Monday, December 17, 2018

OCD A to Z: L is for Lost Time

Hour Glass

Lost time is one of my OCD themes. I had a realization that the thoughts about wasting time, doing the wrong thing with my time, or losing time, are not going to magically disappear. I've been waiting for them to go away, and leave me alone.

Everyone has thoughts and uncertainties about whether they are making good use of their time. Mine have been interlinked with perfectionism, and fear of making any kind of mistake, and mental rituals of analyzing the best thing to do at any given moment with my time, not to mention avoiding doing anything at all, in case I choose the wrong thing.

The fact is that I have lost a lot of time due to the OCD. I've struggled with the thought that it's intolerable to have lost time, and I will be unable to survive that grief. I've endeavored to make the thought and the grief go away by analysis, which rebounds into even more focus on what I am trying to escape.

It's the classic, "Don't think of a white bear." What's the first thing that happens? You remind yourself of what not to think of, and there you are thinking about a white bear.

I've lost time doing my rituals. I've lost time while avoiding things I fear. There are phone calls that would be useful to make as I work on my art business, and I lose time because I am afraid of phone calls, of saying the wrong thing, not knowing in advance how the call will go, and I'll freeze while avoiding the call, and get nothing done at all.

What are the ways in which you've lost time due to OCD?

[Revisiting OCD A to Z from 2011]


  1. Interesting that I came across your blog today when I'm lamenting the time I lost while I was sick. I lost two weeks. I actually lost more than two weeks, considering how much time it will take to not only recover from being sick but to catch up. Very frustrating. I try to remember that acceptance of the situation can help me. But I'm losing time now as I try to be okay and accept that lost time.

  2. I have a similar theme, but not exactly like yours. I obsess more about whether or not I am living my life to the "fullest". I obsess about making the "right" choices so that I don't have regret. For example - talking about bucket lists is a big trigger for me - because that immediately sets me off obsessing about what should be on my list, what should I be pursuing in life, if I make this choice, will I miss out on something else etc etc. I don't know if that makes sense, but its something I'm just recently realizing is related to my OCD. Now I have tried to stop worrying about what my BIG LIFE goals are and decide what I want to pursue on a day-to-day basis. In the moment. As soon as I make a big life goal I start obsessing.

  3. I've lost time, at the store, wondering if I should get this or that. At home, still wondering if I should have gotten this or that. I suspect that my withdrawal from a bachelors degree program is related to OCD (scrupulosity). And now I'm afraid of commiting to a degree. I've lost time repeatedly researching something. And typing again. And reading a sentence several times. And not deciding what to do. And sleeping because of the depression that is probably related to the OCD. But I don't know what I'd do instead. I'd like to cut the anxiety out, but I have plenty of time right now.

  4. i didn't know that being afraid of the phone was an ocd thing!! I used to worry a lot about what i said, how i said it etc. i just thot that was me. My counsellor years ago helped me find the courage to make the calls i needed to. that i didn't have to be perfect at it. Then when i got this handwashing ocd, ( 10+ years later) i realized that the phone was now a friend! i didn't have to touch door handles etc. to meet people in person etc. if the phone was clean in my house i could just use it!!
    -Karin, a fellew journeyer along the road out of ocd

  5. Anon--I find my OCD will debate every single aspect of losing time, causing me to lose more time, and walking away from the whole battle is the best way to move on.

    Pure O--I too have had that "am I enjoying this enough" and big life decision obsessing. I read so many books on vocation that my husband finally said that I needed a break from it, that things will unfold. That seemed like crazy advice when he said that 10 years ago.

    Abigail--that sucks that you have had such a struggle with OCD lost time. I didn't know what I'd do instead, and it was an act of faith to keep moving forward, but as I did, I found things I wanted to do, to fill the void left by OCD and depression.

    Anon--I call OCD the shape shifter--it's frustrating how it latches onto things, and opportunistically moves to something else.

  6. I am very indicisive. Not able to take decisions.

  7. if ocd is a boggart, then maybe RIDDIKULUS will send it least for the moment. :)
    -karin, who loves harry potter

  8. Arun--it helps me to remember that not making a decision is actually a decision, and that making my best guess, though it feels scary, might actually get me something I want.

    Karin--I'd love to have Harry Potter take on OCD!!

  9. crazy...just started dating someone who diagnosed me with OCD from having read about it a lot in the past...I'm 28 years old and it had NEVER even crossed my mind I had OCD. I also obsess with time and believe there is a "right" time to do certain things...or if I set my mind to do something at a certain time it is hard to move away from it...I don't have an extreme case of OCD from what I'm seeing and its never really bother me at all, on the contrary, I've always been very happy...but I guess looking back there are things that could have been easier or done faster had I not thought about them so much

    1. Being open to self-observation and seeing what might work better is a good way to growth.