I’ve spoken of Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) before here, and this is somewhat an extension of that. Anhedonia isn’t necessarily a specific symptom of OCD, it is something I’ve felt more as something separate in my mix of mental disorders, but I am beginning to see where the connections do lie with OCD.
Almost nothing is fulfilling with OCD. Especially not large projects of any sort. I look at everything I’ve done in life recently and in total (and that is a bit—I am in my early forties.) and nothing seems quite good enough to be considered complete to my satisfaction. I don’t just mean that at a level that I know I could do better—a skill any high-functioning person who does almost anything should have. That type of thinking is where one grows.
No, while I do want to grow, I have an unending desire to go back and redo everything I’ve ever worked on. This site, do you know what hell it is to look at what is now over one hundred articles? Every one of them I want to edit. If I had four times the hours in a day, I’d want to edit them again after going back and editing them. And again. None of them make me proud, and in fact, I refuse to read them.
There is nothing fulfilling about this site other than the rare times (like I’ll soon have today) that I have made it through a few articles enough to have some queued up ready to go. Because that is what I do—I make it through my creativity.
I quit taking pride in learning new things in computer programming because I could not master absolutely everything. That is impossible, but I felt constantly beaten down because the more I learned the more I realized I did not know. Which for many, that is a good characteristic. There’s a fortune cookie fortune in there somewhere! But to me it is hell, I cannot be fulfilled. And it is because of my OCD, and especially my Pure Obsessional OCD.
I obsess over doing things the right way. I seek permission where none can be had. For example, how the hell does someone write? What are the rules? Am I allowed to be writing all of this—over 100,000 words now on this site—without formal training? I don’t think so. I do it, but I think it is wrong. I think you’re reading this and realizing how wrong I have it all. Not the content—that is my brain, I know I have that right. I mean the grammar, word choice, rhythm, flow, everything else. None of it flows like I can see it flowing through this foggy picture I have that involves a reaction I’ll never achieve: stepping back from a piece and saying “ah ha! This is complete! This is perfectly what I wanted to say!”
This syndrome—if that is the correct word1—extends beyond the creative. I am never fulfilled in relationships because I always feel they can be closer, better (whatever that means), and deeper. I mean this about the people closest to me and acquaintances. Now, let’s quickly go back to the “whatever that means” comment above. What does “better” mean? I don’t know, I just know I am not fulfilled and it is my fault. Somehow I could be a better partner, always. And again, I don’t think of that in the healthy manner of always striving to grow closer, a good characteristic. I want better from myself now, and I am not. I am a flawed person and I suck as a partner and friend because of that.
I am known for being verbose2. This is because I just cannot get to the point where my words feel like I’ve fulfilled the entirety of the thoughts I am trying to convey. I fully know there is beauty in seven-hundred fifty words. I have to go over one-thousand and only stop because I hit word count (always in the corner of my word processing program) and once I am past eleven hundred, I realize even my eyes are going to glaze over at that point—and I am me, and I am my favorite subject!
You know what? I’m going to do a little experiment for myself here. I am at 755 words right now. I’m going to stop. I’m going to see if I feel fulfilled by this article.
I have so much more I want to say.
And so I keep going.
You see, this is all crap to me. It is all the surface. Why does OCD make me feel this way? It is not an organization thing, that’s separate. I know I don’t like the organization of the site, but I have purposely let that go so I wouldn’t spin my wheels perfecting all of that before writing article number one.
What I am chasing is not so much fulfillment as I am an alleviation to my fears. My fears of not being perfect in every word I convey. Because you see, once I hit “publish” or “send,” the words are now for your brain to do work on. I don’t want you to do my work. I want to tell you the points so you interpret none.
How the hell I get by as an abstract painter I don’t know—that universe relies on the complete antithesis of the above desire for telling the brain absorbing the work exactly how to feel about it. Exactly what to think.
Maybe I’ve found some sort of outlet in my painting, but I know I am having a hard time going back into it like when I was prolific with it. And that is most likely because my OCD really flared up to the forefront of my being after that period in my life. As we stand, I have untouched and unopened art supplies all categorized and waiting for me. I do nothing with them (yet?) because I don’t think I will be perfect in conveying meaning even in abstract art. Take that sentence and think about it for a bit.
The point is, with OCD I feel the need to control that which I cannot. This becomes most evident with any form of communication I have with others because their brain—your brain—does the processing. I hate that about communication, but that is the whole of life: multiple, wildly different, processors in each transaction.
And because of that, I am not fulfilled, ever. And I just blamed you for that. Or whoever created us.
And now I am over 1,100 words.