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Introduction To "Tiger By The Tail"

Jul 15, 2008
This article is a shortened excerpt from the book "Tiger by the Tail" available at http://Lulu.com

Tiger by the Tail is the story of my personal recovery from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is not a scholarly work; it is a memoir. I have no credentials as a health care professional, nor am I a layperson who has done exhaustive research.

So much for what I am not--what I am, is a survivor of OCD--who has recovered. I wrote this book for others who would also be survivors and who would find the tools that they need to do so. It is also for those who love, wish to help, or live with someone who is afflicted with this disorder.

I had been a life long sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although I, like so many others, was so clever at disguising it that I was never diagnosed. Were you to ask any of my oldest friends, they will remember my needing an extra forty five minutes to leave the house so that I could check every electrical outlet, lock, gas jet, faucet, etc.--several times. They will remember my having to go home to get things "I forgot," or practically pulling doorknobs off doors in order to be really really sure they were really really locked. However, they will not remember, because they never saw, a thousand and one things that I was able to conceal, as this disease is always far worse than anyone watching really knows.

Next, came a realization. I had a choice to make between life and death. That is the part that eludes many suffers. Through our rituals, we are trying to avoid "the worst" happening to us and our loved ones, but are blind to the fact that the worst has already happened. It is the awareness of this fact that holds the key to recovery. This realization provides much of the strength to face the fear. OCD is founded in fear, but not just in fear. This disease also contains a great deal of hope. The extremes to which we are willing to go show us how much hope we carry. It is however, completely misplaced. Once you realize that this is about choosing between life and death, you discover the strength to win and the proper purpose for all that hope.

Recovery from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has four requirements.

1. Trust: Trust in one's self and trust in the universe.

2. Continuity of Consciousness: Awareness of the connection between one moment and the next moment.

3. Acceptance: That the worse thing that can happen--has already happened.

4. Self-honesty: To the extreme.

OCD is a term that, (in my opinion), combines two separate and very different problems.

Obsessive Thoughts are at the very core of the problems that plague the entire human race. In some people this habit, (for that is exactly what it is), reaches greater heights than it does for others and we call it Obsessive thinking. However, it is just a matter of degree. Everyone suffers from it. Yet, without it, we would not be able to survive in the world. As Jill Bolte Taylor puts it, "it is the price we pay for having language."

There is a new and very powerful body of work on this topic created by Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hahn and many other teachers and writers, still living and working. If you or your loved one suffers from the pain caused by "the voice in the head," you will find gold in the works of these people. They are available as books, audiobooks, lectures, interviews and many other venues. Find them. Listen to them.

My OCD problem was with Compulsions. I too, like everyone, suffer from Obsessive Thinking, but at the usual levels. Therefore, this work does not spend much time on Obsession.

Compulsive Behavior was my problem--it is the other side of the OCD coin and it is completely different in nature. I think that I understand why these two different issues are lumped together. There is a thought, or more accurately, a belief system at the root of Compulsive Behavior. It is a conscious or unconscious form a Magical Thinking, but it is not the same thing as normal or excessive Obsessive Thinking. Compulsions ruled my life and nearly ruined it. Now I am fully recovered. This book is about the thinking and the belief system that created MY Compulsive Behavior. However, I do not think that I am unique.

I first wrote this book around 1997. It was not until 2000 that I "cleaned it up" and attempted to get it published the first time. It is now June 2008--and many things have changed for me.

My recovery from OCD began in 1989. It was accidental at first. It was not until the following year that I first heard the term "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD." Nevertheless, when I did hear it, I recognized it as my problem instantly. At that time, I was in the thrall of Compulsive Rituals. A long-term relationship ended in divorce and I was beginning a new life. For some reason, it was my time to get it together. When I wrote "Tiger by The Tail" in 1997, I looked back almost ten years to the start of what led to the end of my compulsive days. Now, another ten years later, I look back at Tiger--in a very similar way.

Since I have changed so much, I considered rewriting this book to update it more to my current self, and the discoveries of my last ten years. However, I soon realized that it was impossible to do so. I am not the person that wrote this book any more. I do not feel that pain. OCD and its rituals are so far behind me that I can actually smile at them in my memories. I am no longer qualified to write it, or to rewrite it. This is a sincere and brutally honest work describing a serious problem--that is old news to the person that I am now. A rewrite would take away the power of its words--born from pain and the joy of recent release. Yet, I admit to some editing to make things more clear.

For me, now, life is about learning to be present. In this regard, I am always working on the human problem of Obsessive Thinking and yes, keeping a sharp eye out for any effort that my conditioned mind may make to begin new Compulsive Rituals. But that part is no longer an issue for me; I have won that battle--completely.
About the Author
B. Rockrunner is a pen name used by the author of "Tiger by the Tail" A personal story of recovery from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These articles are edited excerpts from that work.
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