“Whack-A-Mole Brain” An OCD Poem

Every freckle on my skin tells a story,
and not just about the time I forgot to wear sunscreen.
The latest freckle,
three finger widths from the inside of my left elbow is a sad one.
It’s a different story than what the freckle directly under my right shoulder blade tells. That one is from the outdoor folk festival last July.
On that day my brain wasn’t loud enough to interrupt the music.

This latest blemish is from the rooftop barbecue yesterday where I was under water (in a figurative sense, it was surprisingly scorching hot).
Yesterday I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.
My presence didn’t feel enough.
Taking up space and simply smiling like I always used to do wouldn’t cut it.
That’s the thing about experiences— once you’ve pushed the limit to what you think you’re capable of time and time again, you can rarely sit back and be satisfied.
Like Ariel the mermaid, my brain was singing, “I want more.”

I had no interesting anecdote,
no boozy night of mischief to share,
no tip I found online that was worthy of anyone’s attention.
I’m used to being two steps behind my group of friends because of missing out on a whole bunch of years while I lived inside my brain but these days I don’t feel like I’m catching up fast enough.
I guess at least I’m in the race now, more than I ever thought I could be, but I don’t see the finish line.
I don’t even know exactly what the finish line looks like yet.

As much as I hate the uphill climb, sometimes it feels like I’ve come too far to plateau.
I have too many people invested in my journey.
And I’m invested now too.
Sometimes during the race I put my forehead to my knees and close my eyes until I fall asleep. Sometimes when it’s quiet I think, did I start off as a hare and turn into a tortoise somewhere along the way?

When I feel sad I’m reminded of all the mistakes I’ve made, all the people I’ve hurt and all the things I’ve missed out on.
This is my classic recipe for becoming lost in thought.
“Want to waste a whole day? Think about these three things!”

Today I don’t feel the compulsion to do anything physical (like tapping, blinking, counting, repeating… ((trust me I’ve been there)) but the mental compulsion to go back in my mind, to dust off an old story and figure something out.

“Maybe what you said/did/heard wasn’t so bad.”
“Maybe what you did was worse than you have ever thought and people are still paying the repercussions.”
“Maybe it’s you’re fault and you should still feel bad about it.”
the real punch in the gut……..
“Maybe you are a terrible person and have just been fooling everyone all these years.”

These are the rabbit holes that I could so easily jump down today.
The pain is within reach today.
The tears are big enough to catch today.
The lump in my throat is big enough to see today.

But that’s just today.

The sun will rise again tomorrow and we will get another chance, my brain and me.
Your brain and you too.
Tomorrow it will be easier to accept those whack-a-mole thoughts for what they are— OCD

By Naomi

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