I rather dislike the phrase “ignorance is bliss.” In fact, I dislike the word “ignorance” in almost all applications. Ignorance suggests a complacency with not learning new things and expanding the mind through the requisite discomfort required.
This is an overarching view I have about all of life. I need to constantly be learning, and therefore I need to always be aware of all of the complexities of the world around me. I cannot be an ignorant person, so I shirk the word.
My mental health is a different scenario though. With my OCD, my brain is overflowing with reactions, analysis, observations, and plotted eventualities. It is often too much to handle, and thus I shrink into a fog of anxiety, not being able to process everything I am obsessed with.
So I decided to change that. Ok, that’s quite a strong assertation that is both not the whole of the matter and a bit of hyperbole. How about “I’ve been working on changing that?” This isn’t a self-help guide, I can’t claim to know enough of what I’m doing to help others. I’m merely here to convey what I’ve done differently this past couple of weeks that have helped me. It is entirely possible that the resonant anxiety from my OCD will take over and all of this will reach the same end I’m used to—a rollercoaster on which I am soon headed downward.
Mood is the single most important thing to me, I have found through studying what is the core of what I truly need to be content, centered, and—dare I say—happy. I’ve confronted what I get in return from material things, friendships, everything you can imagine. These things range from nice enough to very important. However, it all comes down to mood. And by “mood” I mean the inner workings of how my brain reacts to all stimuli in my world—good and bad. Mood being a completely internal thing here.
And with mood being completely internal, it takes internal work to affect it. Affect it where I can.
Enter the act of ignoring. Ignoring things is the complete antithesis of OCD. Obsession is quite literally the opposite of ignoring. However, I’ve learned that I must value ignoring above all else to get past a lot of the muck that OCD brings.
“Value,” I have learned, is a much more effective way to bring concepts into being and affect my mood as compared to things like brute force, waiting for the roller coaster to hit a high, going with the flow, and all that BS.
This is tremendously important, and a nuance I’ve only learned fully in the past few weeks. I value ignoring as a skill, action, and requirement.
So how does “ignoring stuff” actually play out?
Because I have placed a high value on the resultant mood, I can treat the interplay between ignoring negative things and mood much as I do with my obsession with something like money. Which I do still have!
This is also key, I am good at obsessing. Yeah, that goes without saying, no? So why not put my obsession to good use? I am going to obsess anyway? I’m going to obsess over other people’s reactions, money, potential problems, and so on (the list is probably more than one-thousand things long, I’ll spare you.)
So I am already good at obsessing. Yet, it was only in the past few weeks that I’ve learned to obsess with ignoring that which brings on negativity and obsess over mood. Mood I now view as a currency of sorts. Yeah, kinda like money. Which I’m good at obsessing over.
What I’ve done is applied the same obsession I have over money. And obsession which, while admittedly damaging sometimes, is a simple thing to grasp because it comes down to simple arithmetic. Numbers. Oh, I have complex databases and spreadsheets to make sure my obsession with money is going strong. Regardless I obsess at a more base level than analysis of income and expenses, my OCD often goes to just instant reaction to potentially losing money of any sort and realizing that is bad. And vice-versa with the potential for income. All base level obsession.
So why not approach mood the same way? Well, that is more difficult. Mood fluctuates a lot differently than money. However, mood is not tangible. Mood is the result of the brain reacting to all sorts of stimuli.
Thus, I’ve learned to think of mood (as the currency) and ignorance of negativity (as the income/expense ratio) as I do something like money.
This requires me to force myself to look at negative things I do to affect mood, like seek out that which I call “drama.” I have a very broad definition of “drama” that relates to my OCD. I’m not a dramatic person, but I do jump right to negativity when others are doing that which is an affront to that which I am singularly obsessed over (i.e. money, my personal space, all of that on the aforementioned list that numbers into the thousands.)
I find myself quick to shut down others and create rifts when I don’t get what I want because I live in a world of obsession and thus my mind on worst case scenarios. Everything is a potential problem, because why not?
But I’ve learned to stop. Not stop obsession, that is impossible. No, to simply stop in my tracks and think of mood as currency. Do I want to spend? I’m quite good at saying no to spending money.
Thus, while the headline here is focused on “ignoring things,” I did mention this is not a self-help piece. Rather, this is merely a dictum on what I’ve been learning to do. And I am not done yet enough to even be that authoritative about it.
I’m still learning. Learning to ignore.
But to put it in a more simple fashion, I’ve learned that mood is of the utmost importance, and thus I need to treat that wish affects mood and mood itself as currency. And I’m damn good at keeping currency to myself. This, if I place value on mood, I should be able to do the same with mood. And as much as I am thrifty with money, I should be able to use the act of ignoring when necessary in the same way.