First steps in my Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and the exponentially more crushing and debilitating fear it would produce each step I took outside of my apartment, required morning chats with my brain. As in: “Brain, when I go out there today, you’re going to make me think x when I see y. I know you’re going to do that, and I expect it”–and here’s the worst part of it–”so bring it on.” I still do it. And it helps. And the silliness of that last phrase hasn’t left. Maybe because of pride, or because it does offer some small affirmation that OCD is distinct from me or, instinctively, “I” feel all therapy is fundamentally justification and posturing. But a necessary justification and posturing nonetheless. This might also apply to literature, criticism, philosophy, art, etc. Bernhard: “When one thinks of death, everything is ridiculous.” Kraszhnahorkai, in an interview with The White Review, says, “there is no medicine.” Just because there is no medicine does not mean that we can not strive for medicine, even if that medicine is “there is no medicine.”
Alternatively, I might try something that the narrator/character/subject/patient/object Rosemarie Romeo Ramee from Elisabeth Sheffield’s novel/report/study/apologia Fort Da: a report (FC2) employs. “Disguised” as a report on her “affair” with a pre-adolescent/pubescent Cypriot boy named Aslan, Ramee confesses and searches for understanding and empathy by externalizing her self, “RR,” in a supposed strict description of the events to a Ms. Wall, who we learn was RR’s AP English 12 instructor. We begin at the end of RR’s story, writing from some where that’s part-prison, part-clinic, with legal prosecution waiting for her. RR’s “account” of the ways in which she sexually, emotionally and physically consumed Aslan is dissociating the “I” away from her own constructions of Self. (For more on this, I recommend Michael W. Clune’s fantastic essay on Beckett and Bernhard at NonSite). My therapist suggested a similar approach. In not so many words, he said “write out your trauma as if it were a play, like stage directions.” But in the attempt to objectify and externalize an ostensible past iteration of my self, at least to Ramee, presupposes failure.
For we know at this stage in evolution, the amygdala has a greater influence on the cortex than the cortex has on the amygdala–allowing emotional arousal dominate and control thinking. A person doesn’t want to be unreasonable, but feeling is a variable that cannot be discounted. // Another is the nature of memory. The inherent inexactitude of the internal record of external events–this must be acknowledged. Yes it must be acknowledged that the neuronal record of reality is selective, if not capricious, a spotty chronicle at best. … Also, it must be conceded that an illness such as cerebral malaria can diminish the reliability of the record even further, smearing the ink, so to speak, deleting entire pages. … Therefore, this account will probably fail as an etiology–the sequence of cause and effect being incomplete. Nevertheless, it will be as rigorous as possible. And she will try not to cry. (19-20).
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