Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Does 'Obsessive' Really Mean?

Have you ever referred to yourself or some particular behavior as 'obsessive'?
It seems that this term is being used more loosely than ever before, to describe certain characteristics, or attitudes which interestingly enough, are closely related to perfectionism.
If you consider this in terms of personality type, what does it really mean?
Does the word 'obsessive' resonate in a positive or a negative way for you? Or neither?
Some common behaviors for those who may be labeled 'obsessive' include:
-Being so worried and anxious about making the 'right choice' that you have difficulty making even the simplest decisions....usually the ones involving pleasure or relaxation.
-When your mind is so hyperactive that you become a 'thinkaholic', unable to turn off the worry and rumination.
-Inability to commit to any long-term relationship for fear that it's not the 'perfect' person.
-The workaholic who works long hours and has cut out most other areas of their life to the point that they know no other way to live.
-Procrastination or laziness? Are you unable to take on tasks or responsibilities because you know that it is impossible to complete them flawlessly?
-Equating productivity with intense need to fill every minute with activity.
-An intense need to be above scrutiny: moral, professional or personal.
When does such obsessiveness become a problem?
When the obsessions become so dominant and inflexible that every minute of every day is controlled by them.
The core of obsessiveness is an exaggerated need for control. This stems from the irrational belief or conviction that if one has 'perfect' control, it will ensure safety. This applies also to the obsessive-compulsive person who repeats certain patterns in an effort to feel safe or in control.
Many of the above mentioned characteristics or behaviors are common among people who suffer with an eating disorder. I know them all very well, and can relate to the manner in which they can control one's life and become a prison.
I have learned that this is one prison that is self-induced, however unintentionally.
The beauty of this is that it also means that we each hold the key to our freedom.

Without apology....♥

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I am reminded continuously of how little I truly 'experienced' in my life up until the past few years. With all my focus and energy devoted to the eating disorder that nearly killed me, little was left for 'experiences'.
My life was so narrow, my vision so dull. Today, I am like a sponge, constantly soaking up information and looking for opportunities to LIVE, which is much different from just being alive.
Dave and I attended a great concert last night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Driving up, in a mess of traffic, I was calm, excited (is that possible?), and looking forward to the experience of hearing The Moody Blues. Just a few years ago, I would have been unable to do that. Being out late made me anxious...a change in my schedule. Fear of crowds of many fearful thoughts that would have caused me to shrink back from going. I would have dreaded the night for weeks before.
The theater is old and beautiful. I was enamored by the elaborate decor, and felt a thrill from just being there. Very different from my past.
I waited in anticipation for the concert to begin, and I wasn't looking at those around me, focusing on the size of their bodies', comparing myself in every way to how others were living the evening. I didn't feel afraid. You know, that fear that we might get caught in traffic, and heaven forbid, get home late and, and, and, my routine be DIFFERENT!!!
I was IN THE MOMENT, entirely. I screamed my primal concert scream (yes, I do that!), jumped up and down, danced at my seat, and didn't even consider what anyone else was thinking. I was there for my own enjoyment, with my 'man'.
I didn't run out of energy. Imagine that! We had to run back to the car, in the pouring rain, about 3/4 mile away. By the time we got to the car, we were both soaked, and I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying!! In years past, I would have been falling over, angry and I probably would have ruined the entire night for both of us with my negative attitude. The concert? I would have sat through it with my thoughts someplace else completely, wishing over and over that I could be home and done with the night.
This morning was a bit lazy...I slept in later than usual, and it was OK! We had a great time last night, making more memories to share and laugh about in the coming years we have together. And me? I smile and feel extreme happiness knowing that each day holds more true experiences for me.
Without apology.....♥

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Pain of Perfection

For many people, the desire and commitment to do their 'best', can easily morph into an obsessional attempt to be 'perfect'.
'Perfectionism' is often one of the major maintaining and controlling factors for a person who is suffering from an eating disorder.
'Perfection' is an impossibility, but it is a often believed to be THE goal to aspire to reach. This belief will only result in failure and probable exhaustion from attempting to reach this impossible state of being.
The pursuit of perfection may result in a number of situations. A person may realize that they are aiming for the impossible, and simply relax and enjoy a more attainable goal.
What may also happen, which may not seem obvious at first, is that the person who has been the 'high achiever' will begin to feel depressed and hopeless, and be unable to accomplish much of anything in their daily life. They may consider themselves lazy and depressed, and have considerable problems doing even the most simple things. They may reach a point of apathy.
Could this be a result or an extension of the 'perfectionism'? I think it may.
Because it is not possible to be perfect, for any of us, the pursuit is not only exhausting, but obviously, unrewarding. A lot of physical and emotional energy is likely to be spent on
this unattainable goal.
A feeling of failure is another likely result, which will add to the feelings of depression and hopelessness. This can also leave a person feeling empty and useless, with a sort of loss of identity. Who are they if they are not that 'perfect' person they have been striving to be?
I don't believe that anyone strives for perfection because they believe they ARE perfect, or that they are better than anyone else. More than likely, it's just the opposite.
The expectations of society and the world around us may 'sound' like rules for how we 'should' be. Such a vicious cycle....
My conclusion is that the impossible pursuit to be perfect may lead to depression, apathy and much less motivation in the end.
Let's all strive to do our personal best and be proud of it!
Without apology....♥

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dedicated to my 'boys'

My two sons are the greatest gifts of my life. The honor of being their Mother is one I never felt deserving of, yet I know in my heart and soul was meant to be. As any Mother knows, your child(ren) are gifts like no other, so no offense please to those who also mean the world to me, quite literally.
I would like to celebrate Matthew and Timothy today, with a few simple reflections, yet ones that I will forever hold in my heart.
Matthew, you were like velvet over steel, from the very first day I 'met' you, at only 8 days old. Strong in every physical way, plus with the gift of a very sensitive and giving heart, despite the struggles you have faced...we all faced. I love you with all my heart and soul, and I am proud of you for who you are, and for enduring what no person should ever have to witness. I am sorry that I was not able to give as much of myself to you during your growing up years, but I hope you know that I truly did my best. I am thankful each day that we are now able to have an adult relationship, where we can laugh and understand each other on a much higher level. I believe in you, and whether you understand or believe it, I trust that there are better things ahead for you, and I want to be a part of all of it! I love you Matt...♥
Timothy, I write this trusting that you know and see all that my life is today. I also believe that you 'walk' beside Matthew and I with your own magical way of inspiring us.
I miss you every single day. I imagine how your life might have been on this day, had you not been taken from this Earth nine years ago [on Monday]. That is not for me to know or see, nor will I ever have an answer as to why your life was taken, and then, in some miraculous way, I was given mine back. I would never have asked for that or planned it that way. But I am not the one in control. You know I cry for my own selfish pain, but that is also a testament to how much I love you. For as long as I live I will cry for you, and I also cry for the pain that Matthew continues to feel. But I am inspired and strengthened each day by the memories I have of your strength to endure what your short life gave you. You must also know that you touched the lives of many people during those 17 years.
Nothing will ever change the fact that you both made me a Mother. That is a 'role' that I am proud of, and thankful for.
My heart is full, my tears are ever-present, and I only hope that I can live my life in a way that makes you both proud. I love you, my sons.
Without apology....♥