Sunday, May 9, 2010

OCD: The Invisible Fence

I am a person who uses a lot of metaphor to describe how I experience the world. Never has an experience been so rich with metaphor as what I have been through with OCD. While each component has its own subset of descriptives, on the whole I compare having OCD to being a dog in a yard with invisible fencing. There is the illusion of freedom; life is right there, all around me, within my reach, I often think to myself. Yet, one little step outside of the prescribed OCD boundaries (i.e., the fenced-in area that my life has become), and I get a very uncomfortable reminder that my illusion of freedom is just that - an illusion.

The invisible fence of OCD is one of the most challenging and depressing aspects of the disorder for me. I realize that, if I merely thought differently, all of that could be mine. And I remember what it feels like to have it. But that is just like me; I want things accomplished now. I've had some critical epiphanies about OCD and how to manage it, so it should just be done now. If only it were that easy.

There is a way to escape the yard. I am searching diligently for the way out. Knowing what is beyond the invisible fence is both inspiring and depressing. I want it, and that motivates me. But I realize how simple it is for everyone else and how difficult it is for me, and that is really a downer.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very apt metaphor! I used to obsess that I wasn't enjoying the good things in my life enough, and I would ritualize by analyzing my every feeling, "Am I enjoying this meal fully? Am I truly appreciating my time off?" It was exhausting. To extend your metaphor--ocd is the collar that you have, and when you hit the invisible fence of an obsessive thought, you get a very painful shock of anxiety, so you have the compulsion to never leave the yard, in order to avoid the pain, and then you don't leave the house because that seems safer, and then you don't leave your room. And with the fence of ocd, you risk having the pain in order to do your ERP, because eventually you will take the power away from the fence by crossing it.