Such an interesting post on this same topic on ocdtalk’s blog!
In my story, Neely discovers this concept through a brochure in her psychiatrist’s office, but in my own life, it came out of NOWHERE. (God??) All I’d ever heard of it before was from a friend with an eating disorder who called it “Ed” and talked about it as something separate from herself. So I randomly started to do something similar, imaginging my OCD as a black dot.
In real life, people stumble into things, but most of the time in fiction, characters have to be forced. That’s why I altered my story a little bit as I told Neely’s story. I mean, how crazy is it to just one day start imagining a little black dot riding in the car’s passenger seat?!
Here’s another scene:
“My OCD wants me to think that thought,” I’d spell out in my head as I continued through the neighborhood, realizing that autumn’s chill had definitely hit Minnesota at full force. “It’s not actually my thought. I’m just the messenger.”
It was an awkward dance, one where I sidled up to the thought and tried to hold its hand. One foot in front of the other, a stealthy warrior on a tiptoed journey toward freedom.
“Oh, you’re along?” I said to the black dot that was jogging to keep up with my longer strides. “Well, keep up, won’t ya?” I “dressed” it in a child’s train conductor costume and laughed under my breath as it seethed in humiliation. “Chugga-chugga-choo-chooooo!” I said, pulling a fake train whistle above my head. “Aren’t you a cute little conductor?” It glared at me.
Another day, another walk, this time my little black dot in a Scottish kilt and a tiny tam beret. The day after, a doll-sized sailor suit and white sailor hat. It had toddled behind me, trying to keep a low profile, which was just fine by me. By the end of the week I’d landed on an outfit for keeps—a pink tutu with tights and ballet slippers, which my OCD hated worse than all the rest. I was bullying my bully, and it felt powerful. Whenever my mind started to race, I said to my OCD in its ballerina getup, “You there! Start twirling!” And so it would, even as it boiled with rage. “Keep on twirling!” I said with a smile. “I’ll tell you when you can stop … little one.”
I felt an odd sense of control that I’d never had before, not completely free of OCD, but like someone separate from it. I didn’t need to get my toes wet; I could stand on the dry bank, command my orders, and get back to work.
Isn’t it interesting that something that seems so crazy is actually what’s keeping an obsessive-compulsive from craziness? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept. Leave a comment!