Tag Archives: OCD

Vicious Cycles Of Don’t-Careism

25 Jul



Am seriously having the hardest time focusing today. 

…It’s taken me three times as long to do everything here at the office because from the moment I walked in, I have been sidetracked with not caring.

Now, you have to understand: I never *really* “care” about this place, or my job in it…but there *is* some strange form of satisfaction in flashing through a shit ton of paperwork and having that “to be filed” stack grow at alarming rate.  It has nothing to do with the pride in what I do here, and everything to do with the OCD sense of contented accomplishment at a full and messy inbox, being organized and processed into an alpha-ready stack in the outgoing pile.

…But today, even the OCD has taken a holiday.

I’ve spend countless chunks of time just staring out the lobby windows, for instance.  Every time I walk by them.  Just staring.  There is nothing out there to look at really…just a graffitied train tunnel to one side, and our cars cooking in the sun on the front lot, out the other.  But that doesn’t seem to keep me from looking anyway.

…Have been through all the coffee as well.  The entire pot, minus one mug’s worth, claimed by the WHS Pimp when he could manage to pry my fingers off the handle.

…Then, one of the WHS Pimps peeps went on a donut run…so that was more time spent doing nothing…staring into a box of fried dough while trying to mentally negotiate which of them would be “healthier than the others” based on weight-mass, and added sprinkle/icing content, versus the other ones.  You know…because of all that fitness shit I’m supposed to be caring about right now.

Then there was the FBing…across about three hours.

…Constant update alerts kept distracting me from the Open Order Report…which I felt obligated to attend to, as most of them were either featuring something I’d posted myself, or a comment I’d made on someone elses…when I should have been working earlier, but was too busy trolling streams at the time.

Vicious cycle.

…And now the excuse is: I’m freezing. 

It’s prob’ly 80 degrees outside (which feels, I dunno…110 to the average Washintonian)…so the WHS Pimp put the air conditioner on at like nine a.m.  I’m in flip flops and a t-shirt, with still damp-from-this-morning’s-shower hair.  I’ve been cold for 3 solid hours.  To combat this, I feel the need to get up from the desk and do “walk-abouts”…tours of the office, and lobby and whs to get my blood pumping.  Which then leads me (inevitably) to the windows, where I stare out in long chunks of time, before reloading my coffee cup, going back to the tablet on my desk to respond to a “ding” notification alert, and forget what I was doing before this last “mini-break” starting…about fifteen minutes ago.

…At this point, I feel it’s just futile, and I should give up.

Fuck it.

Clearly, the brain just DID NOT get out of bed today. It’s still at home under the covers…way more warm than I’ve been for the past three hours…reading a book maybe, while drifting lightly in and out of consciousness.

…Meanwhile, here sits my body.

…With four more hours of painful attempting to focus and give a shit, still ahead.

…Kinda like one of Ma’s brutal Holiday “Lord of the Rings” fests.

Dear Lord.

It could *actually* be worse than this.

(shakes head.)


Miracle On The Corner Of 3rd Street

8 Jan


First of all, today’s post is gonna be this whole other thing…

After sobbing out a great deal of frustration on stage last night, I managed to get a good, deep sleep in while my little world of hopeless, on-going, terrible 2013 continued to snowball, despite all my best intentions to look on the positive side.

There almost WAS no positive side.

…Seriously, I did a pretty good job at blowing it off at the level of shrugged hopelessness that I did, giving NO inclination of just how drastically not okay things were becoming for me, privately.

…And there it was again, smacking me in the face immediately as I woke this morning…as I took my shower, put on my face…and worried.

…Worried at an absolutely toxic level. The level of Anxiety that I know from past experience, will (if unchecked) crash and burn my body, actually…physically…incapacitating it.

In the history of my life, I’ve had three really, really, really bad years.

…Years that took physical, emotional and life-changing repercussions…which is kind of a huge deal…and what’s kinda even huge-er, is the fact that the third year on that list, is only 8 days long, so far.

This realization is really terrifying.

…Even more so when you can feel your grip going, and you KNOW what happens next…

…Even more so when you’re opening four shows this week, have no mode of transportation, no time to see your shrink, no money to pay for it even if you got there, and no “worst-case-scenario” pill to take…because an entire production depends on your ability to completely lose your shit on stage every night, and not be turned into a flat-lined zombie.

What do you do then?

I knew, because of past training. But “knowing” and “doing” are these two WHOLE different things.

You need to let go.

…Which is by no means just a simple shrug-task.

“Letting go” to an OCD, Anxiety-ridden brain is like unclamping a steel vice with your naked fingers.

…But there is no other option, except the one where you cycle for months without sleep, lose all the feeling in your legs, start going emotionally comatose, and have to remember from time to time just to breathe.

…Because that’s how bad my Anxiety gets.

If I don’t listen to my body and use the tools I was taught from a stellar shrink…it literally just takes over. Which is actually horrifying to a degree beyond words. To be locked inside yourself, like a coma patient, who never sleeps and still understands what is happening around them, but cannot react, communicate or function to respond to it…or to anything…is not good, you guys.

…And yesterday, as one more very huge thing was slammed towards me, with bone-cracking force…I hung up the phone and sat there for a moment…staring at a piece of paper.

Just staring.

…I honestly don’t know for how long.

…But I knew I couldn’t “live” there, this was just my little shock-moment of saving grace. Much like Novocaine, it would wear off at some point and then the reality of the situation would hit with full force.

Now was where I needed to make the choice.

Right now.

While I stared at this piece of paper.

…Will I lose my shit…will this be the thing that pushes me totally over the edge?

Or not.

…You’d think that would be a simple choice to make, but I promise you: for people with mental incapacities, who have already been heavily emotionally compromised, it isn’t.

It wasn’t.

But I made the choice to do it anyway.

…I dug out abso-freakin-lutley everything I had ever learned while seated on that shrink couch, once upon a time. I mean, I really brought out the big guns. So it was good that no one was here at work, and strangely no incoming calls came through…so I could work, and work, and work, and work for hours and hours across the bulk of the afternoon, on what I needed to…in order to make it through that moment without totally losing my shit.

Like, for real.

…And I kept it steady, held my focus, and made it through…without a melt down, without the other repercussions that arise with it.

I just let go.

…’Member that old Holiday movie, “Miracle on 34th Street?” It may sound hoaky to you, but when about an hour ago a literal miracle happened…it was the first thing I thought of.

…A literal miracle…in that there was zero feasible financial solution: no lender, no bank, no union, no card company able to help with a grand-scale repair payment required at a 3rd of my car’s value…with four years of loan payments still to be paid on it…or it would never be driven again.

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

…It was all I had left.

So I did.

And friends and family that knew about it, did too.

…And you know what?

It worked, you guys.

It worked.

Even when it really, really wasn’t “supposed” to.

…So I guess what I’m saying is: A super grateful human is sitting here right now, trying to hold her shit together for totally different reasons than I did yesterday, at this same time.

I’m so incredibly thankful. And relieved. And still freaked out…but in a good way, in retrospect.

And I’m also really proud of Me.

I made it.

…Not that I did it “alone” by any means. But, I did it.

I did it.

…And, know what? Just in case it helps to hear it from someone else right now:

You can too.



Linear Label Laws

2 Sep


What IS a “Linear Label Law,” one might ask? 

I didn’t invent it, I only named it.  Lots of fellow OCDers practice it religiously as well, and I thought that for their sake, I’d help spread the word a little, to the “normals.”  That way, if you find yourself stepping into a home which screams the obvious tell-signs, you can cooperate accordingly, and maybe not be a dick about it.

…The Linear Label Law is a two-part regulation regarding both height order and presentation, which specifies that everything within every cupboard, refrigerator, bookcase…or flat surface in general, obey the certain categorization requirements usually reserved for library shelving on the dewy decimal system.  Depending on the inclinations of said OCDer, some or all of the following must be categorized, either alphabetically, within their specified genre of existence, paired out occasionally by color or type, and/or height…but must ALWAYS (without exception) have their labels facing outward. Obeisance is required.


I’ve been a practitioner of this law for quite some time, but thankfully have never reached the stage where I feel the need to walk around correcting other people’s lack of implementation.  I can sit at a restaurant table and not become obsessed with categorizing the jams and jellies or putting all the sugar packets in order. I can visit a friend’s house and not become completely distracted by incorrect picture hanging alignment, or colors touching other colors in arrangements of things that would drive me totally bat-shit within the walls of my own home.  Basically, unless it belongs to me directly, I don’t feel responsible to “rescue” said items from whatever egregious error is taking place in their regards (like an upside down book on a shelf for instance.)  If it isn’t mine, the bastard is totally on its own.  And this, I suspect, is due in two parts to:

1) Working with men all day long who never put anything back or away, at any time, ever.

2) My Shrink once saying, “You could totally be worse right now…for instance what if you had this issue?”

…The first part, is like when obsessive compulsives have children. Working with Men is basically the same thing. Part of the OCD has to recede in these cases, otherwise you would worry yourself into impossible perfection-oblivion by never sleeping, eating or resting ever again.  The second part scared the shit out of me, mostly because I already had motor skill, speaking, sleeping, and anxiety issues to the extreme. The thought that I could be worse, damn near sent me into an episode right there in my Shrink’s office.

The long and short of it is: I may not be on a Grand Poobah scale of Linear Label Lawing, but it is still a taxing enterprise to keep up with, even if only in the confines of my own person, office, and home.

…This is helped (in no way) by the fact that there is something special about this law…(like the one about “No Parking” signs)…that makes people in the vicinity who know about it, immediately want to break it.

Almost nothing delights people more than to incorrectly file a contract to an entirely different category, turn the beans label facing backward, write in blue ink all over my desk calendar, swap the stapler home with the tape, move the milk to another shelf, stack the lobby brochures in all the wrong order, attack the cork board postings with thumbtacks like it was a shooting gallery…or put the short bottle in the back, on the bar.

…Most of the time, this is not done in the spirit of meanness…it is 85% of the time, just out of curiosity. Like a game, they wait for me to exit a room and then watch upon my return to see how long it takes me to sense the error through the very vibrations of the element changes in the air.

…Which is all done in karmic pay-back of course. 

I used to do this same exact thing to my Aunt, once. 

…With the ever patience of Job, she would return and carry on an entire conversation while readjusting every single alteration to a room that we had made.  It was fascinating.  How did she manage it?!  She must be a Wizard!  Or at the very least a clairvoyant!  How could one know the mere millimeters change in a picture frame angle, in which magazine was on top of the others…which order the books are in on the shelf, and that “this” do-hicky, goes on “that” do-hicky in natural grouping selection and presentation?

…It took me about a decade to figure it out.

…And then, it seemed that one day: I just knew.

And I can never “un-know” it ever again.

It can be exhausting, let me tell yuh.

…Hold that thought. I have to go fix the coaster stack on the table.  BRB…


And Your OCD Today Will Be…

24 Jul


For those new to the “me,” let it be known that I sometimes have anxiety issues.  I was diagnosed during a breakdown several years ago, and how it works is: you know how people who have had bronchitis once tend to have every cold they get ever after default to bronchitis again?  Your body has established a weakness, and that weakness is now prone to kick in for the rest of your life.  It happens.  So it goes with the mental stuffs. 

…Where before in times of stress, I would be “stressed,” like every other red-blooded American…now I get stressed for a while and if I don’t check it, bounce over into some aspect of anxiety.  Doesn’t mean I start screaming about the Aliens coming to get us and wearing fashionable tinfoil hats to keep the Feds out of my brain…it just means I begin to manifest slight residual signs…which, thanks to a LOT of money in therapy, I’ve become in tune to and can most of the time work my way out of with good old fashioned reasoning and breathing.

…Also, I make fun of it a lot.  Nothing pisses fear off quite like laughing at it. 

…Anyway, cuz yesterday was specifically a life-stress-event kind of day, with no rising prep of it’s reality…just BAM, right there in m’face, it was sorta inevitable that my old friend Le Freakout would stop by for a visit.  And it did. 

Anxiety is a funny animal, too.  It attacks people in different ways.  For me, some form of physical impediment starts it off…kicking in my warning sectors.  In keeping with the body’s natural “fight or flight” reactions, I go into a kind of very pinpointed shock.  Plummeting temp as the blood is sucked in from all the body extremities to it’s panicking heart-center.  Sometimes fingers and toes will go numb.  I’ll flash in random sweat-waves at the back of the neck and forhead, get the shakes near to a lightly diagnosed Parkinson’s  patient, and either sit in wide-eyed panic or burst into tears involuntarily.  One symptom does not always preclude another…and with very few exceptions has it outstretched my well-trained abilities to shut it down before it’s final manifestation.

…But sometime, it hits harder and stronger.  Sometimes I’m just not prepared.  Sometimes it tricks me with side-stepping the issues until it’s too late.  And I gotta live with that.  For the rest of my life.  Its my superpower weakness…my personal Achilles heel.  It sucks, but I can name it, point at it, make fun of it, and survive it.  I already know this…even when in the middle of a total freak-out.  And that helps, lemme tell yuh.

Yesterday, was a sideswipe on a freeway, kind of day.  Not prepared. And it cost me.

…But after I regained myself…which didn’t take long, frankly…I was back doing paperwork at my desk (excellent for keeping nagging thoughts at bay.)

I thought to myself, by the time I got home, that I was pretty amazing to have dusted the whole episode so quickly.  Which is about when it smiled to itself and shook it’s head.

…”Stupid little human,” it said.  “I’ve only just begun.”

So here’s another fun factoid: Most people with anxiety issues also sport a myriad of cling-ons that suck to it’s host and come along for the ride from time to time.  These cling-ons include things like depression or anger…or for people like me: control issues.  My anxiety’s BFF since apparently childhood, is OCD.  Not the totally incapacitating kind…only types which several people who know me have called, “charming” and “quirky.”  I don’t require anyone else to abide by them, but I feel “bad” if I don’t follow the rules myself.  If you’re going to have an OCD, this is the kind (apparently) you wanna have.  And it isn’t always constant, but it will from time to time make an extra special reappearance.  And it is fucking exhausting.

Guess who decided to pack a bag and show up with Mr. Anxiety on this trip?

“Hi! Straighten that table runner,” it said first. And I did because, well…it needed straightening. Then it moved onto: “That’s chair is in the wrong spot,” and “plate the chicken on the left.”

…”I don’t like how you folded that blanket, ” and “six redvines, not five or seven,” came next.  Also: “re-stack the dishes in the strainer by size,” “stop everything at two a.m. to get the spot out of that table cloth,” “Oh God how can you be such a slob with the bed pillows you aren’t using right now, stacked at total random on the chair over there!  We’ve talked about this!  This is not allowed!  Not in my house!”

…My every little “routine” and “ritual” was magnified and ending in exclamation marks!  Like this!  And as time went on!  I began to finally get wise to it!

Holy crap!  Did I just triple check all the doors for the twelfth time?!  And I think by the fourth washing, that cup is clean now!  And, you don’t necessarily have to  worry about how the blanket is folded when you are in the middle of actually using it!  Also, the fish don’t understand that their rapid movement in scattered patterns is freaking you out!  Stop yelling at them to get their shit together and synchronize their movements like they’re “supposed” to!

…When I finally wound down enough to sleep last night…which was actually at around 3:30 this morning…I had exhausted myself into oblivion.  And though I notice, the residuals aren’t as bad as yesterday…I still had issues with the order of my morning routine, and me and the doornob spent some quality time clicking and re-clicking though I already knew well-enough: it was locked.

…Washing out my coffee mug, starting on my paperwork…so my day began. All a little more uptight than usual.

…Which is my cue to call it out.  And why I am blogging right now instead of the paperwork I should be doing.  Because this is a more important job: calling myself on my own shit.

Hey! Me!  Enough!  Relax!  I know you miss the control!  I get that you feel helpless right now!  But this isn’t helping!  Making sure these things are “just so” will not help you at all in the mainframe of your actual difficulties right now!  You’re just making it tougher on yourself!

…So cut it out, dammit! 

Right.  So that’s done now.

…Back to paperwork.


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