OCD is not me; only a part of me has been a positive statement for many years. Recently, my OCD has increased, and I am having more difficulty focusing on what is needed. Also, the nerve damage inside my left eye, along with the left side of my body, gives me more pain than necessary.
So far, it is manageable, so I can write, get out to do food shopping and pick up my medications. Yes, I take all my variety of medicines as prescribed. When I wake up, I ingest seven pills and around 8:00 pm, I swallow eight more. Too many each day, and most importantly, they make me lazy and want to sleep more. However, at night I still only sleep but five hours.
Amazingly these days feel like a heavyweight boxing match between two longtime foes competing for the ultimate title. It is Howard’s OCD symptomatology versus physically and emotionally healthy Howard. Seems to be some confusion in my head. In the distance, a faint sound of someone tapping on a table their hardest by trying to get everyone to listen and pay attention.
Incredibly, now in front of me are legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer. He appears with OCD symptoms described by comedienne Ellen Degeneres on his left side and some wellness techniques accompanied by sports announcer Marv Albert doing the play by play on his right side. Yes, this is weird.
Suddenly, Michael Buffer starts to shout out his iconic five words: ‘Let’s get ready to rumble.’ Those five words have been his catchphrase for almost forty years. After hearing this over and over, it caused my OCD obsessive thoughts to take control, and I continued to make out the voices of Michael Buffer, Ellen, Marv, and those five words repeatedly.
Then, I got a jolt and immediately, I was awake. Chalk this up to another daydream. I asked: ‘Did I miss the morning hours of this beautiful day? No, I slowly proceeded to walk to the other side of my place and noticed it was 11:00 am. It was Friday, and I wanted to spend hours in the daylight. Then, I got my things together, had an egg salad sandwich, and went to a local park. It is located a few towns away, which is about ten miles from me.’
According to the news, the temperature is expected to be in the mid-70s and the anticipated arrival. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to see vast numbers of flags draped around the park. Spending two hours there lowered my OCD symptoms, and I was proud that I decided to go. Instantly, it hit me, OCD is not me, only a part of me.
Several hours later, I was relaxing listening to music or was my OCD thoughts returned, and I heard Michael Buffer and those five words again. Let’s get ready to rumble, plus the comments of Ellen or Marv Albert kept repeating over and over in my head on and off the entire day. Now I was awake, but my friend OCD was with me, and we were having a good day concentrating on my afternoon. Maybe, too much.
Thinking only about my OCD becoming quiet is not possible now. Instead, I would focus on the lovely sunny afternoon and remain calm because nothing terrible was going to happen to me. Once more, OCD is not me, only a part of me.
It was now almost 1:30 am, and I realised that I had been dozing on and off in the living room for many hours. The TV was still on to an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. So I decided to return to bed. Before that, I brushed my teeth, washed my face, turned off the TV and proceeded to my bed. One more round of Michael Buffer and the others, and I guess at some point, and I fell asleep. Many might have witnessed a joint event with OCD, where we struggle with our emotions and plough through. It hasn’t been easy, but we eventually will.
I hope my story serves as an inspiration for anyone who has OCD or any mental health issues. Like many others, I am resilient individuals who hang tough in the face of trouble and bounce back. Even sometimes, we return better than before. One day at a time. This will not be easy. Everyone, hang tough; we will survive our OCD. Anyway, I remember by drawing on my past experiences and saying to myself.
Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist in New York.