Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ritualizing in my Head: Retracing

After writing the acupuncture post, I found myself retracing whole sentences in my mind as I tried fall asleep last night. I used to think this was the obsessional part, but actually it's the thought, "Maybe there's something wrong with the post," that is the obsession, and retracing is the compulsing, the ritual that I use to calm the anxiety.

As much as I hate when I start retracing, it does damp down on the anxiety. This is counterintuitive, since I've had many times in my life that I've wished to excise this repetitiveness from my brain, but to stop retracing truly does feel very scary.

And if the critical voice starts chiming in with Why can't you stop? What's wrong with you? I feel even worse. The short answer is that I have OCD, that's what's wrong with me.

I can stop retracing. If fragments of sentences pop into my head, I don't have to get into a war with them. I could even tell myself that any post I write can be "wrong"--there's no way to be certain I'll never have someone disagree with anything I write. It sucks to sit with this anxiety, but being immersed in mental rituals sucks too.

Related Post:
Ritualizing in my Head: Freezing

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