A few days ago I heard a throwaway line in a movie. I can’t remember what the situation was in the movie, as the whole plot needed a lot of work to keep me with it for more than thirty minutes. But that line was:
“I don’t feel safe being optimistic.” (I could be paraphrasing here. Seriously, the movie sucked.)
This is a common throwaway thought in life situations of people around me. We’re all optimistic or pessimistic about things because we’re human and have to gauge such about the potential of situations. I understand that normality and how the importance of such thoughts generally track with the importance of the situation.
For example, the optimism a normal person has about getting their friends to go out for a night tracks with how important that night out is. We can assume it generally isn’t that important. Now, the optimism or pessimism one has about landing a dream job they interviewed for: a big deal.
With my OCD, I don’t think along this scale of import. Rather, everything is hyper-important and the outcome being potentially negative—on almost every future situation—is a Very Big Deal to me.
With OCD, the range of feelings on matters is both heavily compressed and heavily elevated. There is rarely thruway optimism or pessimism.
And I’ll go one further with how I think as an individual: there is rarely optimism about any situation at all. That is not to say I am always pessimistic, I will get into the complexities of a paradoxical way of thinking in a bit. But staying with constant pessimism for now, if other entities are involved (it doesn’t just have to be people, it can simply be the way of the world which I don’t proclaim to understand at all,) I have no trust. I don’t start with optimism ever.
I don’t feel safe in an optimistic mindset. Safety is key here. I am guarded with all of my emotions, the sheer majority of which exist only in my head and aren’t communicated to those around me.
If I am optimistic I am doubly exposed to being hurt. One, by the situation not playing out in my favor. And two, for creating a messy situation that involves a landscape I painted of a positive outcome needing to be trashed for reality. These are two separate things, and I feel them both. Thus, to me, best to be pessimistic always.
I am obsessed with things turning out right, and that obsession is never muted. It is loud. And with that need, failure is an act of falling down far further than if I wasn’t so obsessed.
Here’s the paradoxical thing that I can’t quite get a grasp of. I also strive for great things in life. Everything I apply myself to, I work for it to succeed to great heights. I may have delusions of grandeur, I am not sure about that as I don’t quite know what is or isn’t a delusion with the way I think. I just know I can be really good at a lot of things.
This is the complexity my brain deals with in every situation. I both believe I can succeed at anything and work toward it, at the same time I am utterly pessimistic about anything succeeding. This makes no sense unless I really do have two brains working simultaneously. Which I liken my OCD to often.
I don’t feel safe being optimistic about anything, yet I work to be far better than I feel I am capable of in everything.
A paradox I am.