This is a guest blog for The Secret Illness By Anonymous
Let me start at the very beginning.
Before you’re washing and washing and washing your hands over and over again. Before you’re touching your toothbrush until it feels just right and checking your car those last three times. Before you’re trapped in an OCD spiral and can no longer see your way out. It starts with a single thought.
You’ll be standing in front of the mirror, ready to head out … and then it will happen
A single, solitary thought will enter your mind. The thought can be anything – “maybe they won’t like me.” “Maybe I’ll embarrass myself.” Whatever it is, it’s always a halfway house between a thought and a question.
A gnawing, pernickety, anxious thought that most people would just ignore
But in that moment, standing in front of the mirror, you feel a wave of sadness. It’s a feeling you want to get rid of, so your brain tells you, “I’ve got just the thing”. All you need to do is walk back and forward in front of the mirror three more times and then like Dorothy in Oz clicking her heels, the thought will go away.
So you do, and then you head out for the evening and don’t think about it again.
That is, until tomorrow.
Tomorrow, standing in front of the mirror, you’ll feel sad again, but this time you won’t know why. All you’ll know is how to fix it. It’s simple really. Just walk back and forth in front of the mirror three more times and then you’ll be fine again.
So you do.
And you’ll do it again, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
The initial thought will be gone, the ritual will remain.
Neuro-linguistic programmers call this ‘anchoring’. The mirror becomes inextricably linked in your mind with people liking you. And it’s not just the mirror. There are anchors all over your home. Little anchors everywhere. A world full of anchors, each one keeping you down for just a little while.
But all those little whiles add up. All those little whiles together become a long while. And while you’re whiling away your days lifting lots of little anchors, you’re distracted from the bigger things – family, love, career.
While you’re whiling away your days lifting anchors, you’re spending less time on the things that really matter.
Because OCD is the thief of time. It’s the worst coping mechanism ever invented.
It starts with a single thought and spirals down a path of its own making.
So how do you get your time back? How do you stop living a Diet Life, which is just like a Life but without all the sugary goodness?
You have to let the anchors go. Let the anchors lift around your home and your neighbourhood and your world. Let the anchors fall throughout the universe, each one no longer holding you down.
Because when you lift the anchors, your ship can set sail.
It’s time to sail towards a better life.