I know little about Dan’s OCD, and understand even less. When I arrived to help him out at school almost three years ago, he had not eaten in at least a week. Understanding what was going on wasn’t the top priority at that point. Getting him to eat was.
It was pure torture for Dan to eat. And it’s not as if once he did, it would be easier the next time. No, that’s not the way it works. OCD is a force to be reckoned with. There was a constant battle between Dan and his OCD. Sometimes Dan prevailed and sometimes the OCD was just too powerful. Eating was still very much an issue when he entered his residential program two months later.
So what was he thinking? That something horrible would happen to loved ones if he put food in his mouth? Or since there are so many starving people in the world, why should he get to eat? Was he worried about contamination? Or was it something else?
To this day, I don’t know what he was thinking. Dan and I have never talked details about his OCD. But it doesn’t really matter now and I’m not sure it ever did. What does matter is that he eventually learned how to deal with these intrusive thoughts, let them go, and move on with his life.
It is ironic to me that whatever his reasons were at the time for not eating, his goal was to keep bad things from happening. And of course just the opposite happened; he suffered greatly, as did our family and everyone else who loved him.
Like I said, I understand very little about Dan’s OCD. But then again, it’s hard to understand something that makes no sense.