I may be living with a disability, but I have enabling thoughts, most of the time.
I enjoy reading and writing, and I love words, but there are times when OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) sets in—like the Howard Hughes moment when I catch myself repeating, in my head, the same set of words over and over and over and over and over…. I catch myself repeating a slogan on a billboard, a car sticker silly-ism, a TV advertisement, or a thought reminding me to do something.
I fall out of the formal diagnosis of ritualistic behaviors because there is no mental compulsion driving me to relieve an identifiable anxiety. Except, I must confess, on rare occasions since I was a young girl, when a group of birds fly overhead, I am compelled to count them before they disappear from sight. Of course, that’s totally normal. Don’t you also need to know the avian population? No worry; I don’t keep count from one counting to the next and add them up. That would be CUCKOO, and compulsive. Repeating the same set of words in my head is recurrent, it isn’t compulsive, unless I don’t have a pen and paper readily available, or until I turn the oven off…turn the oven off…turn the oven off….
“STOP!” I say out loud, only to hear myself repeating the same stale words moments later. It’s like dictating a Western Union telegram—Stop (period). No such luck! It’s really aggravating.
To get to my point, research has shown that our thoughts (able-bodied and disabled alike), positive and negative, affect our emotions and physiology. Long before this type of research was accepted, James Allen wrote As A Man Thinketh. The following are food-for-thought quotes from his contemplative writing:
“The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind….”
“Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet….Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will sooner shatter the nervous system.”
“Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace.”
“If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, and despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion, pride.”
“There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow.”
And, along those lines—A REMEDY: When you find yourself feeling depressed and sorry for yourself, do something kind, thoughtful, and generous for someone else; not just once, often. He’s not heavy; he’s your brother. Your heaviness will be lightened, as well. I have always found this to be true.