It probably goes without saying that I am obsessed with my calendar. But as I dig deep into this obsession, it goes well beyond the stereotypical and into a rather detailed picture of how I look at the entire world, and how my OCD affects that.
I look at my calendar. I do not just see a list of things to do, you see. I see a list of things that could go wrong if I don’t do them in the right manner. Each item in my calendar comes with a list of unwritten (oh, and sometimes written) real occurrences that I am convinced will stem from the underlying item. I focus on the negatives because I need to avoid the negative, but I also look at the positives.
Ah, but… I don’t really look at positives in a positive light. My OCD sees positives for their potential as missed opportunities. I look into the future on potential positives and see all the ways I can mess them up and turn them into, well, nothing. And a potential positive turning into a “nothing” is about the worst thing that can happen to the OCD part of my brain.
As an example, I still look back on almost every dollar I could have had if things turned out right, and I obsess over that money. I liken it to lost money, though in reality I never had it in the first place. I will even place it in my budget to see what could have been.
So with every item on my calendar that could mean money, I see lost money. I count that money as mine and see every way I can lose it if I don’t go after it perfectly.
Money is only an example here, it is the easiest thing to measure and grasp as a thing one can have, lose, or never have had in the first place. It is also something I’ve used to focus my obsession on.
I am not obsessed with having a lot of money, but I am obsessed with every penny I can potentially make. This doesn’t define me as a person, or at least not to myself. In fact, it is a way to try to funnel my wildly disparate obsessions into a single, simpler obsession. Again, money is simple. Each item in my calendar has some dollar amount attached to it, even if it is unwritten.
Beyond money, I am also obsessed with the idea that I am lazy. Laziness to me is no different than mold to someone with contamination OCD. I abhor it all the same and do not want it in my body (that is, brain.) I know I am not lazy and in fact quite the opposite. But knowing that does not help. I need to continually work to un-lazy any hint of my slowing down my forward-moving activity. Stacking my calendar to an unrealistic level does this for me.
I purposely add more to my calendar than I can possibly handle. I know this. I move things around quite a bit as the day moves on and I actually work at a realistic pace. But having more to do than I can possibly do ensures I am always working as if I am behind, and thus with maximum effort.
This is no different than the stereotypical over-cleaning many people think of when they picture OCD. I know all about that way of thinking, and I see my brain working with the same irrational tendencies when it comes to my calendar.
My anxieties manifest themselves most perfectly in my calendar. It is where my obsession with losing money is shown, it is where my obsession with not being lazy is obvious.
While each item may not have every possible eventuality written in its notes section, you can be assured that I am thinking of countless eventualities with every item in my calendar.
My calendar is a painting of my every day, in-real-life OCD, with each to-do item being a stroke of color. All of these things need to be done at some point, but what is most important here is how my calendar as a whole—to me—is a mechanism for obsession and compulsion.