How Rereading Lord of the Rings Helped Me Cope With My OCD

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I’ve obsessive-compulsive dysfunction that always focuses on health-related intrusive ideas. So, as you may think about, residing by means of a worldwide pandemic has been one thing of a nightmare.

At first, I attempted to be courageous. I stored myself busy by studying, strolling my canine, pretending that my day job was the best of my considerations. And all of the whereas the worry that I or these I like might die all of the sudden, with no warning — of COVID-19 or anything — gnawed at me.

OCD was nothing new to me. I used to be recognized once I was 13 years previous, with loads of ups and downs within the years since. However I’d all the time had some sort of help to get by means of it. I had family and friends by my aspect once I wanted a shoulder.

It was true that I had my fiancé — now husband — for help. However he labored full-time on the hospital and I labored from residence. I used to be on my own for a lot of the day, and my psychological well being had all the time been worse once I was alone.

I made it to summer season final yr earlier than I broke down. Just a few weeks earlier than my twenty third birthday, I discovered I would wish some intensive — and costly, practically greater than we might afford — dental work achieved with a purpose to stop a jaw an infection. Between the steep value, the lack to show to mates for in-person consolation, and the specter of my health-related fears changing into a actuality, I grew to become consumed by fear.

For a number of weeks, I spent full days on the mercy of my compulsions — or repetitive behaviors that I hoped would take the sting off my anxiousness however by no means did. I googled well being questions for hours on finish, which solely heightened my panic. I referred to as my docs repeatedly. I stayed up late many nights crying and satisfied I didn’t have the power to make it by means of this. The burden of residing with fixed panic was simply too nice, and I used to be too afraid to disregard my compulsive urges.

Round this time, I additionally started to reread the Lord of the Rings trilogy within the hopes that it will distract me from my worries. And of all the things that has occurred since, I credit score this as the best help subsequent to solely my husband for getting by means of this psychological well being disaster and rising stronger.

The Lord of the Rings one-volume set by J R R Tolkein

On a floor degree, immersing myself in Center-earth lore was an effective way to neglect about my real-life points for some time. Plus, something Tolkien-related got here with a comforting degree of nostalgia for me. However once I bought to the chapter in Fellowship of the Ring the place Frodo asks Gandalf why he should face the seemingly unimaginable activity of destroying the Ring, I used to be overcome with emotion.

“I’m not made for perilous quests. I want I had by no means seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?” 
“Such questions can’t be answered,” mentioned Gandalf. “It’s possible you’ll ensure that it was not for any benefit that others don’t possess: not for energy or knowledge, at any fee. However you’ve been chosen, and you should subsequently use such power and coronary heart and wits as you’ve.”

For thus lengthy, I’d been looking for a purpose behind my obsessive-compulsive dysfunction. Why couldn’t my mind perform usually, and why did I’ve this sickness that prompted a lot emotional struggling? Why was I pressured to cope with fixed intrusive ideas and urges to alleviate the ideas that solely made them worse?

However for no matter purpose, Gandalf’s phrases struck me. Possibly there wasn’t a solution to why I had obsessive-compulsive dysfunction, anymore than Frodo might discover a solution for why he wanted to bear the ring. Objective or no, I had OCD and I wanted to be as robust as I may very well be — for myself and my household — to get by means of it.

I believe the rationale it comforted me a lot was as a result of it acknowledged that struggling isn’t truthful and there isn’t all the time a purpose that it’s taking place to you. It may possibly strike you out of nowhere and make you face challenges that really feel insurmountable. But it surely’s additionally necessary to acknowledge that you’re struggling and be as robust and as weak as you may to outlive it.

In order that’s what I did. I attempted to be robust. I enrolled myself in remedy with a purpose to higher address my intrusive ideas. I bought the dental work I wanted. I leaned on my husband extra desperately than I ever had and, by specializing in simply surviving every day because it got here, we bought by means of it.

All of the whereas, I stored studying Lord of the Rings — slowly however steadily because the months glided by. When Frodo was tempted to placed on the Ring, I felt much less responsible about all of the compulsive urges I attempted to battle off with various success. And when the hobbits reminisced about their easier and fewer bleak lives within the Shire, I considered life earlier than my psychological well being disaster, earlier than the pandemic.

I lastly completed my reread this previous March, round once I had completed the majority of the dental procedures I wanted achieved and the primary folks have been receiving entry to the COVID-19 vaccine. Studying the final pages — of the Ring’s destruction, the hobbits’ return to the Shire, and of Frodo’s lack of ability to search out peace in what had as soon as been his residence — I felt a number of feelings.

First, there was the aid of getting survived my OCD disaster and overcome a lot over the previous yr. There was additionally comfort at having lastly completed a reread I’d begun months in the past. However the crushing weight of all I’d needed to undergo, of all of the ache I’d felt and the time I’d by no means get again when overcome with intrusive ideas. I mourned for that, and typically I nonetheless don’t really feel that the power I’ve gotten from it’s value it.

I’m not the identical person who I used to be final summer season. I’m stronger, in some methods, but additionally extra damaged. However I don’t assume that’s a nasty factor. As an alternative, I believe it’s the mark of surviving a seemingly insurmountable problem. I’m simply grateful that I used to be ready to take action by means of the catharsis of such a wonderful story.

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