Anyone with OCPD is bound to have to explain that no, it's not OCD. It not really germ phobia or anything like that, as anyone who has seen me stretch the 5 second rule to 10 will attest.
But OCD is a lot more photogenic and in a lot of ways more noticeable. After all, our culture is one of perfection, so its not so weird to be a perfectionist control freak in the USA!
So more people hear and see about OCD, on TV shows like "Monk" or as a shorthand for being really freaked out by germs.
Well I was clicking along the web and found a list of celebs with OCD. I'm sure there is a lot of undiagnosed ODPC but whatever- when it comes to speaking out on mental health, any press is good press!
Here's are some of celebrities that have spoken out on their own struggle:
Billy Bob Thorton
Jennifer Love Hewitt
You can read more here about all the theories on celebrity and OCD...
I've been listening a ton to Janelle Monae and he new album "The Arch Andriod". The first single is "Tightrope" and I'm pretty much permanetly sticking it into my eardrums every chance I get.
Maybe I like it for its funky beat. Or maybe its the litling and energetic vocals. But - I think I can relate to the idea of "tipping on the tightrope".
In the lyrics, Janelle sings that she's "See I'm not walking on it, Not trying to run around it, this ain't no acrobatics". Just tip toeing on her tightrope.
Now, yes I know the songs about a dance. But I feel like we all have our own little tightrope in life. Some try to step around it. Some do jumps over it. Some walk slowly. Some fall off all together. Dancing on it seems like a great way to navigate it.
When I feel like I'm barely balancing on my tightrope of work and life, maybe its time to do a little dance on the tightrope. Bring in some joy. Learn a new baking recipe. Read a funny book. Make a silly kareoke video. Post randomly on crazy conspiracy blogs (Don't judge, we all have our outlets!).
But those little dance moves on the tightrope of life can acutally keep you sane. After all, its when you doubt yourself that the wobbles start, and those wobbles can sink you to the ground pretty face.
Yes, mixing thigs up in life is a challenge, and its can be kind of scary. But what is better - falling off trying to go slow and careful, or falling off while busting a dance move.
To rest my case for mixing up life and dancing though those tightrope walking momment heres the video for "Tightrope". The video takes place in a mental ward, where dancing is a forbidden release. Perfect for someone in love with mental metaphores like me!
We all slip up. We start to fall into old habits again despite making a million changes, We build walls and bridges, setting a plan on a map. We hope to stick to the straight and narrow of living right.
But sometimes it seems that all the mental roadways we built with good intentions can seem to keep us walking straight.
I don't know about you, but in my journey, even the best road isn't good enought to always keep me on it. The wilderness just off where the pavement meets the dirt somehow seems more interesting.
I forget how the twigs and rocks hurt. I forget how easy it is to get lost without the clear roadsigns. I forget how dark it can be with no map to guide me.
Negative behaviors are always just off the road. And the tempation to obsess, or focus on the bad stuff, to resort to old coping mechanisms may always be there. Maybe you just want to yell, to cry, to hurt someone. You know its wrong. You should stay on the road. But some part of you knows that, at least that first step, getting off that boring and predictable pavement, feels so good.
So you give in. We all do it. Some religions call it sin, or attachment. But in meditation , when thoughts come at you, the instruction isn't to get mad or beat yourself up. Or to give up because inner peace is lost forever.
The instruction is to "Come back to your breath".
Come back to the road. The trails you make off that planned rought can be fun, wild and painfull. But the test isn't that you stay on the road without fail, perfectly good. No, the test is that you come back.
That is the true jouney. Coming back to yourself, coming back to your breath, coming back to the road - and putting one foot ahead of the other in the best direction.
We all know about the cleansing power of water. From baptism to Olay commercials enticing us to "Wash away our day", there are few symbols that so so universal.
But a new study shows how rituals of washing affect behavior and emotions when we don't even realize it.
I heard about this study on NPR.Done at University of Michigan, it was reported in the Telegraph
The researchers think that the act seems to psychologically draw a line under the decision. Researcher Spike Lee, from the University of Michigan, who led the study, said that washing your hands seemed to remove doubts about whether you had done the right thing.
"Our studies show that washing your hands can symbolically "wipe away" these concerns," he said.
"Once you washed your hands, you seem at ease with your decision and no longer need to do the mental work that makes the chosen alternative look much better than the rejected one."
When I can't seem to let go of work - a bath sure helps! And this study shows its not just me that feels this way.
This made me think of all the behaviors that I do when stressed. These hold symbolic power too- and there for most likely affect how I feel about my past, and the decisions in the future. Like fixing my make up - does that affect how confident I am? Does cleaning my kitchen before bed make me sleep easier- emotionally cleaning up the days stress?
And what about people who live in clutter?
Obviously it opens up a whole range of questions about socialized behavior, motivation, and emotional states. It just confirms what so many already know - that rituals have a real power on our lives, often even if we are not conscious of it.
Now I just hope I won't over-think the cleansing power of my bath too much!
I've noticed something, mostly at work when I have a frantic amount of tasks in a short amount of time. I can get stuck in a "worry warp".
I try to make a task list. My mind starts reeling - not just with the actual tasks but all the emotion. The "hows" of getting it done get wrapped with the "how I feels" about getting it done.
And then, nothing gets done at all!
I feel overwhelmed, and can feel my mind trying to tackle it all at once. I just want to do everything at once, but my brain doesn't cooperate. A little bit of one task then - switch- I have an idea about another then - switch- I've just got to get some water- then swich - I'm back to revising my task list!
And though it all, my mental state is less than calm.
Time passes, but nothing really gets done. I feel like I'm doing a lot, but really im stuck in a worry cycle.
How to escape? I hunker down and get mindful of one task. I pick, and I go with it. No jumping or frantic cramming.
Mental focus is tough, but if I work hard to develop this skill, I can get a lot more done, and - most importantly- feel better while doing it.
Life is our movie, in a dark and closed theatre. We can't know what other think, or what their reactions are. And the more we worry, the more of our lives are spent missing out.
The person we should be scritinizing for any reaction is the inner self. I try to peer into my own reactions. Why does this both me so much? What am I drawn to? And that kind of inner looking does have a purpose- because I can change it.
So next time you are looking hard or worrying too much about the other movie-goers just know- maybe that mean look just means they hate the smell of popcorn.
And the more you read into every twitch, the siller you will feel when the credits role and you get asked "So, what did you think of the movie.?"