Soldiering on – explained.

The poem, ‘Soldiering On’ (found at is an allegorical representation of my OCD.

I don’t much about the army, much less the American army, so please forgive any information that is inaccurate.

I spoke to this person today who told me about how he had been hospitalised due to his OCD. Forced to live in a psychiatric ward, not even allowed to meet his family. And he looked at me and asked me what my symptoms were and he just brushed them off and said I’d be fine.

It is very difficult for someone like me, someone who considers themselves extremely intelligent and rational, someone who approaches problems analytically and solves them in the optimal way. It is very difficult for someone like me to imagine a world where I would be fine simply because no matter how many angles I try to approach my OCD in, I always hit a dead end. An immovable wall that prevents me from going further.

Over the last several years, the last four in particular, it has slowly chipped away at every ounce of happiness, every shred of confidence in me. I have gone from a social butterfly to the kind of person that shies away from human company – a kind of metaphorical cockroach, hiding in the dark crevices of society. I simply cannot meet people and not imagine where their hands have been in the last five minutes. How many toilet doors, flushes, seats they have touched. How many taps they have opened with their own fingers. But I digress. Slightly.

So I thought to myself, as he said all those things, as I asked him about treatment plans because I am someone, somewhere far away from where such things are easily accessible. The one psychiatrist I did go to merely prescribed me some drugs and sent me away; pills that I stopped taking when the pill box became dirty (the irony). I thought to myself that he sounded like one of those war veterans we see on TV shows and films, who talks of the countless terrors he has survived and I felt like a novice. A soldier who had served for barely a year. Someone who knew nothing about anything and who was making mountains out of molehills.

And then I thought of my family, and how should I ever reach a stage wherein I’d have to be hospitalised away from them, my mother would break, my brother be more lost than he was right now.

We have nothing left but each other.

And I wanted, more than anything, not to ever reach that stage. That is what makes it so important for me to get treatment, to find a way to manage things better. So that when a guest comes to my house I don’t need to have heart palpitations when I realise that he is the type who doesn’t wash his hands after flushing a toilet.

I’m digressing again. Slightly.Basically soldiering on is an allegorical representation of my OCD. The army is OCD. The veteran is the boy I spoke to who had been hospitalised. Everything else, well the meanings should be clear to you.


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