Classically Operant Conditioning: How Compulsions Form

An involuntary thought of a sexual act with a coworker constantly repeats in your head, and you begin to rapidly recite poetry. The thought of a disease crawling across packaged meat causes you to wear gloves at the grocery store. Imagery of charred family members results in fire extinguishers in every room of the house.…

From 0 to 100: COVID Obsessions in Eight Hours

Monday's article was supposed to be about how compulsions form. I'm still writing that article—and I'm really happy with how its coming along—but I need to write about what happened to me today (so welcome to a single edit article written at 0130). I started "OCDVID-19: Of Suicide and Self-Harm" with the line "I have…

What is ADHD Really?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A friend recently pointed out that the very name of the disorder stems from the "publicly negative" aspects of ADHD. Like most mental disorders, ADHD runs deep. Small attention spans, and high bursts of activity do characterize ADHD, but so does forming new relationships too quickly, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and…

Teacher in the Gray — Part 4

Virtutem Lunae Soft white light bathes the landscape. A canyon, lifeless only moments before, breathes with new life. Streams whisper through the narrows, gleaming in the moonbeams snaking between trees. A lone fern contrasts sharply with the muted reds of a sandstone wall. Stars paint the canvased sky, winking from their high perches. A gentle…

Teacher in the Gray — Part 3

Ritualistic Self-Destruction A bright white notification on my phone contrasts the dark greens and browns on the monitor above it. The light squeak of brakes floats above the sounds of combat emanating from my headphones: a delivery person has arrived. "Food, brb" sounds from the speakers of half-a-dozen people across the United States. The character…

The Diversity of OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes sufferers to obsess continuously over their moral character. Intrusive thoughts occur about anything and everything, but it's primarily the dark ideations that become obsessions. Unsurprisingly, the breadth of individual principles yields an extensive diversity of obsessions and an even greater compulsive dimension. However, there are many near-universal standards—don't harm the innocent,…