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Jonathan Fleming

Pure O

Taming the beast: OCD, body dysmorphia, and depression

I’m writing this with the hope that, if we openly speak about that which we so often mention in hushed tones, we can begin the process of helping those who suffer in silence.

I am a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a boyfriend, and a writer. I am also a murderer, I’ve contaminated people with infectious diseases, I’ve seen my cat die in a horrific house fire, I’ve run over countless people with my car, I’ve committed the most heinous moral, ethical, and sexual sacrilege, and at my worst… I believe these accusations my mind has concocted against me. I’m writing this for myself. I’m writing this for every person affected in some way, directly or indirectly, by the beasts that are OCD, body dysmorphia, and depression. I’m writing this with the hope that, if we openly speak about that which we so often mention in hushed tones, we can begin the process of helping those who suffer in silence.

I’ve had what can only be considered the most trying year of my life. No, I didn’t endure some sort of traumatic loss of a loved one, I wasn’t on the front-line of a war, I still have a decent paying job, and my limbs are all intact. But sometimes everything is awash in gray. Existence loses its color. Purpose is indefinable. I’m merely a vessel that’s physically here but emotionally and spiritually dead. That short story I wanted to write and submit to hopefully kick-start my writing career? Absolutely no interest—I’m the most uncreative, talentless person to ever live. Driving the thirty or so minutes to go visit my parents? Maybe next weekend—I’m a terrible, lousy son. Cleaning the apartment? I just can’t be bothered—Man, I’m such a slob. Breathing? Christ, who thought a basic physiological function could be so hard—I’m so lazy. My boyfriend hasn’t texted because he’s busy? It’s no wonder—You’re an inadequate partner and he doesn’t really love you. You don’t even love yourself… Most of the time, at least. When did your self-worth train derail? Did it ever leave the station?

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