Perfectionsim OCD leading to Avoidance

Quote from Seamstress on April 13, 2021, 12:15 pm

Hi: How have you been doing?

Surprisingly good. In the first week I have been watching an easy to understand series.
I have been keeping track of it:

  • 04.04.21
    Episode 23 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 05.04.21
    Episode 24 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 06.04.21
    Episode 25 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 07.04.21
    Episode 26 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 08.04.21
    Episode 27 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 09.04.21
    Episode 28 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 10.04.21
    Episode 29 - no rewinding, no noise

Since sunday I added another timeslot in the evening where I watch more complex series.

  • 11.04.21
    Episode 30 - no rewinding, no noise
    Different Series Episode 1 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 12.04.21
    Episode 31 - no rewinding, no noise
    Different Episode 1 - no rewinding, no noise
  • 13.04.21
    Episode 32 - no rewinding, no noise
    Different Episode 1 - no rewinding, no noise

At the beginning when I start getting everything ready and finally sit down it's usually the worst. As you can see there was no noise at all. So you could say I was kinda lucky.
Eventhough I made it through all of this I didn't feel so good afterwards. It feels like I did something wrong. But this must be OCD so I try to ignore it.
Today I saw tires laying around in my house which usually means that my dad is going to switch tires on the car. My room is next to the yard. Now I'm a bit anxious since I don't know when he will switch the tires.
I know that it shouldn't really matter and it's actually a good thing to have such a situation because I should purposfully watch series while ther is noise. I will report back later.


Good for you!! Treat the tire situation as an opportunity - difficult as it may be.  I think it is natural to feel like something is wrong when we don't react the same way to OCD demands.


Quick update:
The week has been going good so far. The tire changeover didn't happen and I don't know when it will be.
I usually watch an episode two times a day. Once at around 4 pm and another one at 9 pm. Today after I was done watching at 4 pm kids started playing on the street. That's nothing special and pretty ordinary. However they had this big bluetooth speaker standing on the side turned up  blasting music. You could hear the music in every corner of my house. I got angry because I couldn't do anything about it. It's now 8:45 pm and I should start watching again soon but I have this depressing feeling sitting in my chest. I know it will go away in a few hours but I don't know if I'm able to do ERP at the moment in this state.


It is normal to have such feelings but remember they are just feelings. Try the best that you can to progress as much as you can even though the noise is there. Don't think of your recovery as all or nothing. You are progressing little by little. Celebrate your victories!!


After writing this post I got into an argument with my mum which made me feel even worse. She has the ability to load me up emotionally at times where I can't take it. Then I calmed down and finally sat down an hour later than I normally watch. It went fine however after finishing the episode I now have the feeling that I missed or overheard something and can't remember exactly what it was. I won't watch the episode again but it's really difficult to let it be after everything today.
You mentioned it's not a all or nothing situation and I agree. I like to have things planned out through out the day and today it all went different than I've planned.  Sometimes I ask myself how I would react if I didn't have OCD. To me the situation with the kids playing loud music outside is a 11/10 and it probably would annoy me even without OCD involved. And again it's just so confusing and backwards if you try to watch something - get emotionally attached, enjoy it but at the same time endure or ignore the feelings I get from the noises. I'm not a robot and I don't want to sit there staring at the screen and thinking "whatever". I know this is recovery but I don't see a middleground in enjoying watching the series while enduring everything else around me. How do I get the right midset for this?


Perhaps you need to decide whether the urge to rewind is an OCD thought followed by the action in order to reduce anxiety or if it is not. I suppose only you can know that. I know at times I have had the urge to re-read something or watch something again because I missed it and it has been an OCD thought as I needed to have everything figured out to reduce the anxiety I was feeling. Sometimes I have to tell myself that I don't need to have everything always figured out. After a little while  the anxiety goes away.  Of course, there are times when I have to go back and check something, but I generally know within myself when it becomes a compulsion and I need to stop.

Quote from Seamstress on April 22, 2021, 7:54 am

Perhaps you need to decide whether the urge to rewind is an OCD thought followed by the action in order to reduce anxiety or if it is not.

It certainly is an OCD thought. Because if I do rewind then I quickly get to the point where one time isn't enough and it wants more making it even worse. That's at leased how I remember it going. I haven't rewinded in almost 8 months now as I purposfully put the remote out of reach when I start an episode or movie.
There is a rare situation where something is written in a book etc. where I do rewind to see what was wirtten but I don't do this out of fear. The response of fear now is that I quit watching the episode when it get's really bad with the noise. This happed about two months ago.  You remember the scene I missed yesterday? Well I didn't watch it again and I don't have the urge to do so anymore. The anexiety dropped.

The thing I'm so perplex about is that I'm supposed to go through hell (sitting there with the noise outside) while trying to understand and enjoy the series. But I've now decided that I will do this. It's just that have to have faith or else it won't work.


Okay, so I understand your issue now. It is more the noise that is the issue rather than the re-winding. In some ways this is a real-life issue that others might have a problem with as well, but unless you move it will probably still keep happening. So the only thing I can suggest is to try to not over-focus on the situation and do what you are doing. Sounds like you know what to do, but of course it is difficult.


The past weeks went fine. I still feel weird after watching an episode. It's hard to descripe but it feels "empty" like I'm emotionless.
I just got done watching the second time today. This time I continued watching a mistery series which is kinda hard to follow at times. I didn't rewind and there was no noise, however I didn't understand something and after I was done I couldn't refuse the urge and rewatched a scene. After I was done the feelings I had before got even worse. I won't do any other compulsions now but this shows how a 7/10 can turn into a 10/10 very  fast. I also feel bad because I already knew that this would happen if I give in. Anyway I will now wait 45 minutes and then watch something else.

Edit: After these 45 minutes I sat down again and it took me ~20 minutes to even start the episode. I had still a bit of tention left and I couldn't find a comfortable spot on my seat. So I got up a few times and sat down again.
Then I started the episode and imidiatly quit again. This went own around 4 times until I finfally put the remote away and watched the episode. The episode was 25 minutes long. When I got around the 22 minute mark I had the urgency to go to the toilet since I drink a lot while watching. But I refused to go. Around that time a plot twist happend and my brain marked this as *important*. The series I was watching was in forign language with subtitles. I missed some line and couldn't read it in time  and within a few seconds I had the remote in my hand and rewinded once. It felt like an automatic action. This single rewind turned the 7/10 from before into a 15/10 and I got really angry at myself. I then paused and went to the toilet. I came back and watched the rest however my brain couldn't focus anymore.

The last 4 weeks my life basically only revolved around this activity and trying to not do any compulsions obviously. The more I did it the less it felt like I was doing ERP. It also turned into stress because I wanted to keep up with my timeshudle.
As you may know I have set times when I watch. Once in the afternoon and once in the evening and there's still seems to be some kind of avoidance involved. I can't just sit down whenever I want. Well I can but it will turn into a disaster kinda like today. The circumstances don't allow it. I purposfully picked the evening to watch and this is turning into stress because I already have it planned out. To sum it up: The ERP is turning into a compulsion. I don't know what to do now. I could watch a few videos from ALI to get me back on track but deep down I know this is reassurance. I could do something else but I will feel dissatisfied. At the moment I don't see a point in continuing like I did previously.

Thinking about it, I know exactly why this happened today. First was another argument with my mother in the morning. The second reason is that whenever I tend to like or enjoy something I watch my brain flags it as important. So when an impartant scene comes along it get's really difficult to refuse compulsions. This doesn't happen with series I don't care about that much and today I watch two series I really enjoyed.


Update one day later: The anxiety remained for about 5 hours. I pulled myself together and continued as before with my plan.
Both watching sessions went fine and way better than yesterday. Everyday stress seems to have a big impact on it. So I will have to be aware of that.
Ali once said in one of her videos that we should at least do 10 to 20 repetitions of ERP each day. Now I'm wondering if these two episodes I watch each day are even enough.