April 3, 2011

Alone with OCD

I have this thing.  Well – it’s more like a feeling.  I don’t know if it’s a “lonely” thing or what.  But – very often I feel like an outsider in the world.  I feel like no one "gets" me.  It starts with a “yucky” feeling – I just don’t know how to describe it.  Then the checking and comparing sets in:  I just don’t feel like I really totally click with anyone in my life.  No one really gets me. I feel like an outsider.  Look at so-and-so: they have kids.  I'm not in that club.  (A little side obsession starts - do I even want kids?)  Look at so-and-so: She loves to ride bikes.  I don’t really have a passion….do I? What would my passion be?  And then starts one of my arguments with myself to prove or disprove what a weird person I am and should life be different?  Do other people feel this way in life?  Or – am I perhaps doing the WRONG thing?  Should I maybe be joining some Bhuddist Temple and becoming a Bhuddist monk?  Would that be the answer to everything?  Would I FINALLY feel normal and like I fit in?  Like someone “got” me? 
I find this frustrating because I don’t know if it’s OCD playing tricks on me or if it’s something else.  My OCD says “maybe it’s the fact that you’re a closeted lesbian and you’re repressing your true self and inner most desires.  If you weren’t such a coward you would be a completely different person.”  Isn’t this OCD so fun? 
So here I am again....."spinning".  (Another blogger uses this term and I think it is very fitting.)  Trying to figure it all out so that I never have to have any negative feelings again.  One of the small things I’ve learned about myself recently is that I compulsively try to figure out why I’m having negative feelings so that somehow I might be able to avoid having them in the future.  Is this even really possible?  Maybe this would be considered the epitome of LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES?  I’m not sure.  My OCD says: “I need to analyze things so that I realize what caused me to feel this crappy feeling so that I can avoid the mistake happening in the future so that I never have to feel shitty.”  Where’s a healthy balance with this stuff????  I don’t get it.  Aren’t we SUPPOSED to learn from our mistakes?  Aren’t we supposed to use our feelings as a guage for what is going on in our life so that we can make appropriate changes? 
And this “you can’t stop feelings” notion…..I just don’t understand that either.  Where is the balance between stuffing feelings and feeling them while still functioning?  How does one do this?  Today I dropped one of my best friends off at the airport.  She had been visiting for a few days and saying goodbye made me feel sad.  I started to cry and then I forced myself to stop.  Once I said goodbye I got in the car and all the compulsive analyzing started:  Why do I feel so crappy?  What is wrong with me?  Nothing is wrong with you – you just feel sad because your friend left.  Are you sure?  Maybe it’s because you feel lonely because you don’t feel like you have any good friends out here where you live.  You don’t even really feel that close to her anyway – you live totally different lives.  True.  Let’s think about how different our lives are.  She has kids.  Aha!  Maybe you feel like you don’t fit into the married with kids crowd and there’s no hope for that anymore.   Eventually I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself to FEEL my feelings I was just trying to rationzliae them away.  So I let myself cry.  But I was on my way to the store, so how was I to really feel sad when I had to go to the store????? 
I would love to hear what everyone else thinks about this.  I’m really stumped. 


  1. In my own limited experience, I find the ´supposed to´ statements and questions are some of the most difficult to deal with. On the surface they seem rational and logical but underneath they are a way of comparing yourself to a standard you may never meet. I find with my Christian upbringing, there are so many ´supposed to´ ideas floating around. I´m supposed to love God but what does it mean when I have no feelings of ´love´ at all? Am I cursed to live in doubt and fear of every ´wrong´ thought in my head that I ´shouldn't´ be having? As with most OCD arguments they are endless and generally fruitless.

  2. Interesting post. I feel like my therapist is always telling me that, as someone who suffers from OCD, I can't rely on my feelings to make decisions, to decide what is true or not true, what is a real threat or just an OCD threat. At least at this point in time, my feelings aren't an accurate way to gauge situations. Just as thoughts are just thoughts, feelings are just feelings. This isn't to discount how real and painful (or joyful) those feelings can be, but it can be helpful to think about this when I am upset about something. It can draw me out and allow me recognize my feelings and my tendency to use emotional reasoning.

    I also like the mindfulness approach to feelings. When I am upset (or not upset when I feel like I should be), I try to acknowledge how I feel and just accept it. I do my best to move on, mindful of my mental state without fighting against it or letting it control my actions. It also helps to think of my sometimes roller coaster emotions as one more way to practice accepting discomfort. I want to shove the feelings away. I want to find a way to stop them and to ease the tension, but if I view just accepting those feelings as another way to thwart my OCD, sometimes it becomes a little easier to fight back. It becomes a little challenge - to see if I can push through and continue onward despite the emotional obstacles that my OCD (or just my mind) may throw at me.

  3. Anon - I too was raised with a fairly strict chrisitian upbringing until I was around 13 when my mom started questioning her faith. That let off all the pressure! But I think some of the expectations still linger for sure.

    Fellow - yes - the "emotional reasoning" - I do that a lot!!! I didn't realize you commented on my post before I commented on yours! ;o) I need to start looking at these situations that bring up negative emotions as perhaps some sort of exposure for me - to take a chance at allowing myself to actually feel the feelings and see what happens. It's that balance between "feeling" and "showing" that I haven't figured out yet!!!