I would not consider myself OCD, but I do trend to obsess over things. I kind of think it’s part and parcel of my anxiety, in some cases. Well, now that I’ve said that, I’m not so sure about it. Maybe it just helps to feed my anxiety when it is already high.
I’ve already mentioned my Google issue. Not only does it extend to seeking out health and medical topics, but I do tend to get lost in Google on other subjects. I know that isn’t unusual, but the pattern for me is clear. While being lost in Google-space isn’t always a bad thing, when it comes to medical stuff, it’s bad bad bad for me. It stirs my anxiety so much, I can’t even tell you. It’s one of the things I’ve been trying to curtail in the past couple of months, which I have mostly been able to do.
When I started feeling poorly last August, I thought maybe I was having reactive hyperglycemia issue. So I started watching what I was eating more closely. I love potatoes, rice, and the like. I stick to brown rice these days, but I do enjoy a potato product immensely. Lunch for me could be a baked potato with cheese…and that was it. So I started cutting out carbs and sugar, thinking I could get a better grip on my blood sugar. And like a dumbass–after researching on Google–I did it almost cold turkey. And completely. And my brain went FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU. I actually had several mental breakdowns–tears, moaning, severe depression, mood swings–over the four weeks during which I attempted this diet. I obsessed over those foods and watched every bit of morsel that went into my mouth.
During this period of time, I decided I’d know better what was happening with my body if I used my husband’s blood sugar meter. And I began obsessively taking my blood sugar: morning, an hour before eating, immediately after eating, one hour after eating, two hours after eating, before bedtime. I wrote the numbers down on a pad, studied them often, and tried to match the foods I was eating with the change in my sugar numbers. Those numbers, like the carbs and sugar, were something for me to focus on and obsess over.
When I saw my endo, she told me that the mental issues I was having was not related to the no carbs or my blood sugar (which she said was pretty normal)…and that I should have hit the no sugar/no carb “break-down” about day 10 and by the fourth week, my body should have adjusted. She told me (and my mother) quite bluntly, “You must have other [mental] issues you need to deal with.” and she sent me on my way.
Over the course of the last three years, I’ve lost fifty pounds. It started because of my stomach issues (gastritis), and then over the three years I drifted on and off restrictive diets of some kind because of illness. Mostly stomach, but then the whole carb/sugar thing. I watched my scale closely over the past eighteen months, thinking that my diminishing weight meant there was something wrong with me. And during the time when I dealt with my “Prilosec fever”, I watched my scale like a hawk, knowing the weight loss was a symptom of something more than just my eating habits. I swore my food intake was normal, but I continued to lose weight. Some days as much as two pounds…fifteen pounds in a week. It wasn’t right. I grab onto those numbers on the scale and I focus focus focus. I’m not looking to lose, I’m not looking to gain, it’s just that the numbers were so concrete. Black and white, up or down. Same with the carb/sugar counting, same with the blood sugar numbers…same with my blood pressure and my pulse.
I see the obsession as part of my anxiety…it’s almost a soothing thing for me that I can focus on something concrete. The problem is, when the obsession takes me in the direction I don’t want to go. Is it an obsessive disorder? I don’t know. It doesn’t rule me when my anxiety is low or under control. It doesn’t interrupt my life when my anxiety is low or under control. But I see it clearly and I recognize it is there.
I told hub the other day, I could see myself turn into one of those people who have a stockpile in their basement or garage. For me, I see it happening in my food pantry closet and in my paper products closet. Toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, all lined up nice and pretty in an excessive amount. Not more than we can use, but more than we really need to have sitting around. Same in the food pantry…stuff all lined up so that at a glance we know what we need and what we don’t need. Is that obsessive? Or just weird? I find it comforting to open the closet and see rows and rows of toilet paper… or see that I have two bottles of my favorite salad dressing, or the hub’s BBQ sauce. Okay, yeah, weird.
I told T the other day, I’m okay with the word weird. She likes “unique” or “quirky”, but to me it’s all the same. And as long as I can keep the obsessive part from feeding the anxiety part, I’m okay with it.