I obsess about everything. Literally everything. I obsess about my health, my weight, my appearance. I obsess about my career and my marriage. I obsess about things that have happened, things that are going to happen, and things that have no chance of ever happening. I obsess hard, all day and every day, and its physically ripping me apart. I can’t really think about anything important without it becoming an obsession, and its been this way my entire life.
I’ve always been a worrier. I have PTSD and severe anxiety and spend most of my day in my head going over a million different situations and thinking the worst of them. I construct every possible outcome to every scenario I’m presented with to the point of losing sleep. I’ve suffered from nightmares most of my life as my daytime worries seep in to my dream state. And most of these worries are unfounded. Simple tasks are avoided because I fear the worst. As an example, I didn’t bug bomb my home once because I sincerely believed the spiders would attack my dogs while I was away. Trust me, I thought of every way to do this most basic of things but it always resulted in something horrible happening to my dogs. I know, I realize exactly how silly it is, but this is just a taste of where my mind goes, and in some cases it affects my health.
About 5 years ago my obsession would manifest itself in the worst way. I was training to become a yoga instructor. I loved yoga, it strengthened my body in ways I’ve never experienced and I was actually pretty good at it. One of my instructors who would later become a friend suggested that I go for my instructor certification. I was healing from a few injuries so I decided to train up before attending the instructor course. I wanted to present my best to them. I wanted to be perfect. So I trained. I trained hard every single day. Yoga was all I thought about, it consumed me. I couldn’t practice on my own for pleasure, it was all about becoming the instructor. It was my goal, and it was my life. I obsessed about it. Its literally all I could think of. I would do the same routine several times a day, causing fatigue and hurting myself constantly. I lost focus of what was important and no longer enjoyed it, I just kept pushing my body until it eventually pushed back.
I finally made it to instructor training. I was anxious the first day, and was criticized for doing “too much” frequently. The morning of the second day, the pain would begin. A burning and stabbing sensation ripped its way though my stomach. I was sleeping over at a friends house and they woke up to my loud moaning. I couldn’t keep anything down, and nothing I did alleviated the pain. I had them drive me to class anyways, and immediately rushed to the bathroom when we arrived. My friend explained that I was sick and they decided I would be able to redo the training at a later date. I felt physically awful, and now disappointed with myself. The pain intensified, and I was admitted to the hospital for the first time.
My worry, my obsession, was either causing or exacerbating digestive issues. I’ve suffered from frequent bouts of lower GI pain and profuse vomitting for years. Sometimes these episodes last for days and result in complete dehydration and intense muscle spasms. I can’t count how many times I visited the hospital or how many tests I endured that resulted in very minor findings. It would take years before I correlated my stress level to these episodes, and when I did, I realized my obsession had officially consumed me. I’m currently battling obsession over my small business and decorating my home, and it makes me physically ill. I’ve tried over the last couple sessions to articulate this to my therapist, but shes resorted to telling me “don’t worry about it” over and over again. My session today actually ended with those words being repeated as I exited the office. It seems too simplistic. And shouldn’t there be a level of worry regarding important things? If I put it completely out of my mind, it will never get addressed and that often brings along completely different types of stress. I have a lot on my plate and its overwhelming.
I’m in therapy with a very specific set of goals. I have a few things I need to address and fix, and obsession and compulsion are some of them. I have a few items ranked above these though, so it will be a while before it comes up in therapy. For now I’m going to work on this not worrying thing, I just dont know how to approach it. I spoke to a friend about my concerns regarding my business and she told me to take a deep breath and set a time to work on a single task. The math regarding my business proposal has my head spinning, and it’s time for me to just be honest and admit I need more help. I want to succeed but not at the expense of my mental health, so I need to prioritize and relax. Here’s to hoping I can do either of those tasks and stop obsessing about everything.