This piece is presented as part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re focusing on mental health issues.
I have five fingers on each hand. I use them like this: I hold up my thumb and whisper, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.” Then my pointer finger. “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.” Then my middle finger, my ring finger, and my pinky. I give small kisses in between each “Thank You.” I do this five times for a total of 125 “Thank Yous.” Then I say “Thank You” for specific things, like how bright the sun is today or how soothing it is to feel my wet hair on my back. These I repeat just once for each finger. Then I thank G-d for his infinite wisdom, infinite grace, infinite compassion, forgiveness, and honesty—one accolade for each finger.
This is the prayer I say when I get on the subway in the morning. I have to say it.
“Or else…?” asks my therapist.
I know I am separate from this condition, but in all honesty, it scares me more to contemplate who or what or how I would exist without it. To think that one day, maybe I will get on a train and stare at my fingers and do nothing—who would I be then? Or else I would be ungrateful, irreverent, lonely. Or else the people I love could be in danger, the people on this train are in danger, the world is in danger and it will be bigger than an oil spill—it will be a conflagration and a plague and a mysterious air-borne calamity that seizes the earth. I have so many versions of how I will construct disaster and none of them fit into English exactly because there is no definition or limit to the horizon of destruction I know I can cause.
I have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
[Photo via Shutterstock]