A battle against the mind

Your brain. It is just incredible. The world’s most powerful device, and it is in your head. You own it. You control it. But what happens when you begin to lose control. This is called a mental illness.

Imagine the worst nightmare you have ever experienced. It seems like hell whilst you are experiencing it. Then you wake up, and the great relief of realising it was just a dream cleanses you of your anxiety. But, what if your mind cannot accept it was a fragment of your imagination. Instead it begins to try and convince you those horrific thoughts you may have had, were in fact true. ‘This whole situation sounds like utter madness’, I hear you cry. Well it is not. In fact, it is called ‘pure O’ or Purely Obsessional OCD.

We all have intrusive thoughts. They are often highly disturbing, but we brush them off. Our mind can generate some horrific things. However, most people believe they are nothing to be worried about, and say nothing about them. They just shrug them off, then go and get on with their everyday lives. Intrusive thoughts are often centred around your worst fears. So what occurs if instead of just shrugging them off, you begin to analyse them…

This is like opening a ‘virused’ email attachment and clicking run. The intrusive thought is this junk email. Just meant to be ignored and put in the trash. But once opened, it throws a spanner in the cogs of your mentality.

Your brain is the most advanced problem solver that anyone can imagine. And this new intrusive thought is a problem. So your brain does what it does best. It analyses, it digs into the thought. It tears it to tiny shreds and observes each piece under a microscope. However, this intrusive thought was never meant to be analysed. It thrives off the attention, and instead of ‘solving’ the problem. Instead the intrusive thought harnesses your brain’s capabilities to gather more evidence to support it. Essentially your mind is turning against you!

Your mind becomes an interrogator, tearing open your inner thoughts, and using them against you to support this sickening thought. It is your worst fear, and your very own mind has stopped defending you. By thinking ‘is this true?’ and forcing doubt into the situation, you are making the walls of this crater you are stuck in higher and higher. Digging yourself deeper, and deeper. You search for new evidence to counter this thought. All you are doing is feeding it the attention it wants. Trying to re-assure yourself only makes it worse. You are engaged in a full blown battle against your own mind.

You put up barriers by attempting to cancel out the thought. You try to laugh at it. But the medium for this thought knows everything about you. It slithers around these walls and strikes you again. Dropping you back down into the deepest chasm of your despair.

By giving the intrusive thought your time, you only make it worse and stronger. Attempting to counter it only increases your sense of doubt and uncertainty. So now what? Well you try to avoid anything that is associated with that thought. People, places, situations and potential scenarios. You essentially cut off things from your life. You try to keep eye contact to a minimum to avoid the thoughts coming back. You do everything so that you do not face your fears. So it grows stronger, it knows its getting to you.

Then one day, you find a great counteractive thought. It works, what a relief! You begin to claim back your mind, clear out the junk. But then, your mind stabs you again: If this thought is not bothering me any more, maybe I am accepting it? This is more horrific, shocking and devastating than anyone can imagine.

This forms a cycle in your mind: a rumination cycle. You cannot escape its clasp on you. How can you? You are trying to fight your own conscience. This thought is like a biological virus. It harnesses your own capabilities to make its symptoms prevalent.

So you think back… What would have happened if I never had that intrusive thought in the first place? This never would have happened. In your heart you know this intrusive thought says nothing about you. Yet, your mind tries so hard to convince you otherwise. It feels like this is a war you cannot win. How are you to defeat yourself essentially?

I am stuck in this cycle. I cannot find a way out, and it terrifies me. It has only ever struck me once before. And then I boxed up the OCD, and placed a proverbial padlock on it. It escaped. And now I wonder how to make escape its clutches once again. Much like a virus, it has mutated, and my previous methods no longer work.

For anyone going through this, do not try to defeat it alone. Seek help. For this is a fight that you cannot win alone. Take baby steps, and the cycle will slow down, and surely eventually break. Maybe I am speaking from false hope. However, I will break free. My determination has drilled that mindset into me. I cannot let this affect the people I love the most.

Luckily enough, I am not going against this alone. I have wonderful parents and a beautiful girlfriend. I am set to defeat it this time, and wave it goodbye forever.

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