Rain, 53, Texas, USA

OCD is like looking for one purple grain in a bag of white rice.

rain-no-textOCD, let’s talk.

No, I’m not trying to be funny.

I have OCD and the amount of brain energy used daily could light up Canada for a year. It truly saddens me when I hear phrases such as “suffering”, “thoughts of hurting myself”, “an embarrassment to myself or my family”.

For me, it’s daydreaming, and on such a wide scale that I often believe that the task I need to get done that day will have already been completed. Have I told you that I’m a world traveller? That’s right, my daydreams have taken me to every continent around the world! The adventures are mighty, from elephant rides in India to deep sea diving with orcas off the coast of Washington.

OCD suffering comes in so many forms, and if I had to try and explain it I would say something like this:

Pour out a 10-pound bag of white rice on a white floor and sift through until you find the one purple grain.

Managing one’s OCD is a whole different bag of grains altogether. Can you lift a 100-pound bag of rice for more than a few moments? Neither can I.

But I have found some ways to calm my OCD. Here are the five methods that have helped me:

1.  Walking – when I walk, I listen to all the surrounding sounds: the ducks flying low across the tops of the water, tree limbs moving with the wind, dogs barking at the ground squirrels. I listen with purpose, and when my brain energy is courting nature, my daydreaming is put on hold. This places a calming wash over my vibrating mind. I’m able to be mindful and focus on what is real and right in front of me.

2.  Audiobooks – I love getting lost in a good story, and I have found that when being read to by someone else, the pressure of repeating my thoughts is gone and my attention follows the storyline of the book.

3. Art – Creating takes mental focus and eye-hand coordination. There is something organic about paint on my hands and assembling cut paper works.

4. Cleaning – Stay with me now, I’m not talking about organizing or tidying a space. This isn’t ritual cleaning. I’m talking about spring cleaning all-year round. Deep cleaning my space redirects my daydreams into managing my chores.

5. Gardening – Digging, planting, seeding, watering and growing. You would think that having this quiet time to myself would be the perfect opportunity for a daydream, and you would be right if I were planting in patio pots. Oh no, my friends, we’re talking shovels, spades, pavers, and mulch. I have planted trees, built raised beds and push mowed my extensive backyard. My garden rules.

This all takes work, a lot of work. Just like any obsession, my habits run deep.

I have lost good jobs and friendships through my daydreams. Most days I find comfort in being alone, although I am never really alone. Not unlike an author or screenwriter, my imagination is the glue to who I am, and when the waves of doubt, anxiety and panic come, I open the door, invite them in and sit with them until they have had their say.

These thoughts that visit me are unwelcome. Make no mistake to be caged, even a gilded cage, is still a cage.

There is no cure for what I have, so this is me. Living an awesome ride.

Categories: The Wall

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