Monday, January 18, 2010

The Pointless Ritual

Ok. I am at the computer, and I have slogged through my google alerts, did a survey for Preserve Toothbrushes, checked my email, and now my fingers are itching again to just keep looking at stuff on the web.

This is where I get frustrated, because it appears so pointless. There are things I'd rather do. I'm home from work, I ate dinner, and I have actual tasks that in another context I'd be happy to have the time to do. It's banal, minor, inconsequential appearance makes it easy to slip in under my radar. I'm Exposure Woman. Exposures should be BIG. Right?

I'm writing here to get some momentum to go upstairs. I know I need to identify what my feared consequence is. I usually short circuit that with "there isn't one. I'm just hopeless and/or a bad person." Sometimes I go with "I don't feel done yet. I am afraid of feeling anxiety when I get up and leave the computer," and then promptly start working through weeding bookmarks or looking at every message in my email, some of which I have looked at many times, and still not done anything with.

And then OCD gets clever and says "Keep trying to figure out why you are afraid to get off the computer. You really need to know the definitive answer on this." In the past this would be followed by an lengthy search of the psychological literature.

One of my therapist mantras is,"I don't need to know the answer to this right now," combined with recognizing the exposure material in the very fact that I don't want to get up, so therefore the best thing would be to get up. Bleah.

Some rituals feel important, like they have a point, that they protecting me from doom(even though of course they are not). The pointless ones suck up a huge amount of time though, and often get through unscathed by exposure. Ok. Writing this down helped. Here I go.

Related Post:
Unhelpful Strategies: Setting a Timer


  1. "I don't need to know the answer to this right now" is a really good one that I will try to remember. I hope you were able to get away from the computer!

  2. Thanks for commenting! I was really inspired by your blog to start my own, and writing here did help me to get up go into my art studio.