I’m going to share some of my imaginary book. This chapter is in the journal section and is entitled ‘Relationblips’
I used to sweat like crazy, partly meds, partly anxiety. Rivers. So, relationships? At all possible? No because my relationship OCD would be so overpowering even before I got there. Therefore, obsessing was ripe and my ‘affair’ would be rumination (part of the same compulsion of mental argument) about the person’s loyalty and my own loyalty, finding ‘answers’ to this, and I would also be arguing with myself as to whether I carried myself and appeared okay, the latter being a compulsion until recent times. Everyone does I know, but let me explain, I’d be obsessed with my partners’ safety – over-protective to a compulsive degree. Sometimes it was clear that I was ‘obsessing’, other times it would be a very private affair. I had it more severe in more recent years, though, with a potential mate. The story was that I was not interested… the truth was that I was genuine but distracted by my condition therefore, too preoccupied.
There have been a few times throughout my life when people have presumed I am high on drugs like cocaine (as I appeared charged up due to anxiety) as well as weed (as I appeared dopey due to fatigue and a delusional feeling). It is a real shame that I was not (for the most part). The internal conflict and anxiety years ago was just chronic. Say if I had an obsession to ‘answer’, the conflict would cause sweat and confusion, and that is the least worse symptoms. Imagine being in a night club, which is stressful already, and then having an obsession feeling like a conflict, becoming totally preoccupied, the only relief getting as wasted as possible. For the most part I started smoking as a stress reliever as soon as I could (not to be cool like my peers). This is accurate because I remember thinking my auntie smoked ‘cos of her problems so perhaps it’ll work for me. I was right, it did help the anxiety. Any immediate relief was welcomed. I’m not saying others don’t use these things as stress relievers too, but I am accurate, for me it was purely that in those moments, I remember thinking these things and nothing else, many a time.
I used to drink a lot. Drinking gave me some relief, some fun times, but not all the time like others. My relationship with alcohol has been varied I have had the pleasure, but short-lived and bizarre. I, however, feel that upon my initial diagnosis of OCD at twenty-two, I should’ve embraced sobriety and become a hermit in a tree, but let’s not have regrets as this future to come is the only future I am destined to have. Spiritual again… perhaps I should travel to Holy Isle.
This section is about relationships, so let me explain, by the time I sought out a girlfriend, I was rather ill, I wasn’t fully aware of it, but selective mutism was the least of it. I could not pay attention. I simply could not. I didn’t know it was mental illness, but deep down I knew something was up. Because of the diversion of the obsessions I was very much ‘compulsively happy’ instead of being calm, happy and trusting like I am a lot more so now. I applaud my efforts but upon reflection, understandably did not succeed at living a functional life. I did not want to lose my virginity, any more than I neededto find an answer to an obsession, or attempt using alcoholism as a relief from my condition. Not many knew of my struggle, as I was a nice person who was a bit weird sometimes, and of course ‘happily compulsive’, nevertheless amusing when intoxicated. We are talking about young adulthood here. When I’m calm confident assertive and caring, like I am a lot more nowadays, I’m a really great guy. I just couldn’t tap into that sh*t. I just couldn’t there was no way the doubt stream was giving me a break. I did split up ‘because of me’, it was no excuse, and I did not understand what was going on in my grey nut, keeping mental illness ablaze, therefore, could not explain that I did. Of course I ended things with old girlfriends, with subconscious intentions to fight my illness.
Often short-lived through alcoholism and bizarre at times. Nevertheless, I tried what I thought we deserved with someone I found attractive. I was wrong, it wasn’t what we deserved, what I deserved was treatment. What I am getting at is that despite honourable attempts, nothing resembling a relationship or a fling was possible and I wish I had realised what mental health was about and trusted my instincts that something was seriously wrong with me. There is no point in having a partner if I am anxious about the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘should haves’ all the time. There’s no point if mental health is just going to decline and ignoring it does not work. Perhaps I was still on the same desperate belief I had way back in the beginning, perhaps I was hoping I’d ‘snap out of it one day.’
Of course, we never know what may be around the corner and one can fall in love instantly when we least expect it and in another dimension, my experiences would have been fruitful. I regret I wasn’t there, in the moment, doing all the things I could do right now free of my condition. Many opportunities for happiness fell from my grasp. But, right now I’m happy with the way things are going to play out.
My parents were very good-natured and supportive. There is autism and mental illness running through my family, this isn’t a problem as if I wasn’t so ill I could have communicated more effectively with them. Alcoholism and emotional problems were present in some respects but I do not feel they were a cause of my problems any more than cancer may be caused by various combined factors. Causes of a lot of mental illness are inconclusive; huge chemical imbalances, I’m undecided whether they are a cause or result probably a result more so than not in my opinion, therefore, environment and genes are causes as is the fact that everyone interprets experiences differently. I definitely have chemical imbalances such as when I would go selectively mute: the feeling, no one gets that anxious to have to do that.
Many people are emotionally unstable and if I were not so far gone, I would have rectified my relationship with my parents during my teens and had a much less miserable time as a result. I do remember OCD in particular suddenly appearing in the final year of primary school, man I was so clever to hide it. But even then I knew it was irrational but knew nothing of mental illness to be able to explain it. It was brewing, but I’d never had obsessions like that before – I was quick to hide it. Yea I know a mountain to climb for a kid. As OCDers, we often know how irrational our obsessions are which is cursed. Therefore, the only benefit of a more emotionally aware family was the fact that we may have realised I was hiding it and we would have got a diagnosis before I went off to live on my own, only because I would have really liked my mother to experience my good mental health before she passed away. This is no one’s fault. I’m a master of disguise.
The main problem observable by my family during my adult life is that which is elusive, mischievous, deviant and tedious: the gambling addiction. I admit that it has gone on until the release of ‘mental blocks’ in recent times. It switched and mischievously hid, restricting my ability to actually work on my mental health. As I review this, I am ready to write the final section of my book, which is best to be written after addiction has completely gone and mental health is the only priority. It is, like I imagined, far easier to sit with the core feelings, and appreciate freedom, now I am not ensnared by the addictive urges and storylines which dictated my life to some extent. A year on now since I started writing, the addiction has only just completely gone. I’m not seeking reassurance or exaggerating, it truly has gone now. Therefore I am able to write and meditate with purely pure intentions. I may have been a master of disguise growing up, but now I can be a master full stop.
New joys are sobriety and mental health. All views are subjective, what someone thinks of you is part of their thinking, therefore it doesn’t define you.
The art gallery – how interesting. The doubt stream tried to take up full bandwidth. I persevered and read about a few things. But I needed to create head space for the doubt stream, I couldn’t turn it off. Blown up ‘guilt’ was there…