This is not exactly news to anyone well-versed in OCD and its treatment. But gosh darn it, if I don’t keep checking, hoping the compulsion will work this time.
Backstory: I got a haircut. And it was significant. I tend to only get one haircut a year, so I do a giant chop each spring. But when I washed and styled it my way, rather than how it was styled right after the cut, the right side was definitely longer than the left. So I tried to fix it a little myself, even though I could have just asked the stylist to touch it up. But also it’s my hair, and I have every right to mess with my own hair. Except, I don’t know what I’m doing. So now I’m worried it’s still not even, maybe even worse.
I feel a sense of urgency and a need to confess to the stylist which is definitely OCD. But also, my hair is curly and will literally never be perfectly even. Yet, I keep checking and comparing the two sides. And the more I check, the more I feel the need to check again, and again, and again. Soon, I’m checking every few minutes, every 30 seconds. It’s almost like compulsions don’t work to actually solve the problem. Sigh…
That relief though I feel when I check or do some other compulsion, albeit extremely temporary, is so tempting. It’s weird to be stuck in a compulsion and OCD loop again. It doesn’t happen to me often. I’m well aware from years of therapy that compulsions didn’t work before, and they still won’t work now. The OCD cycle is one of the first things taught in treatment. Yet, here we are. I checked and checked again and checked yet again, so now I’m deep in the loop.
How do I break out? I have to not check. I have to ride the wave of anxiety and urgency and tension and not do the compulsion. I have to break the cycle. Well, I now haven’t checked to see if my hair is even or uneven for 45 minutes. It was difficult, to say the least. But I finally feel the anxiety coming down and the urge lessening. That’s not to say it won’t come back. It will. That is how my brain is wired. But I am getting stronger at resisting each time I resist the urge. I build new wiring and grooves, just like I always have been building in treatment.
P.S. Hi! I know it’s been a while. I’ve been working on other writing, including my MFA manuscript (which I’m now trying to publish) and some paid writing too. Woot! I still plan to keep this blog going, but when inspiration strikes (like now!) rather than on a set schedule.
Thanks for reading
Glad to have you back!
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Dear Mrgan I enjoy your blogs.Having OCD I can relate to them and they reinforce what I am learning to be true
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