diagnosis

Eve Ensler writes, “I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it.”

And I agree.

To me, naming an enemy steals away some of that enemy’s power, and that is why I believe diagnosis is so important.

For years, I didn’t know what was wrong with me– only that I thought and worried more than anyone I knew– enough to think myself into panicked circles from which escape was nearly impossible. I couldn’t see this behavior in any of my friends, this dizzying chasing-of-my-own-tail beginning the moment I woke up. I was the odd man out, always stressed to the max, always teetering on the edge of something HUGE– heresy, atheism, a change in direction or pursuit, a redefining of my entire worldview.

But how can you fight against an invisible enemy? Since you can’t see the enemy standing between you and the mirror, instead you see yourself and the fight becomes personal. All the while, the real culprit is standing right there … only it is unnamed.

And then, the diagnosis arrives. OCD is named. There is a transfer of power, even if only minute. And the real war begins.

Anonymous, you feasted on me like a silent maggot,
until I was weary of the ugly business of waking up.
You fed on my tears, licking the salt off of
your fingertips in a greedy appetite for sorrow that
backed me into a boxy corner of paranoia
where I first learned your name.
My move.