Further Advice for Sufferers of ABC OCD
I could not have done this without the support of one of our elder members, who is also a sufferer of ABC OCD.* He looked over my first draft and made various helpful suggestions regarding typos, grammatical errors etc, all of which I have ignored. For any errors in in this piece please blame the elderly one. He is very old, shaky, and sometimes incoherent so he probably won’t notice.
I first propagated my theory about the existence of a new disorder in an article called ABC OCD - Do You Have it? I am still awaiting a publication date from the British Medical Journal, but the original article can be found here. http://www.abctales.com/story/overthetop1/abc-ocd-do-you-have-it.
In it I outlined the 10 main symptoms, which I had observed in myself. If you are new to ABC Tales I suggest you read it and tick off any symptoms you have been experiencing. If you are already familiar with ABC OCD you may want to refresh your memory. Studies have shown that people with ABC OCD have a poor memory span*. This is because they are constantly thinking about that next cherry.
When I wrote my groundbreaking article, I wanted to discover the prevalence of people who may have suffered as I had, and to help them feel less isolated. I was astounded by the response. Many of you admitted that you too had experienced some, or many of the 10 basic symptoms, and several of you revealed you had additional ones. This highlighted the need for further research.
However after an unfortunate run of three pieces of work without a cherry, I had a drastic relapse. Whilst in the middle of the grip of this harrowing illness, I vowed to myself that if I ever regained my sanity (and obtained a release date), I would do all within my power to help other sufferers. Due to my high intelligence and superior insight, I managed to fully recover. (Dear God please let me get a cherry for this).
Further Symptoms of ABC OCD can include;
Memory loss, insomnia, eye-strain, headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, mood swings, lack of concentration, inability to communicate with others, nightmares, lack of appetite, eating `comfort’ food, depression, anxiety (at its height after the first two days of posting), muscle tension in neck and shoulders, fatigue, addictions (see below).
1) The use of alcohol or drugs (over the counter or illicit) to spur yourself on to greater creativity, or to ameliorate the symptoms. People even go to the lengths of obtaining ‘prescription only’ medication from the internet. I once sent, sorry I mean a friend of mine ordered some valium over the internet. They tasted like chalk, and did not alleviate her symptoms. Apparently.
It is argued by some that smoking marijuana can be helpful in calming down the symptoms. It is well-documented that this can lead to heroin addiction.* The other danger of opting for this route is that you may end up with two addictions, which will probably require a protracted stay in a rehabilitation clinic. You can ask for a pen and paper all you want, the staff will not accede to your constant begging.
2) Droning on to anyone who will listen about how your writing is making you so miserable. They will lose patience with you and will probably advise you to see your GP. This may be no bad thing, as then you have a fresh pair of ears to listen to your pathetic problems.
Please note that GP’s have little time for neurotics, and may give you medication such as anti-depressants. It has been reported to me by a sufferer, writing on a piece of toilet paper, with I am not quite sure what, that if you do not take a professional’s advice they can blacklist you and section you.
It is worth mentioning that some people on psychotropic medications report loss of creativity. This may be a good thing for people who are so adversely affected they cannot function in their everyday life.
3) Being in denial of this sickness is actually a symptom for some people. If you do have ABC OCD it is better to be honest with yourself and others. If you pretend to be unaffected by the symptoms, you make other people with ABC OCD feel worse than they already do. Studies have shown that writers are perceived as selfish and self-obsessed*. Do you really want to perpetuate this offensive stereotype? Additionally repressing your symptoms of ABC OCD can be very harmful and may actually cause them to ‘boil over,’ I cannot stress enough how dangerous this is.
4) Trying to get the balance right when commenting on other people’s work, feeling anxious about not achieving the right tone. You can save yourself and others a great deal of distress by following the golden rules of commenting.
Correcting typos and grammar is just about acceptable. (Go ahead if you must Insert).
Please bear in mind that if you cannot find something complimentary to say you should refrain from commenting at all. Remember that the person whose work you are commenting on may also have ABC OCD. An adverse comment can have serious consequences for someone who is already feeling extremely anxious about their work.
5) Counting the number of ‘reads.’ I know you all do it, and that you all ‘up’ your number of ‘reads’ by re-reading your own work. I want to make it clear that there is no relationship between number of ‘reads’ and writing ability.
6) Badgering the editors to discover why you are not getting cherries, or asking them how they decide how cherries are awarded. You will put them on the defensive, as it is a such a complicated process that not even the editors themselves understand it. You will also greatly impair your chances of ever earning a cherry again.
There are probably as many symptoms of ABC OCD as there are the number of writers on the site. ABC OCD sufferers tire easily for reasons already mentioned, so I will be ending shortly. However, I found the following helpful in aiding my recovery.
a) Counselling. Generally a waste of time. However if you like the thought of whinging on about your childhood to a stranger, it may help. At least it will take you away from that computer.
b) Controlled breathing and visualisation.
Breathe deeply in and out from your abdomen whilst imagining yourself somewhere beautiful like a deserted beach. This method failed me, but I may have been too impatient as I had just posted a piece and kept checking for comments. It is worth exploring further if you happen to be on a deserted beach without internet access.
I found this technique to be the most helpful. Try watching something gripping. I recommend `The Killing.’ If you have been living on another planet, (easy to do when you have ABC OCD) it is a tantalising thriller. I tried to get my geriatric friend to watch it, but he protested that he cannot understand Danish. I explained to him that you don’t notice the sub-titles, but he is stubborn in the way that is unique to the elderly. Instead he sits in a locked ward with his pipe and slippers watching re-runs of `Come Dine With Me’, whilst eating pizza takeaways
Other examples of things that can divert you from your symptoms include; watching sport, reading Agatha Christie novels, watching repeats of ‘Tenko’, and watching ‘disaster’ films such as `Alive’ and `The Towering Inferno.’ The old adage that there is always someone worse off than you can be comforting. Or not as the case may be.
d) Exercise. Give it a go. Enthusiasts say it can clear your mind. I just hurt my knee.
In the words of another sufferer, whose confidentiality I must respect.
`This appalling condition has had a catastrophic affect on my life. I fear I may never recover. But there is still hope for many of you out there. Just listen to Overthetop’s invaluable advice, and you could avoid my terrible plight.’
Sorry for quoting you Old Pesky. But you of all people know that one loses all morality in that quest for the elusive cherry…..
*For further reading please read http://www.abctales.com/story/oldpesky/seeking-help
-a very sad tale of a tragic descent into ABC OCD, inspired by me naturally.
*Taken from www.completelyfabricatedstudies.com.