I’ve been on my phone a lot during lockdown. I’m aware of this and it annoys me. I try to curtail my checks but the little voice in my head often wins out. Just one more scroll through my social media accounts, another glance at book sales, a quick nosey at the news headlines or coronavirus death toll. I often give in when I know there is other much more relevant stuff in the real world I could be doing. As I said, this annoys me.
It’s just another aspect of the many headed beast that is addictive, obsessive behaviour. I struggle with moderation, my brain cannot apply the brakes or flick the off switch as easily as others might. It’s a double edged sword. When I launch into a project I tend to dive in with both feet and give it everything I have. That’s probably why I’ve run ten marathons and am now starting work on my third book.
I often wish I was wired differently. It would make my life a whole lot easier. But I am who I am. I try to moderate my behaviour with medication and talking to Fionnuala when I’m faced with a niggling urge or unwanted thought. But sometimes I keep it bottled up and the pressure builds until I think my head is going to burst. The beast unfurls within my stomach and it’s icy tentacles grasp at my tightening chest.
This is OCD. Doing something you don’t want to do but feel compelled to in order to ease the building panic and anxiety within. If I don’t check my Twitter feed religiously, I could miss a potential sale. If I don’t get 100 likes a day on a blog post then I’m a writing failure. If I don’t…if I don’t…if I don’t. These words beat a relentless rhythm through my head as I struggle to juggle competing priorities and demands. It’s an endless war of attrition.
They say a watched kettle never boils. Well, I can’t afford to take my eyes off the stove for a second. For if I allow the contents of my mind to bubble over, who knows the damage that might be caused. Scalding, scarring, searing through flesh and destroying anything it touches. These are the thoughts that race through my mind like a runaway train, hurtling towards the end of the track, where devastation and destruction await.
Perversely all is calm and tranquil on the surface. I come across as day dreaming. You might ask me a question and I’ll not answer. I’m a million miles away, waging a brutal battle against an unseen enemy, going toe to toe in the trenches. There can only be one winner and no parley will be called for or given. OCD is a dirty fighter, it does not abide by the rules. It is seductive and vicious in equal measure. It knows no boundaries.
I must always be on my guard against its lies, for it argues that excess is the key to success. Excess can be good for you cannot give or love enough, right? But it wraps me up in a Gordian knot of selfish strands that envelop me within a web I cannot cut my way out of; even with the sharpest of blades. I writhe and wriggle in vain, awaiting the coup de grace, where the beast sinks into venom into my veins. Obsessive thought. Compulsive action. Repeat ad nauseum.