Upon being diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I saw the
reality behind the greatest myth of mental illness, the myth that The
Victim Is Unaware of His or Her Own Condition. A childhood flooded
with media depictions of the mentally ill had lead me to believe that
the afflicted had somehow been robbed of their objectivity, thrown
into a dark hall-of-mirrors beyond the realm of rational perspective.
My rational mind remained intact, albeit uncomfortably so. From the
lighter corner of my mind, I watched darkness flow in. Obsessive images
of violence and amorality. Urges, or rather, "pseudo-urges" to do things
I didn't want to. Yin (the rational mind) duking it out with yang (the
imbalanced, irrational mind) on a daily basis. The word "Hell" was
used often when describing this state.
certain that the suffering of many leads to punctured objectivity and
the loss of rational self-awareness. Fortunately, I remained aware.
No matter how awful I felt, I could at least articulate what was going
on. The power of descriptive articulation should not be underestimated.
It keeps the disorder in context as a disorder, preserving a firm boundary
between the right mind and the ill mind. For me, imagining such a boundary
was a vital survival tool. I focused on finding a day when Yin overran
Yang, so to speak.
afflicted mind has difficulty inspiring itself to seek assistance.
What a complex entity the mind is; even in sickness, it has only itself
to rely upon. Unlike somebody with a broken leg, a person with an anxiety
disorder cannot lean on his or her other mind. Overcoming mental duress
is like trying to kiss your own lips. Quite tricky, but possible with
and resourcefulness, that's what it comes down to. These strange ailments
go just as they came. I knew that elements of my mind were strong;
the challenge was getting these elements to positively influence the
weaker ones. This required many analysts, many appointments, many schools
of healing. Psychology, psychiatry, homeopathy, reflexology, reiki,
energy healing-- these were all thrown in the pot to little avail.
Finally and unexpectedly, acupuncture provided balance. I've improved
significantly. I thank acupuncture and I thank my supportive family,
but, most importantly, I thank counter-mythology: even when afflicted,
the human mind sees itself. And in itself, it sees solutions.