Obsessed. in Mental Health

  • May 14, 2020, 4:45 p.m.
  • |
  • Public

I am obsessive. Well, obsessive-compulsive.

One of the things I’m obsessed with is efficiency. I like picking tasks apart and figuring out the most efficient ways of completing them. No, wait, I don’t “like” it. That’s the thing. I really don’t like it. I mean, in some ways, it’s not an awful thing. I’m very efficient in my work. I have spent years developing little tricks, little shortcuts, the most efficient ways to perform my job. And I’m damn good at it.

The real problem comes in when something doesn’t go to plan, when I feel like something is out of my control is affecting my ability to complete whatever task it is I’m working on. So, I obsess on the plan. I spend ridiculous amounts of time picking it apart, finding all the weaknesses, looking at it from different angles, talking to myself, on and on, until I start to feel like there’s no point in trying to plan at all because there is far too much that is beyond my control right now. But I obsess on it, anyway, and get stuck not taking a single step towards actually putting any sort of plan into motion. I feel paralyzed. I’ll spend hours on a thing, researching, trying to decide which first step is the best first step.

And then, at the end of it all, I kind of just… power down. I become so overwhelmed that I just close all 6 (or 9 or 10) browser tabs and tune out, that’s it, that’s all I can handle, my processor just overheated, gotta let it cool down.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’m working as well as I can on mitigating some of this, but it’s not easy. The compulsion to do it, to let myself fall down various rabbit holes, is overwhelming. If I don’t do it, I get anxious. But the act of doing it causes anxiety, too. And sometimes I think it’s better to kind of just let myself do it because, without the shutdown at the end, I wouldn’t be able to sleep, to shut my brain off.

I don’t know if any of this is… behavioral? Or chemical? I just don’t know why it is this way, only that I feel like it has always been this way. I’m starting to feel that there are more and more things about myself that have just… always been this way.

I’ve been seeing a new therapist. Vidchat therapy is really wonderful, actually. I’m comfy and I can smoke and drink my coffee and I’m in my happy space surrounded by art that I love. I’ve even hung a bunch of my watercolors on the wall behind me so I can see them when I’m in a vidchat. I’m opening up about things in a new way. I’m acknowledging out loud when I say something about some trauma or another in a joking way. It’s not funny and I shouldn’t laugh it off. There have been things that have happened to me in my life that I have laughed off for years and years and just look how well that worked out.

I have been traumatized, repeatedly, by people who were supposed to love me and keep me safe, for as long as I can remember. I was always different and always bullied for it. Every year in school, it was pretty much a guarantee. I don’t fucking know why. Maybe it was because I never played the game. You know, the childhood socialization game. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to make friends, I didn’t know how to talk to other kids, or what to talk about. I wasn’t interested in what they were interested in most of the time. I wasn’t pretty like them and I was overweight and my hair was a weird color and I had freckles (AKA cooties when you’re 8) and my name was weird. I never reacted the right way in awkward situations. A girl on the playground in the first grade told me that my best friend was now her best friend, so I… bit her. On the elbow. What a fucking weirdo. I didn’t have a mom who would put pretty braids in my hair or curl it or… even make sure I washed and brushed it. I mean, I did, of course, but not from any parenting I can remember. I’ve never liked dirt or sweat. Always been a big fan of being and feeling clean. And hand washing. But no matter how much I tried, I could never quite wash away that feeling of being dirty, not normal, wrong in some way.

You know, feeling like your parents don’t love you for pretty much all of your formative years really lays a foundation for the idea that no one will ever love you because you aren’t worthy of it, even from the people who created you. And also because my mother said those words to me more than once. “No one is ever going to love you.”

And knowing, knowing, that that isn’t true is really great, wonderful, incredible, amazing. But sometimes… oh, sometimes, there is just no painting or papering over that foundation that was laid. Knowing that it’s a lie doesn’t erase completely the previous belief in it. It invalidates it, but it doesn’t erase 40 years of believing the lie.

I talked to my therapist today about how I became a wife and mother because that’s what I was indoctrinated to believe was my only purpose in life. And, you know, that really fucking pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, but christ on a cracker… I could have been… anything. I could have been an artist or a singer or a scientist or… I don’t fucking know. I could have been something.

I’m mostly okay with how I turned out. I mean, I am the person loved by you, and that is just… I mean… whoa. How I turned out must be pretty damn okay.

I just wish I felt a little better about… well, myself. My mental illnesses. I wish I didn’t cringe at myself every time I get what I think is “too emotional.” I wish I was okay with myself, with being a person who just feels things incredibly deeply. I wish I didn’t feel ashamed and embarrassed by that.


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