Updated: Sep 15
The song is out! All platforms. Flying high. Spreading its wings.
Actually, in truth, it feels so anti-climactic. That's ok. "Me Again" is the promo itself. That's what these singles are. But I will try to get the song up on a mental health playlist.
And please enjoy the music video I put together for it!
Jeff Bell, the legendary, recently retired KCBS new anchor in the San Fransisco Bay Area, said yes to being a part of this blog! He'll be speaking to me about how life feels "slanted" with OCD. Slanted is the name of a Hiccups song that attempts to encapsulate what a bad OCD episode feels like. It is also the next single to drop (November). I can't wait for Jeff to share some of his wise words! His books, "Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" and "When In Doubt, Make Belief: An OCD-Inspired Approach to Living with Uncertainty helped me a lot in my twenties. Jeff talks about how he used to obsessively circle back to a spot on the highway to see if he accidentally hit someone on the way to work. He had no logical reason to think he hit someone. But since there's always a remote chance for basically anything, he'd have to return again just to make sure no one was hurt. This behavior obviously led to consequences in his career and home-life. OCD was taking over. He speaks about "trapdoors": checking, reassurance-seeking, ruminating, protecting, fixing, and avoiding. These are basically the compulsions. We must work against the urge to give into these traps, and focus on the "greater good", which is supposed to act as a guide while resisting temptation. Compulsions are the peace-promising lemmings that lure us down OCD's bottomless pit of despair.
B&W artwork for "Slanted" (stay tuned for color version):
feat. "UNRAVELLING" print by Ian Cinco
"Me Again" takes place near the end of Hiccups when Shiloh and Liza are broken up. Shiloh talks bout how freeing it is to be on his own again. No more triggers. But he soon misses Liza and wants her back, despite the OCD-emon that awaits. The music video should not be seen as true to the story, but more of a musical theater reel, since I compiled footage from different shows through the years.
I want to speak a little about the draw towards being single because of the intense hopelessness and exhaustion that can result from ROCD. No relationship seems worth the infinitely looping, boomeranging pain that results from the need for constant compulsions in order to function in daily life. Feeding into OCD -- and in the case of analyzing relationships -- ROCD, gives temporary relief, with answers like "Ok, yes, we are meant to be for each other because I remember a time when we held hands in the movie and it felt good and right." But soon, there will be a need to get reassurance and convince our brains that they are in the right relationship. Even ending meaningful, positive relationships can provide a truckload of relief for those with ROCD. But in cases like Shiloh and Liza at the point of their break-up, once the shroud of debilitating anxiety falls away (from lack of obsessions and compulsions when life isn't such a fearful existence), what follows is a brief period of euphoria, and then rock-solid sadness, and the realization that a huge mistake was made. An important person in his life is lost. Gone forever. He misses her. Not the sickness, of course. But he decides she's worth the struggle.
The thing about my currents state, being in a relationship, and having gone through six months of exposure therapy, working on my RPM's (Response Prevention Messages), is that, for the most part, I have felt that I've become me again more and more as a result of all the hard work. That, and it really makes a difference having a caring, conscientious partner who has stood by me through the hard times, when I needed understanding, and given me tough love when I needed that too. For people with ROCD, especially, relationships seem to change us, and make us feel we're losing touch with our true selves. We feel we are lying to the universe, being inauthentic, and insincere, because we have to put on a happy face all the time, and often when we're feeling miserable and tormented by ego-dystonic thoughts inside. A thought like, "I wonder if I would care if we both died in a crash" will come to mind, for no apparent reason, and then to try to take down the shame, we'll counteract it with all kinds of reassurance mechanisms like "I only thought that because I saw a movie that featured a car crash", which will make us feel better temporarily, but soon the shame will come wafting back, and there will be even more of a need to put out the fire, so to speak. When a relationship ends, we get to feel like we are ourselves again.
My revelation is, we can feel like ourselves again (or something close to it), step-by-step, while in a healthy-enough relationship if we focus on the little things we can do to, day by day, to teach ourselves that reassurance against uncertainty is not needed to survive. In fact, it's entirely the opposite. We must sit with uncertainty in order to survive in the long run.
This is Stoddard signing off.
Me and my...