Okay, I’m not exactly a Blob, per se. But there is a fine line between anxiety and OCD in a few ways that someone with either may not readily acknowledge. And that line blurs what each of us may define as “control”.
And, thank you, Mr. Blob, the world *is* indeed chaos. But that being what it is, underneath, and behind our own closed doors, we have all experienced things that project us into scrambling for that “control”. In any way that brings us comfort. Over time, through navigation of social acceptability (not chaining ourselves to a radiator and swatting at flies), some of us have learned to keep a number of these quirks a secret. Those of us with true OCD take issue with the word “quirk”. I understand this. It can be a very painful disorder that reaches far beyond simply needing those bits of control. But this is where the fine line is. In the more accessible, manageable aspects. While the word “quirk” can seem as if it belittles certain pain, it is sometimes just a more comfortable way of saying, “I got issues“…and I do!
Anxiety can come out to mingle with OCD in many ways. At all times of day…and night. Boy, howdy, all night. One of the more prominent ways this happens for me is in Circular Thought. There was never so riveting a movie as the one that plays in your head all…night…long. Regardless of the fact you wanted to shut it off and go to bed hours ago. So, where I may happily shoot pistols off over my head in the town square and cackle while I just willy-nilly ball up my socks in pairs, I may also lay in bed brooding at night with my finger on the rewind button of the VCR in my mind. Why on earth would I use a Blu-Ray when I’ve got a bumper crop of this grainy old, poorly edited shit to review? Racks and racks, my friends.
Now, because of my own personal challenges, I do have a need to control my environment to a certain extent which can get me labeled as “fussy” or inflexible. Okay, not fun. There, I said it. I keep things clean and efficient. I’m picky about people and activities. Noise. Weather. Crowds. Waiting. And my schedule has to function properly for the most part or I do start feel a break down through the tiers of my sanity. All things I can control in Mr. Blob’s World of Chaos. When these basics are not met, anxiety results. And this is, consequently, when I start breaking out those old video tapes when I should be sleeping! Ah, if only it could have been avoided….well?
Controlling the finer of the cogs of this chaos looks different to everyone. But our reasons are similar. If we control A, then we avoid B. I have a similar theory that the root of all fear is death…*listener slowly backs out of room smiling politely* I know. But the Control to Avoid Theory stands. If I control Environment A, then Anxiety B rests. Does one beget the other in some offshot self-fulfilling prophecy, I can’t say. So here, again, the line between the obsession or compulsion to “control”, and actual anxiety becomes murky.
Through reinforcement, either concrete or coincidental, we strengthen these neural pathways by taking them repeatedly out of whatever we see as survival at the time. They become the default. Ever tried to change defaults on your phone or computer? You bash the keys and holler CHANGE DEFAULT, JACKASS! But, default is Strong, Like Bull. And it just knows…you’ll be back.
I’m going to end this with my father’s favorite quote from the show Taxi when Bobby tried to leave the garage.
“He’ll be back… they all come back… the only one who never came back was James Caan… and he’ll be back!” – Louie DePalma
Go easy on yourself, we aren’t all as brave as James Freakin’ Caan.