I have this recurring dream where – how can I put this nicely – I’m sitting on a toilet, erm wanting to do what one does on a toilet, only I’m in full view of people and the embarrassment is paralyzing and overwhelming.
In the dream, well nightmare really, all my mind can focus on, is what on earth will people think of me? In a nutshell, I feel exposed and it’s both mortifying and scary.
Why am I telling you this? Revealing my weird fears to you in this way? Well, October is OCD Awareness Month. There are a lot of people out there, at least two in a hundred, who like me worry endlessly about the strange way their mind works, their intrusive thinking, and how “normal” people would feel about them if they knew what was going on in their head.
The CBT – that’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – I’ve been having in recent months is all about facing up to your fears, challenging your demons, doing something that in your wildest dreams you wouldn’t have considered previously.
Writing this is actually acting out a part of my nightmare. Just as posting my blog every week is scary: I worry how people will interpret it, what will they think, will they even give a damn, does it matter either way? You’re showing a part of who you are, what makes you tick, allowing people to see you, flaws, vulnerabilities and all.
Someone said to me this week how dangerous they thought it was, writing a blog, and how pointless. They thought the whole concept totally exposing and open to abuse by others without any gain or worthwhile reason for doing so.
Well I’d say two things to that. How people interpret whatever they read and what they do with the information or narrative is entirely down to them, not me. In reverse, it’s just the same as when I receive feedback, good, bad – or frankly, mostly indifferent – I interpret it from my own perspective and consider how to respond.
As to the pointlessness of it all, well whenever you start something new and untried it’s often hard to see the bigger picture, where it’s all going, what, if anything, will it lead to? Do you put down your brush and think, I’ll just stop now then, or do you add a bit more to the canvas, keep painting?
In writing this blog, my real and main purpose was to help raise money for BRACE, the dementia charity, who I’m running the 50 marathons for. I hoped that by publicising what I’m doing, talking about their work, and trying to raise awareness of dementia it might encourage some financial support.
Having been diagnosed as OCD around the same time I started writing, I felt I wanted to be open about that and if I could also help people understand what it’s like, so much the better. I hope to write a bit more about OCD in the next few weeks, it being a topical month to do so.
But going back to my main purpose for this blog. Today in the post a cheque arrived for £200, from a friend in America, who read last week’s piece about dementia and wanted to make a donation.
It is scary doing something that exposes you to criticism or ridicule, but for £200, in time-honoured fashion, yep, I’ll publish and be damned!