not quite fiction (part7)
(june 18, 2002)

listening: you've got to hide your love away eddie vedder (beatles cover), blackbird sarah mclachlan (also beatles cover)

part 7

The thing about being sick is, you can't see much past getting well. Or failing that, past getting the current hurdle. Say, if you have stomach cramps, and the current hurdle is crawling to the kitchen to get a glass of water and some painkillers, all you'd be able to think of would be 'if only I could crawl to the kitchen to get a glass of water and some painkillers, that'll be the end of this stupid horrible stomach cramps.'. You forget that for you the painkillers will take at least half an hour to kick in, that is if they work at all this time. Your focus is on the current hurdle. Everything will be dandy if you get through this one. Keep your eye on the ball, because life is going to be so beautiful if you make it through this little obstacle. Just this one.

When you are sick, you live only against the current hurdle. Which is good, since you only have so much energy to spare. It is an efficient use of resources. Your energy is compartmentalized into tiny disposable packets, each will be dispersed per need. Get to the kitchen. Pour a glass of water. Pop out those damn painkillers from their foil. Swallow. Mission accomplished.

Yet you're still doubled over in bed, almost popping a vein on your forehead, the painkillers are doing nothing. That whole trip, the insurmountable challenge that it seemed, but you did it somehow, was a complete waste. You start thinking of a new current hurdle. Because everything will be dandy if you get through this one.

Living with OCD is a lot like that. Your cone of vision becomes limited to just getting through the current hurdle, this fucking stupid washing ritual, because if you can get through this, you can't imagine there's anything you can't possibly get through. Then, surviving that, in your wet t-shirt, your idea of supreme ambitiousness is just to get through this awful long night, because if you can get through this, somewhere inside your messed up head, there's a voice promising you tomorrow's really going to be a better day.

Bait and switch. Bait and switch. You're the mule chasing the elusive carrot. Tomorrow is just another day with a limited perspective.

There's this song by Jewel, it's called Deep Water, one of my long-standing favourites, and one of the lines goes like this:

and you wake up to realize
your standard of living somehow got stuck on survive

It describes the experience so completely. All I could think of is surviving this one, just one, trip to the washroom, just this one sentence that I simply had to rewrite, just this one night. I couldn't think past that. The focus is on surviving the current moment. And then the next one, but not before you've survived the previous task. When people say you should live for the moment, I was doing exactly that.


I quote Elizabeth Wurtzel, I can't remember from which book, More, Now Again, I think,

My entire life is an emergency.


previous entry: socca feva (june 15, 2002)