Underneath my yellow skin

OCD traits and general update

i'm broody, damn it!
Cute black kitten just because.

I think I’m finally on my way out of the cruds, crossing all my bits and knocking on wood. I’m sleeping less, which is a telltale sign, and I’m only getting the chills very rarely rather than regularly. Yes, I’ll take the positives where I can get them because they have been few and far between when I’m sick. I’m still exhausted, but that’s perpetual for me. It doesn’t matter how much or how little I sleep–I can barely keep my eyes open during the day. In fact, sometimes I just doze on and off throughout the afternoon/evening.

I’ve been thinking about my mental health lately because I’ve been depressed for no reason. And, yes, I know that’s part of depression, but it doesn’t make it easier to accept. That’s not what I’ve been thinking of, though. I’ve been musing over my OCD tendencies (I don’t have OCD, but I definitely have some of the traits). OCD is misunderstood in the general public (as with most mental health issues) or boiled down to someone having to alphabetize their soup cans or checking the door fifteen times in five minutes. There’s more to it than that, and I’ll try to explain how it affects me. In addition, whenever OCD is being portrayed in the media or talked about, it’s presented in an overwhelmingly negative light. I would be the first to admit that it’s not fun for the most part, but there are positive aspects to it.

The biggest plus is that when I plan to do something, I go all in. If I commit to it, it’s gonna get done. The two times I decided to lose weight, I set a plan, stuck to it, and the pounds came off like clock-work, two pounds a week. It’s the same with my schedule now. I wake up whenever, then I feed Shadow his breakfast. He has his own schedule, by the way, which includes meowing in my face before I wake up until I actually get off the couch. After I feed Shadow, I go outside and smoke half a cigarette. Then, I heat up my tea while going through my taiji/stretching routine. That takes about half an hour, and then I write my blog post. After that, I take a brief break (or not) and work for my brother. Then, I eat something and smoke a fourth of a cigarette–or rather, smoke first while heating up food. After a break, maybe playing MHW or a DS game,¬†¬†then I write my two-thousand words of fiction.

Those are the things I need to do every day (posts only for week days, which means writing them Sunday – Thursday, and work for my brother on week days, Monday – Friday. I write fiction every day), and I have it down cold. When I decide to do something, something in my brain clicks in and it becomes a given. I give it everything I can at the time, and I do it to my best ability. The problem is, it becomes rote over time if there’s no end date, and my attention starts slipping.

Let’s take NaNoWriMo. I finished my 50,000 words on 11/15–halfway through the month. As I’ve written before, the actual writing is not my issue. I can crank out 2,000 words in an hour if I really put my nose to the grindstone, though it usually takes more like two hours or three because creativity cannot be constrained, man! I once wrote 10,000 words in one day during a past NaNoWriMo, and I could have written 5,000 more. The problem is, I’ve started four different novels this NaNoWriMo because I haven’t been satisfied with any of them. I may start another. As I’ve said, I don’t really care about the rules when I do NaNoWriMo as I look at it as a way to expand my writing rituals, not keep doing what I do every day for the rest of the year.

I haven’t done the other things I’ve wanted to do for NaNoWriMo, which is part of my anxiety. In addition to having OCD traits, I’m also a perfectionist, so often, I won’t even start something if I don’t think I have a good chance to succeed at it. Then, throw in my low self-esteem that says anything I do will suck, and it’s easy to see how I’m my own worst enemy.

I’ve also wondered if I have ADHD as well. I suspect my brother has it, and it would explain some things. I know it manifests in women in different ways than it does in men*, and looked at a checklist of symptoms. I fit some of them (a slob, inability to get shit done, just to name two), but others I didn’t. I don’t lose things very often, for example. Which is astonishing considering how messy I am. But, I also have the more ‘masculine’ traits of it such as jumping from thing to thing until I find something I like, and then–hyperfocus. Which is also part of my OCD traits.

Anyway, the upside of my OCD traits quickly turn into negatives again when I start castigating myself with ‘shoulds’ or I do things resentfully or without thought. Recently, I asked my taiji teacher for some stretches for my back–which, by the way, have worked wonders. My back problems have vastly improved and because of that, so has my right thigh problems. I’ve slowly added more and more to the routine in order to keep it fresh. One thing I’ve realized is that while it can be comforting to do the same thing in the same order every day (along with eating the same things every day), it can also get me stuck in a rut. To that end, I’ve been trying to mix up my stretching/taiji routine. With stretching, there are some things that I do every other day without fail. However, I switch up the other stretches I do that day so my brain doesn’t get grooved in the same thing every day. For my taiji routine, I used to do the same thing every day, so I’m switching that up, too. I used to do the first section of the form every day, and I’ve been doing the second and third more often.

Do I wish I didn’t have OCD traits? Eh. I wish I didn’t have low self-esteem and anxiety more so. By the way, can we talk about how mental health issues often overlap and how everything is in nice little compartments.

Anyway, I hope I can get the OCD enough under control to benefit from it rather than letting it control me. In order to do that, though, I also need to boost ye old low self-esteem and put the lockdown on my anxiety. Not an easy task.



*Insert here a screed about how all medicine is geared towards cis het white males which means anyone not falling into that narrow definition is SOL.

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