Matter: A Symbol of the Mind

Mind generates the fear.
Matter symbolizes the fear.

Obsessive compulsive disorder likes to customize itself according to whichever person it sinks its parasitic teeth into. My list of OCD anxieties is different from another person’s list of OCD anxieties. Though the content in each OCD list might vary between person to person, the layout remains quite uniform.

In the left column we have an intangible thought (a fear of something), and in the corresponding right column we have a more palpable experience or object (that actual something).

These obsessive thoughts, which forbid or demand certain compulsions, are exponentially more anxiety evoking than physically bringing one’s self to the point of defying said-thought.
To put this notion in perspective, take general anxiety into account. A common example is the fear of public speaking. When you have anxiety about going on stage and talking to a crowd the fear building up to delivering a speech is so much worse than actually delivering the speech.

a conscience full of nonsenseNow revert this idea back to OCD. When I say I am afraid of germs it is my fear of going into a bacteria-ridden public place that causes me more distress than physically walking into the actual setting and realizing, through exposure, that, “hey, I can deal with this”. This is not to say that I do not get anxious when I think I have been contaminated by germs- trust me, I do- but is it the physical germs that are causing the anxiety or a thought itself that causes the anxiety? It is the thought. That irrational frequently occurring thought. The physical germ is just a symbol of the fear having been generated from my mind.

Fear comes from the mind, not from matter. And as much as I want to believe that there is some reasonable connection between my thoughts and the material world I cannot deny the factual evidence that my obsessive compulsive fears are what stir up anxiety, not the actual events or objects which those fears are based on.

– Valerie Parente (6-13-16)

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