Jonathan, 35, Kent, UK

I can affect fate.

jonathan-no-textI guess to some degree we all think we can. From actors wishing their co-stars “break a leg” or children wishing on a star, to the casual wearing of a lucky pair of socks or the occasional avoidance of walking under a ladder – we all sometimes do little illogical and superstitious things to make our lives a little better.

But what if you couldn’t stop and the little became a lot?

That’s how I feel, from the moment I wake, till the moment I fall asleep, every day. Every action I take is twisted by the belief that if it’s not done in a certain way then bad luck will come knocking on my door and the doors of my loved ones.

The real joke is that I’m not even superstitious.

I’m really not. I’m a realist and I know what I’m doing makes no sense. I know that the complicated collection of mental and physical rituals I’ve developed over time can’t change the course of random events. All the touching of certain items in certain orders while visualizing certain names and numbers brings no certainty of future happiness. I know all this. So why can’t I stop?

This is where it gets difficult. There is no way of putting it that doesn’t sound ridiculous.

It’s kind of like I’ve got my very own TV director and I’m the leading role in his warped little soap opera of my life. He’s always there, silently showing me how I should act each scene, take after take. I know that I could do the scene better by myself, that his direction is always nonsensical and often damaging to my idea of the storyline. But he’s always telling me, without words, just how much brighter my future (and the futures of all my co-stars) will be in the show if I just do it his way, and that if I don’t, well, the producers always take the director’s side don’t they?

I appreciate that this may be an awkward analogy for anyone who’s never experienced OCD first-hand, and I certainly don’t expect my experience to be mirrored by all others who have. What I do believe, however, is that we can all powerfully benefit by getting to grips with our own versions of this insidious illness, using whatever tools of expression we can.

I guess in the end my fate may be that I never truly rid myself of my director, but over the years I’ve learnt how to make each scene more and more my own.

It’s certainly a great help to read a site like this and see that there are others on similar sets, reading from similar scripts, but expressing themselves in very different ways and shining like stars because of it.

Categories: The Wall

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2 replies »

  1. I understand what you mean by being the reason for the actions around you. I feel the same way everyday. I used to do this prayer and I’m not even religious but I would tell myself if I didn’t pray for my friends, family, pets, etc that they would die and it would be my fault. I would do the same prayer every night and if I even thought about it and didn’t recite my prayer that it was even worse. I have to tell myself that this is not the case and that this is not my responsibility and I cannot be the one in control or assist in the fate of others. It’s a constant struggle and the only thing you can do is remind yourself of this. It’s not easy and I’ve had OCD for a long time now but my therapy and medication has helped me push my “OCD thoughts” aside easier.

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  2. A great analogy for magical thinking and how it plays a part in OCD. I’d never thought of it that way but it works really well. I get som wicked old magical thinking. Whole routines and mantras I have to carry out thr “right way” OR ELSE!!! Usually some terrible punishment from god or the devil or something, which is just hilarious since technically I tell people I believe in neither. The whole thing is NUTS and like some strange alternative dmension I’ve got one foot in, and the other one in the real world. So your post struck a cord.
    With this kind of “If bla bla bla THEN bla bla bla” magical thinking I think there’s some wiggle room with ERP and I certainly made some in roads with it since then. Unfortunately it’s not the on;y beast that dwells in my jungle. Others are less open to suggestion.

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