I remember days when my brain worked like a manic assembly line, working, working, always working– and not in a good way. Those days, I’d carve out time reserved for obsessions, for list-making, for mental reassurances. Car rides were killer– especially those long stretches on boring I-90– and could throw me into panic mode. At night, I’d lie awake in bed, drowning in circular thought.
And that was the thing: my mind was racing, but it never got anywhere. Ten minutes or an hour or a week later, I’d still be chewing on the same things, exerting so much effort for no gain.
I was programmed. When there was a moment, a pause, a hesitation, my head would fly to a dark place. And then it would battle its way back out. Over and over and over (and over and over and over and over and over …). So useless, so fruitless, and so much energy spent, so much time wasted.
The by-products of OCD are not worth the efforts.
These days, my mind is still working hard– but in a good, healthy, productive way. I listen to audiobooks while I get ready in the morning, in my car, while I exercise, as I fall asleep. I let the wonder of literature engage my mind and thoughts, and it feels healthy, like solving a difficult puzzle or marveling at philosophy. I write every day– blogging, poetry, my novel– and it’s like climbing a mountain. My brain is a muscle, flexing and growing stronger. My conversations with friends are deep and meaningful and far more important than just seeking out temporary comfort.
When thinking hurts in a bad way, you need to re-wire your brain.