Monday, May 16, 2011

OCD A to Z: J is for Just Right Feeling

"Just Right"

One of the most difficult aspects of my OCD to see clearly is the seeking of a "just right feeling." It pervaded my life. There's a stereotype of people with OCD being driven to straighten crooked photos, but "just right" OCD can attach to things that have no discernible order. Mine most often manifests as "how I started my day doesn't feel right" and moves rising anxiety, followed by the compulsion of freezing in place, trying to undo the feeling of having ruined the day. It's very vagueness is what makes it difficult to articulate even to myself. It's like I have a faulty shut-off switch, and the urge to move on doesn't come, or I'm expecting it to be incredibly dramatic.

When I was in college I noticed how I felt compelled to finish certain things in all one sitting, or I felt anxious. I think some of my procrastination came from avoiding starting tasks that would then need to be done straight through, because the thought of taking a break filled me with apprehension. My feared consequence is that the anxiety would overwhelm me, or that I wouldn't be able to pick up where I left off if I took a break. I did have some self-awareness that it was irrational to require myself to read all the chapters in a book, if the prof had only assigned 3 of them. But I didn't know how to stop.


  1. I'm 'just right' about shopping (having just read your last post). Do I have just the right feeling about buying this? Or at least close to the right feeling? Do I? Don't I?

  2. I know that feeling. I don't count in my rituals anymore. I do it until it "feels right."

  3. Abigail--it's like looking within a mirror within a mirror on and on.

    Beth--I remember being surprised when I discovered not everyone is looking for "just right" feelings when making choices.

  4. <Do what you fear todo, don"t wait to feel good to do it.

  5. God. I have exactly the same. In school when I was younger, but especially in high school and university. Horrible feeling, but I thought it was normal. I also obsess about two guys (one being my boyfriend). I just want to hit my head in the wall, cause it's a never ending nagging. "But what if the other guy is the right one? What if you feel this way because you need to be with the other one? Do you REALLY love your boyfriend? Maybe you need to be single. Maybe you have lost your feelings for him." Etc, etc.

    Thank u for this post!

    1. Welcome Anon--What ifs are so powerful in their ability to suck us in, especially if we have OCD!