The OCD Thinking Chain

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I’ve heard people mention OCD in many contexts, sometimes in reference to just liking things to be organized and simple stuff like that. I actually am not offended by things like this, I’m not easily offended in general. I assume OCD is probably a spectrum, and one can have OCD to a level of one out of ten, ten being the most disabling. I have a mental disorder that is OCD—I rest somewhere between seven and ten on that scale.

Thus I’d like to present a chain of events as they happen in my head when I obsess over something that would be benign to most other people. This particular event happened once over a few hours. These events happen all the time. This is how OCD disables me. This is why it is a disorder for me, and how it is different than just wanting things nice and neat (figuratively or literally.)

1. Need to do: I have to pay for my doctor’s visit, it is $80.

2. Thinking: $80 seems extremely high, is my insurance not working? Are they just not telling me my insurance was canceled? Have I been fired? Has my business lost so much money that insurance was cut off? What would or wouldn’t the relevant parties tell me?

3. Action: I have to take this action quickly, I know I can sit and think and worry about it for hours, but right now I have to pay. I don’t think I want to take $80 out of my checking account. I put it in on my credit card.

4. Thinking: Crap, I have my credit card at exactly 5% usage and the bill is becoming due. I’ve been told to keep my usage at around 5% when my bill is reported to the credit agencies because this is better for your credit. Now that is messed up.

5. Action: I need to leave and go home, work is calling.

Twenty minutes pass, obsessing

6. Thinking: As I ride home, I am now obsessed with putting this $80 on the wrong card. I should have put it on my checking account.

7. Thinking: I can’t go back now and reverse the charge and put it on my checking account debit card. Or can I? Would I seem crazy? Can I think of a story to tell them as to why I need to reverse the charge and put it on my debit card?

8. Inaction: I don’t do anything, but I keep thinking. Thinking, thinking.

An hour passes, obsessing

9. Thinking: Ok, $80 more on my credit card is going to look bad and ruin my credit score. I don’t even need my credit score to be good for any particular reason, but it became a thing. And once things are “a thing…”

10. Thinking: If my credit drops because of this, it will undo a ton of work I’ve done to get my credit score repaired from when things were shit in my life.

11. Thinking: This is all a sign that I will soon need my credit score to be good to secure a loan because my life will soon be crumbling. It is an omen. It is a sign. I should have put the $80 on my checking account.

12. Thinking: I can easily pay off the credit card from my checking account, but that takes days to process. I don’t know the inner workings of all of this, I just know it isn’t how I planned things. I wanted my credit usage to be exactly 5%. I don’t care if this is a myth, it is a ritual I have kept for years.

An hour passes, obsessing

13. Inaction: I’m not doing my work, for hours. I am thinking about my credit score. I can’t do anything other than think of the mistake I made in putting the $80 on the wrong card.

14. Action: I go and confirm my insurance still works, I guess seeing a specialist is more expensive. The things people don’t friggin’ tell you! Oh, it is not skin cancer. So that’s good.

15. Thinking: I wasn’t worried about cancer, I’m worried about the placement of the $80 charge and what that will do to me, how that has made things messy.

An hour passes, obsessing

16. Wishing: I just want this to stop, this thinking. I need to be productive. I need someone to somehow tell me I need to stop thinking about this. I would not listen to them or trust them anyway.

17. Observation: Hours have passed, I have thought about nothing but the meaningless (oh, I know this is meaningless) $80 charge. I have not gotten any work done. I am trapped. I want to rewind time and go back and put the $80 on my debit card. Why did I not just do that?

An hour passes, obsessing

There is no resolution. I sometimes move on to being productive (that’s new) or I move on to a new obsession. That goes… pretty much like the above.