Happy Independence Day, everyone! Interestingly, in the past week or two I have actually been experiencinglessfreedom from my OCD than I have in the last two years.
The curse words, the blasphemy are coming back … jumping to the front of my mind, just as they used to. Not sure quite what set me off again.
No worries, I am not freaking out. Much. I am employing the lessons I learned from cognitive-behavioral therapy, using my self-learned narrative therapy, praying about it, and managing. I have just felt so utterly free from it for so long that it is strange to have it all rushing back. I hate it, but this time I know how to handle it.
An excerpt that is very similar to what life has been like:
I was distracted from thoughts of Matt by the responsibility of “managing” my OCD for two weeks on my own. It felt as if Dr. Foster had noticed I had a garden hoe and then asked me to plow a ten-acre field with it.
I grabbed my iPod, threw on a sweatshirt, and walked around the neighborhood, treading the sidewalk with purpose as I re-exposed myself to the audio track and whatever muddy thought was slopping at the corners of my mind. I felt like a new teenaged driver borrowing the keys for the evening, entrusted with my own mind and eager to show myself competent. “Fuck,” I muttered under my breath when there were no other pedestrians near me. “It’s just a word.”
“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.