My answer to a lifetime of those is:
“I see you. Yes, that’d be interesting wouldn’t it? Ok, bye bye now!”
It’s about the only way to deal with them. Can’t stop them.
Oh I know. They don’t go away. I just keep smiling inside and telling them “bye bye now!” and find another thought to grab onto.
It’s not easy. It’s practice. Lots of practice. Sometimes I have to lock them in a monster box with a padlock. Sometimes I have to cast them into the shadows where they lurk and murmur.
The battle is neverending and for anyone who is never able to win, my ultimate sympathies.
I’m very very lucky. I’ve been able to structure certain things in my life that feed the OCD just enough to keep it happy but not enough for it to overpower. The words “No, fuck you!” are in my head so much to those thoughts (it’s not always “bye bye now!”), it’s probably why I rarely say them aloud to anybody else.
Did you ever hear the Psalm that has the line, “Dash the children against the rocks?”
The oldest existing interpretation of that Psalm, passed on from Judaic times and refined heavily during the times of the Desert Fathers in the Eastern Church was this:
Thoughts. The children are not real children, they’re inner thoughts. The bad ones. The intrusive ones. Dash them against the rocks.
The whole inner prayer thing is/was all about this type of stuff.
People have spent lifetimes fighting. 1500 years before Psychology entered the scene, how did people DEAL with these things?
They had ways. OCD’s as old as humanity. Intrusive thoughts are as old as humanity. When you discover all of the creative and interesting ways peoples through the centuries have found to deal with them, you can learn a lot about what’s possible. There’s many methodologies out there.
You won’t likely get techniques from too many official places beyond medicine. You’re tossed on your own to find other methodologies.
The thing is: these methodologies have MOSTLY been tied up in religions.. VERY FEW have made it out into the secular world yet. That which has is… weak. Very weak.
How do you deal with guilt? Stop thinking about it? No. Doesn’t work like that. Talk about your mother? Eh, shifting blame. Might as well blame the Devil or stick it on a scape goat and cast it out into wilderness. It’s the same thing. The very same thing.
Some people turn to magical meditation. Meditation isn’t magical: introspection with focus and relaxation, however, is. and if you study them and remove the religious context and see them from a productively psychological point of view, you can see their power.
Anyway, I was being flippant with the “bye bye now”. I almost said, “Let them pass like dark clouds”.
But that’s the oversimplified version. The reality is a lot darker than that when it’s an ongoing fight. It’s why I was heavy into learning about this stuff through the years.
Coping skills. It’s all about coping skills. If you have access to medicine that works, that’s a coping skill. The stuff doesn’t go away regardless, just tamed a little.
Yeah, I was wrong to make it sound so easy. A lot of people like hearing easy answers so I gave one. But you’re wiser than that. The depth of the struggle is quite real.
Let’s say, Jay Maranda – you were in 5th Century Egypt. You’re you. No different. No Canada. No meds.
What do you do? What tools are available? You’ve made it through childhood and your education. You’re an adult. You’ve been coping as best you can.
But then, you can’t.
It’s 5th century Egypt and you’ve got a problem.
There’s answers. I’m not saying “turn to religion” – not at all.
What I’m saying is: Our secular world is SHIT when it comes to managing the inner mind. It’s shit when it comes to managing emotions. It’s shit when dealing with inner thoughts.
Pisses me off. I look back in history, they had all SORTS of great ways to handle this stuff. Thousands of years of humans had ways that worked well enough for them.
Why did I get “I’m ok / you’re ok” growing up?
I mean, I’m glad for it. Very useful in other ways. But for inner thoughts? For things that go beyond where I can just “toughen up”? “deal with it?’
Where do kids turn? Adults turn?
Music. They drown their thoughts in music. Obsessions. Habits. Hobbies. Socializing. Movies. Romance novels. Talking to people online.
ANYTHING to get away from this:
Being alone with your thoughts and no distractions available.
Terrifying to modern humans. Terrifying. I suspect it’s always been terrifying.
Well, now you just have to go into writing sci-fi or something smile emoticon
I compared different libraries. We have a bunch in our county. I was looking to see what was bigger:
Fiction or Non-Fiction.
Fiction, by far.
Food for thought: In a sense. fiction is insanity.
Yet… a glance through the non-fiction section of the library and you’ll see just as much fiction masquerading as fact. I mean, there’s some facts of course and some very good but a lot aren’t quite as factual as to quite deserve the label of non-fiction.
Just something to consider smile emoticon
To be honest, I find most human efforts to be insanity though, so I’m biased smile emoticon