Friday, May 28, 2010

Imperfection Is your Ally

I'm intrigued by this bit of graffiti. My default setting is "imperfection is my enemy." Part of why I am struggling with this triggering health anxiety is my compulsion to deal with it "perfectly." I want to be able to sort out what is OCD and what is not. I don't want to make any errors in the process, and in fact am terrified of making any errors. No wonder I felt so drained on Wednesday.

Today, I went down the path of "I'll just look up doctors who might specialize in interpreting my diagnosis." The next red flag was, "I'll stop at noon." Followed by, "I'll stop soon." I stopped searching at 1:30. Right now I'll take this as a victory, since in the past I would search for an entire day. My OCD perfectionism is jumping up and down and yelling about "You screwed up by doing research, therefore do more research to numb yourself to this abject failure," but I still stopped.

I have some anxiety surging through, knocking me around, but I want to learn how to tolerate this, because the difficulty of health anxiety is that something can go wrong with our bodies, and sooner or later I will have to deal with some sort of illness or pain. I'd like to be able to think clearly about what to do. I am sobered by the effect my OCD crisis had on me in 2006, and how the health problems that were intertwined with my anxiety scare me by sheer association with that suffering.

I remember the first time my therapist suggested I have compassion for myself and all I went through. I was baffled. I can sense such "all or nothing thinking" ingrained in me--either research all the time until I'm completely certain, or flee from all information and all problem solving. And no matter what I choose, I will be wrong according to the OCD and my old beliefs of my worthlessness.

1 comment:

  1. oh wow i totally relate to this entire post. it is very frustrating to not know which thoughts are OCD and which aren't.

    if i spend too long on the computer i really guilt-trip myself. it makes me feel palpably bad but im not sure why.

    for a long time i felt i could research OCD away. thanks for this