Tuesday, July 14, 2015

OCD: How This Super Power Can Be Used for Good or Evil, Guest Post by Eric Trant

Welcome Eric Trant , author of Steps, with an insightful guest post on the positive side of OCD.
OCD: How This Super Power Can Be Used for Good or Evil
by Eric Trant
Here's what my doctor said about OCD:
I would never have made it through med school without being a little bit OCD.
But let's back up. What is OCD? It is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, hyphenated, by God. It is characterized by an intense need, a desire, an emotional demand, that we complete some task or ritual, lest our head explode. For instance, I am an obsessive tapper. I tapped so much that in school the teachers threw things at me. They confiscated my pens and made me stick my hands in my pockets. Later in life, now in my working years, I am known as the pen-twirler. I substitute pen-twirling for tapping, and if you are in a meeting with me, I am that guy spinning the pen, spin-spin-spinning. I cannot, will not sit still, lest I explode in a burst of confetti with the blurt of a horn. That's me. I'm the fidgety one.
We call it a disorder, but I debate that point. OCD is only a disorder when put to foul use. It can consume you with the treacheries of cutting, alcoholism, drug addictions, or direct you to odd, time-wasting activities on the internet. (Why, hello, there.)
It can be subtle, such as an obsession with food, and I do not mean obesity. That is the obvious obsession. I mean obsession with calorie counting, workouts, and an insistence on maintaining a well-balanced, healthy body and lifestyle.
Now hold on, that last part does not sound so bad, does it? Maybe if taken to the extreme, if you are that guy or gal who is always pick-poking others (or yourself) about diet, weight and exercise, yeah, you might turn ~healthy~ into a dirty word.
But if we temper desire with mental discipline, we hammer steel compulsion into something sharp and wieldy.
First, how do we do that? How do we rein in those impulses? Well, it takes mental acumen, and by that, I mean you need to trick your mind. Allow yourself to become obsessed with something healthy, rather than something destructive. For instance, why not sic that OCD beast onto the fruit and veggie aisle? Sic it on some research about your food, what's really in those cardboard boxes and plastic wrappings, and you might dissolve that junk-food habit in the water of your newly-found obsession with foods that rot.
This may lead you down the path of weight loss, which many of us, most of us, in fact, probably most likely I'm almost certain all of us, keep constantly in the back of our mind. It is fresh on my mind, because I recently did just this, and it has worked splendidly. I became obsessed with grapefruits in the morning, eggs and grits (yum), oranges, apples, grapes, carrots and baby tomatoes. I let myself obsess, just a little, about my diet, then angled that same energy toward a revived exercise program. I soon found myself on an overgrown track leading up the mountain, toward the peak I decided I wanted to reach.
The fact is, you cannot succeed at ~anything~ unless you maintain a healthy obsession with achieving that goal.
Unless you are obsessed with a goal, just a little, you will never, never get there. Obsession generates a flame of passion that allows you to blow through the fog of doubt and adversity. You put your head down and plunge forward. No other emotion attaches jets to your heels like obsession, just be careful to aim that energy toward a healthy, reasonable, achievable goal.
Let's take writing, for example. I write. Writers feel a compulsion to write, and they will be happy to confirm this, just ask. "I write because I have to." That's what they will say, because every last one of them, of us, suffers from that ~disorder~ of OCD.
It is an obsession with grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. It is a compulsion with run-ons, no, with simple sentences, no, with first-person present tense, no, with fantasy, no, with... and so on. It is a miserable, wonderful, beautiful, undeniable disorder.
I love my disorder.
If I miss my morning writing ritual, I feel emotionally and intellectually constipated the rest of the day. Sometimes, as with now, as with the writing of this post, I miss my ritual owing to circumstances beyond my control. This morning we unpacked. Yesterday we travelled, after packing up camp, after camping for several days with no writing, with me penning up the pen, unwilling to trample valuable family time beneath such self-absorbed activities as writing.
No, I corralled the OCD, let it snort every morning, stomp its hooves and kick the gate. Now, this afternoon, after the vacation is over, I released it onto this post to stretch its legs for tomorrow morning's return to the blank page and that blinking cursor, that vertical line that laughs with each pulse as it idles before the next word untyped.
It is my OCD, always on my shoulder, my muse, my worms digging the dirt, stirring, always stirring, keeping the ground moist and supple such that a hand can carve out a hole for a finger to poke, for a seed to be buried, for a weed or a flower or a tree to blossom and grow.
It is my disorder, my diagnosis, as my doctor would tell you. She said that first bit many years ago, that her OCD helped her through medical school, but that she worried about me because I might take it too far. I might obsess over money, bills, relationships, and so forth, and for a while, I did. She offered the standard allopathic bottle of chemicals designed to dull the edge of something nature spent hundreds of thousands of years honing, for reasons always one step beyond our own evolution.
Personally, I believe OCD is a super-power. And like all super-powers, it can be used for good, or for evil
I told my doctor just that. I passed on the chemicals, even though I am a chemist, a chemical engineer, even though I appreciate the coolness of how those pharmaceuticals are manufactured and how they slide along the edge of nature's blade.
I then, many years ago, made that conscious choice to use my power for good, and not for evil. It is a constant, constant battle, as any of my compatriots will tell you, but it is a battle worth fighting, with rewards well beyond what others might achieve with their flat-lined emotions and lack of disorders.
I will leave you with this final thought.
Genius and sanity are incompatible.
By definition, genius means one who is significantly different. They are abnormal. They are disordered. Most of them suffer OCD well beyond what any of us writing or reading this post can appreciate, or understand, because all of them are evolved just one tiny step further than we are.
And all of them use that power for good.
I would love to hear your thoughts concerning OCD. Did you saddle the elephant and ride, or cower beneath its feet as it trampled your life? (I think we've all been on both sides of that elephant.) Is OCD hyphenated, or not?

Thank you Eric Trant for this post which I can subtly identify with some of my own traits!
Also, thank you WOW-Women on Writing for providing this stop on Eric Trant's blog tour!

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work at


Steps is a well written science fiction novel you won’t want to put down. Following the Peacemaker family through their battle of survival will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what obstacle is next.

Society is falling to a ravaging virus, and the Peacemaker family is stranded in the mountains of Arkansas. Forced to band with a group of deserted soldiers, they battle to survive starvation, apocalyptic cataclysms, and a growing number of dangerously infected wanderers. 

As their dwindling number struggles against ever-increasing odds, they realize they are not alone in the wilderness. A large creature is present in the hills, at first seen only as a fleeting shadow. 

Now the family not only faces impending death from the unstoppable virus, they must also deal with the mysterious giant, whose footprints signify that he knows where they are.

Paperback: 218 Pages
Genre: Sci Fi
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (May 21, 2015)

Twitter hashtag: # StepsTrant
Steps  is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon 
For more information about blog hostess, Audry Fryer,


  1. Thank you much, Audry, for being kind enough to let me crash your blog for the day. Hope you and your readers find something good to nibble out of all those words.

    - Eric

    1. Hi Eric! Thank you for crashing my blog with your fascinating post. I always enjoy a positive perspective!

  2. Nicole.lascurain@healthline.comNovember 1, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    Hi Audry,

    First off, I came across your site and wanted to say thanks for providing a great OCD resource to the community.

    I thought you might find this infographic interesting, as it shows detailed information about the social signs of OCD to look for, and has proved to be a great hit with our readers: http://www.healthline.com/health/ocd/social-signs

    Naturally, I’d be delighted if you share this embeddable graphic on http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com/2015/07/ocd-how-this-super-power-can-be-used.html , and/or share it with your followers on social. Either way, keep up the great work Audry!

    All the best,

    Nicole Lascurain | Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3100 | e: nicole.lascurain@healthline.com

    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    www.healthline.com | @Healthline


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