Are you or a loved one suffering from symptoms of OPD? Arguing with fictions? Stressed out when nothing’s wrong? Experiencing feelings of insecurity, fearfulness, and sorrow in the proximity of someone afflicted by OPD? Is your conversation dominated by OPD? After being exposed, do you find yourself picking at the wounds and making them worse, or carrying the disorder to others and exposing them to contagion?

More contagious than Ebola, OPD has ruined more lives than cigarette smoking, and may be a risk factor for stroke,  and heart attacks. OPD is often associated with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and anger-related disorders.

Fortunately, there’s a cure. There is hope. You can be free of OPD! The treatment program is simple, and low-cost, and nearly 100% effective… Let it go. Walk away. Don’t engage. Take care of you. Seriously.

Can't see the forest for the trees? Perspective is a nice thing to have; today I am contemplating a long-standing personal challenge.

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Perspective is a nice thing to have; today I am contemplating a long-standing personal challenge.

I’m feeling a bit playful this morning in spite of OPD – and if you are not familiar with the term, I’ll break it down: Other People’s Drama. You know the stuff; there I am, standing on the sidelines of a discussion that somehow goes wrong, I can see how it plays out almost in slow motion, I watch the people engaging someone deeply afflicted with OPD continue to face emotional attacks, story telling, and game-playing, while  friends and loved ones try desperately to help, to derail that train, to find a better outcome… that’s how it goes for me, anyway. The problem is, day after day of it wears me down, and one day I find I’m knee-deep in emotional games and bullshit, or allowing myself to be baited unexpectedly, and wondering where I went wrong.

People delivering that experience to their friends and loved ones sometimes have no honest awareness of the damage they are doing to their relationships or themselves; it’s the behavior they learned in the context of their experience growing up. Others are aware of it, relish it, dive into it with earnest resolve to catalyze and control the world around them with emotion. Doesn’t matter too much where on that spectrum someone falls; the outcome for those daring enough to love them is quite similar: stress, fearfulness, insecurity, anger, depression, chaos, confusion, frustration – and quite possibly a sense of ever-present risk of having a fucking stroke. I probably walk around looking astonished or annoyed much of the time, just wading through the OPD and wondering ‘what the fuck, seriously?’.  I sometimes feel fortunate when I’m not in the line of fire, just observing OPD symptoms ‘in the wild’ between beings with whom I have no interaction; it’s no less uncomfortable, frankly, and still seems completely inappropriate, unnecessary, and counter to anything loving or compassionate, but the emotional WMD (weapons of mass destruction) are not directed at me, or even towards me. Make no mistake, it’s not ‘fortunate’  to be surrounded by OPD, or sucked into it, or victimized by it, or even to stand next to it, or read about it in the news. OPD is waiting in the wings to be classified as a mental health issue, once someone sufficiently credentialed can give it a catchy name, and a profitable treatment. Yes, it sucks that much. Yes, I see people who are emotionally abusive to others – particularly loved ones – as mentally ill. Some people find humor in it, from a distance, some people find it titillating when it is celebrities. I find it… distasteful. Uncomfortable. Hostile. Disrespectful. Lacking in compassion for self or others. I could go on. That, too, seems unnecessary.  It’s enough to say that in a mathematical set of all things made of love, I would not find OPD therein.

Human primates are emotional creatures. We’re very fancy monkeys, but peel away the layers of education, technology, and civility and what remains is pretty consistent with apes and simians in the wild. We can do better; we have reason and choices, free will and opportunities for willful change and willful growth. There are verbs involved, and a commitment to making better choices. This morning I face myself in the mirror in an honest way, and I ask a new question…”What does it take to become metaphorically teflon-coated, vaccinated against OPD, and is the wiser choice to recognize when I’ve simply had enough?” We are each having our own experience. There are some experiences I don’t care to have – and I have the choice not to accept them. I can change my own behavior, my own actions, my choices… what does taking care of me, and meeting my own needs over time require of me, as an adult woman with considerable experience?

Today is a new day. My coffee is hot and tasty, and I slept well and deeply, waking refreshed and content with myself. In spite of the topic, and this morning’s content, I am myself in a very good place. I am saddened by how often I have chosen, on other days, to become mired in someone else’s experience. This morning, I smile and think “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” This morning I meditate on love, gratitude, and making good choices.

If you are someone who feeds on drama, loves to foster drama, and invests emotionally in turmoil and confrontation, please at least consider that we don’t all thrive on that, or feed on it, and we don’t all find it pleasant, desirable, routine, or necessary. If you could take a moment to consider… but… isn’t that part of the issue in the first place? I guess you’ll find your own way. You, too are having your own experience, and it’s yours; you can build it of whatever stuff you value, yourself. Those are your choices, not mine.  I’ll just be right over here… choosing something different and enjoying my experience.

Days end. Days begin. Where will you take yourself on your journey today? What will you choose for yourself?

Days end. Days begin. Where will you take yourself on your journey today? What will you choose for yourself?

Today is a good day to treat myself and others well. Today is a good day to be kind. Today is a good day for compassion. Today is a good day to love. Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world, and to welcome the best of who I can be with open arms and no reservations. Today, every day, every moment, love is what matters; choosing it is still a choice, and there is still a verb involved.