Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I have never done anything by halves. Sometimes my obsessions have been good, oft times not. I started with it when I was a child. It has only been recently that I have understood that for me OCD is a way to avoid pain. The stuff I did as a child was damaging to me tho. It started with food. And compulsively checking. And sex. The latter being fairly obvious in light of the abuse. Oh and I used to cut myself.

All of this got way out of hand. I ended up weighing only 6 1/2 stone(91 lbs) in 79, as a 21 year old.
I grew another 1.5 ins after the age of 24-probably due to my eating being much better.

I developed an obsession about the outside world and stopped going out. I would read all the time. And I was obsessional about listening to music. I never had music on for background noise. No. I used to really listen. I'd lay down or sit and do nothing but listen. It shut everything else out.

Later in life I discovered alcohol and drugs. These were a Godsend, so I thought. They let me shut off without exhausting me! I could stop all my OCD behaviour. And best of all, I would achieve what I wanted-numbness-oblivion.

However, this particular friend was a wolf in sheeps clothing and it turned on me. It stopped working. No matter how I tried, no matter what mix I used, it stopped working. And yet I couldn't stop doing it! Even tho I was physically sick, I still carried on. Desperate to stop feeling.

Fortunately for me, this resulted in my own pressure cooker, the one inside me, blowing-finally and the right person was there to help me. Once I was helped thru what I needed to go thru, work thru all that pain I had been unable to handle for all those years, Istopped using and stopped harming myself and stopped with the checking, washing etc.

It's been many years now without all that shit.

However, and this is the point I have been getting to, OCD can be of help! I have come to realise that my obsessional nature is helping me!


Simply, when I am knitting, designing, thinking about doing it, or sewing up, I am away from my physical pain. The same with when I am delivering a litter of pups or bathing and grooming-which to me is like knitting-creating a finished product altho in this case it is just a clean well groomed living being-one of my dogs.

I came to realise this because I had noticed that when I go out I am very aware of the pain. Especially when I go to a meeting. I am sitting. I am doing nothing, I am unwinding. And the pain hits me.

So--there is always a silver lining to everything! My obsessional nature is helping me now deal with this physical pain.

Today, I have been very fatigued and no matter what I have done, can't shake it off. I couldn't nap, I tried. However, I have completed a sweater. Doing this helped me focus on something other than my body.

One of the reasons I have found my disability and physical pain so easy to accept is that it is far, far more preferable to the sort of pain I used to be in. Soul pain is appalling and much worse than this is.

Going thru the necessary to get to the other side is not easy, of course, and much worse than I could describe in words. However, it was very much worth it. I was lucky. I survived. And I was loved.

I know of too many others who didn't survive and I have a very clear memory of my own journey to ever get complacent. I'd rather die than ever go thru any of that again. Today life is good, so much more than I ever dreamed was possible. I didn't get what I wished for because it wouldn't have occurred to me to wish for my present life. I just wanted the pain to stop. It didn't enter my head there might be more to life than that.


Anonymous said...

Oh Colin you are a swine! I did not particularly feel like a good blub today - but there you go. What you have, (and do)experienced has given you an amazing ability to resonate, and you are so generous to share. I wish you and I and all the others who do, did not have to suffer the invisible dis-ease, but I am sure as hell glad to know that we are not here alone. Thanks Colin, I'll get back to my sewing when I can see through my piggy puffy peepers.

Anonymous said...

Knitting is a wonderful tool for coping with any number of things, I find it helps calm me when I am really irritated with people. Where are pics of the finished sweater???

Celia said...

Colin did you now there is a study being done by a university in Wales about knitting and how threraputic is it. Knitting has helped many many people work through their problems, including me. If you don't mind please could you tell me what your disability is, the one that means you have to use a wheelchair.
Thx Celia

Sharon J said...

You're absolutely right. Spot on! I'm completely unable to do nothing. Whenever nothingness happens, I quickly find something - anything - to do. Something I can concentrate on and forget the things that can make life difficult if you let them. I'll read the back of a parking ticket rather than do nothing! This all explains why I have my fingers in so many pies, although there are other issues involved with me.

It's good to feel there are others out there who understand where I'm coming from, although I don't have OCD other than perhaps at a very 'innocent' stage - what I do is 95% through choice, which actually makes it more difficult for some people to understand. Or maybe not. I'll have to think about that one.

~Sharon xxx

Unknown said...

Hi celia-thank you for your comment on my blog.

I have Osteoarthritis of the spine, angina, fybromyalgia and a functional disorder of my central nervous system.

I have difficulty in walking. Usually not in the house as I never keep still for very long! However, I need to use walking sticks outside on very short trips or I use the wheelchair-like going around the supermarket or town. I lose my balance and am in great pain in my hips and legs-the more i walk the worse it gets.

I am never not in pain but it varies from aching all over to severe pain.

However, I don't let it stop me doing what I want to do!

Anonymous said...

I touch wood do not have to face anything like you guys put up with. I did have strange parents, but that is in the past now. However I cannot do the sitting still and doing nothing. Watching tv is okay as long as I am knitting, sewing, reading, anything really. I hate being a passenger in the car as I can't do stuff as I get travel sick, so thats when I listen to music. We have a journey up to Scotland next week, its going to be lovely, but I shall probably drive all the way there! DH will probably sleep if I do LOL

Anonymous said...

I do think OCD is an excessive, excessive is not the word...extreme, perhaps? to external events. For most people it is self limiting - for instance, behaviour around grief when someone we love dies. If the pain is prolonged, we have to find some way to stop or limit it and the intense focus of obsession is a great pain block.

I know I have done stuff like that when in extreme emotional pain. My major long term responses to life pain, soul pain was to read incessantly (even while walking, crossing roads - I swear I was safer with my nose in a book than when I was looking where I was going! *grins*) and I was a comfort eater for many years. It suddenly changed a few years ago and I ~suddenly~ found that when distressed I couldn't cope with eating and lost weight by the truckload, mainly stable since but only due to periodic patches of not eating. Both are an unhealthy relationship to food. If it hits me now, I drink loads of milk, better than nothing!

I find it easy to understand how focus on activity can eliminate awareness of pain. And my Colin (the other knitman!) says that knitting saved his life last year.