Tuesday, March 5, 2013

an anxious time

Life is an ongoing exposure right now.

First, there is the scrupulosity issue from last week. I thought I had already won the issue, until Sunday evening, when I was crying on the couch, feeling like going to jail would be better than living with a "guilty" conscience. In the moment, I wondered if all the anxiety I had been feeling was my guilty conscience, if maybe I really had sinned, if I should try to fix my "sin". Or if it was OCD. There were a few clues that it was OCD; the urgency; OCD guilt is very urgent, makes putting it aside very, very unappealing. And... well, the anxiety felt very much like anxiety, straight, chemically related anxiety.

I actually went ahead and called a friend. I wasn't too worried about it giving me assurance; I asked for confirmation of my foundational assumption that most Americans would think what I had done was fine. She gave me that. But she also talked about times she had felt guilty and treated it as real guilt... it ended up being a distraction, which was helpful.

After I settled down, the terribly urgent concern that this "sin" had come between me and God and was ruining my life subsided considerably. As in, it is now more of a thought in the back of my head as opposed to a current emergency situation. So that is good. I told God that I thought it was OCD, so I was going to keep treating it as OCD. I figure He can let me know if that changes (of course, I'll have to figure out that it is Him, not my OCD back for another round, but I'll take care of that if/when it comes up).

Then, there is the plagiarism issue. I think, for once, this isn't just my OCD. Admittedly, my anxiety probably hops on board the stressful situation, making it feel much worse (another clue that OCD is involved; you are panicking while the rest of the world is mysteriously calm). But the plagiarism is just that. No safe ERP exposure like having three words in a row like they were in a book (i.e., "she said that..." - and yes, my OCD could worry about quoting those three words). But real life, word-for-word copying. Yuck.

So I call it a very unideal exposure. Or just a mess. Or my worst-case scenario coming true (except that I actually recognized plagiarism before it got turned in, so that is a step up).

And now, I get to... wait. Oh, yeah. Because now, the work is in the hands of my group members who are responsible for putting together the revision. And will I even get to see it before it is turned in? (I sure hope so!!!). And what if...? What if they turn it in anyway, still with plagiarism. What if there is more plagiarism that I did not identify? What if I get an F on the project (suddenly a C sounds good and even a D sounds bearable)? What if they kick me out of college? Okay, so that is extreme. Especially since I should be able to document a good-faith try at fixing the plagiarism.

Anyway, here I am, in this dangerous world ("See?" crows the OCD, "I was right!"). So now I am going to look for used books. A hobby of mine. And then going to have coffee (another way to waste money). Actually, it wont be coffee, and it will be with a friend, and it will cost money, but not that much. So anyway, goodbye for now; I'm going to attempt to relax ("HAHAHA!" laughs the OCD - it is known for its sense of humor after all).

What can I say? The best thing about all this is the nervous energy (except when it keeps me awake at night). Which nervous energy, by the way, doesn't necessarily include good balance, as I found out last night in tap dancing lesson.


  1. Ugh, I hate it when you put OCD in its place and it comes back. I don't think this second round diminishes your recent victory, though. And you are spot on with the OCD "clues" you highlight.

    Hope book-hunting and hot drinks was fun and relaxing - it certainly sounds lovely! :)

    1. Thanks. And you are right; a new attack doesn't erase a past victory.
      And book hunting was fun, as was the macadamia nut cookie I got in place of coffee. :)

  2. It sounds like the OCD is really attacking. You did a great job in describing what it feels like. I'm sorry you're going through this. Keep on doing things that will help you relax.