Saturday, July 3, 2010

Motivation


I can feel my motivation to get things done flagging, but for once, not in terms of my exposures. That part, I am happy to say, is going quite well! I am doing things that I stubbornly resisted doing for so long, and sometimes I do them without second thought. However, the real challenge is then resisting the urge to go back through my actions, step by step, touch by touch, to trace the mental history of all that I have come into contact with and the order in which I touched things. When I do this sort of mental retracing, it is because I have an urge to know whether I have "cross-contaminated" things or violated my rules about what can be touched and when, even if I plan on doing nothing about it if I have. It is just comforting to know, I guess, what things might be "dirty" by my standards, just in case I really feel that something needs to be done. I feel somewhat careless and untethered when I don't do this, but those feelings are quite tolerable compared to other forms of anxiety that I have experienced.

I love my new home, but it is certainly a different sort of environment. In my old place, I didn't feel weird at all staying at home all day, but I think that was also because I lived in an apartment complex full of friends and people I knew, so that, even if I didn't hang out with them nearly as much as I used to, I knew they were there. I didn't feel isolated. I felt connected by their presence, even if I didn't actually make an effort to connect and spend time with them once my OCD got pretty bad.

I now live in a house rather than an apartment complex. I live with two roommates, a good friend that I have had for several years now and another person that I just met but would consider a friend at this point already. The first friend is gone for most of the day...like from before I am up to late at night, so I don't really see or hang out with him much on a regular basis. The other guy is here almost all the time. Granted, it is summer and he is still in school, so this is his time off, but it weirds me out a little watching someone else sit a home all day, cloistered in their room, venturing out really only for food or to talk to me. I wonder if this is how my old roommate (a friend that I absolutely adore!) perceived my descent into OCD-land and the resultant increase in the time I spent at home. Surprisingly it really didn't bother me back then! But then, I was consumed almost constantly with following my OCD rules. They occupied so much of my mind that I never really felt bored or like I had a lack of stimulation. There was always more to be done just to carry out the things that need to be done as a part of everyday living - brushing my teeth, showering, getting dressed, doing my laundry, and so on. Getting those things done, was almost enough in its own right. These are all very mundane things, but they were often projects in my mind. They were items on the daily to do list that I didn't always get done.

But now that I have begun a revised version of my exposures (that I am actually adhering to for once) a lot of time and mental energy has been freed up. There is also the fact that I do not yet feel like the cleaning that needs to be done in this house is yet my burden. The mess that is already here is not my job to clean (though I wouldn't mind doing it at all, and might even enjoy it, if I could just commit to not doing anything compulsive and could get past my initial anxiety). So there is a limited number of things that I feel need to be done and the focus is on making my room feel like my room while keeping in mind that I may only be here for a month.

What I really do need to do is look for a job or at least take up volunteering at places where I think it might be interesting to work. I began the job search back when I resigned from my old position, but after the first round of applying to just a few places, I decided it was time to make packing and finding a place to live a priority.

Getting a job still scares me. I'm not sure if it's because I'm still not really ready and functional enough for a job, or if it is just because I have grown accustomed to adapting my time to my compulsions, compulsions that I don't want to be forced to stop completely just yet. I'm not sure at what point I need to push myself into the stage of recovery where I return to work (assuming I can find a job!). I would really prefer a gradual re-initiation to the working world, and volunteering seems like a good next step in the process.

Anyways, I find that just pushing myself forward moment by moment, even if I seem to lack the "right" motivation, is often the best strategy, which is exactly what I intend to do today!

2 comments:

  1. My OCD perfectionism usually demands I be ready for anything even if I have little skill or practice! I think that's different from explicitly working toward being ready--it's not all or nothing, as much as the OCD snarls at me to even write that down.

    I sometimes remind myself "keep moving" when the OCD demands a "right" motivation--similar to your strategy.

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  2. Yeah, taking one step at a time works best for me, even if I can't conceive of completing an entire task, well, I can still do parts of it...it isn't a crime if I don't finish or don't start with the willpower to finish.

    I can relate to the demand for perfection even for things with which you are unfamiliar. I have gotten a lot better at accepting, that I, like everybody else, am bad at, or even downright terrible, at certain things, especially at first, and that that's okay.

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