This piece is presented as part of The Friskyâ€™s How To Deal Week, in which weâ€™re focusing on mental health issues.
I have five fingers on each hand. I use them like this: I hold up my thumb and whisper, â€œThank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.â€ Then my pointer finger. â€œThank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.â€ Then my middle finger, my ring finger, and my pinky. I give small kisses in between each â€œThank You.â€ I do this five times for a total of 125 â€œThank Yous.â€ Then I say â€œThank Youâ€ for specific things, like how bright the sun is today or how soothing it is to feel my wet hair on my back. These I repeat just once for each finger. Then I thank G-d for his infinite wisdom, infinite grace, infinite compassion, forgiveness, and honestyâ€”one accolade for each finger.
This is the prayer I say when I get on the subway in the morning. I have to say it.
â€œOr elseâ€¦?â€ asks my therapist.
I know I am separate from this condition, but in all honesty, it scares me more to contemplate who or what or how I would exist without it. To think that one day, maybe I will get on a train and stare at my fingers and do nothingâ€”who would I be then? Or else I would be ungrateful, irreverent, lonely. Or else the people I love could be in danger, the people on this train are in danger, the world is in danger and it will be bigger than an oil spillâ€”it will be a conflagration and a plague and a mysterious air-borne calamity that seizes the earth. I have so many versions of how I will construct disaster and none of them fit into English exactly because there is no definition or limit to the horizon of destruction I know I can cause.
I have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
[Photo via Shutterstock]