You know that feeling when you’re in such a good mood, that bad stuff just kind of bounces off you? That feeling like there’s a hot ball of molten chocolate spinning like a dynamo in your chest, and you can feel the joy fizzing in your veins like creaming soda?
Well, turns out OCD can bounce off it too.
In my quest to study and control my disorder, I observed that anxiety and panic attacks are mood-dependent. If I’m already feeling like crap, my tolerance threshold will be lower. But it works the other way too; when I’m feeling fantastic, I can shrug off stimuli that would normally paralyze me.
This led to the pivotal realization that I had it backwards; anxiety attacks weren’t an uncontrollable factor that determined my mood; rather, I could use my mood to control my anxiety, at least to a degree. Thinking positively didn’t just lessen the attacks when they happened, it also made it less likely I would have one in the first place.
Whether it was focussing on my interests or spending time with my friends, doing things I enjoyed, or even thinking about things I enjoyed, makes me physically less anxious.
Once I get to that joyous, excited place, it’s like I got the invincibility star off Super Mario and I’m just radiantly immune to all badness. I know it’s a prehistoric cliche that thinking positively heals mental illness, but I’ve found it one of the most helpful tools for fighting off anxiety.