OR as I like to call it, CDO (compulsive disorder obsession). This way the letters line up in alphabetical order and I like the idea of saying I have an obsession rather then a disorder.
I’m sure this is no surprise to those who have known me for years but now I’m finally going to admit it out loud and in writing. I was talking about my CDO last week with my blogger friend Larry of Me, Myself and Kids. We were discussing how much I was able to get done when Jake was on vacation with his dad (see the post here). I reminded him again about how my mind works and some days, the procedures and schedules I do are what push me through to help complete these big projects.
Please know, I’m not so far into the deep end of my obsession that I need to take anything to help me get through the day. But I will admit, an occasional Red Stripe or a night at the pub with a few adult beverages sure doesn’t hurt to settle down the thoughts in my head.
I believe that my obsession has everything to do with control. Or at least my attempts to create some kind of control in my life. There’s a comfort for me in living with a routine. There’s a comfort in knowing something will happen at a certain time. This is the reason babies and toddlers thrive when we put them on a schedule. There’s a comfort in knowing there’s stability in the world.
My CDO makes me a great person to hire when you want to get something done. My clients always want reports and analysis stuff so they can feel better about the money they’re spending with me. And my CDO loves the idea of these reports – your customer clicks on this and that equals real people doing crap (and yes, that’s a technical term). You know this + this = that … you can’t argue with the math.
For my personal life … well, not so much. I spend a lot of energy trying to control everything around me.
My divorce was one of the most stressful times of my life. During that long 9-month period, I developed what I call ‘extreme CDO’ behaviors. Every week there seemed to be a new behavior that I felt compelled to do. If I didn’t do them, I experienced an uncomfortable physical sensation until I did the thing I thought I needed to do.
There was a point where I felt I was slipping into a world of crazy. I worried that I was turning into the character Jack played in As Good As It Gets. Any day, I would start stepping over cracks and washing my hands with a new bar of soap every time I walked by a sink.
It’s been six years since the divorce and I’ve gained control over my CDO behaviors. I don’t do most my strange habits anymore, well at least not all the time. Looking back, I realized that I lost control of my world. I bought my own house, I was constantly having negative conflicts with Jake’s dad and I was trying to deal with being the only income source with a struggling business. Just one of these items by themselves would drive any sane person into a state of anxiety.
I was doing these weird behaviors to have some sort of control in my life, even if it was just a physical act like turning my alarm on and off three times before I went to bed. (I have no idea why three is my magic number but I can’t go to sleep unless I click my alarm three times.)
I realize now that I may never have total control of my life and how it will unfold. Control is really just an illusion we think we need to make someone or something to do a certain thing for us to survive. I used my control patterns to help me through my divorce and the stress in my life. But you know, it all comes back to that thing I always say:
Give up the notion that you have control because truth is, you never really had it to begin with.
Photo credit: Different Directions