I have this thing I do, when I’m stressed or my mind is working on something that I can’t quite access. I begin to obsess. I obsess about all sorts of benign things and they take up so much mental energy, all the while I know my brain is scratching at the door of whatever is really bothering me.
The past few days have been difficult. I can feel the buzz of the inner cogs of my brain clunking round as it works away. What could it be I hear you ask. I have no bloody idea and I wish I did because then I would finally be able to rest. Instead I obsess.
My obsessions can start small. When my brain first began to process it’s secret problem I began thinking about how dirty our bathroom is. I have three children, a husband and a cat so keeping the bathroom clean is nigh on impossible. I spend much of my cleaning time (which is limited to begin with) scrubbing the bathroom floor and the toilet. It never feels clean and my recent obsession has left me not wanting to go in there at all. Thankfully for all those around me, I have made it in there to have showers but having a bath no longer feels like a luxury – it seems more in line with some kind of sadistic torture.
I then begin to obsess about my weight. I feel bloated and like my thighs are going to split my trousers open any minute. This is turn has me cracking down on my eating but as all attempting dieters know, the evening is when the snacks get you. You’re tired, no, exhausted and you just want to collapse in a heap and eat something that feels like a treat. However, I then spend the next day beating myself up over the indulgence and punish myself with thoughts of what a failure I am.
Another obsession that comes to life during these times of sub-conscious preoccupation is a fixation on money. I begin to spiral out of control about the amount of money we’re spending, how I don’t contribute financially at all and how can I get us back in control of our finances. In truth our situation is never as bad as I feel it is in these moments but for some reason the rational part of my brain has little impact on the obsessive, emotional side.
I also spend my time obsessing about my health. It won’t be my overall health but instead a more specific grievance. This time round it’s my teeth. Ever since I had Eloise and was diagnosed with PTSD I have been grinding my teeth. I can feel it, even now as I type – the tension in my jaw. I never used to do it but now my molars are in a pretty poor state. They’re on the sensitive side naturally but due to my grinding they are really suffering. As I don’t really want to have dentures by the time I’m forty I know I need to resolves the issue but instead of doing anything I just sit and google the problem. Good old Dr. Google and it’s enormous library of information about teeth grinding.
As a result of my counselling I have begun to be more aware of the obsessive behaviour I exhibit during times of stress and this time round I don’t want it to take over. Unfortunately it has impacted my home life in just the last few days. Nick and I have quarrelled, I have been inordinately tired and I have felt myself pull away from my friends and family. However, I don’t want another evening of being snippy to Nick or another morning where I’m too tired to play with the kids. So today I made a dentist appointment. I’m not scared of the dentist (just the cost of it) so to go there is not a problem, it’s more the fact that instead of sitting and allowing myself to be consumed by the thoughts of what could be wrong, I’m just going to go and get it sorted out.
My mind is a strange and confusing place most of the time and I still have no idea what the inner cogs are working on (that’ll probably be something for another blog) but I want to have more control of it. I don’t want to be at the mercy of something that is more often than not a very cruel place. My mind is not kind to me and I don’t want to give it the power to debilitate me while it tries to solve some bigger or deeper problem. Today I made a dentist appointment, tomorrow I’ll tackle the bathroom and accept that it’ll never be perfect.
I can do this – I can have control – I can be in charge.