My Art and OCD


After years of struggling with troubling thoughts sticking in my head and agonizing over thinking them through, trying to solve things that just did not have solutions I have been diagnosed with OCD. Took a huge recent crash to realize that it was more than just being a worrier and look for help. Now with the help of cognitive therapy and medication I suddenly find me discovering my true self the person outside of the OCD.

Why am I bringing this up in this blog meant for art? Well because art has become part of my therapy and getting help has freed me to make more, much more art and to create more freely. I think this could be a lesson for many really. The difference between someone with OCD and some who doesn’t have OCD is pretty simple. Everyone has troubling thoughts that often make no sense that is just part of life while someone with OCD just can not stop thinking about those very thoughts because they get stuck in a very biological way in the brain. Having thought that are troubling and upsetting in your head for extended periods of time can create intense anxiety, panic attacks and can become very disruptive to ones life, including making art. Most people with OCD know that not being able to stop thinking about these things and that the thoughts are not always reasonable but they simply can not stop.

So the things I have done to help me make art despite my OCD and the way doing this has helped my OCD in general must be things any artist or anyone else could use. It’s like I have tested it out in severe circumstance you know like they do to car parts. Let’s see what happens if we do this with wicked high RPMS and no oil and if it holds up to that it ought to be great under normal conditions.

This is going to take more than just one blog it’s been a lot of to digest for certain. I can’t imagine it won’t be a large part of everything I do from now on it has had such a profound effect on my life to find my way through to cope with OCD and become the true me.

In general I always have agonized over my art and would work rework and rework while all the time never finding any satisfaction. (even if I do say “o this is great”) All artist must do this to an extent. I think everyone does this at least some in much of what they do. The first major break that helped me create art more freely despite my inclination to tear myself and my work apart went like so. I was generally hung up on some memory of someone else likes and dislikes of me or my art imagine and real. Very very stuck. So my therapist wanted me to go home and paint and purposefully make a mistake and keep going seeking to be OK with this mistake being a part of the piece. Well I once heard about a art professor who on the first day of every class instruct his students to make crappy art. I’m probably not phrasing this exactly but you get the idea. I thought about doing this many time in the past but couldn’t bring myself to do. So sense I was on the edge of what seemed like the darkest days of my life I got up the courage and went at it. I wrote down on a piece of paper “MAKE CRAP!” and stuck it to my desk. Oddly I found it’s hard to make crap. Something inside just seems to say o we’re making crap and I felt suddenly free their at the drawing board and feeling free, wonderful things started appearing on the paper as I did. I don’t think I will ever forget that day how I felt amazed and made several pieces that week. I try to apply this to a lot of things now though not always successfully but it helps. Helps to remind me I am human and sometimes I may make crap and thats OK. Sometimes a mistake ends up being just the right move in life and in art.

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