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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is Stealing my Motherhood

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (also known as OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to experience uncontrollable and/or unwanted thoughts. It can also make a person feel compelled to perform repetitive and sometimes ritualized behaviors. No matter how irrational the behaviors might be, a person cannot escape the urge to perform them. (This definition is my interpretation from a variety of definitions I read online.)

I always threw the term OCD around out of humor as a way to explain myself. I actually find it a little sad now in hindsight that I didn't take it seriously until I was officially diagnosed during my bout of Postpartum Depression.

I have always felt like something was different about me. I could feel that I was a little more "motivated" than others around me. A little more "intense". A little more "laser focused". A little more "disciplined". A little more "determined". Little did I know that I actually wasn't more motivated, intense, focused, disciplined, or determined...I was obsessed. I am obsessed. Compulsively obsessed.

Obsessed with completing things. Obsessed with being over the top. Obsessed with preforming at the highest level possible, at any given time. Obsessed with being the best "me" that the world had and will ever see. Obsessed with being the best "me" that I could ever dream.

Honestly, being that way worked wonders for me at first. I was always on top of my responsibilities at work. I would constantly strive for perfection and work ahead, which rewarded me very well when it came time for promotions and raises. I took on additional responsibilities above and beyond my job scope. I was highly functioning both at work and at home. I steamed rolled through home renovation projects. No task was too big for me. I could do it all, and I made it look like it was nothing...

Then I got pregnant.

I strategically planned our baby registry. Created the nursery of my dreams. Hand crafted baby outfits and gifts. Finished as many home projects as possible before baby came.

When my kiddo came, it was great. Maternity leave was a breeze. I cleaned when Olivia slept. I went to the gym every night. I cooked. I had a great balance (In my own mind).

Going back to work is when it all changed. Things got back to "normal"; Whatever that means. Before I knew it, I was making lists, crossing things off lists, rewriting lists just to get the crossed out stuff off the list. I would wake up every single hour, on the hour, to make sure my baby was still breathing. I'd head to the office early. Get a work out in. Make a to do list at work for what I planned to do once I got home from work.

Every single thought in my brain has a purpose; a step that leads to another step, that leads to another step, that leads to another step. A piece of a never ending puzzle. A puzzle with a picture that is continually changing. Where is the end? There is no end. No final line item to cross off. No finish line. No completion date.

My life feels like a Rubik's cube that I can't crack. Someone or something keeps peeling the little colored stickers off when I get close to finishing the puzzle. Placing the stickers in a way that catapults me all the way back to square one.

It is infuriating, yet hypnotic in a way. It's like I'm in a trance, and nothing else matters. Completing things and feeling accomplished is all that matters. It's like chasing a high. I honestly don't know how else to explain it.

I got in a heated argument with my Mom over it a few weeks ago. I had gotten upset that we didn't get enough done over the weekend and she tried to explain to me why she thought I was over reacting. "Can't you just be in the moment?!?" "Can't you just relax?" No. I can't. My brain won't let me. I'm constantly on the phone working while I'm with my family. I play with my kiddo while working on other things. I watch TV with my husband while working on other things. I lay in bed at night praying for sleep while my brain runs on overload. Mental checklist. Mental checklist. Mental checklist. I honestly cant remember the last time I was 100% present in any moment of my life... Maybe while giving birth?

I don't know how to fix the insane thought processes and habits that I've created. I don't know how to change who I am. All I know, is that being OCD is stealing my motherhood. Honestly it's probably stealing my whole life at this point. I cant turn it off. I cant take a break. Sometimes I wonder when I'll snap. When I'll finally be done. When I'll actually be able to be 100% present and in the moment with my kiddo and my family. I'm beginning to fear that it might never happen for me. I'm afraid I'll have regrets. I'm afraid I'll miss the important stuff. Have I already missed too much?

I'm making a promise to myself right now. I will try harder. I will take deep breaths. I will take a pause. I will set boundaries and better limits. I will make time for my baby. I will make time for my family. For my friends. I'll try to chase moments and memories, rather than accomplishments and things.

Don't get me wrong, I can't completely deny who I ultimately am. I'll still be a little "extra". A little "neurotic". I mean, would I really be my true self if I wasn't?

So here's to trying a little harder, and holding myself accountable. To having the self awareness to realize my faults and try to be better for the ones that I love.

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