…is every week with OCD.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the base concepts of existentialism and how it relates to the human condition—most often my own condition, of course. I’m not talking here about the ideas of how to gather the meaning of life, or the meaningless of life beyond the individual—that is a philosophical discussion outside the boundaries of my concern on a daily basis. When I speak of existentialism, I speak of the concept of free will and how much control I have over my entire life—especially how I think, feel, and observe. I want to discuss things that are aside from actions, which always have a falsity to them as I wrote about in this article on honesty.
So we’re back into the thinking mind alone, which is where most of my life occurs. I don’t interact with the real world nearly as much as the average human being. I kinda don’t like it. Or, better put, I’ve kinda done almost everything1 I need to in the real world outside my mind for now2.
My OCD craves order. I am often a prisoner of that order, and I use the metaphor of prisoner in its most expansive form. A true prisoner, with many of the same characteristics as a human being behind bars.
As a human being in Western society, I have grown up around a calendar which has a week lasting from Sunday to Saturday by definition. However, as a working person I’ve always known the week to really start on Monday morning and end on Sunday night. It is how I view the calendar. Actually, I have to stop there. I use the phrase “I view,” when in reality I—myself—am only an actor in all of this. You see, my brain craves order and is the one dictating the meaning of every day of my life. And my brain tracks this calendar from Monday morning to Sunday night on its own, without me having any free will at all to feel any differently than my mind wants me to.
I do not live existentially by the base definition of the term as described above.
My week follows a very distinct pattern, and I am trapped within this pattern. Trust me, I have tried to change things. Speaking of my own life, it is important to note I have not had a Monday to Friday job in decades, if really ever. I’ve always run my own businesses, or I’ve been at a position at work where Saturday nights are as free game for work to be done as Tuesday afternoons. So that is the situation I’ve been in. On the surface, I don’t have weekends like most people in business do. And even those who work odd days—they usually have days off, even if they are not actually Saturday and Sunday. People who have been close to me and work in the service industry often refer to Sunday as “my Friday.”
Anyway—the typical human in my modern culture has a week with time off as part of the architecture of, well, being. And I don’t technically—especially being addicted to work.
Here is the thing that is both interesting and disturbing to me. Beyond my control, and for no “nature or nurture” reason that I can think of, my mood tracks exactly to the “Monday to Friday with Saturday and Sunday off” system of calendar. Even though none of these days are really any different than any other in reality. So I look to my OCD, and it makes sense—though I cannot, as much as I try, tell it to stop.
I view Saturday mornings as the high point of my week, and my mood slowly goes downward into Sunday night and hits its lowest point on Monday mornings. At which time, I can often not get myself out of bed even though I am a super early riser (of my own doing.) I dare say I actually feel a massive depression on Monday mornings—and depression is not one of my stronger mental illnesses. Yet, for me, there is no difference in the world of stressors around me on Monday mornings as compared to Saturday afternoons! None. Yet, I feel it.
I’ve wrestled with this for years. I think to myself—what is it about Saturdays that is so different than Tuesdays? Note: my week keeps getting better, mood-wise, from Monday through Friday and into what we call—by rote—the “weekend.” But back to the point of thought. I cannot figure out the difference in the world around me. I have the same potential work stress on both days. I’ve never had a significant other with a Monday to Friday job in decades. None of it makes sense on the surface.
Yet I am trapped within it. And it is friggin’ strong. The wild mood differences between some of these days are orders of magnitude. What I’ve observed is my brain—through the wiring of my OCD—putting order to things where there is none. And most likely it gets this order by sensing said order that has been passed down through a structure of the week relative to mood that has existed in the culture I was born into more so than it hasn’t. My father worked a Monday to Friday office job. I went to school (before college) Monday through Friday. All things that happened decades ago, or even decades before I was born.
And I must have that order. My brain insists upon it—to the point where if I do take a Wednesday off, I feel guilty. Even though I may very well have worked my ass off the weekend preceding it.
If there is such a thing has existential thought, it appears as if I do not have it. My brain is a prisoner to a way of thinking—tracking a calendar—that I have no hope of achieving parole from.
And if you must know, I am writing this at 4:35 AM on a Sunday. I feel pretty ok, but I know that will diminish during the day. How strong will the depression be tomorrow? I can’t tell you, but I know it will be there. But for now, let’s do Sunday, as it is all I have until I miraculously find free will.