Living with obsessive-compulsive personality traits creates a certain stagnancy, an inability to let go of the perseverations and to untether one’s mind. My obsessions manifest in many forms – numbers, words, checking items – but of the most prevalent and highly distressing are my obsessive thoughts. An incident may occur, and the gluey tendrils of my brain grasp upon it and hold the thoughts in a chokehold where their sole mobility potential is to run in circles at ever-increasing rates. In essence I cannot let go; the tendrils are too sticky. An incident may be as simple as, I should not have said that word or phrase to another person, initiating a thought spiral of incomparable capacity, my brain beating black and blue as I perseverate on the perceived idiocy and inappropriateness of the comment. Another manifestation is a preoccupation with health issues. I imagine (unbeknownst) that I have different health ailments and conditions causing impending death. My compulsions? I seek constant validation in the form of question and response; however, no matter what answer I get – whether it is the “right” one or the “wrong” one – is never enough, is never sufficient. I can phone individuals forty times and never abate the feelings of the lack of control of my mind. The obsessions create within me an inherent feeling of badness. I am composed degenerately, housed with evil parts I wish to cast away as resultant of the guilt derived from the objects of my obsessions.
There are days where I wish I could cast all of the bad parts away – open my flesh, tease apart my organs, and grasp with surgical tongs the black tumors and cysts turning my body and mind sour. I know this is unrealistic, impossible. So what do I do with what I perceive to be my inherent badness? I realize I must recognize the source of these thoughts and perseverations. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. claimed the phrase, “It’s not me, it’s my OCD.” I find great comfort in the short verse, or mantra. It takes the focus away from the belief of inherent bodily and mental malfunction, but suggests that it is a biochemical brain function independent of one’s faculties as a person and composition of character. With this in mind, I find the empowerment to cast away the bad parts – rather, the thoughts and perseverations, as those lie within my locus of control. Similarly I relinquish control and conscious efforts to eradicate all thoughts, as they fight back with claws and teeth. Ignore them, and the teeth with rot and gums will recede, disarming and conquering through passivity. Some bad parts will stick; not all can be cast away. So what is the remedy for a sticky, gluey brain and psyche? Prayer, mindfulness, and meditation. Acceptance. Acceptance holds far greater power than is given credit. With mindfulness and acceptance, you are loosening hold on the rope, yet not letting it drop completely to the ground. The mind is calm, but there still lies a connection between the entities, for how can we persist in a state of defeat and still battle the unwanted residents?