How to use fear to conquer fear

img004I had a bad case of OCD when I was a kid. Although this was a hindrance in my life, I discovered that I had a certain amount of control over it. I could make it come and go depending on who was standing there, because I didn’t want anyone to know what a little sociopath I was. I was already a buck-toothed, four eyed nerd that received way more attention than I ever wanted based off that criteria alone. Adding mental illness to public opinion seemed a selfish monopoly of their curiosity. So while I knew I was a little nuts, no one else had to. That’s the genius of crazy people and the reason most people don’t realize others are crazy until it’s too late.

So this is sort of a story about how I broke myself of my compulsive habits utilizing fear instead of doctors, medications, or exorcists.

I’ve found fear to be a two-headed monster. On one hand it’s a great motivator; on the other a debilitating, utterly unrewarding emotion. Let’s clarify the distinction here.

When I was a kid I was in love with a boy named Brad. I would pedal my bike by his house with the hopes of getting a mere glimpse of him. These days they call that stalking. Most days it was a phenomenal waste of time because he was never outside, but on one particular day it looked like all my efforts had finally paid off.  This time when I passed, Brad was outside playing around the family’s motor home. He didn’t see me, so I decided to pass again, a little more obviously this time. I pedaled by like an everyday rock star, laid back, all cool, my fro blowing in the wind. He didn’t notice.

I passed again. He still didn’t see me.


What was I going to do if he saw me anyway? Strike up a conversation about my ability to obliterate ants by aiming my glasses at the sunlight just the right way? Or how about whether or not I would need stitches, since on my fourth pass I face-planted after hitting a pothole in the road.

Of course he noticed me then.

And being the nice boy he was he came out in the street to help me up. Not only that, but he also invited me over to see his parent’s motor home and GET THIS…even offered me a 7Up.  I was pretty sure he was in love with me.

So there we were, chatting it up like old pals, when suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to pee.

I think to myself how, if I ask to use the bathroom, he may think I’m weird. Or what if he misunderstands and thinks I have to poop? Then I think that we’re having such a nice time, if I use the bathroom, the moment will be lost and when I come back he’ll tell me that his mom is calling him. Especially if he thinks I went and took a shit in his bathroom. Mostly I was just afraid to ask. So I didn’t.

This is an example of how fear is a stupid, nonsensical emotion. Instead of asking to use the fucking bathroom, I peed my pants right there in front of him and pedaled home crying like an asshole.

I never looked him in the eye again and avoided him in the hallways. Had I just asked to use his bathroom, I could have come back, resumed playing and begun planning our June wedding.

That type of fear has no place in our lives, but sometimes fear can motivate us to make positive changes, and that’s good. This kind of fear is why I no longer flip light switches on and off  8, 10, or 12 times, or why I don’t count cracks, or tiles, or breaths. That’s how I discovered how to utilize fear to my advantage actually, standing in my bedroom flipping the light switch on and off, off and on. I remember thinking that I was getting to the age where I may be invited to slumber parties and other functions with kids from school. I was mortified by the thought of them finding out my dirty little OCD secret. I can recall telling myself, you can’t just keep being a fucking weirdo. You can’t be ugly AND crazy. Nobody bounces back from that shit.

It wasn’t overnight, but eventually I broke myself of my OCD habits by reminding myself that being weird wasn’t an option, which now I think is so stupid because weird is interesting and not stupid. Anyway, I imagined myself doing “normal” things like all the other “normal” people. Like making sweet love to Brad at our desert island hideaway, where we were so hardcore the pirates and head hunters didn’t even fuck with us. Or becoming the coolest rapper, even cooler than Run DMC. I pretended I was already like all the other girls at school and that soon they would all be my friends.

They say thoughts become things. The intense need I had to cease my OCD activities manifested with those activities ceasing. My desire to befriend all those little bitches in school manifested into more shallow friendships than I could even count!

*Disclaimer* Not all thoughts become things. There is a loophole in the Law of Attraction. You see, despite my deepest longing to marry Brad, he had an even deeper longing to not marry the girl who pissed in his driveway. So HIS thought became a thing. He basically fucking cancelled out my thought. You have to always be aware of this shit. That book won’t tell you that part.

I never did end up in any love shack on any island either. And I have a firm understanding that a pirate would fucking kick my ass. I know this now.

So let’s just recap here. Fear of peeing is a great example of utterly unrewarding fear, while fear of alienation and severe ass kickings turns out to be quite useful. Can you believe I share the secrets of life with you for free?

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12 thoughts on “How to use fear to conquer fear”

  1. I just let my OCD tendencies wear out until we got tired of each other. That takes longer, but it works, too, and it doesn’t involve fear, just disgust and boredom.

    1. Hey, I love disgust and boredom! I use those guys all the time, like when I get disgusted with myself for sitting around on the couch, I move over to the chair where it’s much more comfortable.

  2. Welcome to HO! Now that you’re an author here, you’ve officially made it. What that means: Maybe Brad will read this and you guys will be the next great celebrity love story like Tom and Katie, or John T and Kelly P…
    As for this OCD thing…if OCD is weird, and weird is interesting, are you saying that I should LIKE my family? Just wondering, because I’m feeling fear right now, but I’m not sure of which kind it is…

    1. C’mon…we’ve had enough conversations for you to know that I would never, ever suggest that you LIKE your family. That would be ridiculous. Families are for Thanksgiving and Christmas when you sit back, shake your head, and accept that, while weird, they ARE interesting. I reserve “like” for kittens, puppies and a small assortment of babies.

  3. It’s good to read a full article from you, instead of an occasional comment! Motivation is a good thing, even if it is from fear. Although, I still think the love of Brad was a factor, too!

  4. I loved this! I’m trying to figure out the right way to offer this up to the OCD members of my family as a useful tool, without sending them spiraling into their own personal light-switch flicking hell.

    1. Thank you!
      If they spiral out of control, then you can video it and put it on YouTube. The humiliation should cure them. They’ll thank you later.

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