Saturday, April 10, 2010

Death by Organization

Let me preface by mentioning I have never actually been to a mental health professional and any and all opinions stated here in are simply that, opinions based solely on my few years studying psychology in college.

I am pretty sure I suffer from obsessive compulsive personality disorder. You can find all sorts of explanations of this disorder online but this is the gist. People who suffer from OCPD tend to focus on perfection, organization, rules and routines. If they are not able to complete a task in a manner they find to be perfectly organized the task simply does not get done.

I have always been this way. As a teenager cleaning my room was a struggle that often took a whole week to complete. I would literally sit on the floor for hours on end organizing a junk drawer, or spend an entire weekend going through my clothes. I could not just put them away. I had to try each one on, mend anything that was ripped or missing a button, organize them by color and style. I could not use hangers that were different sizes and even different colors of hangers bothered me. I say all this in past tense even though these are still issues for me.

I am sure I know what you are thinking. "So you were a bit of a perfectionist, so what?"
The issue arises in the fact that, if I could not devote as many days as it took to work on my room with no interruptions [I would forget to eat and sometimes not shower until I felt the room was complete] than I simply did not start. This meant the task was only completed a few times a year.

I have worked very hard to fight this about myself. I can proudly say that I am able to wash and put away ONE load of laundry and leave the other two for another day. I can tidy JUST my dresser top and not go through every drawer. I can even organize my pantry and ignore my fridge.

Some times though are harder than others. This move is one of them. There is so much to do. Packing, cleaning, painting, refinishing furniture, remodeling the bathrooms, taking care of granny, keeping up two houses and then planning my marriage party on top of it all. Every single day has been a struggle to do anything. Because one defining feature of OCPD is the total shut down that comes with tasks that seem too big to accomplish. I have to fight myself to even try because in my mind this is an impossible situation. No matter that I have moved before, that people renovate all the time, that this party is so laid back its ridiculous, that I have tons of people available to help me, I just KNOW I can't do it, and so I don't.

But I am doing it. Because I am stronger than I was as a teenager, because my husband wont let me wallow in it, and because I have to.

Yesterday I went through 6 years of magazine subscriptions. It was a task that most would not think necessary, but there was no way I could move them all to the new house. The accomplishment is it only took 3 hours and I am getting rid of 3 of those 6 years.



Yay me!

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