Friday, December 10, 2010

emptiness

This is the part of getting better that I hate.  When you start to see a noticeable difference, an improvement, and you hate yourself for it.  You hate yourself for letting it go all too easily.  Right now I am continuing to struggle with this.  I am noticing that the need to keep everything perfectly in line with my rules is getting looser.  I don't seem to care as much about them.  And I don't seem to care as much about the fact that I don't care as much!  Ahh!  I feel like I am losing the ability to make myself do things.  And I want it back.  Sure adhering to my completely arbitrary rules makes me dysfunctional.  It's not a self-sufficient way of life, but I start to long for the perfection again, and already it seems unattainable, like I couldn't make myself adhere to the rules again even if I wanted to.

That last part is really what bothers me.  The ascetic deprivation and self-denial that living the OCD life requires is hard to will your way back to once you come out on the other side.  And for some reason I hate that.  I hate it a lot.  I want to be able to turn the will power, the ability to adhere to my old rules, on at a moment's notice.  But without the same fear there providing the motivation, it is really hard to care enough to make myself do it.  Which drives me insane!  But I suppose that's one of the sacrifices of getting better.  You can't be better, more functional, and still carry that drive to adhere to OCD rules, to perform compulsions, no matter how nonsensical.  Because that drive comes from fear and when the fear goes, so does the drive to adhere to the rules and perform the compulsions.  But it makes me feel empty.

It's kind of funny to talk about things like this, considering that, to most people and my therapists, I probably still seem very symptomatic of my disorder.  But to me the boundaries seem to be dissolving faster and faster.  And I don't know what to do.  Those boundaries felt like my scaffolding, the bones that held my body up.  And now they seem to be dissolving within me, leaving me nothing to prop myself up on.

I have imagined the wonderful life I could have, all the wonderful things I could do, if I learned to overcome my OCD and keep it in check.  But will life really be any better?  Will I be happier?  Or will I find that life without the OCD isn't that great either?  Will I discover that having to perform ritual after ritual is only replaced by the monotonous repetition of things that actually have a constructive purpose, things that actually do need to be done?  As long as I am cocooned in the world of compulsions I can at least dream of something better.  But what if it is just as hard to get by without the severe limitations of OCD, just in different ways?

It all makes me feel empty.  So I just keep chugging along, putting one foot in front of the other for the sake of moving forward, hoping that one day I will really want to constantly keeping moving along.  Anyways, I realize I don't always feel this negatively about my progress as I do at the moment, but it's another form of discomfort that comes crawling up from the OCD abyss when I am left alone to my thoughts without more pressing fears to take precedence.

5 comments:

  1. Fellow - I go there too - especially with "will life get any better? Will I be happier?" etc. I suspect that's just more OCD/anxiety wanting to know the outcome and save us from the discomfort of uncertainty. You definitely are going through a life-altering change....keep practicing the skillful way of getting through OCD and let us know how you feel in a week or so!

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  2. I hear you, oh goodness! I thought that starting to get better would mean I could just relax all the time. But can I? No. The house still needs cleaning, even if I don't do it AS compulsively. I still go to the bathroom and have to wash my hands. I still have to do a litany of things each day to keep life running.

    But the freedom is from the mental stress. And the letting go. Thursdays are normally my cleaning day. But we were busy, and I didn't clean. No longer am I running through the list of contaminants in my bathroom sink anymore. It's okay if it waits till Tuesday. My mind is freed to listen to music and actually hear it. To enjoy sitting on the couch after a long day because I CAN and it's not because I'm running. To not have to think about what outfit to wear, to put on just whatever I feel like. Wow. There's so much freedom. Don't feel empty. Keep putting that foot one in front of the other.

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  3. The cocoon of obsessions is an apt description! I used to fear getting better because that would mean I had to go out and save the world, and be perfect. There's something important in that idea of "making yourself do things"--it's only an illusion of mastery, of will power. I made myself eat a very strict vegan sugar-free diet for almost a year, but by the end, I was serving the diet, which is not mastery but enslavement.

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  4. I totally understand this. I have struggled with this lately myself and at other times in my life too when I have tried to recover...how to fill that void that comes with giving it up.

    I try to remember that our hearts wouldn't want to give it up if we didn't know that was the better way.

    "Remember that the fear of suffering is greater than the suffering itself." - The Alchemist

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  5. I completely get this--it is something that held me back from recovering from my eating disorder, years ago. When I was using ED behaviors, and miserable, I could hope for recovery. But, I worried, "What if I recover, and I'm STILL unhappy? What do I have to hope for then?" Now, I did move past my eating disorder, and is it perfect? No. Do I still get upset and have my hard times? Yes. But is it better than it was? Oh my goodness, yes. So I think with OCD it's the same...when I'm not consumed by intrusive thoughts or lots of checking/asking for reassurance, things aren't perfect. But they ARE better than when I'm in a bad OCD place. And, that "what if?" that you're worried about--even that in and of itself is partly OCD....when I notice myself asking "what if?", that's a big red flag that OCD is lurking. Maybe it's similar for you, too? Take good care....

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