The nature of OCD can be quite beastly. Any person who suffers with OCD, the harsher the more certain of this, will plainly attest to the fact that they would pretty much do anything, anything, anything to not have to deal with their OCD ever again. When you have this particular thing, this jaded yet undeniably unexplained illness of the mind, it feels like the most bothersome and unpleasant thing in the whole world. And when you don’t feel its insisting sting, then that is when you cannot even remember how terrible it all actually was. However, seeing as your mind needs to believe in some kind of a reality, more often than not you end up being stuck in an unmatched kind of a limbo, reaching for a gentle breath for all of its worth. This is a limbo which will of course differ in strength as it goes from sufferer to sufferer. It is intrusive, it is utterly opposed to your truest nature, the gut of your natural balanced being. Like the most disgusting trick has been played on your brain and to the point where you are left thinking, “what in the name of Christ is happening to me here, what has been happening to me for all of these years!!?” The way that it can interrupt the workings of a normal day-to-day existence is markedly discombobulating and it can cause a level of overwhelm and pain in a most real and bothersome way. OCD does not get its proper nod of respect – or disrespect rather for that matter – in recently being placed in the top ten most debilitating of mental illnesses. This is not even near being right in my opinion. In fact, it may well be deserving of a place in the top three regards the nastiness of its bear-grip over a person’s mind. Right below or roundabout the discomfort and discombobulation level which some people on the autism spectrum might feel. Again, it all depends on the severity of something when it comes to mental health problems – an open-ended book and one that often will carry with it a fine and settled looking cover. An even intelligent and artistically inclined cover, if you will. Put in a far, far simpler term, it is f*cked-up and in crazy kinds of ways. Yes, the larger part of you is distracted to a point of craziness, no second guessing that. You might not be crazy in the strongest sense and explanation of what being crazy truly does entail, but this is about as close to insanity as it gets on a mental level. A living, breathing, seething limbo like no other. Your gear shift mechanism for moving on with the next thing in your life is tragically caught on recycle and often placed on either reverse or fast-forward even, so your attention – and potential too – is wasted in the most agonising way possible. You cannot answer the questions that OCD makes your mind ask you to answer, but, no less persistent, it will try as though it was completely normal to do this. A sufferer isn’t used to any other way. The reason people find it so hard to comprehend what OCD actually is is most definitely owed over to the fact that every single brain is different at being unique, as I say, but also that the level of actual irrationality is not in another person’s brain but rather the sufferers. And the rest? Well, that is just pure and utter guff that your poor brain has to try and deal with as best it shan’t while blowing in the wild winds of rumination. Nobody can, nor should they have to understand and kind of craziness going on about the brain. Why would they have to be expected to either? Silence for an OCD sufferer can feel like some kind of a get-out-of-jail card, but also dangerous because you are so usually used to absolute mayhem in your mind, so then it can all get caught up again from the imbalanced part of your big brain constantly wondering why is it not being anxious anymore. It is almost impossible to explain OCD to the fullest extent and many people who I have spoken to about it have actually turned out to be intrigued by its hold on a sufferer, and that is a huge problem for a sufferer in and of itself, more that I can ever wish to try and explain. Imagine for a moment, if you can, having to tell the people who you care about the most in the world that you suffer with this thing which will inevitably take you and your relationships apart. Even ruin your life and take you apart at the seams. And all along, this is a thing which you have no interest in having for yourself. Not one single bit. A thing which frustrates you just as much as them in their having to witness it all. A thing which you have spent, and may well have to spend most of your life trying to fix. Not so easy, I’m afraid. I have written about OCD before in the high hope that I can unearth an explanation that might actually go about giving groundbreaking answers to the deeper laying of the subject in so far as the words that I choose to use can go that bit further in pinpointing what are the basic principles and problems that need to be ‘turned off’. It never happened, never happens, because OCD just need not be there. An OCD sufferer dreams of a day, a week, a year, a life free from over-thinking. And yes, people overthink, and that is why more and more people are admitting to understanding the ins-and-outs of OCD and its vicious cycle of pain even if maybe at its most basic level. But it is not enough for a sufferer to see this. Pain in numbers helps with nothing, really. A sufferer is left feeling isolated even if they are in a room full of friends and even if they are the clown of the party. A clown in more ways than just for entertainment purposes, it seems, when OCD includes itself. Mindfulness – how do you even begin to begin to apply mindfulness when your brain is too far gone with the suffering? Like you are literally climbing Everest even on your good days. A friend might say, “let’s go for a coffee and relax and take a break from study.” A severe OCD sufferer will have been all along suffering the same pain and stress before, in the middle of and after studying, so they are utterly lost as to what taking a break with a coffee even means. Their time is chunked up by constant stress, only how can they expect someone else to feel this? You do forget who you really are as a sufferer. Totally. And when you get that part of you back, rarely as it might turn out to be, you do see just how much of the real you you have been, and still are missing out upon. Also, people will want for you to ignore it and move on, but with OCD and all of its underlying and nasty intricacies, that is not a choice. You have to not only adhere to certain relabelling tactics, etc., but also have to treat it like you are actually somehow studying a goddamn masters in OCD. And the only way of passing is by your inevitably slaying all of these ghosts of rumination. Hard to understand? Yes I know. Always have done, because I cannot understand it. Seeking perfection to the sad, sad point of causing yourself utter imperfection. It is okay to be imperfect, of course it is, but this imperfection is paining, draining and also debilitating. Wound-up with no real steady place to go might be how a sufferer will try and explain their plight on being asked, and it most certainly is a plight, like no other perhaps. Gain an outer perspective on an inner experience, the impartial spectator, the part of our mind that can look at our inner experiences and step away from it – Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz says this, a world-renowned doctor of OCD and the brave man who trained Leonardo Di Caprio to play an OCD-addled Howard Hughes in the film The Aviator, and to the excruciating point where Di Caprio still admits to having problems with traits of OCD to this very day. Good acting? Yes. To his detriment. Absolutely. I actually got to speak with Dr. Schwartz when he did a speech about OCD in Dublin, family in tow. I also watched the film while in hospital – yeah, the fact that I had to go to a hospital to try and fix my OCD still boggles me but such is life with a mental illness, and yes, it is a mental illness as much as it might pain me to say it. How odd a thing is that though, huh? Sitting with other OCD patients and seeing this film about a propelled case of the very same thing that we were all going through only in our completely separate ways. An OCD sufferer knows, but neither enough to get away from it all. Impartial spectator. Yes f*cking please!! This is a fight both with and for your daily silence. Everything is goddamn emphasised to a paralysing point and, what’s more, against the utter will of a person’s real wishes based upon reality. No doubt about it above all else but your brain is betraying you like you can almost very nearly not imagine. Although unfortunately that is exactly what you are doing – imagining it all. Sticky situations do not really come stickier than OCD when it has its claws dug deep and within someone. Take note and look after your mental health. Eat that motherf*cking banana, take that goddamn ridiculously long run, and know, know, know that you got this, even when your very own brain has you believing the opposite.