Success can drive us toward a great goal or it can act as a cruel task master. Unfortunately, for those on the OCD spectrum, it tends to lean more toward the cruel task master. And it doesn’t have to apply to all areas of life, but often focuses on two or three big sections. These parts of your life can be careers, child rearing, balanced checkbooks, balanced diets, or continuing your education. While all of these goals are good, OCD can take them to the extreme. Pieces of your life that should stay tucked into their own little corners creep into everything else, and what was once a good goal has become your slave driver.
This part of OCD really tends to fall to the obsessive side, rather than the compulsive side of the disorder. I had a lapse this last week that I’ve been working to push back into its proper place in my life. Something reminded me of an issue I had at work back in college. I was late to work by more than five minutes three times, and I received a verbal reprimand. In the scope of things, it really wasn’t a heinous crime, but it’s tried to haunt me for years.
Did it ultimately affect my career? No. It was a minimum wage job that I kept in college to help pay for tuition. Did it affect my education or my family life? No. In fact, that I’m aware of, it had no effect on any part of my life. Except for my OCD. That stupid incident still rears its ugly head at any chance it gets, and if it catches me off-guard, it can still send me back into a spiral of shame and guilt, one that can even elicit a physical response, such as blushing or an increase in my heart rate. And it can push me to work even harder than I’m working already…which is pretty darn hard.
2014 was a good year for my family. We’re active members in a church family that we love, we both enjoy our jobs, our puppy keeps us laughing, and we’ve now got a baby on the way. It was also a year of learning, however. This year, I feel like I’ve really begun to manage my OCD perfectionism better. It’s not been a walk in the park, but I’m on my way.