January 12, 2013

The Many "nuances" of OCD.

I can tell that I’ve come a long way in my battle with OCD, because now I can laugh at it – at least most of the time.  As I sit down to write this post and let all of you know OCD's latest "antics" in my head....I am chuckling to myself....at the absurdity of it all.  Thankfully I have some friends who have OCD too – and we always joke “it takes one to know one”.  Now I’m at the point where I can just laugh about how ridiculous it all is.  Don’t get me wrong – in the moment – it FEELS as urgent as usual.  But wow – it is just so absurd – isn’t it? 
You won’t believe my latest.  No, it’s not relationships.  No it’s not my sexuality. 

It’s my chicken/turkey neck.  (Now I completely understand the notion of “OCD Spectrum Disorders”.....can you say BDD????)

Though this past year has been bittersweet for me in many ways, and I have grown tremendously, I also became immensely aware of my own mortality.  And my age.  Ironically, I think all of this is what helped me to finally muster the courage to face my OCD – after all – what am I waiting for?  I’m not getting any younger!  On the other hand, being so blatantly aware of my mortality has created a breeding ground for new and different OCD (BDD?) themes to emerge.  Great. 
I don’t FEEL forty.  And most of the people that I spend time with are in their early to mid-30’s.  In fact, since gaining control of my OCD, I feel so much younger!  Many people tell me that I don’t look 40 at all.  I hear that all the time.  I am in better shape than I’ve ever been – both mentally and physically.  I am happy.  I am excited about life.  But the other day – I started inspecting my face....just a little longer than usual.  And that voice – THAT DAMN VOICE – popped into my head: “Your chin is a bit saggy isn’t it?  Do you see that skin on your neck?  It is pretty wrinkly....”.  And WHAM!  The anxiety set in.  The thoughts.  The checking.  The ruminating.  All of it.  All....about my turkey neck.  I was getting a turkey neck and something had to be done - NOW. 

Mom was pretty wrinkly, but Dad wasn’t.  I wonder who you’re more like?  Hmmmm....what age was it that Mom started getting wrinkly?”
And then....going back to the mirror.  Inspect.  Shift angles.  Do I see wrinkles or is it just the angle of my face?  Look again.  And again. 

Panic set in.  This can’t be happening!  I am at the prime of my life.  Feeling better than ever.  Starting to get excited to date!  Feeling confident in myself – in all aspects of my life!  And now suddenly.......not only do I feel like I DON’T LOOK YOUNG – LIKE EVERYONE TOLD ME – but I feel like I look OLDER than my age! 

For about four days I couldn’t stop obsessing about my turkey neck.  I mentioned it to friends (yes, I know that’s reassurance-seeking).  “Are you crazy?!  You don’t have a turkey neck.” They would say.  Of course that wasn’t good enough.  I actually spent about two hours one day at work researching turkey necks and what to do about them.  (In case you’re wondering – the best procedure for this is surgery and it costs $10,000.  Not going to happen.) After doing that research I rushed up to the spa to purchase a tube of $60 retinol face cream!  (Lord, I hope that helps!) I even booked an appointment for a cosmetic surgery consult – as consideration for Botox.  I could go on and on.....
The worst part of it is – I KNEW I was obsessing.  I knew I didn’t have perspective or any objectivity.  But I was in a panic.  I felt horrible.  It FELT like an emergency. 

Those moments have passed and I think I now have some objectivity.  Realistically, though, I am sure that my chicken neck is an area of OCD vulnerability for me.  I might as well work on accepting that. 
Crazy what this disorder does to us. 



  1. Good for you for being able to see your OCD stuff more clearly from the outside. I suspect you look just great!

    Sadly for me, I DO (objectively) look older than my age. Happily for me, this is not an area that my OCD has latched on to, and I bask in my old scruffy self. Soon I hope to be one of those crazy old ladies that wears orange and purple.

  2. I have laughed at OCD, too. It is really very funny - except the distress, of course, and the interuption to life and all that. But OCD itself is remarkably creative in how to sing a different verse of the same OCD tune.

    And in the moment, the anxiety is SO annoying.

  3. Boy, your OCD certainly is creative! I'm glad you can see it for what it is (most of the time, anyway :) )

  4. Oh, it's so weird, POC, because I definitely have struggled a touch with BDD myself. I've even researched plastic surgery stuff myself - the procedure I looked at was a bit cheaper - only $3,000. Ha ha ha!!!

    OK - I'm breaking my rule for you - I never give reassurance - but I must say that when I met you in Chicago last summer, I would NEVER have thought you were near 40. I'm being really honest. I would have thought late 20s at most. And I definitely didn't notice any turkey neck ha ha ha!!

    But you know, it really doesn't matter what others see in us - it's just our anxiety and what IT sees in us - whether it's reality or not. But I know you know that. You are doing so well fighting the OCD. Really proud of you.

    1. Sunny - that's too funny that we've both struggled with the same themes...well....really it's not surprising. :o)

      And thank you for your kind words. I'll take that as a compliment rather tha reassurance.

  5. I'm glad that things are going well for you!!

    Happy New Year, Pure O!