Sneaky Obsessions



With OCD, I have always had some interesting, if obvious, obsessions. Things like winking at people, or tapping my elbow. Things that are only obvious to me, like cleaning the kitchen floor with a toothbrush (because there are cracks between the boards).

But there are some sneaky ones. Devious little bastards. I’ve got a good number of them.

First, there’s cleaning. Not the scrub-the-walls-with-Pinesol type cleaning. Just the everyday keep everything clean kind. Sadly, it’s a slippery slope from “just putting things away” to “oh, let me wipe this counter” to “oh, shit, I dropped a crumb. I’d better sweep.” I get carried away, because I can justify it. It makes me feel good to clean, and it makes me feel good to see clean things. No problem there, right?

Wrong. Sadly, it becomes an obsession, and I am upset if it’s wrong. If the kids leave a glass on the counter all day (because they are smart, and don’t want to use 1,000 glasses a day) I get upset, and have to rationalize the mess. Same with the entire kitchen. If something is a little bit off, I go nuts inside. And it’s worse now, because the house is in that “mostly clean” stage. The one where cleaning for half an hour doesn’t quite feel obsessive, no matter that I meant to only be cleaning for 5 minutes.

Then there’s video games. Yes, I have been a MMO-aholic. Yes, I understand that my family comes first. But what it comes down to is this: I play video games to spend time with the people I love. Spending time online in that context is great. Spending lots more time online to get just-a-little-more-done is insane. I am upset right now because I didn’t finish a puzzle, but I’m excited because I got a bunch of achievements. That one is mostly a wash, emotionally, and Jenny plays too, so win-win, I guess. See? I can justify it!

Then  there is candy. This year, Jenny and I bought day-after-holiday-sale candy. It was awesome. Except, I keep making myself sick, because I can’t completely stop eating it. Sunday, I had a sinking feeling all day. I walked around feeling like I had just fallen off of a cliff and hadn’t landed yet. It sucked, but I’m still eating it. Because it’s there. And because I can justify it, because I’ve lost so much weight over the last several months.

It’s these “justifiable obsessions” that really fuck me up. I feel like my mind will never be quiet. It sucks. Whatever. I’m going to go eat a bag of candy corn (not a little one, either).

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  1. I’m right there with you on the cleaning. I have a ritual that I *MUST* finish everyday when I get home from work, and if I something prevents me from doing it, well, I go nuts inside, too. It involves sweeping the cat litter off the floor in the mud room, going upstairs to make the girls’ beds, making my bed, coming back downstairs to vacuum the living room, then the family room, then the sectional couch because-if-i-see-one-single-cat-hair-on-a-cushion-i’ll-go-bat-shit-crazy, then I empty out the dishwasher. It’s gotten to the point where I can do everything in under 20 minutes to help avoid any interruptions at home.

    My wife used to try to help by doing some of those things for me, like making the beds, but my OCD won’t allow anyone else to do it because, well, I think we know the reason why: they have to be made perfectly and according to my exact specifications. She’s since relented and let’s me “do my thing” so that I can move on with my afternoon.

    Sometimes I wish I could shut off my brain, though, before I get home to allow myself a little more time with the girls and my wife to talk about our day, but I just can’t seem to break this damn cycle. It gets tiring and burdensome.

    I also have an MMO addicition; I’ve played them all, beginning with AOL’s Neverwinter Nights in the early ’90s. Thankfully, I can curb the obsession of having to log in every day to play, but come the weekend, when my wife and kids are in bed, I’ll be up until 2AM on Friday and Saturday nights, happily clearing out my quest logs and gathering achievements. This is one obsession I don’t mind, though, because playing alone at my desk with no other distractions around me is very cathartic and relaxing. It’s “me time,” and I cherish it. The only issue, though, is that I can’t seem to stay with one game for any appreciable length of time. For the last several months I’ve been jumping between WoW, TERA, LotRO, SWTOR, Marvel Heroes, Neverwinter, FFXIV, DCUO and STO (holy acronyms, Batman!). I need to make a decision to stick with one (okay, maybe two) and just be done with it, because it’s getting very stressful trying to manage what little time I have allotted for gaming.

    • Looks like we are in the same boat. Got a paddle? I seem to have misplaced mine >.<

      • Having rituals can be relaxing, though. Comforting. I can’t go to bed unless my face, teeth, and hands are very clean. Like, it’s almost impossible for me to fall asleep.

        Rory and I have been playing Guild Wars 2. Let us know if you get into that one. =)

      • I think I have an extra paddle around here somewhere. We’ll have to be careful not to tip it over, though, since I can’t swim. 🙂

        You guys play GW2? I dabbled a bit with it for a few weeks. I have several characters on the Tarnished Coast server, but none of them are over 20.

        • I’ll have Jenny email you more. I don’t want to put out a bunch of semi-personal information out there. Ironic, I know, but I don’t want random greifers able to find me on my favorite game.

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