THE OCD DIARIES, Two Years Later

by Bill Brenner on December 7, 2011

Two years ago today, in a moment of Christmas-induced depression, I started this blog. I meant for it to be a place where I could go and spill out the insanity in my head so I could carry on with life.

In short order, it snowballed into much more than that.

Mood music:

http://youtu.be/IKpEoRlcHfA

About a year into my recovery from serious mental illness and addiction — the most uncool, unglamorous addiction at that — I started thinking about sharing where I’ve been. My reasoning was simple: I’d listened to a lot of people toss around the OCD acronym to describe everything from being a type A personality to just being stressed. I also saw a lot of people who were traveling the road I’d been down and were hiding their true nature from the world for fear of a backlash at work and in social circles.

At some point, that bullshit became unacceptable to me.

I started getting sick of hiding. I decided the only way to beat my demons at their sick little game was to push them out into the light, so everyone could see how ugly they were and how bad they smelled. That would make them weaker, and me stronger. And so that’s how this started out, as a stigma-busting exercise.

Then, something happened. A lot of you started writing to me about your own struggles and asking questions about how I deal with specific challenges life hurls at me. The readership has steadily increased.

Truth be told, life with THE OCD DIARIES hasn’t been what I’d call pure bliss. There are many mornings where I’d rather be doing other things, but the blog calls to me. A new thought pops into my head and has to come out. It can also be tough on my wife, because sometimes she only learns about what’s going on in my head from what’s in the blog. I don’t mean to do that. It’s just that I often can’t form my thoughts clearly in discussion. I come here to do it, and when I’m done the whole world sees it.

More than once I’ve asked Erin if I should kill this blog. Despite the discomfort it can cause her at times, she always argues against shutting it down. It’s too important to my own recovery process, and others stand to learn from it or at least relate to it.

And so I push forward.

One difference: I run almost ever post I write by her before posting it. I’ve shelved several posts at her recommendation, and it’s probably for the best. Restraint has never been one of my strengths.

This blog has helped me repair relationships that were strained or broken. It has also damaged some friendships. When you write all your feelings down without a filter, you’re inevitably going to make someone angry.

One dear friend suggested I push buttons for a good story and don’t know how to let sleeping dogs lie. She’s right about the sleeping dogs part, but I don’t agree with the first suggestion. I am certainly a button pusher. But I don’t push to generate a good story. I don’t set out to do that, at least.

Life happens and I write about how I feel about it, and how I try to apply the lessons I’ve learned. It’s never my way or the highway. If you read this blog as an instruction manual for life, you’re doing it wrong. What works for me isn’t necessarily going to fit your own needs.

Over time, the subject matter of this blog has broadened. It started out primarily as a blog about OCD and addiction. Then it expanded to include my love of music and my commentary on current events as they relate to our mental state.

I recently rewrote the “about” section of the blog to better explain the whole package. Reiterating it is a pretty good way to end this entry. You can see it here.

Thanks for reading.

"Obsession," by Bill Fennell

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