Dot Aversion Therapy

06-01-source_je9A few years ago, I went to an osteopath who informed me that my ‘lines’ or ‘chords’ or whatever the fuck he called them, were a “mess”. I didn’t care for his subtle-touch, cranial approach at the time—I’m more of the school that if someone’s effectively beating the shit out of me with their elbows, it must be doing some good. The inference was that this “mess” was not just in my body, but in my mind and spirit as well (I realise this isn’t the first time I’ve alluded to this osteo experience on my blog, but bear with—the context is different. Promise).

Needless to say, at 2am this morning, after my third attempt at my relaxation app with Andrew Johnson, I began thinking there may be something to his assessment—not for the first time, you understand, but I was reminded of it at that particular moment; it seemed pertinent to the circumstances.

I used to be very good at relaxation exercises. They were a key element in the numerous acting classes I did as a child/teenager/young adult and something which I practised frequently during my final years in high school to help focus my energy during exams. I found them extremely beneficial. They did, at one point, lead me into some strange dalliances with Wicca, but the less said about that the better.

These days however, as I lie in bed at night, I can only focus on something for literally a second. I often imagine my thoughts as a kind of dot-to-dot game—one thought here, then there, then there, then there….dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot…..they become so rapid that they’re not even full thoughts, just fleeting yet intense visual flashes. Like the cinematic aversion therapy inflicted on Alex in A Clockwork Orange, but in my head, rather than in front of my eyeballs. Imagine what it would look like if I joined all those dots? What utter chaos. Like a great big bowl of spaghetti.

There has always been an element of ‘messiness’ to me, but the culprit largely these days is my fear of forgetting. So fatigued is my brain (a combination of small children, not enough sleep, the inconsistency and multipronged nature of my work schedule, the occupational hazards of a work-at-home freelancer with no work/home divide, and the martyr-like belief that I can get what I need done without the need of childcare [there’s a considerable financial underpinning to the latter point]), that amongst all this mental clutter, I panic I will forget things—important things like dates, but also lines I might want to write or ideas I want to explore. During the day, this panic materialises in the form of neurotic amounts of lists. At night however, often after I’ve tip-toed out of bed and jotted down a couple of additions to whatever lists I have going, it takes the form of total sleeplessness. And back and neck ache—usually a corollary to the endless thinking. This post for example, was perfectly written in my head at 4am this morning and I promised myself I wouldn’t forget it; inevitably, I have and this is the shoddy stand-in. I’m terrified I’ll miss something and in that fear I end up becoming distracted, sloppy and unable to rest.

I’ve been led to believe that this is an aspect of OCD—something I’ve long known I’ve had, but generally don’t acknowledge. Everyone has OCD apparently— ‘Oh, that’s just me being OCD’ people say. I often wonder what people like this would do if they lived with genuine OCD, which can be utterly debilitating. Something for another post perhaps…

Seldom do I brush my hair, but I used to brush it a lot less and sometimes I would get such unrelenting knots that I would have to decide whether to douse myself in conditioner and really go for it with a comb, or simply cut them off. The latter I did on more than one occasion, leaving me with strange short bits that perplexed my hairdresser during my annual visits to the salon. In terms of an analogy, I can see how the conditioner and the comb would work i.e. slow, gradual, patient steps in working my way back to equilibrium. Perhaps less screen time before bed, less sugar and alcohol, more yoga stretches, etc. You know, sensible strategies to quiet the mind and be a generally more ‘together’ human being. However, I’m slightly more concerned as to how the cutting it off would work, as this is the sort of impulsive, almost violent action I’m more prone to.


I’ve noticed there has been an absurd level of personal pronouns used in this post. This is usually something that gets weeded out in the editorial process. However, it is the editing process itself that I’m trying to weed out in my blogging exercises. They are, after all, blogs, and thus by their very nature, imperfect. Not to mention an exercise in narcissism. Hence, the proliferation of personal pronouns.

Anyhoo, I digress.

Dear-o-dear… there’s that evidence of my misaligned chords…





One comment

  1. I enjoyed this! I too have a dot to dot brain! I loved that paragraph! X

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