Why The Pathway Maker?
I chose the name for this blog as an expression of much of my life experience, especially my ongoing battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For those of you who are as unfamiliar with this diagnosis as I was a few years ago, here’s a little explanation.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder which causes its sufferers to become fixated on a certain thought or idea. A classic example is the idea that one’s hands are dirty. Whereas a person with a healthier brain can dismiss the thought of their hands being dirty with the recollection that they just washed their hands a few minutes ago, someone with OCD cannot rid themselves of this thought. This kind of thinking forms the “Obsessive” part of the diagnosis.
The individual with OCD then feels that they must wash their hands to make sure they are not dirty. Fear may set in. What if their hands really do have germs on them? What if those germs should infect a family member and cause them to become ill? This undue sense of responsibility often accompanies the obsessions and compulsions of OCD. Thus, the individual feels “compelled” to wash their hands.
After repeating such thinking and behavior multiple times in many different realms of thought and life, the brain of the OCD sufferer forms channels, literal physical grooves in the brain. These channels serve as neural pathways that further entrench the individual in their unhealthy patterns of thinking.
As I have battled with my own OCD and overcome, I have had to retrain my brain to think in newer, healthier patterns. I am reshaping the grooves in my brain to enable me to live a full, delightful, and increasingly healthy life. For this reason, I felt that The Pathway Maker was an appropriate name for my personal blog.
My mind is not the only place where unhealthy patterns of thinking have formed, however. Our society as a whole and the subculture of that society in which I grew up exemplify many unhealthy, hurtful ways of thinking and of treating individuals.
My passion is to be involved in reshaping the neural pathways of society, so to speak. I am especially committed to advocating for individuals with mental illness and/or disabilities. However, I am also passionately committed to seeing the individuals in our society learn to think, behave, and relate in healthier ways.
I hope to be a pathway maker not only in my future, but in that of today’s world. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to join in the conversation.