I suppose this was the first writing I ever did about OCD, very shortly after discovering I had it nearly 3.5 years ago. Honestly I’d forgotten all about it until I just stumbled on it in the attic.
I originally wrote it in response to a request from an OCD charity for OCD poetry to publish on its website. They never did though. Perhaps it wasn’t Oprah enough for their sanguine tastes.
Anyway, I just realised it never got posted anywhere, so it’s your lucky day! …
<Ding> <Ding> “round 9123”
Gathering enough will and momentum to scale the ragged rockface of dread to upright.
The cannibal bastard wolves already clawing at the door.
I yearn for the time when they’d at least graced me with sleep.
No such meter now.
Will I face them with rage or serenity? Perhaps some new trick?
Or is today the day I summon the courage to become the man who KNOWS they aren’t real, that the fight’s in vain. Not today, never today.
The sickening interminable theatre of madness recommences.
Resentfully, tediously laying out the latest ground rules.
Beyond ridiculous but it buys me some time … if I’m lucky.
Refreshing to take some shortcuts, devote so little energy, a big 2 fingers up to the slavering demons.
Relegating them to their rightful place. A cheer goes up in the home stands.
But beware the now obvious trap – too little energy, slack convictions and it’s right back to square one, but with less gas in the tank now.
You’ve got to put them down with meaning, with heart. Make it count. Make it stick.
It’s done and I can deflate, savour the relief.
Awake a mere 10 minutes and already spent. How can anyone live any kind of life like this? How can this be normal? How can nature result in THIS?
Trying to shake off the clammering detritus, to deny it, to breathe and claim a normal day; knowing it’s only a matter of time till some sly broadside puts me down again.
A lurking word, an object, some devious association. Like minefields in quicksand. Like being hunted by a higher intelligence. Always faster, always many moves ahead.
An unwilling gladiator in an unwinnable combat I never signed up for. But I … must … fight. I should refuse to fight but defeat is simply unacceptable. This has become my life’s work now. A private masterpiece. No acclaims won, no critiques made. Just a vile unwritten epitaph lost in time.
Driving, got to find another gear, got to brutally compartmentalise the demons, bail out whatever I can, plug the rest when I get to dry land. Dreading a time when this insane game of multi-tasking results in disaster. What can I even tell them? People like me don’t belong in this world – we belong in some special institution where people understand, with no pressure, enough space, time, quiet, help? No such place exists of course, so for now I drive, redoubling my efforts, spinning plates.
The quiet, red-faced little man suffocating in the corner, transparent half smile failing to mask the galactic maelstrom erupting under the surface. No sanctuary to run to and put these fires out. Ignoring them feels like defeat, like permission for the bad to become real.
But they don’t, can’t understand. “weirdo”, “shy”, “not enough confidence”, “can’t be bothered”; recoiling at the obvious stench of negativity excreted from my wretched form.
Have any of these pretty people ever fought this hard their whole life? Have any of them had to be this brave? No medal for me, no pat on the back. Just contempt, rejection and loss. The gift that keeps on giving. They mistake pure serendipity for superiority. If only they could see me without this curse. I’d give them a run for their money. A turbo-charged mind, not wasted on shit, devoted to life.
This private burden is my only damned travelling companion now. No wait, I won’t be tricked into vile kindred association with this filth. There’s no overlap. This is not me. It’s a foreign body, a germ, sub-human. I’m so much better than all this.
Quantum physics says there could be a separate universe for every possibility out there. I dream of the universe where I am a well man. The wife, the children, the career. The things I’d do, the places I’d see.
The hounds don’t even have the class to afford me this desperate shred of stolen fantasy – my brief happy universe cynically torn down and burned around me, replaced by universes where every rotten permutation of every fear comes true. Christ – is nothing private or sacred now? Is there nowhere to run? Nothing that can be secreted away just for me? Everything sullied by cackling interlopers who never had any damned business here.
Humiliation and unfairness constantly acutely redefined.