March 6, 2018
"There's random snowflakes in the air and the sky is shades of gray. I'm trying something different this morning. I'm here in bed listening to Taylor Swift videos and drinking my coffee".
I am a creature of habit. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. At least that is what I tell myself.
Every morning of a day I am scheduled to work I do basically the same thing. I wake up. I use the washroom. I make coffee. I surf the internet checking my emails and Twitter. I get ready for work and I leave. There are slight variances in the routine. For example I might go onto the metaverse, or watch a couple Youtube videos. I might wander upstairs, if I do not work until after 3pm and therefore do not leave until 2pm, to let the dog and cats out or in and see the sunshine for a minute or two. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. Not really.
It has been my routine for over a year now. When I was living in Alberta I did things similar to what I am doing now. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, I would go out and sit on the back deck while drinking my coffee but only rarely.
On this particular morning I noted in my journal I decided to try something different. It was a nice change from my routine. It was a change I wish I could bring myself to do more often. But then, alas, with my OCD it would have to be a permanent change as "random" just does not work for people like me.
I have mild undiagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I do not need a doctor to tell me I have it and give me drugs. I can live with it. Sometimes my OCD works in my favour. It has helped me to be a more productive worker and to have routines that keep me working. When I wanted it to these routines helped to advance my career or to run my own business. Sometimes an even mild obsession for detail can be a good thing. One time it helped me to get a promotion.
I sat down in a meeting with my boss. He wanted to tell me about a management position opening up in the company and he felt that I was qualified for the job. "Let's face it, you're anal when it comes to details and that's a good thing" he said, I am paraphrasing a bit but not much he really did call me "anal". My attention to detail was a symptom of my OCD, a desire for, maybe not perfection but certainly close to it. I applied for the job and got it, the first step in a four year management career. I later left the company for other opportunities but I always remember why I got the job - basically my OCD. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it, unless I want to have fun.
On the other hand, however, my OCD can be a negative thing.
First, a point I won't get into much, is how my OCD can clash with the randomness of others and their routines. I do not feel like discussing sociology today so I will save that for a future blog (in other words procrastinate on it until I have forgotten about it).
I am sitting here on my bed, my computer is on a low table so I just sit on my bed to use it. I have to have my books piled beside me in a certain way. There is a clipboard with my daily To Do notebook on it (I will go into that OCD routine a bit later). My journal sits above next to another notebook in which I keep some login information. While a bit over to the right is my metaverse log where I write things down for my roleplay characters. Financial papers are in another pile, but separated between those that need to be filed and those I might want to refer to in the next few minutes.
My To Do notebook. If you read it right now you would see this:
First, let me explain each entry a bit more.
Finances - means I need to update my budget or my accounting book on transactions I have done in the past day or ones coming up that need to be recorded.
Journal - my diary, reminding me I should write in my diary
CJ - stands for "Corran Journal" telling me that I need to write a roleplay story for my metaverse website
blog - is this blog, reminding me to write an entry
laundry? - this is reminding me to do a load of laundry today, the question mark is because someone else's laundry is in the washer and dryer so my doing a load is dependent on them getting theirs out of the way
Gathering - metaverse online get together tonight at 8pm I need to attend because I am hosting it
And then, schedule, the start times over the next day to seven days that my shifts are at work.
So, "what is the problem" you are asking yourself, a lot of people keep 'To Do' lists. That is true, they do. There isn't really a problem so much as pointing out how mild OCD appears in my day to day world. The OCD comes into my routine with the entries in the notebook, in particular "Finances, journal, blog". I write these in the book every day whether I intend to do them or not. I write them even after I have done them. Imagine, for example, today. I just wrote my list about an hour ago. I had already worked on my finances. I have to include it though because it is a part of my day.
The 'To Do' list serves a dual purpose as a past and future log of my activities, sometimes better and more frequently than my journal.
Small changes in routine can take months even years to achieve. You see how those entries are preceded with small boxes. That step is so I can check things off (like Finances) as I do them. For a while, July to September last year, I would scribble black the boxes of things I didn't get done. It was a way to tell me to add them to tomorrow's list. But then after a week of procrastinating I realized that this method was not working so I stopped. Those boxes used to be lines. An underscore that would be the place I would add my checkmark. I tried circles instead of boxes, that lasted one day.
And yes, as I am writing this I checked off "blog" and added the notation "- OCD" next to it. I keep detailed records of my day to day life more out of obsession and routine than the need to ever look back to see what I have done. That being said I have looked back before, it has come in handy when there is a financial issue such as a delayed payment or I am waiting for someone to reimburse me. I can look back, hopefully, and see when I last communicated with the person on the issue. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. It serves me when I need to argue something.
Everything has its place. Now, what makes my OCD "mild" is that while things have their place those places are not absolutely set in stone as they are for someone with severe OCD. My routines are fluid, not so much in the outcomes, but the steps to achieve them.
If something is out of place it can cause mild anxiety. Let's say I just ate a sandwich and my crumb filled plate is sitting by my side here on the bed. If it is to my left, as the place I put food dishes, my OCD will kick in. The plate can not be sitting by my side. I have to put it further back, on the bed, out of my peripheral vision. If I can still see it I have to move it a bit further until it is out of view. This is temporary, mind you, it won't sit there for hours because another OCD check kicks in and I have to get up, clean the plate off, and place it back on the shelf.
This step kicks in immediately if I change positions on the bed. If I decide to lay down to watch a movie then that can lead to other steps depending on what position I lay in to watch the movie. If I am sitting, with my back to the wall, then the plate must be cleared immediately as this new seated position brings the plate into view. If, however, I lay on my side, then the plate is behind me. Depending on what was served on the plate it might sit there for a couple more minutes or the entirety of the movie I was watching.
I am not compulsive, however, as the routines and steps can be delayed or altered slightly but never broken. I find myself experiencing anxiety whenever set steps are delayed. I have not sat down and really analyzed these steps though as I really do not want to know how obsessive compulsive I really am. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. I wonder what I am missing out though by not stepping outside the lines more often.
I bet you are sitting there asking yourself what the point of this blog entry was. What is the take-away? What can I un-pack from this? Well, nothing basically. I do not write these entries to deliver nearly packaged morsels of sage advice. I write them to express thoughts on my mind, to share with others who might be experiencing the same, perhaps to open dialogue or discussion on a topic. You be the judge of what you can take-away from this. While you do that, I have to go move something.
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