It’s an obsessive thought pattern!
The worrying about whether or not I should quit writing and whether or not I’m any good at it. It’s not actually real.
Here’s what I think. I think that if you’re a normal person, and you have a bothersome thought or worry, you tend to think through the whole problem, figure out what you can and can’t do, and then start implementing these things. Then, if the thought floats across your brain again, you say, “Ah, no, worried about that already. Got a plan. Moving forward. Doing my best.”
But if you’re an obsessive person like me, then you have the thought, think through the problem, find what solutions there are to be found, and then…
You have the thought again.
But instead of reassuring yourself about it, you instead go into red alert. You say, “Oh dear. If I’m still worrying about that, it must mean that whatever I thought through before DID NOT WORK, and there’s something ELSE I’ve got to figure out.” So, you think it through again. And you come to the same freaking conclusions.
And then you have the thought again. And you think it through. And again. And you think it through. And again. And again. And again. And AGAIN.
And at this point, you become very depressed. You say to yourself, “Well, if I keep wondering if I should stop writing, then it must be a sign. I must not want to write anymore.” Or… “Well, I can’t stop worrying about whether or not I should get a job. I should just go GET A JOB, because if I have one, I won’t have to worry about it anymore.” Or… “Well, if I keep worrying that everything I write is too weird for a wide audience, then it MUST be too weird. And if I don’t think I can stop being weird, then I suppose I’ll never be able to amount to much. And if I’ll never amount to much, then I might as well give up. AFTER ALL, if I give up, I’ll never have to THINK THIS AGAIN.”
It’s the sheer maddening repetitiveness of it all. And it’s the fact that your brain keeps assigning meaning to the repetition. If I keep THINKING this over and over, it must be significant. It must MEAN something. I better ruminate over it until I figure out what exactly it means. And yes, thinking about this is way more important than having fun, or doing things I like, or thinking about happy things. No, clearly I can’t get to doing anything I like to do until I FIGURE THIS OUT.
Anyway… so the thing is, the thought doesn’t mean anything. It actually doesn’t mean anything at all. The thing repeats in my brain because I tell myself it means something. I pay attention, I say it’s important, and so my brain makes it SEEM important.
The truth is, most problems are not solved by thinking the SAME THINGS over and over again, anyway, no matter how much my own brain seems to think that they will be.
And I know this. God, do I know this. This is the epiphany that set me free over a year ago. But… the problem is that I know that some things are obsessive thoughts. Like if I start worrying that I’m fat, or if I start worrying about money, or if I start worrying that I’ll never have babies, or if I start worrying that I’m not actually in love with my boyfriend, or… well, there are a bunch more, but you get the idea… then I’ve gone through those enough times to say, “No, no. That doesn’t mean anything. You can ignore that. We worry about that needlessly, but have experimented with NOT worrying about it, and everything’s turned out just fine.” However, my brain keeps thinking up new and annoying obsessive thoughts to trip me up. And when I hear one the first time, I don’t even know it’s an obsessive thought. I think it’s a REAL PROBLEM that I MUST SOLVE THIS INSTANT BECAUSE OTHERWISE EVERYTHING WILL BE HORRIBLE. And then I lose weeks of my life trying to fix it. And then…
Then I realize it’s just a stupid meaningless thought that flitted across my brain and that I should have freaking ignored.
OCD makes me insane. I’m hoping it also makes me kind of quirky and lovable and perhaps even a bit funny. But that would be up to other people to decide, not me. Good thing is that this is one more obsessive thought identified and trounced. And though I know there will be more, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for knocking this one out, and so I say… “Bring it on. I’m not going down without a fight.”