All That Glitters
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Perfectionism
Do you ever want some project to be absolutely perfect? You spend a lot of time on it, but never quite finish it? You are not alone, most of us have unfinished projects lurking in our closets or garages. But sometimes the desire to have things “perfect” interferes so drastically with the process, that people lose their jobs, their friends and their self-confidence. They overly obsess about minutiae and compulsively try to achieve perfection and life becomes overwhelming. This person is experiencing OCD.
Today’s quilt was started in a class which required extremely accurate piecing because each block had 24 pieces. When I worked on it at home, I had to calm myself if each seam wasn’t exactly 1/4 inch, because if the seam was just two threads short, the pieces wouldn’t fit together. The quilt I made is called “All That Glitters” and it represents the disorder I am sharing here today. “All that glitters is not gold,” so goes the saying. Sometimes life is about working hard, accepting the imperfect and learning limits.
Larry was a historian and worked at a library researching and cataloging data about Civil War engagements. He was so obsessed about accuracy that he checked and checked and checked his work. He worried so much about his accuracy, second guessing his every move, that he was always late for his deadlines, though he stayed at work 10-12 hours each day! He’d come home fatigued at night but couldn’t sleep because the “what ifs” got him. The “what ifs” are a symptom of OCD in which the brain is constantly questioning if something was done correctly. It was only after we worked on addressing the “what ifs” that he was able to tolerate letting go of the unattainable goal of absolute certainty and accept that his conscientious work was sufficient for the task assigned. He learned to build confidence in himself and trust himself more. Achieving perfection was no longer his goal. Working hard, prioritizing work and completing his assignments on time were his current goals.
By the way, I did work long and hard on this quilt, it is not perfect, but I’m still pleased with it.