I was watching a trailer for a movie last night, one where a huge tsunami was bearing down on a Japanese beach. Initially it was a distant speck, barely visible to the thousands of sun bathers enjoying their day on the golden sands. An idyllic scene, where families laughed and played innocently unaware of the devastation about to be unleashed upon their lives. For when it hit, nothing would ever be the same again.
As it rolled ever nearer, becoming more visible, people raised arms to shield their eyes from the glare of the sun’s rays. A dull rumble steadily increased as the first panicky voices rose to meet it. Within seconds chaos replaced the previous calm, parents screaming for children to run, sun worshipers abandoning their belongings and sprinting for their lives as the deadly wave bore down upon them.
It was too late, they could not outrun its deadly surge. As it struck the city, skyscrapers collapsed like decks of playing cards, mighty suspension bridges wobbled like punch drunk boxers before succumbing to its overwhelming force. Bodies and buildings were swept away like twigs thrown from bridges into surging streams. The carnage was indiscriminate, old and young, rich and poor, all gone.
This morning I started work on a new chapter of my book. A chapter where the main character, Kirkwood, wrestles with obsessive thoughts and compulsions which threaten to sweep him away. His OCD is just like that killer Japanese wave, it’s incessant power blowing away all who dare to stand in its path. Call it what you want but OCD is equally indiscriminate. It strikes where it wants, when it wants.
There is no cure. Yes, the right medication and therapies can help. I am armed with a variety of coping mechanisms which allow me to function from day to day. Look at me and, on the surface, all is well. But I fight a battle every day. A battle to lock away the monster and ignore its seductive voice. A sugar sweet voice dripping with paralysing poison, a voice that means you nothing but harm.
It’s not quirky, it’s not a slightly eccentric character trait. It’s victims do not fuss about their spotless houses, checking that the oven is off and straightening bathroom towels. We don’t all have it, you can’t have a ‘little bit of OCD’ any more than you can have a ‘little bit of cancer.’ It is a living hell for millions of people, people who did nothing to deserve what has befallen them. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is no laughing natter.
It twists, it turns, it shifts shape on a whim, adapting to changing circumstances, always seeking to strike where you are at your most vulnerable. The unwanted thoughts are planted and nurtured, growing from tiny seeds into choking, suffocating weeds which destroy any last vestige of logic and order within your beleaguered mind. OCD sucks you dry until there is nothing left bar a shattered husk.
Today my head is above water, I cope and I function. I talk to loved ones, I write, I run, I take my pills. I’m not a survivor but I survive. Living my life the best way I can, but always with one eye nervously scanning the horizon for that telltale speck. The speck that heralds unprecedented horror and suffering, that reduces my meticulous defences to ruin. It’s out there….waiting. Always waiting.
What is your knowledge of OCD?
Do you struggle with unwanted, disturbing thoughts?
How do you deal with them?