It’s one thing for me to declare over my blog to a primarily anonymous audience, “Dear obsessive-compulsives, this is what you should do.”
But then comes the moment when your friend says, “Hey, can you talk to my friend on Facebook? Here’s her name.”
It’s not that I’ve never been there before, the frenetic chaos of an obsession. I know what it’s like to feel that furious terror, to need to know that things will be okay. I get it. I really do.
But I know the other side now. I know that reassurances aren’t going to get this girl anywhere. Know that discussing her obsession is like clipping off the leaves of a weed, when what we really need to go for is the root.
In that moment– those wild minutes of obsessive pandemonium– it’s hard to talk calmly, to keep redirecting someone back to the idea of treatment, to feel like you’re doing them any good. In fact, you imagine they’re thinking, No, you’re not getting this. You don’t know what I need.
But I do. Because I do get it. Because I was there. Because I tried for years to put a quick bandaid over the cancer that needed to be cut out.
Breathe, I tell her. Breathe tonight, and then educate yourself tomorrow. It’s time to go for the root.