I wrote an article not too long ago about how OCD can be compressed into a fixation on one single thing, and how that is usually something negative. This is a similar situation that occurs, but from a different mindset.
The obsessive end of this disorder I have can also find itself focused on One Thing that I believe will make me happy or content. I separate those two concepts—happiness and being content—because of my general lack of happiness—having near constant bouts of anhedonia. But for the purposes of this article, I will use the term “happy.” Mostly because it is a happiness that exists in my mind for the future.
The key concept to think about here is scope, and we’ll tie that up after explaining the concept of obsession abut One Thing bringing me potential happiness.
I have a lot of things that trigger my OCD, but none more strong than the potential for happiness and comfort to happen in the near future. I struggle with happiness in general, so if my brain can see a pathway to potential happiness it focuses. Oh, it focuses. And nothing else exists but the pathway to this happiness, and I will do everything in my power—even things one would consider crazy—to get to this point of happiness.
I live a simple life, it may be too simple. I pretty much work all of my waking hours. The reasons for that are for another article. But part of it is that little makes me happy, so why not work—as long as the stress level is ok1.
I don’t go out much, as I am very protective of my emotions in this lifetime. “This lifetime” referring to a period I am in of recovering from previous lifetimes of letting my mental illnesses go wild and causing destruction to myself. I am beyond that now on the surface, and I am focused on what is going on in my head. Thus, I have quite a gatekeeper as to what gets inside my head. And because once something is inside my head, I have very little control over it, that gatekeeper operates on not putting myself in a position to feel emotions as often as most people do. Is that dull? A terrible way to live? I don’t know. I am ok with it now. It is healing, for lack of a better term2.
Back to triggers, and the concept of “One Thing.”
It generally happens out of nowhere. A stage is set, but that stage is not one-hundred percent certain. I will give an example: if the person I am in love with is potentially available to hang out with later in the night, and I find this hinges on that person not having to work—I am triggered. The potential stage is set. I must have this happen. It not being a certainty is a major problem. I must have this, I envision it now is my path to happiness—however fleeting it may be after it is over at the end of the night, I must have this happen.
I don’t even know what the plans would be with this person, it does not matter. My OCD—the obsessive part—has painted a picture that no matter what, this is my pathway to a some assemblage of happiness. And note—it may not just be hanging out with someone I love, it may be something else. Usually something surface-level simple, but often—seemingly targeting the frantic—hinging on external factors that I do not control. Lack of control, as you can imagine, is the most awful situation I can be in3.
I generally have no idea what, in this painted-picture, future, potential situation, specifically will make me happy. I just see the prospective. And I must have this One Thing. I must, at all costs. This One Thing must happen (sorry, I cannot say this enough—it is partially for effect, it is how my mind is working when this conflux of possibilities happens.)
I’ve been known to act like a fool to make this One Thing happen. Compulsion! I don’t talk much about my money situation here, because that is not really important to things. However, I have been known to give away money I would—as someone also obsessed with budget4—normally not ever think of spending to ensure that no one around me—and their situations—gets in the way of this pathway my obsessive side has mapped out to a potentially happy event.
“Potentially.” All along, you must note, that this One Thing will probably not bring me a massive amount of happiness. I may just feel a bit more comfortable that I was previously. Oh, but I build situations! I fantasize. I draw out. I plan, regardless of if said plans would or could even happen as I draw them out. They often don’t! And I know this! But that does not stop one with OCD.
With OCD, obsession often manifests itself in plotting the future and absolutely needing to have it happen as plotted. Exactly as plotted. No exceptions. No sort-of’s.
And absolutely never later!
This One Thing—this perceived future maybe-happy situation—must happen at the prescribed time. Back to my example of spending the evening with someone I love. If the potential is for it to happen tonight, tomorrow night will not do. Tomorrow night, you see, is not in the scope of my obsession.
Scope is a major part of obsession. Scope is the key. My brain has scoped the events, and they must happen within this scope—and the potential for them still happening, but outside the scope, is as if they aren’t going to happen at all. Tomorrow is as good as never.
One Thing that may bring happiness, scoped by obsession, triggering my compulsions to do anything to remove any barriers. That is how I live “happiness.” You will see I never mentioned the feelings of the actual event itself. That fades, that—for many reasons—doesn’t end up mattering. I live in the potential.
And my moment of happiness occurs before the event—when all obstacles are erased and I know for absolute certain that what I have obsessed over will happen. That moment—and it is short—is a form of happiness I can feel. But it—this One Thing—must happen within scope.
1 And it often is not, but that too is for another article. Probably the same future article I already mentioned. I should get on that after writing this. [BACK]
2 And sheesh, do I try to stay away from words like “healing” and “recovery.” They’re often used in a manner that just doesn’t suit me, and I’ll leave it at that. [BACK]
3 Aaaand… to note, I am not in control pretty much all my life. Because that is, unfortunately(?) how life works. [BACK]
4 I assume it comes as no surprise that I am obsessed with my budget. We’ll carry on. We can do a seminar about money some other time. [BACK]