I don’t struggle with compulsions nearly as much as I did when I was a child. Sure, I have a one here and another there, but they don’t really alter my life too much. The part of OCD that perhaps impacts my life more than any of the other parts is the perfectionism. I will admit that it takes me forever to get things done. (The funny thing is that I can be a rather impatient person.)
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to want to make decisions quickly and then to be stuck with that stupid voice of OCD in my head, telling me why each decision I consider is wrong. I’ll give you a few examples:
I want to deep clean my carpet. I go to the store with all the intention of finding a personal use carpet cleaner. I get to the store and see a few options. There’s the powder ($3) in that green can, the kind that you sprinkle on the floor and then vacuum up. There’s the huge shampoo monster that you can rent for $49.99. Then, there’s the Resolve Easy Clean Carpet Kit for $15. I consider my options, and I find something wrong with every single one.
Powder: It’s super cheap, and I doubt anything that cheap is really going to clean my carpets. Besides, it smells funny, like TUMS all crushed up.
Shampoo Monster Thingamajig: It’s $49.99, and takes hours to dry. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
Resolve Easy Clean Carpet Kit: It’s not too expensive, but it involves a lot of chemicals, and each time I used a canister, I’ll be producing more waste. Another round of consumer guilt hits.
I leave the store empty handed and downhearted. But my spirits are lifted when I recall that I can just turn to Pinterest to answer all my problems! Because Pinterest has solved virtually every problem on earth, right? So I get on Pinterest and look up natural carpet cleaners. I find a bunch, and decide to research the science behind them. Finally, I decide that the essential oils mixed with baking powder sound like a good choice. So I’m all set to go, right?
Wrong. You have to order essential oils either from a consultant (very expensive), or find a decent set on Amazon. That, of course, takes hours of research, as I check brands and user ratings. Finally, I choose a set that comes with 6 bottles for $25. It takes me three whole days to make the decision because I really want the essential oils, but $25 is a lot of money. Finally, I bite the bullet and order them, trying to remind myself of all the other awesome things I can do with the essential oils.
While I wait for my Amazon order to arrive, I decide just to get the Resolve Kit. My carpet is too dirty to just use the baking powder mixture on (I mean, our black lab is a sweetheart, but he sheds like crazy!). I decide to use the Resolve Kit every now and then, and then use the baking powder – essential oils mixture more regularly. I deep clean my carpets and then have a more environmentally friendly option to use the majority of the time.
Simple, right? Not.
The decision, from start to finish, took me over a month to make. Concerns and guilt over creating waste, spending too much money, using healthy cleaning options in our house, and actually getting the germs out of the carpet all warred with one another for weeks. Did I want a long, drawn out war filled with skirmishes every day? Not by a long shot. All I wanted to do was clean my carpet. But that’s a clip of what really goes through my head.
It’s frustrating because it’s the kind of war I’m battling with myself all the time.
- Do I get my wedding dress dry cleaned and preserved? It would save closet space and preserve the dress, but it would cost a lot of money, and I wouldn’t see it until I have a daughter who wanted to get married.
- I didn’t use the whole prescription of the very specific medicine the doctor gave me. Do I save it, or do I toss it in the pile of medicine I’ll take down to the police station to properly dispose of there?
- There’s a package of Jiffy Pop popcorn sitting on my counter. The fact that there’s only one bothers me. I’d like to get the clutter off and just use it, but the smell of popcorn has made me nauseous since I got pregnant.
And the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, these mind games do nothing but add to my anxiety in general, which often means a higher risk of anxiety attacks. I don’t want things just sitting around the house, waiting for me to make decisions about them. I don’t want to agonize so much over every little thing I do. I don’t want to feel guilty every time I do something that’s not completely eco-friendly or “all natural” for my family. I often have to turn to God in order to get my bearings and remember His grace.