Thursday, November 26, 2009

The strange cycle of suffering.

I bumped upon an old website I was searching lately, one that is a good and interesting read especially for people suffering from Pure-O OCD, although kinda long (but not too much). The primary piece of information from the OCD truth website that still intrigues me is actually one thing that I suspected and is the primary idea most people suggest on how to cope with it. The author has written it at least three times in capitals, it's the universal truth of OCD like he calls it and it makes me shiver thinking in what nasty way it brings sadness and suffering out of actual air (nothing).

The primary way to cope with it and avoid the cycle of bad thoughts is to try to have a different perspective than before. That's an interesting thing because I find even me, after so many years when it suddenly hits, to forget the basic rules and understanding of it. I forget it because then emotions talk to me and logic comes second. And when you tend to suffer, you tend to hear your emotions more than everything.

Pure-OCD suffering is about people having nasty dreadful bad thoughts that they never intended to have and feeling guilty about it. This is a very short description that doesn't cover up the whole phenomenon but it's just so to move to the point. So, what is the root of OCD? Is it the bad nasty thoughts? No. It's having guilt about it.

The basic rule says that in order to get rid of the repetitive cycle of unwanted thoughts in your mind, you have to accept keeping those unwanted thoughts in your mind.

And that's the point where it makes you wonder. You will say, all those years I tried to move away from them by creating rituals or trying to shut down my brain or other ways and you tell me that the only solution is to have them? I had reached to that conclusion years before reading this opinion and even finding out that what I have is actually called Pure-O OCD and more people are having it. That was the point that I reached, the fact that this thing was feeding by my fear and disgust about it. Like a twisted recursive cycle. The only point was that I couldn't believe it would work at the time, also it wasn't easy to persuade yourself to actually let your mind follow those disgusting thoughts you avoided like the plague. So, when it was just a suggestion that it was also hard (avoidable) to test I lost my faith on it, till I found that there is a psychological reality on what bugged me, described by others exactly the same way I figured out myself.

Another way to see it (and helps getting away with guilt sometimes) is to question yourself: What's the difference between people having Pure-O OCD and those who don't? Both can have any category of thoughts, from the nicest to the most gruesome, even if they are random unwanted thoughts. The difference is that Pure-O OCD people feel too guilty about some of the thoughts. Regular people just don't care. And that is one different perspective. You feel guilty because you think it's only you having these thoughts, because if regular people ever had these thoughts then someone would finally speak about it. But they also do, it's just that nobody cares or wants to share! Another thing that you might think is that perhaps you have the bad gruesome thoughts in a greater percentage than most people. One reason for this is that by feeling guilty about them your mind brings them in higher priority and the more you detest them the more they pop up like crazy. People not feeling guilty about their kind of thinking as you do, might still have some of the random bad thoughts among the good ones but they don't even scratch the surface. One very bad thought in fifty random thoughts just pass away in ignorance and fades away since it's unimportant.

So, your mind is not the place where thoughts are restricted. It is supposed to be an endless source of creativity, the place where anything can be imagined no matter how good or bad. So, why do we want to restrict our thinking? Personality? Ethics? Being too perfect about what is even inside our mind? Should our inner thought that mirrors our personality be the best ever, like we are some kind of saints? While I understand when people similar to me come and tell me "But I want to think good stuff, not making those thoughts that make me feel like I have an evil soul. Isn't it natural to want my thoughts to be pure?", the matter here is that things might get very helpful, revealing and actually interesting if we try to see things under a different perspective. I ask myself today, why do I bother with these thoughts anyway? I can't give a proper answer just yet..

Another interesting analogy of the perspective that people with Pure-O OCD might have is to think of someone who is in constant Weltschmertz (Just a word that I like, it means something like, pain about what happens in the world, sadness about constant injustice). He never gets peace. He wishes that one day all suffering, all hunger, all wars, all pain will come to an end. What he asks for is for all the bad things to vanish (in our analogy, we ask for the ugly thoughts to never happen again). Consider though, is our world ever going to be perfect? Are the bad happenings something that should be cast away in an eternal dimension like it's a demon or something that doesn't belong here? The alternative perspective would be to see the world as something that is made out of the good AND the bad things. To accept that there is a reason for even the bad things to exist. It's not like wishing for the bad things, it's like accepting that the world is not perfect and there is a reason for it. One can still aim for the betterment of the world while trying to find peace with it's current state. Now, how similar is this approach with the one of accepting any of your thoughts no matter how bad they are? In comparison with the initial perspective where you wanted to cast away nasty thoughts like they were some outer place demons?

That is the point of understanding. It's the easier part. The harder is to apply it. When you still can't allow yourself having these thoughts. When your logic tells you how nasty OCD works and how you should play clever, yet your emotions tell you it hurts your soul to allow these thoughts. How can you ever find harmony even with this new perspective?

I have to admit that I haven't found that harmony yet. Even if I am more confident about how it works and under which perspective I should cope with it. I partially try to not care about my thoughts and partially I somehow cloud them by trying to stop thinking or push every thought away and that would be not a good idea because it's like fogging my brain. It's not so bad as in the past though. Although it came back after a very long time recently (years?) and I am wondering whether my everyday life contributes in that too (recent deadlines with university assignments, too much anxiety and frustration). I am saying "contributing" btw, not being the root of it. When I am more anxious with everyday stuff, OCD finds a more sensitive emotive world to kick in. When I have a very good and confident mood, I have noticed that even the worse thoughts can't touch my feelings. Although usually it's not the second that is frequent.

It's just disturbingly amazing how that mechanism in your brain causes all this chronic burden. It's so ingenious that I hate it!

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page