50 shades of grey

Apologies, you’re not going to get a run down of the raunchy life of an American billionaire, you are however going to get some insight into the mind of someone with OCD.

When I first went into cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT for short, which is a way of retraining the brain, we focussed on a couple of things. I must say I was lucky with my first experience of therapy, I had a Scottish woman and we clicked, as discussed in the comments section previously, it is very important you like and trust your therapist otherwise you’ll get nowhere. My therapy session also happened to be right next to a school which didn’t help to begin with but there we go. My other experiences were not as good but I digress.

So two major things we focussed on, vicious flowers which I’ll touch on another time and black and white thinking. Typically in an OCD mind we think very black and white about things, or to put it another way, good or bad. We are either good or we are bad, we can not be in between. My therapist would draw a line on the paper, good on one end, evil on the other and I was asked to plot people on that line. Hitler on one very end and Mother Theresa on the very other, the extremes of people. In the middle other people I knew, and famous people I didn’t and the line filled with a cluster of people who are mostly good. I was then, you guessed it, asked to put myself on the line. My instinct took me next to Hitler, that’s how I felt, I felt as evil as a mass murderer because I was believing a thought to be true. She then asked where other people would put me and I erred towards the middle, but they didn’t know what I was capable of, so of course they would put me there.

We then moved on, collected evidence of bad things I had done in life, which of course, I had done. I had stolen, lied, cheated and manipulated over my 22 years, so yes I had a past, I had done bad things, some were the result of illness unknown but are in no way an excuse. The therapist then shared instances in which she had also done the similar things, and did I think of her as a bad person? Of course I didn’t. We then went through the good I had done, I was loyal, honest, kind and raised money for those in need. The bad didn’t outweigh the good, and the good didn’t outweigh the bad. I wasn’t 100% black nor was I 100% white, I existed in the middle, I existed in the grey.

She then moved on to my thought, what was this thought? Black or white? Black clearly, evil thought. Well, she said, it prompts anxiety, which means you don’t want it, which makes it white surely? I argued, she argued. She proposed, could it just be grey, can you live with this thought possibly being true? We don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you if is black or white, so let’s leave it in the grey.

It left me uneasy, and to be honest I still struggle, I’d love one wish to see myself on my deathbed and know I had not done anything I fear but I can’t do that. I live my life mostly in the grey, somethings I do are 100% good and some are not. Over the years I am learning, learning to live among the shades of grey.

2 thoughts on “50 shades of grey

  1. This is so relatable, I ‘ve done some really bad things over the course of my life too, and I’m weighed down by feeling like a complete P.O.S most of the time. I sometimes joke that I’m the guiltiest feeling non-Catholic person ever, because I can’t go through the day without second-guessing myself constantly and reminding myself- probably more than once an hour- that I am a miserable excuse for a human being. I’ve felt this enormous sense of guilt since I was a kid and I don’t know how to let go of it. Thanks for sharing, hang in there! 🙂


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