I wouldn’t necessarily say I have an addictive personality. Alcohol, I can take it or leave it. A glass or two of wine always adds a little zest to a stressful holiday or a backyard barbecue. I am nothing of a gambler. I will play some of those word games but I often lose interest and take days taking my turn. I don’t need that rush that you get from shopping or falling in new love over and over again. I sometimes get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over, especially laundry but that is not my doing. I can’t really blame Bipolar for that one either. It is mostly the crumbs that feel the need to change their clothes no less than ten times a day.
I do, however, have obsessive thoughts. My brain never shuts up. My brain has a way of taking one thing and blowing it so out of proportion that the original thought is no longer recognizable. The what-ifs get so expansive that in a matter of minutes I have scripted an entire movie in my head with the most horrific ending just by wondering if the battery in the smoke alarm is still working. I think they call that “catastrophic thinking”. That is a pretty accurate description. I always cry at the end as if what I just thought really happened. I really just lived through that horrible experience.
If I lay my head down and I think about something I read or heard or even saw on TV and I have even the most mundane question about it I must seek out the answer immediately. There is no way to distract myself from the thought. No way to rest my mind. It can not wait until morning. There is no where in my brain for this nagging thought to live. I must get it out of my head. It’s importance is somehow magnified by the anxiety of not knowing. I must immediately leave my warm bed and venture to the laptop where my friend, Google, will certainly provide me with the answer. If it is a complicated question I will most likely spend hours, fighting through a medication haze, and will not give up until I find that answer. I will say this, my anxiety and insomnia was much greater before I became acquainted with a search bar.
It would make sense that some Psychiatrist would have given me that label “OCD” by now. I have the obsessive thoughts that always initiate a compulsive reaction but the things that I obsess about and then compulsively take action about are never anything like what you see in the movies. I don’t need to walk around my bed three times before laying down, or have my wardrobe organized by size and color although that is a dream of mine, in a rotating closet no less. But now that I think about it, I do have to rinse my glass three times before drinking out of it even if I just pulled it from the diswasher and all of the hangers must be plastic and they must be facing left. This gives me something to think about. I don’t really know all of the specifics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I will Google it. I must find the value of X.