Obsessing Over the Little Things

“Passion is a positive obsession. Obsession is a negative passion.”

~Paul Carvel~

“Don’t forget, you want to go walking later!”, my squeaky, high-strung, OCD counterpart blathered at me.

“I know.”, I replied back as I tried to ignore him and his daily, non-stop tirades. I was casually trying to relax, a.k.a. procrastinate, by watching some Netflix, but I guess that ain’t gonna be happening. I narrowed my focus on Felicity Smoak, determined to block this “noise”.

“Oh! Speaking of blondes, don’t forget you want to check out that chick at the gas station. Oh! Yes, right! Gas! Don’t forget to get some gas!”

I sigheddddd as I replied tersely, “I know.”

“And you got that cute little project you’re working on. It’s been days since you did it last. Don’t you think you should be starting that too?”

I found myself getting fidgety, my mind racing over all the things I had to do today and I growled at myself. It’s true, it has been a few days. I do have a wicked habit of starting something and not finishing it, and for that, I can blame this chatterbox talking a mile a minute behind me.

Why is that, you may ask?

It’s called Obsession, dear readers.

But if that’s the case, wouldn’t I be obsessed over finishing a project, you may wonder?

Not entirely true, dear friends.

Just like this pain in the arse ‘standing’ behind me, mouth going non stop, Obsession can take many forms. It’s a dangerous animal, that.

Before I snapped my attention back to the matter at hand, a fleeting thought occurred to me. Am I like this with friends and family when I get like that?

Oh dear.

I swiveled my chair around to look at my ‘twin’ and noted with some irony that as always, his shirt was wrinkled. His hair looked like Don King without the afro, cuz afros are all nice and neat and round and trim. This? It’s like looking at a cactus. In my case, I always had a neatness about me that belied my frame. And it wasn’t just about my appearance either. In my small but neatly arranged apartment, I had things placed in such a way that it was easy to remember where I left things; it had things right where I wanted them, and heaven forbid, if anything was out of place, itt would throw me for a loop and I’d get oft-kilter and bent out of shape. Or at least it did once upon a time. My apartment wasn’t aesthetic by any means; it certainly lacked a woman’s touch, but I was quite happy with it just the same. Still am. The irony? I have my OCD counterpart to thank for this, because he/it/me made me the way I am. Neat. Articulate. Right on point. On top of things.

“…and…and…and…and…and”, my counterpart blithely continued on in his rambling very one-sided dialogue and I rolled my eyes up. I’m not about to tell you what he said (or what I’m thinking), because if it hurts my head, then it most definitely will hurt your head!

“I know.”, I replied once again, my mind going over the chores of the day. I whipped out my handy dandy blues …err…Daily planner, and I scrolled through the list of things I had to do.

“Okay, so here’s what I’m going to do,” I said, totally ignoring my unwanted visitor, “so, I’ll get started on my pet project. Check. Get some gas on my way to work. Check. Sweep and vacuum the floor after. Check. Then make a new list for tomorrow. Check! Sounds like a plan, huh?”

The silence was deafening. Blessed silence. Relief. A quietness in my brain that I can only get when I’m sleeping sometimes. I looked over, and OCD was gone.

Breathing a sign of relief, I turned around and started tapping away at the keyboard, a small smile playing at the corner of my lips.

“Thank you.”, I said to no one in particular.

OCD. Otherwise known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am no doctor, but I do speak from experience so I can safely explain what OCD is from my own point of view. OCD is a type of anxiety that goes hand in hand with other anxiety disorders, such as GAD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. OCD, much like anxiety, is actually a very common ‘disorder’ present in almost everyone, believe it or not.

What characterizes Anxiety and OCD as a mental disorder is how much of it disrupts your every day life, making it harder to live a normal life. As the topic of the day is OCD, I will concentrate on what I have to say about OCD alone, and Anxiety can be covered another time in greater depth.

Obsession is a normal human emotion, or feeling. What makes it not so normal is the compulsive part. Every person who has been diagnosed with OCD is different from any other person who has been diagnosed with it. Some have it much, much worse than others do, but for every single person that has OCD, the severity of it matters not because it affects every single person that has it.

It’s hard to understand why OCD is a disorder to begin with. It’s very easily misunderstood, and rightfully so. People can be obsessed with something, and not have a disorder. Being obsessed (but not possessive) and in love with a person in a non-creepy way is absolutely normal; being obsessed about a pet project and wanting to succeed at something you love doing is also a very basic human trait. So why would it be a disorder?

It becomes a disorder when it starts to mess with your mind. Quite literally. There are those who have a disorder like mine; racing thoughts; only able to complete tasks one at a time; can’t rest or relax til all the tasks for the day are completed; and a lot more other little things that are hard to describe and explain here. Then there are others who have a more physical disorder that quite literally disrupts a person’s normal routine. I once worked with a wonderful person whose OCD made him take three steps at a time, then walk three steps back, then three steps forward again. At the end of that routine, he had to touch a certain thing before he could continue on. If he missed any part of this routine, he had to start all over again, and rinse/repeat the whole process. Now imagine yourself doing that, and then you can see how much time you just spent on doing a routine that you have to do day after day after day. Disruption at it’s finest.

Obsessive compulsive disorder can be treated by medication, but honestly? It all starts within you. Learn to understand it. Learn to accept it. Know that it’s a part of who you are, and what makes you unique. The danger in thinking of it as a disorder is making it an enemy; it’s not an enemy, it’s YOU. Don’t make yourself an enemy. Don’t battle your demons. Learn to live with it. Life is too short.

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