Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes

Mental Illness: The Demons Within

by Alyssa Lactin 2 years ago in advice

Chapter 7: OCD

Mental Illness: The Demons Within

This illness is probably the least severe out of all the ones I have and has the least similarities to anything paranormal and will most likely be the shortest chapter of the book but because it is still a mental illness and one I do deal with, I will still write about it. I can become fixated on a specific person or object or topic for a long time and it will be all I can talk about.

For a long time, Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe were my life. It was pretty bad. I do still love Harry Potter (among many other films and books and tv shows) but not at an unhealthy level.

While in college, I did a report on the Rwandan Genocide and became so obsessed with it that it was all I talked about, thought about, dreamed about and I did so much research (I believe it was the extensive research I did on the event that caused the obsession) I would even spend hours crying about it.

Though I am still very, very passionate about that tragic event, and always willing to discuss it with others, and still greatly admire the wonderful Romeo Dallaire, Rwanda and the genocide no longer consume me like they once did. Though my obsession was unhealthy, I gained a lot of knowledge about Rwanda's history in the process, as well as knowledge of the UN.

There, of course, is a difference between unhealthy obsession and a hobby or topic that you are passionate about. With the case of Rwanda, I was previously obsessed with at an unhealthy level, but now it is a topic that I am passionate about and always open to debating and discussing it.

My passion for books, the paranormal, antiques, writing, history, other countries, mountains and forests, singing, reading, and researching are obsessions in a way but healthy ones and ones that do not consume my life.

It is possible to be consumed by those things still so if you have an addictive personality (which may make you more prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder) make sure you are careful and try not to let it completely consume your life rather than just be a part of it.

Another unhealthy obsession I have is with feet and no, not a foot fetish. I hate feet and I am completely grossed out by them whether they are clean or dirty or smell gross or nice or don’t smell at all, it does not matter. I can’t stand feet touching me or being near me especially my face.

If a foot touches me or I smell it, I feel sick and if feet touch anything of mine, I have to wash it and find a way to sanitize it. I am also paranoid about germs. If someone touches their nose, rubs their eyes or wipes their nose with their hands and then touches something that I am supposed to grab after, (remote control for example) then I have to sanitize my hands and the object if possible.

If someone pops a pimple or goes to the bathroom before they are about to prepare a meal I get extremely anxious and paranoid about whether or not they have washed their hands.

I can’t stand someone tasting food then putting that utensil back into the food they are testing, I feel sick if I see it being done. I will not share my utensils, drinks or straws or anything like that with anyone. If my glass gets mixed up with someone else’s I will actually grab a new one from the cupboard rather than grabbing one that might be mine and using that one. I wash my hands a lot more than is necessary and use sanitizer way too much. I have nearly 100 bottles of different types of hand sanitizers.

If my food touches each other it bothers me a lot and I will attempt to separate the food into individual groups as if I were herding sheep. Holes bother me and I actually feel physically ill when I see them, for example, beehives, pores, egg sacs.

I feel even more sick if there is something moving in a hole, and the feel of certain materials against my fingernails sends shivers up my spine and I cannot go anywhere near them.

I did have an obsession with a former friend but I did not have feelings for him, what caused the obsession was his constant control over me and his manipulation and mental abuse, I was basically brainwashed and it was a very toxic, unhealthy “friendship” but the friendship ending freed me from that particular obsession and I am thrilled about that.

Phases are another form of obsession I think, some phases are completely normal and healthy (for example a child having an imaginary friend although in some cases it can reach an unhealthy level but that could be caused by a mental illness or perhaps a traumatic experience) or a phase where a child only wants to dress like a princess and/or has a wild imagination.

I believe having an imagination is healthy at any age and I strongly encourage it and find that books are one of the best ways to bring out your inner child and strengthen that wild imagination—but then there are phases that are unhealthy like a teenager going through a phase where they are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, or an invincibility phase where they believe nothing can hurt them.

In terms of similarities to paranormal phenomenon, there aren’t really any I can think of for OCD other than, that some people become unhealthily obsessed with the paranormal and let it consume them which can lead to possession or hauntings.

It is very easy to let the occult consume your time and your life because there is so much to learn and so many different aspects of the occult and it is very fascinating but it can cause people to go insane and in fact that has happened to a lot of people who dabble in the occult without knowing what they are doing and think it is a game or something that isn’t dangerous.

I do a lot of research on the occult and have a nice collection of occult books which I hope to add to over time but I know what I am doing and I am very careful to not let it consume me but I am always wanting to learn more and try some things (that are not dangerous or evil and will not cause me or others harm).

As long as you exercise caution and be aware of what you are doing and what your limits are, I recommend learning as much as you can about whatever you want. That is the beauty of knowledge and learning, it is never ending, no matter how much you learn, there is always something more, something new, something different and exciting. Never stop learning, never stop questioning but just don’t let it take over.

How does it work?
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Alyssa Lactin

I am 29 years old. I love reading, writing and collecting antique books. I also enjoy singing and the outdoors. I hope to do some more writing in the future :) I am not a professional writer at all but I do enjoy it and hope to improve. :) 

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