Sunday, October 14, 2012

Portrait of an OCD Sufferer


If you want to know how I feel, most of the time I just feel irritated.

Like time is being wasted, like things are not happening quickly enough. The minute hand on my watch drives me, not the hour hand, certainly not the day of the week or the month. I count seconds in my head in the lift, going up staircases, on walking journeys from one building to another. I want people to be more brief, to get to the point. I just want them to shut up, stop elaborating, give me a 'yes' or a 'no'. I want to finish their sentences for them. I have urges to answer my own questions, then say to them, “Is that right? Just nod or shake your head. No need to open your mouth.”

If I drank instant coffee, or took sugar I would, like Prufrock, measure out my life in coffee spoons.

When I read a book, I take note of the page numbers and compute the percentage I have covered. My brain is a jumble of geometry and mathematics, angles, perspectives, decimals. Equations and chaotic fractals bubble up constantly into my consciousness. Nothing is ever still. Everything erodes, cascades, reforms, reinvents itself under the ceaseless assaults of mutating arithmetic forms. My world comprises circles, arcs, lines, squares, arrows, Mandelbrot sets and intersections. I see the structure below the surface, the skull beneath the skin. My fingernails and surrounding epidermis are chewed down, ceaselessly ripped by computing teeth. My fingertips tap out multiples of even numbers, countdowns, primes. People appear to me as transparent ciphers, puppets of passions and beliefs – and in consequence I cannot take anyone seriously, not even myself.

I am plagued by many 'whys', but no longer with the big whys. These days I am more interested in the questions that philosophers would find trivial. Put simply, philosophy no longer interests me, seems to me no more than an exercise in self-indulgence. In truth, some residues of ideas and attitude remain, but these ruined, decayed pillars can no longer support a superstructure of positive belief.

I am like the driver of a runaway train who realises he has lost control, but no longer cares. I observe the screaming passengers impassively, feel the rushing air on my face and raise my arms to the sky. The event horizon approaches, the ultimate quadratic equation, and the numbers finally resolve themselves into an oblivion of zero; substituting life for death.

At last, it will all make sense.


12 comments:

  1. Wow, glad I'm not in your head, although part of the rushing could be the world we live in. I find it frustrating when visiting small towns - everything goes at a slower pace. Waiting at the shops for them to make a sandwich can be a heart-attack inducing event as stress builds. After a few days I can relax into the slower pace and find it is enjoyable. Maths was never my strong point thank goodness ;) Very concise and well written post :).

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    1. Thanks, Dionne. I don't suffer from OCD btw :) I'm using my blog to post odd scribblings and ideas I might use later in my writings. Don't worry, I'm not the suicidal type!

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  2. This is rich material, John and layered carefully to assist in a descent into your study's psyche. Focus is kaleidoscopic and there is a pattern of urgency, which in my reading did not lend itself to a suspicion of suicide but the inevitability of a conclusion - the sum of an endless and tireless equation.

    Just love the idea of these sketches for writers to generate a mode of their character's expression. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  3. Thank you for your comments Meredith. You are also correct in your interpretation that this is not a prelude to a suicide - far from it.

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  4. To the birth of Dead Man Walking as the words over & over play inside your head "quitting just ain't my stick" I missed this one John it escaped me almost by a cat's whisker. Very layered full of pickings for the hungry ones!
    My Best,
    Kerriann

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    1. Thanks for your continuing support here on Galericulate, Kerriann. It is heartily appreciated.

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  5. "If I drank instant coffee, or took sugar I would, like Prufrock, measure out my life in coffee spoons."

    With your trousers rolled?

    Great website - hope that doesn't irritate!

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    1. Thanks, Judith. Not only are my trousers rolled, but this weekend I'm planning on lingering in the chambers of the sea by sea-girls. Preferably red and brown seaweed-clad ones :-)

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    2. Johnny-boy, teach me how to write so exquisitely! Your words ring loud, clear, and brilliantly... In many ways, our lives do touch...You are one of the best, JD, never doubt it!
      Always my best,
      Billy Ray

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    3. You make me feel very humble, BR. Thank you. John

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  6. Sometimes your writing can be so poignant and visceral that I forget to breathe, and I'm left panting at the end.

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  7. Thank you, Fiona. That means a lot.

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