New song explores how compulsions turn your life upside down – opinion

WhatsApps appear with a depressing fatality: 3.27 minutes of a grandchild playing the piano or reciting a poem. A response is awaited; especially if the sender is your boss. So it was with reluctance that I opened the link of Dr Alisa Rubin Peled, academic director of the Argov program at Reichman University where I teach, by presenting her son’s last song. I clicked and boom!

My view of the world has changed; I would never be the same again.

Eytan Peled, 24, could pass as Ed Sheeran. Her hypnotic voice and the haunting graphics of her music video are reasons enough for viral status, but it’s the words that grab the hearts of audiences. Peled suffers from OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder – which goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression; his lyrics “Rituals” guide listeners through the hell of circling around and getting nowhere, quickly, again and again and again and again.

Obsessive thoughts are recurring worry loops: have I locked the door? Did I wash my hands? These obsessions cause endless anxiety and distress; for temporary relief, a person with OCD performs repetitive actions called compulsions. The compulsions include incessant washing of hands, checking and rechecking of doors and several other routines; Peled compensates for the loss of control as a passenger on an airplane by performing ritualistic actions like moving the handles of the tray table. “I know it’s irrational,” he explains, “but the compulsion to repeat rituals is holding us hostage.”

Sometimes the rituals are more visible – Peled’s younger brother, who also suffers from OCD, twitches, clicks his tongue, and blinks when prompted by disturbing thoughts. A whole spectrum of syndromes causes tics and muscle contractions; Tourette’s syndrome, for example, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that plagues people with repeated unpleasant sensations in the body, known as premonitory urges, which can only be relieved by coughing, snorting, twitching, or dying. ‘other rituals.

Compulsions can turn your life upside down: the constant urge to wash your hands gets you out of movies, lectures, and dinners with friends; obsessions with symmetry and order force you to constantly rearrange furniture and books. OCD sometimes manifests itself in hoarding; sick people may find themselves surrounded by old newspapers or piles of clothes. Some people count obsessively; if they lose count of the steps they are going up, they come back and start over.

As if that weren’t enough, OCD comes with other challenges: Trichotillomania, for example, is the uncontrollable urge to pull your hair out. A person suffering from trichy experiences increasing tension until they pull out strands, usually from the head but also from the eyebrows, eyelashes or beard. Depression and anxiety also contribute to the disease; COVID, of course, has only made matters worse.

“OCD often peaks in the late teens,” says Peled, “and that can make life very, very difficult. The reasons are not entirely clear, but may include genetic factors or biological / neurological causes such as a chemical imbalance of serotonin in the brain. Sometimes it can be triggered by trauma or stressful life changes. But whatever the causes, obsessions can cause endless pain.

A few months ago, for example, Eytan’s brother woke up to do his five-point math bagrut (enrollment), and just couldn’t leave the house. The compulsion to repeat the rituals, then to repeat them again, rendered him incapable; the minutes passed and he was stuck. “I was a wreck,” admits Rubin Peled, “and there was nothing I could do to help my son.

An SOS to his mentor relieved him; he calmly convinced the student to take the exam. The 18-year-old eventually went to school for the toughest exam in the program and passed it with ease, scoring a good 100%.

The gap between intelligence and functioning can be very frustrating: it can take up to two hours for young Peled to complete a sentence. Eytan can understand. “I recently traveled with my brother to the States,” he explains, “and while we were hanging out in a swimming pool in Arizona, I asked him all kinds of questions about his compulsions. There and then he wrote the pain in a song, which will certainly kill you gently.

An insignificant click and hiss present the haunting words:

Tell me who you are, tell me where you have been
Tell me why the imagination is your only friend,
Tell me where you run, tell me why you pass
Time accumulates when you feel like you’re breaking up from the inside?
When you’re gonna lose the only thing you own
The only thing you never knew was knocking on your door
You fall and you can’t help but feel a little exposed,
Hanging on to nothing but your false sense of control,
Tell me what you want, tell me all your fears,
Why do you have a mouth when you don’t have ears?
Why do you have a soul when you have no tears?
Why do you have the goals if you don’t put in the years?

The chorus groaned, fed up with being inspired and going around in circles again. Hurry to download it.

Eytan Peled is a testament to the power of resilience. He writes music for television, has millions of views on social media, was an outstanding soldier in his Army unit 8200, taught Arabic and Hebrew in a pre-army Mechina and comes from start a double degree program at Tel Aviv and Columbia universities in psychology. , biology and music.

The good news, he says, is that treatment can be very effective for OCD; medication and cognitive behavioral therapy can both help, depending on the severity of the case. New treatments, such as Deep TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), are also showing promise, according to Rubin Peled. “As a parent, it’s really awful that you can’t help your child who is suffering from it,” she says. “Sometimes hospitalization is necessary. And support is critically important.

Eytan Peled is happy to provide this support: contact him on Facebook or Instagram.

In the meantime, listen to the song! ??

The writer teaches at Reichman University and Beit Berl College. peledpam@gmail.com

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