I think it is important to become so glaringly and impeccably familiar with the internal and external experiences that create and contribute to the outflow of obsessive compulsive and addictive behaviour, so that when one participates in such behaviour it is done in absolute awareness and so seen as a choice rather than a compulsion.
I say this because my experience over time with this disorder is one of confusion, feeling lost, alone, cornered, and also fearing the experience as it becomes quite overwhelming. This leaves one in a position of disempowerment, with the experience of isolation, helplessness and desperation, which is actually eventually manifested for real in one’s environment over time.
One term I have been given which has helped me to understand more is the term ‘physical mind’. If you look at emotions, feelings and reactions, notice that there is a process involved in accumulating such experiences over time where, if left unchecked, it will manifest into words and actions in physical reality eventually. Now imagine if these experiences, once created, move straight to the physical stage. Like becoming so angry over time where you eventually end up screaming or hitting something, where you actually have quite a bit of leeway to stop the process before it accumulates into an out-of-control play-outs in your environment, versus the outburst being immediately here upon conception, and so more difficult to stop.
I use anger as an example because it is more extreme and so easier to see and identify with. But the same goes for any and all reactions, such as fears, judgments, insecurities, surprises, beliefs, thoughts etc… where it goes directly from conception to physical experience and then a ‘shutting it down’ through supression (So that one can function ‘normally’ in the world . Within this, because of the fact that such reactions are generally triggered by the external environment, such as by people or events, the belief is formed within oneself that this is being done ‘unto me’. With such intense internal experiences, simply waking up in the morning and living out one’s day begins to feel like an unsafe and scary thing to do, because the body l, as an internal experience, is taking quite the beating. From intense reactions, to what feels like a ‘violent’ suppression, and then the physical harm being done to the body by self and one tried to find relief. I will explain:
As a child, without any understanding, the world becomes a terrifying place, and the way I personally handled it was by ‘shutting down’ and shutting out the world, through sinking deeper and deeper into myself, and I very early learned how to immediately suppress.
Suppression is learned early on because you obviously can’t ‘act out’ all of the intense things you are experiencing. I remember learning how to suppress early in life because in observing my environment I saw nobody else acting out anything intense inside. So I also ‘acted normal’, pushing down the experiences into myself and holding them there. The daily experience was so overwhelming that I would be taken aback, not having any clue of how to handle it or direct it, so I would simply ‘swallow it’, push it down and pack it away inside myself.
What happens as one ages is that it becomes more difficult, more crowded inside, and so the energy has to find a way out. Now, this is not unique to people with a disorder. Everyone experiences this. The difference is the intensity, where it is experienced physically, and there is seemingly no ‘natural’ energy processing or management happening. This accumulated energy must be dealt with deliberately, ‘manually’, otherwise it sits in he body making the body feel like it wants to explode, and also coming out in physical ways such as rashes, growths and physical disorders and behaviours. And so, because it is physically manifested in the body, and eventually also presenting itself physically, one wants to then ‘get into’/’dig into’ the body to ‘get it out’.
It becomes a physical self-destruction as a seeking for relief, where the deliberate ‘energy management’ is morphed, twisted and tainted, where the popping of a pimple or the opening of the skin and removal of ‘foreign objects’ (both real and imagined), becomes a very real-feeling yet symbolic act of relief, release, removal and purification – because the energy inside feels exceptionally dirty, and so the body, inside and out, feels dirty, tainted, polluted and filthy along with the pressure and overwhelm that needs to be removed.
So when you look at, feel, touch the body, the surface of it, so the skin – you connect the internal experience of suffocation, wanting to explode, pressure, filth, chaos, dirty-ness, disorder, pressure, holding back/holding in – all of it- all of it gets projected onto the body and so the skin as that which is visible of the body. The body becomes the problem, and the skin becomes the problem, and additionally, you/I become the problem, and so a solution is sought, but without any understanding, the solution is not a real solution, and becomes instead a coping mechanism, a procrastination, trying to ‘buy time’ and escape the experience and sensations, but in the end, the apparent ‘solution’ ends up contributing to the very problem one was seeking to solve.
Because we can only experience ourselves within ourselves, the assumption is made at a very young age that everybody feels the same. So, with an obsessive compulsive disorder, where the internal environment is in a state of shock, overwhelm, like a ‘ticking time bomb’, and one walks through the world like this, observing nobody else struggling with the same, one begins to believe that there is a very big problem with who and how one is.
At a young age, one does not have the vocabulary necessary to communicate one’s internal experience, and so as children we sit with it and when it becomes too much, we look for the most logical way out based on our very limited understanding – attack the body because the body feels like it is the problem, attack yourself as ‘Who You Are’ because your ‘self’ is bad/wrong/not working, and so ‘yourself’ is also ‘the problem’.
To be continued in the next blog…