What Was He Thinking?

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.

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2 Responses to What Was He Thinking?

  1. I have a feeling I will be going back and reading many of your posts. I have always been intensely curious about what it would have been like had I found a way to get myself into a residential treatment program. I just never believed that I was “bad enough” to be able to go, though looking back almost two years later, I can see that, when at my worst, I was really, really struggling, and probably could have benefited from such a treatment program if I had been able to figure out the logistics of it. But at the time, that just seemed too overwhelming and complicated from a number of angles not the least of which was how to prepare for such a thing with all the barriers and challenges created by OCD.

    I, too, struggled with during the few months of my major OCD relapse. I dropped about 20 pounds off my already relatively small frame because getting to a “clean enough” state to eat was sometimes just so difficult. I remember days when I would lie in bed, starving, but the idea of performing the rituals I would “need” to perform before eating were just too daunting. I would eventually get up and eat, but often only after difficult washing rituals. I am a long way away from those days now, but it is somehow comforting to know that others have been in such a rough place and gotten better.

  2. ocdtalk says:

    It really is comforting to me to hear that you had some similar struggles to Dan and are now doing so much better. Those days of him not eating were a low point for all of us in his journey through severe OCD. Food has not been an issue now for over three years, and I am extremely thankful for that. Again, thanks for your insights as to why eating was so difficult for you……it may have been a similar situation for Dan.

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