No one knows what drives people with obsessive-compulsive disorder to do what they do, even when they’re aware that they shouldn’t do it, and when it interferes with normal life. That lack of understanding means about half can’t find effective treatment. But a new analysis of brain scans from hundreds of people with OCD, and people without it, may help. Larger than previous studies, it pinpoints brain areas and processes linked to OCD’s repetitive behaviors. The largest-ever functional imaging study of the brains of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and healthy comparison volunteers, shows significant differences in activity in regions involved in error processing and inhibitory control. The study suggests that the brains of OCD patients get stuck in a loop of “wrongness,” that patients can’t stop even if they know they should, because the brain responds too much to errors, and too little to stop signals. (1)
Trapped in a loop of error. Unable to stop while wanting to. Does this sound familiar? No, its not only OCD. It is life itself. How can you stop doing anything if you have already started doing it? Do you stop eating? Do you ever stop breathing? Sure, these are not the same as checking the oven over and over again. But why do we limit our analysis on specific actions alone? Surely the closing of the oven is trivial. We should not worry about it. But what about thinking of your loved one? Is that more important? Yes it is. But why? Because you say so. Is working day and night for a career that will cost you your family important? Yes. Because they say so. Is checking for ways to please others important? Sure. If you are giving importance to what others say. Is looking for ways to save the planet important? Sure. If you really believe that you are important and that it is you who kills the planet and not the big corporations.
At the end, it is us (or the others) who define what is mundane and what is not.
And there is no way to stop if you believe that what you doing is important.
Check the oven.
Accept the importance of what you are doing.
And stop when you are ready to.
Not before. Nor after.
The oven is closed now.
And I can go play with my kids.
Look at all those people without OCD.
Working. Saving the planet.
Free of error loops.
Able to stop when they say so.
No, they did not check the oven twice.
But not because they were more certain.
But because they didn’t even care.
And in the same manner they leave with the oven closed, they can leave with the oven open.
Check the emails.
Go to a meeting.
Speak with your boss.
Over and over again.
Can you accept the unimportance of what you are doing?
Look at all those people with OCD.
Checking the oven.
Will you ever be able to focus on such a mundane thing?
Will you ever be able to see the importance of a single button?
The world is here and now.
Check it out.