Someone recently asked if I think about my disease 24-7 and, if so, whether doing so is perilous to those around me. In this case, the disease is OCD and the addictions that go with it.
Let me try to take a stab at addressing that:
I don’t think my disease should define me and keep me in a box. But it’s also a major part of who I am and how I tick. Writing a blog that focuses on that probably amplifies things. But I see some necessity in it all.
Like any person with an addictive personality, I have to have it on my mind around the clock because if I stop thinking about it I forget it’s there. That’s when I get sloppy and sink into the bad behavior.
The OCD part is a little more complicated and maybe even a little contradictory.
Since OCD is largely a disease that triggers destructive over thinking, you would think that the goal is to teach yourself not to think so hard. In some respects, that is the goal. But it’s about not engaging in thinking that snags your brain like the scratch in a CD does to the laser. It’s about never forgetting that the disorder, like addiction, is nearby doing push-ups, ready to kick your ass when you get too comfortable.
I’ll admit that I’m not even close to having this stuff in balance. But to those who think I focus on my disease at the expense of all else, I disagree. The me of today is a deeply flawed animal. But go back and meet the me of five or 10 years ago and you’ll meet a monster. A wounded monster. Everyone is probably better off with me as a flawed animal. I’m less harmful that way.
That doesn’t mean I should tell everyone to fuck off and carry on with no regard for the needs of others.
I need to keep working on being a better husband, a better father, a better friend and colleague. I’m never going to be perfect. But I can be better. If I have to think about my disease 24-7 to keep getting better, so be it.
I also think it’s necessary to remember my disease so I can be be more helpful and supportive of other people dealing with their own diseases — not necessarily cancer and the like, but everything from work stress to a loss of identity.
Am I pulling that off?
I guess that’s a question only others can answer.