My love of art gives me a lot of strength for fighting the OCD. When I make art, I am in the present moment, and I rely on my intuition, my eye, my hands, my heart. Yes, the OCD intrudes, with delaying my studio time, or getting stuck on what to make next, or not wanting to take a break because I might not get myself back to the studio. But the self I am when creating art, is the self that is whole, and strong, and wiser than my OCD.
It took a long time before I let myself be an artist. When you've had OCD as long as I have, it intertwined with so many aspects of my being, and with my troubled family. I assumed that if I liked doing something, that this was irrelevant. I've met others recovering from OCD with a similar sense, and who also, like me, felt lost when contemplating what they might like to do, rather than what the OCD wants. Combined with my perfectionism and wanting to do things right on the first try, and my fearful thoughts of worthlessness, it was a struggle to experiment and try things out, but I loved art, and this love gave me strength to persist in making it, even though I wasn't certain it was what I "should" be doing.
The OCD chimes in with "Are you sure you love art? Maybe you don't really. Maybe you can figure this out. Start assessing the quality of your passion. What if you really should be doing something else, like when you felt called to be a minister. Maybe God is angry with your decision to be an artist." I did two semesters of seminary in a quest to banish the persistent thought that God wanted me to be a minister, in spite of my lack of any real desire to be one. I feel closest to God when I am creating art. My leap of faith is to trust my experience. This is akin to standing too close to the edge of a steep path up a cliff, and feeling woozy, but this is my one life, and OCD is lying when it promises complete safety.
I'd love to hear your story of what you love. Take your best guess, the smallest inkling if that's all you have. Think of it as an exposure.
Here are some lines from a poem, "The Summer Day," by Mary Oliver, that speak to me, and hopefully to you:
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?