Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Can Be Good

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Can Assist With Specific Circumstances


If last week wasn't a sad week for you, then I'm guessing you weren't watching the news. I don't agree with watching the news ad infinitum, but something happens when you don't keep yourself informed of what's going on globally. Watching the news teaches us empathy and when we gain empathy we can help others in need. In a broader sense empathy is one of the hallmarks of being an adult. Because this is an unbearably sad week this blog will focus on a few of the best moments in my life. Additionally, this blog is meant to help women with depression, so I will add an example of how my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) isn't always a bad condition to have.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder can rear its head even at the best of times, but can be helpful in some pursuits. In no particular order and possibly a ridiculous one here are a few of my happiest moments. Mom, if you're reading this, of course, I've had fantastic moments with you. However, tales of our debauchery when written could be longer than an abridged bible.

Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression hangs upside down on the aerial silks.
Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression on the aerial silks.

When I was in my late twenties I purchased my first pair of rollerblades. They were beautiful and in limited availability because believe it or not, I had rollerblade connections. I've loved ice skating ever since I can remember. I watched each skating event possible as a child. I recall having a lady crush on Nancy Kerrigan save for her wet blanket personality. She looked gorgeous in her white, illusion-trimmed, dress she wore several days before the olympic trials. I was always fascinated when ice skaters did backward crossovers. The way they would lean in while crossing their back leg over their front leg and quickly move the remaining leg out of the way. I decided one afternoon I wasn't going to stop rollerblading until I figured out how to do backward crossovers. If it wasn't for my obsessive-compulsive disorder I don't think I could have committed to the five hours it took to accomplish this odd goal. I stood in front of my parent's three-car garage and kept drilling the crossovers until I learned how to execute them. This meant falling many times with my legs in a macrame ball. With gravel stuck to the blood smeared on my shin, I did two backward crossovers and knew this would be the moment I would think of whenever faced with a physical trial. Keep in mind I didn't know aerial silks was going to feel like a razor blade up my ass. I'm not sure that anything can prepare you for that.


Soleil Moon Frye who played Punky Brewster.
Soleil Moon Frye who played Punky Brewster.

Growing up there were few activities that my dad and I did together without my mom. However, when we did do things together it was always an amazing time. There was a theatre troupe called "Razzmatazz" not too far from my childhood house that would put on several shows a year. It's impossible to recall even one number they performed. What I do remember was this feeling of happiness that came over me when these actors, singers, and dancers came onto the stage. They couldn't have been more than a few years older than me, but you couldn't have convinced me they were human. They wore brightly colored outfits with more spunk than Punky Brewster could ever endure. They would come onto the stage and bounce all over the place. It might have been a tiny theatre, but to me, it was an opera house filled with little rainbows.


Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression standing at a  scenic beach spot with her father.
Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression with her father.

Another theatre endeavor with my dad was when he took me to see the Radio City Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall when I was in grade school. These women performed feats that no magician could conjure. They could stay in line with a precision that would allow them to only see their neighbor adjacent to them. I would go home from each show with a super-sized catalog that had scenes from the show depicted. I would lay on my childhood bed and wonder what it could be like wearing a Rockette costume. I saw these shows for several years consecutively until one year something happened when I had front row seats. Apparently, being a Rockette is an occupation that runs in the family. At any show, there could be several generations of Rockettes on stage at the same time. There is nothing wrong with having an opportunity to work with a relative at an employer you love. However, I was under the impression that the Rockettes walked on water (because sometimes they did), and to see them several feet from me looking weathered depressed me. When I think of these times with my dad, I don't think about the above when I recall the Rocketts. Instead, I think of the sorcery created by these women.

Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression went to Patricia Fields store, shown on left. On right is Sarah Jessica Parker star of Sex and the City where Patrica Fields was a costume desinger.
Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression often visited Patricia Fields store in Greenwich Village. Patricia Fields was the first costume designer for Sex and the City.

One of the best times of my life wasn't an event but rather several years where I didn't think life could get any better. Every few months for several years my friends and I would travel from our Long Island homes into New York City to hang out in Greenwich Village. This area was the center for the 1960's counterculture. My friends and I were pretty sure that since we knew about Greenwich Village history meant we were instantly cool. We weren't just obsessive-compulsive fans of eighties music. We were fanatical enough to speak seriously about the unfair nature of MTV and their choice not to air our music enough. Not surprisingly my eighties music crush leaned towards the oddly attractive Adam Ant. My obsessive-compulsive disorder did me well as an obsessed fan. I have signed memorabilia from him, I spoke on the phone with him, (ridiculous story) and had a quick mention on a news program filmed in New York City. Greenwich Village was a nirvana for us to shop for music and unusual clothes. The places we frequented were Andy's Chee-Pees antique clothing store, which closed in 2011. Bleeker Bob's record store closed, which closed in 2013. Canal Street Jeans, which closed in 2002. Most iconic was Patricia Fields Boutique, which closed its last location in 2016. Patricia Fields was the first costume designer for Sex and the City.


A photo of Pamela Lewis of Tropical Depression at 1987 high school graduation. I am with my friend Ellen and we are both dressed in white.
Pamela Lewis of Tropical Depression at 1987 high school graduation.

The night I saw Blue Man Group in the Astor Place Theatre was one of the greatest nights I've had. I was young enough to not be jaded about life. This enabled me to think that I could be surprised. This astonishment came in the form of three men with painted, blue faces eating marshmallows colored electric pink and orange. One thing I have learned and continue to be amused by is that everyone thinks they know a blue man personally. Instead of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, it's six -degrees of three blue men. Not that it is a competition, but I do win. My friend Renee ended up marrying one of the three men who started performing the show in college and then brought it to manhattan. Renee and her blue man and the other two blue men and their respective wives opened a school named The Blue School which offered an alternative way for young kids to learn. When parents of the enrolled students realized their kids had no idea how to read The Blue School had many more than six degrees of separation from the parents when they yanked their kids from school.


Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression at about 7-years-old with mom on her left side and their golden retriever Sable on her right side.
Pam Lewis of Tropical Depression with her mom and Sable their golden retriever.

Honorable mention goes to when my mom and I ate at Swenson's Ice Cream as my mom tried to console me about being excluded from an event I wanted to be part of. Another great time was when my parents purchased our first dog, Sable. I recall driving home with him thinking he was my new best friend regardless of what he thought about it. In 1987 there was a day that was Father's Day, my high school graduation, and my birthday. In my unscientific mind, I thought it was the wildest circumstance to occur and I eeked out every possible form of enjoyment that I could. Just want to warn everyone, there's no way I can talk about my best moments without my talking about the horrendous ones. Only kidding, I have no desire to do that.


OCD can be horrendously debilitating for those who have it. Ritualistic behavior like washing your hands until they are raw isn't funny. I should have rephrased my overpowering need to learn certain things.



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