Pure-O. Entry 01: The inner world of OCD

It sits on your skull, shuffling and wriggling its hind quarters until safely nestled on the most sensitive places imaginable in and around the cranium’s pressure points. Burrowing deeply, its safety clamps strategically latch onto key locations surrounding the brain’s activity hub. The filter, the barrier, between inner awareness and outer experience, is infiltrated, tampering intermittently with the distinction faculty, which allows one to distinguish between that which is inner and that which is outer.

At some point shortly after onset, intense fear engulfs your field of awareness and permeates your consciousness like water would a sponge. Squeezable, yes, but, perched precariously on a rock at the base of a waterfall, little time passes before full saturation is reached once more.

Your train of thought begins to cough and splutter, and heavy rumination starts to take hold in a foggy inner world that becomes murkier by the second. Your attention snaps with an abruptness akin to that of glass unexpectedly shattering behind you. One, a not unpleasant meander of fancy carries you off for a moment. Two, further indulgence in said fancy before an association takes you elsewhere. Three, SNAP! You’re right back where you started and circularity of thought has taken charge.

Horror, sheer horror, with dollops of dread and lashings of distress on the side, begins to invade, scorching the psychological earth of your inner sanctuary. Imagery comes thick and fast, waves of atrocities playing themselves out before your mind’s eye. Located at the epicentre, you look on helplessly, distraught at not being able to switch it off. It rages on, relentlessly battering your psyche, all the while tap, tap, tapping at your conscience’s door. And it aches, your conscience, but you know this isn’t you, that it’s just your misfiring mind playing devil’s advocate, that it’s playing out in your head and nowhere else.

Guilt nonetheless overwhelms you. How could these intrusive images and utterly objectionable thought patterns be allowed – how could YOU allow them – to take up residence in your head?

Much time passes. It’s not uncommon for 10 years to elapse before you’ll fully understand what’s happening to you. Furthermore, there are a great many people who’ll never be lucky enough to have access to the information required to get a foothold on the illness. These people believe themselves to be evil or think they’re the only one with these problems, and this is a most unfortunate situation.

To those lucky enough to be informed, however, alleviation and help are out there. One must ask, though; so please, reach out and ask, and if nothing else it’ll be a temporary distraction, and I sincerely doubt that your situation will worsen upon getting yourself into the ever-improving support infrastructures that exists out there.

Down the line, hopefully not too far into your battle with OCD, purely obsessional OCD, or whichever particular strain you’ve been inflicted with…down the line, a time will come when you begin to quash the reality that that aberrant sector of your mind has been presenting you with. It is an unreality; of that, there is no doubt; and in moments of quiet reflection, when the arms of tranquillity embrace you, you’ll regain that confidence in yourself, that sure-footedness required to trust your ability to distinguish the outer from the inner, and you’ll realise that you never even lost it in the first place – it was merely hiding somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind while you were busy in a state of hyperalertness, busy ensuring your loved ones were safe, patrolling what you perceived to be the very busy and dangerous savannah across which they traverse in their day to day lives.

Your intentions were good. Always were, always will be. The early warning systems nature gifted you with are a little off, that’s all. So don’t be too hard on yourself, and with CBT or some other appropriate treatment, you’ll reclaim some, if not complete, control over that imaginative mind of yours once more.

In keeping with the theme of OCD, why not reread that last paragraph. You meant well. You always mean well. And in time, you will be well.

Comments 1

  • I struggle to fully express how eloquently this piece describes the second reality that I inhabit alongside the physical. I do not know whether or not my comment will ever be read, but thank you for this sense of belonging that i now feel, knowing that I am not wholly alone. It is written in such a way that i cannot help but feel as if the writer suffers from the same affliction as myself, or has achieved an understanding of our kind beyond that of any professional i’ve ever met.

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