Fireworks in My Head

I don’t like to write about this topic. Everyone has their own issues and they don’t need the added burden of mine. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) isn’t super rare, but we aren’t the type of people to stand out in the middle of the street and tell everyone about it.

My hope is that by writing honestly about it, that fewer people feel alone. The feeling of isolation is the worst part of the disease.

I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 18, but in hindsight there were signs of it very early in my life. I remember seeing a commercial on the Cartoon Network of Small Soldiers that deeply disturbed me. It is not unusual for a young child to be frightened by a movie, but it doesn’t go on for years.

That was my first brush with Intrusive Thoughts.

An “Intrusive Thought,” is an unwanted thought surrounding an action or image that the thinker finds horrifying. These thoughts can include suicide, murdering a family member, or something else that causes distress. The thinker doesn’t want to commit these acts, he is repulsed by them.

I would go through periods where the thoughts would be an issue, but not long enough for it to stop me from progressing through my life. When high school came around I also started to develop migraines, but we sorted it out through medication and chiropractic adjustments.

Things were looking up for me. I was dating a girl, I went to film school, and I worked freelance on a couple different films. However, the thoughts slowly crept in, taking more and more of time.

I’m aware that Intrusive Thoughts are irrational, unfounded, and outright ridiculous, but there is something enchanting about them. They seem more valid than your other, more measured thoughts.

I would liken them to fireworks. They shoot up in my mind’s eye and steal the show. Then it bursts with all the light, color, and spectacle, leaving me in the dark with the ash.

I finished film school without the girlfriend or the jobs. I feel like I’ve driven everyone way. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know that I injure people either intentionally or unintentionally.

At some point, I just stopped trying. For two years I just stewed in my own little abyss.

Now, I’m trying again.

The Night of Chopin

 

“Every transformation demands as its precondition “the ending of a world”-the collapse of an old philosophy of life.”

-Carl Jung

One night this week, I was lying in bed listening to something by Chopin.  I had heard the song before, but for whatever reason it resonated with that night. My shoulders relaxed and I could breathe deeply. I felt at peace.

It was a feeling I had never consciously experienced before.  I have been scurrying after one imaginary threat after another since I can remember. I understand the absurdity of reading a post about someone experiencing the baseline of average human behavior, but it marked a major turning point for me.

I have really struggled with various anxiety problems for awhile now with seemingly no end in sight, but now there is a clear path out. The best part of this whole experience has been that nothing external has changed. There have been no new medications, no change of locale, or anything like that. It an entirely internal battle.

I decided to start writing about my experience because I want to be definitive proof that you can get better. At my worst, I would always see other people with similar problems outrunning me in all aspects of life and it seemed as though they were miraculously healed one day.

I would like to document my recovery because you should not be ashamed of helping yourself. We all have problems that we need to overcome. The only way to find no problems within yourself is not to look.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

-Marcus Aurelius