Starting this blog has resulted in me engaging in a whole bunch of introspection. I’m learning so much about myself and my OCD. It’s been real. One of the main things I’ve recently realised is that OCD often causes me to be a control freak. Not in terms of people and relationships, but in terms of my surroundings. I feel anxious and panicky if I lose control of the settings around me, and that’s why certain situations such as loud surroundings, busy places, or a last-minute change in plans can sometimes make me feel very stressed. Anything that I haven’t accounted for can happen in those settings, from sick humans harbouring germs, to someone standing in something gross and dragging it inside, to someone in my company getting harmed. I’m always on high alert during situations that I wasn’t expecting.
However much I instinctively want control, life is just like Kanye West let loose on twitter; life has no manager…it can’t be managed (…expect more Ye quotes btw, Gemini gang). There are moments in my life where control – and therefore safety – is snatched from underneath me and there’s nothing I can do about it. Although these moments often induce an acute fight or flight response, they’re also sort of a weird relief. Imagine feeling so responsible for everyone and everything, and having to complete mental and physical rituals in order to maintain control, and then suddenly the control is just taken away entirely. I don’t have to feel responsible anymore! The rituals stop, the intrusive thoughts stop, and I’ve got space in my head to breathe. It’s hard to explain the logic (can we call it logic?) behind this thinking, so I’ma briefly outline five specific moments of surrender during which my OCD chills the f**k out:
Falling in love
Falling in love is terrifying. It literally has the word “falling” in it because it’s completely out of your control, and also because it feels like you’re falling down an escalator made entirely of knives, into a snake pit filled with burning hot lava. I’ve been in love twice in my life, and there have absolutely been times when I haven’t wanted to be in love but couldn’t help it. But that’s just what love does, isn’t it? It bends you over then yells “GIVE NO QUARTERRRRR”, before making you it’s bitch. You might think you’re in control of your feelings, my sweet mislead readers, but you’re bloody well not. Falling in love has always given me a wild sense of freedom. The control is whipped from beneath me like a glitching magic rug, and I surrender wholly to the oxytocin being pumped around my body. I wondered at one point during my early twenties whether I was a love addict, but I’ve come to realise that I just crave a sweet release from my brain, and love offers this to me on a heart-shaped plate.
Just like when we fall in love, oxytocin (which makes us feel close and connected) is released when we have sex. This, mixed with the animalistic, primal nature of sex means that my rituals stop. Right now, sat on my bed, I can’t think of a single time in my life that I have counted, repeated words, had the urge to clean, or repeatedly licked my fingers during sex (I’m pretty glad really). Perhaps I just haven’t encountered rubbish sex yet, during which distraction may be easier (maybe I’ve jinxed it now F**K). Basically, when sleeping with someone, most people surrender completely to the moment and stop thinking too much in their heads. We surrender to the hormones being released, we surrender to the pheromones of our partner, and we surrender to our bodies. For most human beans on earth, a break from thinking is probably a wondrous relief because we’re all just big meat-sacks full of anxiety really. Imagine this relief for an OCD brain, which almost never has a moment’s peace. It’s a wonder OCDers aren’t all shagging like hamsters on heat, considering.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Lots of scotch means one very sloppy, out of control Mim. BIGUP TO ANYONE WHO’S BEEN IN THE COMPANY OF DRUNK MIM BY THE WAY, you deserve compensation. Alcohol causes a break down in inhibitions for most people regardless of OCD, but for me personally, losing control of said inhibitions can be an intoxicating drug in itself. I give absolutely zero f**ks when I’m pissed. I lose control of my mind, my mouth, my volume, and (unfortunately) my taste in men. Loss of control of so many variables causes the ol’ rug to be snatched from beneath me again and I become drunk on relief. My brain becomes silent. I don’t wash my hands repeatedly, I don’t check my food and drinks, and I become (sort of) able to show affection towards human beans. I don’t binge drink very often these days due to my physical health, but when I do, good God it’s nice ‘n’ silent in my mind.
Depression can suck my butt. Depression – for me personally – has evolved over the years from an intense feeling of sadness, to complete numbness. I go through fairly hectic, fast-paced cycles of feeling depressed and feeling normal, and usually the depressive episodes don’t last very long. The last part of this winter was an exception however – an unwelcome plot twist if you will – with quite mild depression snowballing over a number of weeks into a big black hole of numbness. This was bloody terrible, don’t get me wrong…BUT…my mum always encouraged me to look for the silver linings in life. I’ve found that when the depression is at its worst – the OCD vanishes. Completely and utterly disappears. I think that this may partly be because I stop giving any shits at all in terms of the whole “lock the door three times over or you’ll die” because I’m like “FINE! TAKE ME, SWEET DEMISE. I’M READY ANYWAY!” So then the OCD becomes powerless, like in Harry Potter when they’re all learning how to conjure their patronus, and when they manage to, their biggest fear becomes obsolete. I think it may also partially be the whole ‘rug being snatched away’ scenario again. You know when you’re depressed and you spiral downwards and everything sort of blurs and disappears, and nothing seems important anymore? It’s that complete loss of control again that I’ve been talking about… Terrifying and yet sort of emancipating in some form.
The strangest and most surprising times that my OCD has given me space has been when I’m grieving. I think this shares a pretty similar explanation to the depression rug-snatch. What could possibly be worse than losing a whole human that you love and cherish? Absolutely nothing. So it makes me feel sort of invincible. Like a powerful farmer hobbling (powerfully) out of his crooked farmhouse made entirely of (powerful) grief to wave a stick and yell “GEDDORFFF MOY LAAAAND” to any problem which may present itself at the gate. Weird metaphor but you geddit right?
The various moments of surrender that I’ve outlined above both interest me and confuse me. I’d explain them to you in full if I could, but I’ve got no ruddy clue whether my guesses as to WHY this happens are legitimate, so some vague movie-scene exemplars are just gonna have to suffice. It’s all guesswork in this colourful little brain of mine I’m afraid.
Fundamentally, without OCD I think I’d be a pretty chilled human, so these little moments of surrender allow me to be my pure, unadulterated self. This is probably why I’ve fallen in love and partied as recklessly and as hard as I have in the past. Quite dangerous really, (sorry but I’m about to do a Twilight reference) SORT OF LIKE WHEN BELLA SEEKS DANGER SO THAT SHE CAN SEE EDWARD (I’m really sorry, I’ll never reference it again). I think searching for moments of quiet in my head has driven me to some unhealthy situations and scenarios in the past. I feel quite chuffed that I’ve realised this, as having this knowledge means I’m probably less likely to slip into any unhealthy habits when trying to avoid my neurotic alter-ego. I’m also very aware that these moments of surrender are only ever momentary. They’re like little flickers of relief, lasting between two minutes to two days. OCD always returns with a vengeance afterwards, as though it’s making up for lost time. This further adds to my knowledge that avoiding the OCD is unhealthy, and so adds to my reticence towards doing it on purpose.
So basically, I’m a simple kinda gal. I’m relieved when I’m sad and I’m neurotic when I’m happy. My OCD stems from a need for control HOWEVER when I do lose control, it’s f***ing great. Does that make sense to you? Nope, me neither.