Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by fixations and repetitive behavior. I used to check the stove at least five times a night to make sure that it was off. I’d also check and recheck the front door to make sure that it was locked. This meant that half-way down the road, I’d feel a compulsion to go back home and rattle the door knob, just in case I’d forgotten to lock up. Inevitably, the stove was off, and the door was locked. Did that satisfy my compulsive behavior? No. My anxiety persisted until I completed these daily rituals.
The repetitions were disruptive and time-consuming. Finally, I found a healthy way to channel OCD into a worthwhile project. I had always wanted to write a novel . . . .
My grandmother’s favorite novel was ST. ELMO, by Augusta J. Evans Wilson. The book was handed down to me and became my favorite novel also. I read it seven times and liked it so much that one copy wouldn’t do.My obsession with ST. ELMO led to an interest in the author, Augusta Evans Wilson. I began collecting photos of her as well as the houses she lived in or visited.
I even made a pilgrimage to Mobile, Alabama, where Augusta spent most of her life, and to Columbus, Georgia, where Augusta was born and finished writing ST. ELMO. Once I came within six feet of her.
And then along came John Gilbert. While reading Augusta’s biography by William Fidler (1951, University of Alabama Press), I discovered on page 144 that John Gilbert had starred as “St. Elmo” in the 1923 Fox film based on the book. John Gilbert. What did he look like, I wondered? When I found his photo in STARS OF THE PHOTOPLAY (Photoplay Publishing Co., 1924), I fell in love on the spot. A new obsession. Just what I needed.
Before I knew it, I was president of the John Gilbert Appreciation Society. Anyone who has ever been president of a fan club knows that OCD is a prerequisite. The job requires an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy that the average person cannot sustain. Meanwhile, I was writing a novel that incorporated all three obsessions: ST. ELMO, Augusta Evans Wilson, and John Gilbert.
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- Day #8 :: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (jens12wbt.wordpress.com)
- What to say to someone with anxiety and OCD (dreamstobeanxietyfree.wordpress.com)