OCD Info

Perfect Gets in the Way of the Good

“Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” –Neil Gaiman, from his blog post “My New Year Wish”

Here’s the thing about OCD–it renders its possessors nearly powerless to perfectionism. Since I was a little girl, my need for achieving perfection from the start of any project I took on would often force me into a state of complete inactivity for fear of complete failure. But as plenty of cutesy Facebook memes tell us, “The only failure is in not trying.”

So here I am, presenting my first thoughts to you as the perfectly imperfect mess of a mom that I am. I created this blog in February, wrote a draft blog post in late March that never saw daylight, and now it’s August and I’ve finally combatted my avoidance techniques long enough to sit and write this post. The truth is it took two therapists and both of my boys napping at the same time to get me behind this keyboard! Nevertheless, I am here, I am ready to write, I am ready to share all the ugly and beautiful details of my journey, and I am ready (well not really) to make mistakes.

 

brothers_playtime
My two gorgeous boys! The reasons I work so hard to live well with OCD.

I’m sure you’ve already figured out by now that I have OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. To be more specific, I have Pure Obsessional OCD, which means that I have a lot of uncontrollable obsessive thoughts and the vast majority of my compulsions are mental (i.e. unseen). So you won’t see me counting, handwashing, cleaning, etc., as OCD is often portrayed. In fact, I look really calm on the outside most of the time. Inside of me is where the storm is constantly churning, and I’ve done a lot of work to make that storm disappear. But it won’t. My mental illness is not curable, but it is manageable. It took many years of therapy for me to discover this simple fact, and when I did it was equal parts frightening and liberating.

This blog will sort of be a part of my continued therapy, in addition to my weekly meetings with my counselor Jasmine, and my daily medication regiment. I’ve also started short meditations using the Buddhify app on my iPhone, and I have noble intentions of restarting a yoga practice at home, but we’ll see. But really, my primary goal in writing this blog are to reflect on my experiences as a mom to Brandon (age 2) and Logan (3 months old) in the hopes of becoming a better, more loving, more patient parent. My secondary goal is to build a community here of likeminded individuals who can support each other through the roughest patches of anxiety and depression. And for any readers who haven’t experienced mental illness firsthand, or through loved ones, I hope this will be an educational resource.

Well, I did it! My first blog post, finally! Now, I am going to celebrate with an iced coffee and some baby snuggles.

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5 thoughts on “Perfect Gets in the Way of the Good

  1. Not sure if this is helpful but I mention it reluctantly with some sensitivity to your situation. I think your GrandPappy may have had some degree of OCD though probably different from yours. He was meticulous about everything being correctly situated minutely, though chaos could reign unchallenged just beyond the borders of his purview. He would precisely line up pens, pencils, and scissors, etc on his table and have a near conniption if some object or instrument was out of precise alignment. Meanwhile he’d have paint cans parked in the living room or the porch for half a year for projects that never quite got finished which drove my mother bananas. This is terrible of me but when he was living in the wheelchair in the basement I would make it a point to pick up one of his pencils to scribble a note or something then deliberately put it back down out of correct sequence. He could not tolerate it for an instant. He’d come flying across the basement floor in the wheelchair in a heartbeat to get it immediately and infinitesimally back into its authorized position.
    Hope you keep writing. That which is avuncular looks forward to reading.

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    1. Owen, this is very helpful! I firmly believe that mental illness is genetic in that we’re predisposed to chemical imbalances of the brain from our ancestors. OCD, specifically, is something that seems to appear in various incarnations throughout both sides of my family, manifesting itself as you mention here and also as hoarding and obsessive cleaning and rearranging. Thank you, as always, for your avuncular support!

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      1. Tom was an inveterate hoarder as well. He couldn’t part with a used screw or broken piece of wood. When going threw his papers I found EJ Korvette receipts from 1957.

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