I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m kind of obsessive. I can’t blame people for being annoyed with me. Sometimes I annoy myself.
I’m an excessive planner. For example, because of my GERD and exercise-induced asthma, I’m constantly obsessing about what and when to eat. Last night I made rice at 1 a.m. while I worked on this post because it will save time and decrease the likelihood that I will throw up on the court tonight.
Sometimes obsessing is a memory device. Like I’ll repeat a sentence that I want to say over and over until I see the person. Writing it down helps, but I can’t always do that–like when I’m driving. Lots of obsessing while I’m driving.
You know how I said that blogging is my new boyfriend? Well, I’m kind of a stalker girlfriend. I will check my blog stats repeatedly–hundreds of times on the first day I publish a post. Thank goodness it can’t break up with me.
Sometimes I obsess like it’s a hobby. I might obsess about my next blog topic. Or what my strategy will be in my tennis match. Or when I can schedule my next haircut and if I want to try something different, like get bangs.
Obsessing is the most painful when it is fueled by the inner critic or drill sergeant or perfectionism. Then it’s this relentless voice pointing out all my flaws (Your arms look fat in that picture!). Or when I’m not being productive (Get out of bed and do something!). Or how stupid I am for making a mistake (You shouldn’t have dated that loser!).
There are things that help. I take antidepressants, which also help with anxiety. And when the obsessing gets out of control, I take Ativan. I used to obsess for days rather than take the Ativan, but my psychiatrist reframed taking it as a way to have control over my anxiety. And I’m all about having control.
I also practice mindfulness meditation. You’re not supposed to judge how well you meditate, so I will just say that I obsess about random things for 95% of the time while I’m doing it. But it seems to work, nevertheless.
I tell myself the same things I tell my clients. I remind myself that I don’t know what will happen and I can’t prepare for every possible scenario. To take one worry at a time. That no matter what happens, I will be able to cope with it. And that I have an excellent memory and won’t forget.
Most importantly, I try to accept that this is a part of who I am. Some people may not have to deal with obsessive thoughts, but everyone has to deal with something. This is my thing.
Since blogging has helped me accept other aspects of my personality, I thought I would try blogging about my obsessions. Sometimes it helps just to say them out loud. And it’s an added bonus when readers say they can relate.
I still obsessed all the way home about what to eat before and after tennis tonight and how to end this post, though. Oh well. I guess practice makes perfect.
Ahhh perfectionism, my old friend. Isn't it funny how something that more than likely developed out of our ancient past – to help us be “better” (whatever that is, maybe is was to better survive, kill the mammoths, run from the sabre tooth tigers, etc.) – has ended up at this point in history as a great internal enemy? It makes it so hard to accomplish anything; the real enemy of production.
It is truly one of my greatest enemies.