I’m quite aware of the contradiction in the abreast words “omnipresent” and “lack” in the headline above. This article is about that which I feel—not that which I logically know, carefully do, or meticulously plan. That which I feel is often a set comprised of contradictory individual-but-connected thoughts. This article is about how my OCD affects that mechanism of my brain.
I exist generally in a state of discomfort in my brain, as I look at a world I don’t feel like I am meant for. I am obsessed with order, and I think anyone reading this realizes there is a lot more entropy in this world than there is order. But my brain dives into a thicker level of thinking along these lines and considers—actually, insists upon—even more than mere order: reason.
Let’s start though with the concept of order. For someone with OCD, order is obviously something craved. On the surface, we like things contained, clean, peaceful, and all of that really scrumptious stuff. Just beneath the surface of order is the need for predictability—to know that order will be sustained. And this is where anxiety comes in, as no one can predict the future1. If things are orderly, our lack of happiness persists as we play out the aforementioned orderly breaking apart.
Indeed, it is important to realize that even in a state which one would think our disorder is placated, we are still not happy. Happiness is not about now, we can’t live in the present. We live in the future, and worst case scenarios are the story of our being. Why? Well, for one we have an illness. We are not thinking soundly. However, there is some logic to our thoughts—as the world seems to detest constant order. We live in a world where order is constantly broken for myriad good and bad2 reasons. So we’re… well, right about that fear. Almost always. Not always. Almost.
So let’s now take that step downward in the strata of the foundation of the world outside into the concept of reason. This is where things get depressing for me—as if the world’s love of moving toward entropy3 wasn’t enough—I find myself in a very messy arena.
I don’t believe that there is a meaning to life. I believe that the concept of “meaning” is a construct of life, and therefore one cannot move that construct out and above “life.” There most likely is no meaning to life. And that is actually ok philosophically, as one still lives within “life” and never goes above it. So I am not asking the Grand Question Why (?) with my energy spent on feeling. I am, however, always in need of everything having a reason behind it. And, to put it simply, most things do not.
Take a second to think about everything. Wow, that’s a lot, no? Ok, think about “everything” as quickly as you can. You’ll notice that you most likely focus on the things that do have a reason. Negative or positive. Things you love, things you hate, even things you’re ambivalent to. Things that go against your beliefs, things that are in line with your beliefs, things that are just plain weird. Those things you think about almost always have reasons. The logic or lack thereof is not important here, the mere existence of reason is what propels us to notice things. But I asked you to think of “everything.” And in doing so, you’re coming closer to how someone like me—with OCD—thinks.
I notice the vast emptiness—the spaces between what most people notice. And I fixate on all of it. But it is the stuff without reason that leeches most of my energy, similar to how nature abhors a vacuum.
Why is it we’re ok with the world being unfair? There is no reason. Why is it that our own brains work against us more often than for us? There is no reason. Why is it that suffering is the machine that seems to drive all human interaction, and this is… well, without reason?
These are my feelings. Better put: this is what I feel, what I spend my energy wanting to fix. I will think up every possible actual reason and try to attach them to the concepts that lack a reason. And, of course, fail—wasting energy along the way. I will obsess until there is no more real energy left to obsess over these concepts.
My obsession with everything needing a reason is precisely where I move from anxiety to depression. The anxiety comes from a level above—order, lack of order, and perceived future breaking of order. Depression comes from lack of reason. Order can be willed, though it usually takes more energy than I have. Thus I fear lack order I cannot put back in order. Reason, however, cannot be willed. If it does not exist for something, it cannot exist for that something. And that is a trigger for depression for me.
It may be because there is no possible corollary compulsion I can choose to take or not. It is empty, the world—mostly. Without reason.
Oh, I suppose I have to answer the following:
What then, you may ask4, is the reason behind this article? To move other people’s way of thinking into mine, to show the experience I have obsessing over eventualities having a lack of reason being more prominent than those having a reason.