An Excerpt from James Callner’s upcoming book “It’s a Matter of Trust ~ A Memoir of Hope” 

In the 1990’s up to day I continued my pursuit of recovery though as many avenues as I could including 12 steps programs, Medication trials, Spirituality, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Response Prevention Therapy. All of these modalities I work with to this day.

I must tell you that the one modality that has calmed the high seas of anxiety the best has been something most people don’t talk about much but it sure has worked for me.

Creativity and Service.

This creative aspect and connecting with others challenged with OCD has always fascinated me. I have never met anyone with OCD that has not been articulate, intelligent, funny and creative. In my thinking it seems that some part of their brain has been compromised by the neurobiological imbalance of OCD but the creative part is intact and if called upon overtakes the imbalance. Straightens things out, if you will, for a period of time.

How’s that of an arm chair analysis?

I know when I’m in creative mode my symptoms go down to virtually two percent. When I’m on a movie set directing I’m thinking about OCD but not really concerned that much about it. It simply doesn’t have the charge, the energy. I seem to push past the fears for the higher good of the creative process of making the movie in the moment.

What the hell is that? I ask myself that question a lot for I’m the “figure-out man “remember? But in the grand scheme of things the answer is obvious:

Who cares? If it works be more creative.

I remember sitting in Phil’s office after completing one of my films and talking about how my symptoms went so low when I was in “creative mode”. He said in his soft-spoken way.

“Well, I guess you should just keep making back to back movies Jim. It’s a great treatment for you”

He was serious and so was I when I respond.

I think that’s a good idea Phil and I think you should pay for them”

There were lots of ways to stay in what I call “creative mode”. Writing this book is creative mode. Thinking about the next one is creative mode. Yes, I have found just thinking in a creative way calms my anxiety.

I do believe that contemplation of positive creative thoughts is an action that heals and soothes and shifts anxiety. From my experience, it’s not just about distract it’s about accessing a powerful part of my brain that seems to heal the imbalance. So, when I just think about creative ideas or use my imagination in any way I’m in that creative mode. I found that thinking creatively not only lead me to being creative but more importantly smoothed my anxiety and distracted or shifted the OCD symptoms.

Don’t ask me how. Maybe just try it.

More to come from Mr Callner’s upcoming book “It’s a Matter of Trust”
Copyright 2011, by James Callner
Content cannot be reprinted without the express permission from the author