Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Personal Ramblings Issue #1

I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I don't want to misrepresent myself, so I should acknowledge that I've never been professionally diagnosed. However, I do have a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and close to four years of on-the-job training, part of which I spent working with the Severely Mentally Ill population as an out-patient therapist tasked with interviewing clients on their initial intake and offering diagnostic impressions for the attending psychiatrist at our clinic. My diagnostic impressions were often upheld and charted after the doctor met with my clients. I don't offer that fact as a means of pride, rather I mention it in order to establish some amount of credibility toward my self-diagnosis as a sufferer of O.C.D.

I didn't come to this decision lightly or in the hopes of appearing trendy or casually damaged. I would gladly trade every minute I've spent bent over the sink scrubbing my hands—worried that my contamination would negatively impact my children—for some mundane life in which I meant nothing more to anybody than a paycheck or a meal. The hours spent showering or attempting to control the world around me would have been much better spent scribbling with crayons or playing with action figures as opposed to clinging so desperately to soap and water. I remind myself of that every day, but in the heat of the moment, I falter. Life takes a backseat to cleanliness as the image of my family shrinks rapidly in the rear view mirror of my disorder.

Recently, I've found myself less concerned with my own well-being than I am with stemming the tide of my symptoms. I've been drinking more often than I know I should. That said, I haven't missed a day of work as providing for my family comes first a foremost. Still, I have to imagine that there's more to life than working ten hours in solitude, all the while dreaming of when you'll be able to go home and kick back a bottle just to negate the stress of the afternoon bathroom visit during which you washed your hands for ten solid minutes. It all seems so silly to explain, but living through it is a whole different matter.

O.C.D. isn't just a part of me these days, it's who I am. I mean, sure, I like to write poetry and play music; I entertain friends and go out on the town every once in a while, but absolutely none of that happens without first considering the artificial limitations of my disorder. And what's worse is that I realize how all of it is self-imposed. No one in my life expects anything more of me than simple mediocrity. I make an average living, I live in a modest home. I drive a mid-range, fuel-efficient car. I eat fast food regularly out of familiarity and cost-efficiency. I am so incredibly “normal” that I oftentimes feel like my existence doesn't even matter. Couple that feeling with the unnecessary impulse to avoid contact with most of the people and objects in your life and, soon, life begins to lose its meaning altogether.

Why do I exist if I am physically unable to make a difference in the lives of those I love, given my self-created limitations and boundaries? Why do those boundaries exist at all if I am able to recognize them as self-created? Why am I unable to overcome those limitations in spite of all of that? My mind races with these questions, uninterrupted by any sufficient answer or convenient compromise.

In the end, I suppose there is no definite answer. Sure, there are medications and psychiatric treatments available. Sure, there are support groups and therapeutic strategies. And while each of those options are most definitely clinically accepted and typically prescribed, I still feel empty somehow—like I'm missing out on the authenticity and validity of life by accepting the fact that I need such help. Like being “normal” is a goal to achieve as opposed to being the natural state of my existence. And, in the end, this confession means nothing. I'm not looking for help or sympathy. While I most certainly entertain thoughts of suicide, I feel like such thoughts are an unfortunately common occurrence for most people these days and I also know that I would never act upon such ideation. And I'm not as constantly depressed as this diatribe might make me seem. I'm generally a happy traveler through this life who just wanders into very dark shadows from time to time.

I suppose, if anything, this whole narrative is just me revealing a part of myself that I don't typically describe in such detail to the people in my day to day life, just to get it out if me. If you've taken the time to read this, thank you. As I've already said, there's really no purpose or meaning behind any of what I've written here. I just felt like being honest for a little while tonight.


"I entertain friends and go out on the town every once in a while, but absolutely none of that happens without first considering the artificial limitations of my disorder." You sound more like a single guy than a family man. My own OCD need to point things out, even when they have no significance to you.

It's a disorder that you can control and it flares up when things are out of control. My husband has bits and pieces of the disorder. Like when he has had a bad day at work, the food on his plate cannot be touching. If I am a cruel wife, I make them touch and he get nutty, enough to make me laugh at him. It really isn't funny, but we have to see humor in things that are straightforward.

I wish I could say something kind or comforting, but I don't even know you. Good luck! I hope you can find some relief!
Tina - "You sound more like a single guy than a family man." That's a very accurate assessment and it's part of the problem. I tend to work late hours or (very rarely) go out on the weekends because I feel very limited in what I can do at home. I actually don't enjoy my time out very much. I know that probably sounds dishonest, but I do it more to distract myself than to have fun. And as for wishing that you could say something kind or comforting, it's not necessary. This honestly isn't a "fishing-for-sympathy" sort of post. These are just things that I'd like to be able to say out loud in front of people who do know me, but I choose not to because it just leads to awkward conversations. Thank you for reading, though. I truly do appreciate that.
understanding ourself is probabiy the biggest question we can try to answer..and one i suspect will collide with life's journey and leave us all somewhat unsure as to the meaning of our lives and the reasons we acted the way we did
escorial - I agree with that completely. And what's funnier is that we already realize it and will probably still end up that way in spite of already realizing that.
one thing i believe.. a good or bad life... wether a short or long life...we all effect the future
I've never been diagnosed but it doesn't take a psychiatrist to tell me I suffer from depression. It's why you may see me in what I like to call "the depression threads" so I can assure people they are not alone. And, of course you're not alone either Josh. Take that to heart.
Thank you, Mustard. And on that same note, you are not alone either. If my experience working in the mental health field taught me anything, it's that my problems aren't as bad at what some people have to deal with everyday. It's easy to sometimes lose sight of how lucky we actually are in the face of our own troubles.
Escorial does make a valid point, though. It is best for anybody to at least be aware that there won't literally always be someone around. We all have to go through times when we're by ourselves with no one else to lean on. If we try to trick ourselves into feeling like that's not the case, it sets us up for disappointment. However, it is reassuring to know that there are places and people to turn to in our times of need. Both facts are important to keep in mind.
Mr M....just having human contact with loved ones or anyone can help so much but deep inside us is the need to be at peace within ourselves and often without being unable to stand alone and say this is me then we are probably just going through the motions of being at one with the world we live in
Seems to me that writers, indeed all creative types, live with sensitivities of such an intensity that causes most to suffer emotional turmoil, be it depression, OCD, Aspies, whatever. There are no cures, there is no magic cure-all, but for me, places like this help.

Life eh?

Good luck with your's.
Thank you, dither. I've often wondered if me being a "creative" type has made me more prone to such disorders, or if it's the other way round and my creativity is just a bi-product of an imbalance in brain chemistry or what have you. It's an interesting notion.
I've often wondered if me being a "creative" type has made me more prone to such disorders, or if it's the other way round and my creativity is just a bi-product of an imbalance in brain chemistry or what have you. It's an interesting notion.

Interesting concept, I read your blog this morning and thought about your words today while working. I am on the other end of the spectrum with no more of an explanation as to why I have such a positive out look on life and I am confident and happy. I point to my faith, which kind of leads to an optimistic view. But there may be far more to it than that. I have no idea why I wake up happy and ready to conquer the world and at the same time the next guy wakes up and wonders if the world is going to kick his ass today.

I want you to know that I can't explain in scientific terms my out look on life any better than you can. We both know how we feel, we both know what our response to things in life are.

Just thought you might like to know what's on the other side of the fence...Bob
my view, is that creativity, or the level of, is, to some extent, dictated by how sensitive a person is, or not, and i go along with the chemical imbalance theory.

Platicweld, maybe you're just high on the stuff that some of us seem to be lacking in.
It could be a lot of things. Maybe it's the creativity that causes the depression, or more likely vice versa. One thing for sure is that we all cope with it in our own unique way. Escorial is absolutely right on that count.

And Dith, this place helps me an awful lot too. :smile:

Blog entry information

Last update

More entries in Creative Writing 101