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Bennett and his wife, Bunny, engage in daily brutal battle with OCD

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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Arvie Bennett Jr., experiences victory battling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) every day, but with a cost,

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Arvie Bennett Jr., experiences victory battling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) every day, but with a cost," Bunny Bennett, his wife, said.

 

 



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Bennett's mental illness has not stopped him from releasing three CDs, with his new album, “Goin’ Outlaw”, to be released in March 2016.
 

Submitted

Bennett's mental illness has not stopped him from releasing three CDs, with his new album, “Goin’ Outlaw”, to be released in March 2016.

 

Arvie Bennett, Jr. of the Arvie Jr Band spends a lot of his time on the stage in the limelight singing to thousands of people. In the past couple of years, Arvie has performed at over 100 venues.

Until recently, most of his fans have been unaware that my husband, Arvie, is engaged in a brutal battle every day. It takes every ounce of strength for him to get on stage – to even pull himself out of bed every morning because of this battle.

This terrifying, ugly, brutal war has no end, and it has been raging for 30 years. There is no time of peace or truce – not even while he sleeps. This battle has a real enemy, and its name is OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the battleground is in Arvie’s brain.

Recently, Arvie has started to share with his fans about his struggles and pain, and what he is learning is that people understand because they, too, have known pain.

With September being the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Arvie and I want to share more about his struggles and what he has learned about overcoming in order to bring hope and strength to others that suffer, whether their pain comes from OCD, Major Depression, or other mental, emotional, or physical pain.

According to the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is frequently associated with mental health problems.

The pain Arvie experiences is real. OCD is like a living thing - an entity with intelligence and an evil agenda. It constantly strategizes and launches surprise attacks.

When it can’t defeat Arvie from one angle, it will assault him from another, and then another. It is as if it has studied Arvie inside and out and knows his deepest fears, and that is where it mercilessly lashes out.

It also knows his heart’s desires and tries to obliterate any hope that he can ever accomplish anything or that he is even worthy to experience anything good. He is bombarded with dreadful thoughts continuously.

Have you ever had a shocking thought come to your mind that completely humiliated you? The thought made you ask yourself, “Where in the world did that thought come from?” and weren’t you relieved that no one could read your mind because they would have thought you were evil or crazy?

Well, OCD makes a person have these dreadful thoughts all day long. I will give you just one example of what Arvie battles in his mind.

Recently, Arvie and I were at a funeral. During the service, Arvie was completely reverent and respectful, and no one, not even I, realized that his mind was filled with bizarre urges.

Later, Arvie shared with me that his mind was telling him over and over again to overturn the coffin and spill out his loved one’s remains. He was convinced that he would cause hysteria among the bereaved and traumatize them with this dreadful act.

Arvie would never do something like this, but his mind tried to trick him into believing he was capable of doing this.

While fighting his mind’s crazy commands, Arvie started to think that he is a bad person, which is the opposite of the truth. I have never met a more kind, generous, or loving man than Arvie.

I am just an outsider helplessly looking in at this war. Arvie opens his mind just a tiny bit and the glimpse I get of this battle shocks and horrifies me. The only way Arvie can explain it is that his brain is “broken.”

My brain is not broken, so it can barely handle the sickening images he describes, but I try to listen and to use this insight into his mental illness in my own work as a school social worker that is a part of the Aftercare Team of Greenville County Schools. Every suicide the team and I respond to is a tragedy, and clearly, more education and prevention is needed.

This disease, this vile enemy is smart, but Arvie is smarter. Over the three decades of this war, Arvie has developed weapons and ways to persevere. To help support the National Suicide Prevention Awareness, Arvie wishes to share what he has learned in order to help others who are suffering from mental health conditions.

It is the power of choice that is Arvie’s single most effective weapon. He chooses to fight. Fight to achieve his dreams and to have a full life.

Arvie has decided he is not going to back down from this enemy. He refuses to “be its slave.” It wishes to control him.

Many people with OCD, depression, and phobias do not leave the house because their fears and emotions control them. It is this power of choice, however, that has enabled Arvie to weaken the disease.

Long ago, he decided he would refuse to engage in any “compulsions” or rituals as most people with OCD do, because he is not its slave.

The war wages on, though, and Arvie is now the “pure O” - the silent suffering of obsessions continues within him without ceasing.

With self-discipline and perseverance, Arvie combats his thoughts. It has not been easy to train himself to do this. Just as an athlete must train his body, Arvie trains his mind. He will never lay down in defeat. He will press on … and so can you. You must choose to fight your mental illness.

Here are some additional suggestions Arvie would like to share:

• Seek support. Most people who suffer from OCD and other mental problems feel isolated and alone, but there are support groups, churches, and agencies that are ready to help.

• Seek treatment. There are therapists, doctors, and psychiatrists that are trained to help. Arvie takes his prescribed medications faithfully. While there is no cure for OCD, his symptoms are much more manageable with medications.

• Practice self-care. When your mind and emotions are constantly under pressure, you must take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Exercise, drink water and avoid excessive alcohol and processed sugar.

Find a church family that does not judge you for having mental or emotional problems. Realize that you are important and loved by God and others, and they want you to press on.

 

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