Afterthoughts Vol. 2: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Sooooooooo here’s the thing about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Of the 3 Hells in My Head… OCD is my oldest frenemy. OCD has been with me far longer and more THOROUGHLY than any of my other ailments. I believe that this is the inherited mental health condition handed down to me by generations of Obsessors and Compulsivistas. Somehow it landed on my Religious Parent™ harder than other family members and being the FirstBorn of someone suffering from severe OCD made certain that if I wasn’t genetically predisposed, I certainly would be parentally-tactically-pavlovdified <— these are technical terms only cool people are allowed to know about. Anyway, the odds of me emerging from the toxicity of an undiagnosed and unrepentant OCD suffering parent without myself having some neurological and behavioral difficulties was probably never going to happen. I write constantly in this blog about needing things to be perfect. Being always anxious and worried I was going to get into trouble. Wonder why? You know what happens when you upset a parent with undiagnosed OCD? You end up punished. All the fucking time. And so you learn to walk on eggshells constantly so as not to upset the OCD/Religious Parent™ because when you upset this person– who controls every aspect of your life including your religion and your healthcare and your home environment– you will suffer for it. And when OCDParents™ learn their parenting strategies from Dr. Dobson™ and his publishing empire where any child who makes a mistake SINS AGAINST THE PARENT’S GOD GIVEN AUTHORITY… those children raised in that environment probably aren’t going to turn out too well. I often wonder if the intense, strict, high-control upbringing I had caused the OCD tendencies in me beyond it being clearly inherited. But, however this hobgoblin stranded itself in my brain, the ways that OCD interplays with my life are numerous, fascinating, terrifying, and… fuck… annoying so goddamn annoying it’s nearly impossible to put into words which is a bit of a challenge if you are a writer crafting a written blogject the likes of which the world has never seen before. Some ways this showed up early in my life: I always needed things to be clean. I mention earlier in the blog the memory of the first time I washed my syrup covered hands. I never liked getting dirty or covered in mud or paint like some kids do. I never understood kids who didn’t seem to mind getting their socks and shoes soaked and kept on playing. I needed things to be orderly and proper. Any time things got chaotic or unkempt it usually would cause a tremendous amount of internal anxiety that I never knew what to do with except suffer through or distract myself from. I think this may be where I start to develop an imagination as a way to distract myself from internal dissonance or trauma. I would imagine myself being someone else in some epic story that didn’t involve the frustration of StickyHands™ and CrumpledPaper™ and WeirdlyAlignedSockSeams™ and AngryParents™. Getting lost in my imagination saves me from the Hell In My Head™. Now, clean and orderly are certainly one component of OCD. But that is not the only manifestation of this bastard of neural incompetence… perhaps the most difficult, painful, worst aspect of OCD is that I struggle intensely with


So what is Rumination? What say you NIH?

Now if that doesn’t give some idea that RUMINATION is a condition that occurs in a variety of mental health conditions, consider that I have at least 4 of the listed psychiatric conditions that feature RUMINATION as a behavior: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Panic Disorder variety), Obssessivess Comsspulssivess Dissorderssssss, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, AND alcohol misuse– HOLY SHIT I DON’T STAND A CHANCE HERE FFS. And thank god I don’t lisp otherwise the audio version of this post would be difficult and tedious for all of us. So, I’m pretty much a Patient Zero when it comes to being someone who will have to live with RUMINATION. Some of you may be wondering, “Dave, Rumination really sounds like a pleasant and fun thing. Why are you complaining so much about something so wonderful?” And while Rumination does have an upside– actually a very significant one which we will return to later– it most often is a negative experience that will destroy your soul. Basically, RUMINATION is where my brain will NOT SHUT THE FUCK UP EVER. And when I mean it will not shut the fuck up ever I mean it seriously does not stop. Have you ever been stuck on an 18 hour train ride next to L’ilBillyBoy™ who is a precocious 8 years old and whose parents have sent him to his grandparents for the summer and he has a backpack full of comic books and every form of sugar his parents were able to purchase at the gas station on the way to the train station? And L’ilBillyBoy™ is going to chat your fucking ear off for the entirety of the 18 hour day and you are trapped and can not get the fuck away from L’ilBillyBoy™. Except L’ilBillyBoy™ is in your head. Ya know how there’s this thing going around the interwebs about Inner Monologue™? Yeah, well, my Inner Monologue is named L’ilDaveyBoy™ and jesusfuckingchrist he. will. not. shut. the. fuck. up. he likes to bring up every mistake I’ve ever made but never bothers to point out all my successesssesssessess. No. But I can remember being bitten by a dog the first time because I petted it wrong. Or the police horse I tried to pet that nearly killed me. Or every awful and awkward thing I ever said trying to make a joke and it backfired and people thought I was a terrible human. And the times I was actually an awful human. Every perceived sin. Every actual one. Every sin I thought about doing but didn’t. Then there’s a Catastrophic Epicifier™ element to RUMINATION where I will worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. Things that could happen. I am an amazing parent in this regard because I can predict any possible thing that will ever go wrong and usually have some semblance of a plan for it. Yes, I know what to do in the event the train behind my house derails and sprays toxic plumes of nerve gas into the area. We’re ready. I’ve gameplanned this precise scenario 1,063 times. Which again leads me into the territory of the upside of OCD but we aren’t there yet. RUMINATION. Talk about the RUMINATION some more!! In our last post I mentioned how !!!ANXIETY!!! gives me insomnia. But you wanna know what really gives me insomnia?


Because while !!!ANXIETY!!! can definitely cause insomnia it doesn’t happen every night 100% of the time. BUT OSBSESSSSISVSE CSOSMSPSUSLSISVSE DSISSSOSRSDSESR creates insomnia as a byproduct of existing. Like, the brain never turns off. Not ever. Among my earliest memories in life are the times I got to be at the lake that L’ilDaveyBoy™ is now banned from because of the SummerDave’sBleedingJunkRuined™ reasons… anyway, I would be up at the cottage and I would always be amazed at how my grandfather had this ability to sleep so easily. He could fall asleep in under 5 minutes at any time he chose! How does anyone do this? I would ask his secrets for years? “Grandpa, how do you fall asleep so fast? I can never do it.” And he would give me his tried and trued tactics as a kid growing up on the farm and how he could just nod off as needed. His wife would echo my inability to sleep. Because this is where the OCD gene comes in. Through his wife’s line of the family. And L’ilDaveyBoy™ was years away from learning about things like OCD and how it keeps you awake all night replaying every single thing that happened earlier in the day. Or stuck in a loop because you hurt somebody or said something stupid or embarrassed yourself. Embarrassment was always my kryptonite. A Greatest Hits Album assembled for me every night to relive moment-by-agonizing-moment. The RUMINATION I experience with OCD is probably the single greatest kryptonite issue I face. It’s why I had to quit school and really why I’m unemployable long term. The exhaustion of night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night night after night after night after night after night never being able to stop thinking. Trying to fall asleep. And the less I’m able to fall asleep the more it’s upsetting me that I can’t fall asleep! It doesn’t matter how tired I am either. I can be absolutely exhausted but the moment my brain hits that pillow and the lights go out and it’s quiet and dark… WELL.












The plotline changes every night although we do make sure to replay all of our greatest hits randomly whenever we choose. And over the first few weeks/months of a school year or new job, I can hang on. But eventually, as night after night I stare at that clock and now it’s 1:15am. And the alarm is going off at 6. FUCK! Only 5 hours 45 minutes of sleep left. How the fuck am I going to be productive tomorrow with only 5 hours of sleep? And I’m so goddamn tired already. And I have to go in and clean up my fuck up from earlier today which happened because I was tired from being unable to sleep last night and forgot the thing which means my boss is gonna be on my ass all day. I don’t know why BeckyFromAccounting™ has to be such a bastard all the fucking time. But, seriously she’s such a… only 5 hours of sleep– *looks at clock and notices it’s 2:45 am* — FUUUUUUCK!!! The alarm is going off in 3 hours and 15 minutes?!? What happened to the last hour and a half? I AM NEVER GOING TO BE FUNCTIONAL WITH ONLY 3 HOURS OF SLEEP!!!! Maybe I can call in tomorrow. How many sick days do I have left? What month is it? August? Shit. I only have 4 sick days left (in this imaginary hellscape world). I need those cause it’s gonna get dark soon. Alright. If I have to go in and am sleep deprived… maybe I can do all the important stuff first thing while I have energy and BrainedWidth™. Oh, shit, I have that afternoon meeting and I have to drive across town. In. Traffic. I am so fucked… and I’ve got less than 3 hou– *glances at clock again it’s 4:58am* — no way. My alarm is going off in an hour!!! AND THEN THE TERROR SETS IN. Did I mention it’s only Wednesday of your second week at your new job? And it’s like this every night. And over time, that sleep deficiency builds up. And it causes symptoms of greater mental health conditions that are now being caused by this long term sleep deprivation. Also, all that negative shit you can’t stop thinking about doesn’t help the Ole Esteem deSelf. And this is why at about the 3 month mark of most new jobs… I start thinking things like, “I’d be better off dead.” So OCD itself can cause depressive symptoms to emerge which can lead to greater and poorer mental health outcomes. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Most of the world perceives OCD as it was shown in the hit Sitcom starring Tony Shalhoub MONK. And how there’s at least one scene in every episode where he just can’t handle things not being perfect. But for me the way OCD presents itself is RUMINATION, INTRUSIVE THINKING worrying about health conditions and dying… Have I yet mentioned the part of OCD RUMINATION where we bring in Religious Purity? No? I haven’t mentioned that yet? Cause that’s a fun one. When TeenageDaveyBoyMan™ starts to have whoremones and is told his whole life that GoDkNoWsWhAtYoUArEtHiNkInG… because ThoughtPurity™ is a thing that The Church™ jams down everyone’s throats… but how does ThoughtPurity™ affect a kid with OCD RUMINATION? Well, falling asleep on Sunday nights was always nearly impossible. Fun way to start your week. Exhausted because you felt guilty all night for being human. I do not recommend mixing cults with OCD. In fact, I am convinced that OCD is what’s at the heart of all cults and religions. It’s all obsessive thinking and behaviors. And the attempt to control compulsions. I believe that The Church™ effectively IS therapy for people with mental health struggles through the millennia before we knew what mental illnesses were. Your priest/pastor/imam/rabbi/cultleader is whom you seek for guidance when your life is falling apart. And these people aren’t trained in psychotherapy. No. They studied The Ancient Propaganda™. And The Ancient Propaganda™ is not the world’s greatest mental health manual. I might argue I believe all Ancient Propaganda™ was written by Ancient OCD Writers 2,500 years ago– but y’all ain’t even ready for that. And when people with obsessive and intrusive thoughts go to their religious leaders, what is recommended? Why to put your obsessive and compulsiveness into going to church more and spending more time in The Word and more time praying and the whole situation lends itself to OCD abuse. This is why it drives me insane when people claim I was never a christian or that I’m demon possessed. I OBSESSED ABOUT JESUS, CHURCH, THE BIBLE™ ALL OF IT because I was told I was going to hell if I didn’t. And then when my mental health issues go awry and my life is destroyed I leaned even harder into it all because that was what everyone told me to do. And at the end of it when none of it helps people say “You just didn’t try hard enough. You didn’t have enough faith.”




Look at the people who have to pray 100 times a day. Look at the people that have to say Jesus’ name in their head and conversation at least once every 5 minutes. These are OCD behaviors and The Church™ is a place that rewards that kind of loyal and obsessive and compulsive behavior. These are the people who thank god for everything. Literally. These are the people who get upset that you might be thinking something different from them. Because if they have to obsessively think about god and Jesus you have to, too! You do not want religious Obsessive Compulsives to ever take over your government. Just look at any nation run by a religion worldwide. It becomes an OCD fucking nightmare for the citizens. Everyone ends up dressing the same looking the same sounding the same the art is all about the same thing… is it fidelity? Or is it obsession? Compulsion? Intrusive Thinking? Rumination? That thing God placed on your heart… was it an intrusive thought? Were you obsessing about someone else’s problems? Wanna know what it’s like to be immersed in a roomful of people who are OCD? The Church™ is not all that dissimilar from a mental health hospital. Loads of people running around claiming they hear god talking to them or they can’t stop thinking about Bible Verses that fall into one’s head magically almost divinely. When you know what to look for in OCD patients you start seeing it everywhere in the general public. It’s a very common condition. Far more common than reported, IMO. But churches, temples, synagogues, any religious institution will be absolutely stocked to the gills with people who struggle with undiagnosed (usually) OCD. The Church is where you go when your brain is acting funny. And then your Anointed Elder™ gives you some sage wisdom about how your problems are your fault and you need to be going to church and studying the Ancient Propaganda™ more. And often when people do this there lives actually do kind of improve. Because the regimen and the routine are so strict it forces you to exist totally within that environment. You have traded all your obsessions and compulsions for a new one! You haven’t healed your OCD… you’ve just morphed it onto the next thing. THIS IS ALSO SOMETHING COMMON WITH OCD. IT EVOLVES AND SHIFTS. IT HAS NEW WORRIES. NEW OBSESSIONS. NEW COMPULSIONS. It never ends.

But, I did mention there was an upside.

Because there is. A rather significant upside.

OCD can also be one of your greatest strengths. It’s the ultimate double edged sword of mental illness. Because that same brain that obsesses over the negative… well it often is really good at finding solutions to impossible problems.

In fact, OCD is what drives most of the world’s greatest and best athletes, musicians, actors, CEOs, politicians… anybody who obsesses about anything enough to be one of the best in the world is almost certainly an obsessive compulsive. To be precise. Again and again and again and again. To focus intently without distraction… did I mention I can lock into an obsessive thought for hours and the world will just melt away. Time vanishes. And this is where my OCD is my greatest and oldest friend. When my creativity and my OCD RUMINATION meet up… holyshitballsoforgasmia.

I can dance with the stars in ways most people can not fathom. I have routinely in my life used the RUMINATION feature of my OCD as a way to solve problems that nobody else could solve– like rebuilding a toxic political party. A trait that I have observed in many disabled people is an ability to problem solve unique problems. And when you have the ability to RUMINATE… I can think about problems for days, weeks, months and yes, years. Those 3 mile walks I take every day? That’s RUMINATION Time™. My ability to be good at writing? That’s the focused brain of an obsessive compulsive obsessing about everything he’s reading trying to understand “what made those books classics versus ones that aren’t?” OCD RUMINATION can be a godsend when family members have crazy allergies that nobody knows what to do with *foreshadowing*….

OCD RUMINATION is what brings you this blogject, btw.




certainly were the motivating factors… my !!!ANXIETY!!! of what red hat assholes might do if given tyrannical power and my depression over the state of the world were what motivated me to make this piece of art.

But it’s my OCD RUMINATION that gives me the powers to spend two decades playing with word concepts and struggling with the massive conundrum that I wrote about in Strong Will Child Part 1:

How do you get a bunch of angry, rightwing, religious voters who are content to destroy this country because they think it’s the End Times™ and Trumpy is King Cyrus… to have Empathy™ with the downtrodden?

-me from a few posts ago

It was my RUMINATION that allowed me to break down all the various arguments– well first I had to identify them– and then once I could identify all the problems then I could start RUMINATING on how to solve them.


FWIW, for this reason I am NOT someone you want to make an enemy of. I will think up creative ways of tearing down enemies. Sometimes I make chess moves with political allies and maneuver my way to power. Other times I conceive of 100+ post storytelling efforts to take down a fraudulent organization posing as a religious one. No matter how much you hate me, you do NOT want me RUMINATING on you.

Because I have the time to do it.

O.C.D. My oldest frenemy. A curse and a gift. It is my hell and it is my heaven. It is what protects me against a hostile world that can’t handle someone like me. I have to find a way to exist in this space with the rest of you. Thank gawd I have the ability to RUMINATE and find ways to make my existence here more… um… existery?

I hope that these Afterthoughts have helped to visualize some of the quirks of having these illnesses.


what happens








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