on my behalf. And for what? Blood? Life? Death? What?
And I know I am not alone. There are so many people living with this fucking shit. And I’m not just talking OCD, there is a spectrum of anxiety disorders, mental illnesses, disorders of the mind, that keep people in prison for so much of their lives. One of the greatest keepers of our existence, one of the greatest gifts that evolution has given us – the ability to sense danger – has become our enemy. Nature’s protection, one that resides within all of us, has become confused and frightened. It has somehow slipped into the highest gear and now the gear stick won’t fucking budge. So what or who protects us now?
This is why we can’t leave mental illness to government, to bureaucrats, to management. This is why we must all help one another, in whichever way we can. Even if we can’t do much, even if it’s responding to a post in an online support group letting someone know that they are not alone. Even if we can do no more than just sit by someone’s side as they are staring into the face of hell, just so they know that there is someone outside of the nightmare, who will be there when they come back. Someone who will be there to say, ‘you are not alone. You are going to be ok.’
(Someone posted this once, and I thought it was perfect…)