How being obsessive-compulsive works in my favor

How being obsessive compulsive works in my favor

The National Institute of Mental Health claims that living with an obsessive-compulsive mind can be debilitating when it is extreme, but in milder forms, you can actually make it work in your favor. My degree of OCD is not so great that I cannot function. The moment I understood it was part of who I am, I found ways to channel all that obsession in creative, positive ways. Obsessions can be a distraction from yourself, a way to escape that isn’t all that bad. Sometimes you need to detach and indulge in something outside of your day-to-day self. You can exploit and embrace this personality trait just as I have and find liberation, freedom, and perhaps some power along the way. Here are just some areas where being obsessive-compulsive was an asset for me.

Weight training
Once I decided I wanted to lower my BMI (body mass index), I took to weight training feverishly. I read everything I could about it. I ran and weight trained regularly and eventually I got results. It was grueling, but it was how I reached my goal. This obsession got me eating healthier, it gave me a sense of purpose, and I enjoyed feeling in control of my body.

Writing
Once I started writing about lifestyle, empowerment, food, and beauty, it became my mission to research about whatever subject I was writing about. I usually could back my writing with experience, but I didn’t have enough factual information. Thanks to this obsessive search for information, I regularly get lost in the pursuit of knowledge, lost in what I call investigative bliss!

Professionally
I spend a lot of time lost in creating content for my Spanish or English classes (I’m a teacher). At 21 years of age, when computers were not available, and even less so laptops, I would sit in coffee shops, pen in hand, writing out exercises for my classes. At one time, I taught nine straight hours a day! With little time for much else, this obsessive tunnel vision helped me ensure and establish my passion for teaching and improving my performance in class.

Also read: I turned my character flaws into assets

How being obsessive-compulsive works in my favor

With social media
A few years ago, I knew nothing about social media so when my sister told me I needed to have a Twitter account and subscribe to other social media platforms, I went blank! I have ADHD and find instructions very complicated to follow. I was intimidated by this ever-changing means of communication and promotion. By getting absolutely immersed and by reading and applying the “rules,” I learned new terminology and finally understood hashtags, SEO, how to retweet, MT, RT, and FF in a very short time. I had people help me along, of course, but my obsession to learn got me to the level of social media proficiency I enjoy today.

Cooking
Cooking didn’t come naturally to me because, as I mentioned above, I have problems following instructions and, in this case, following recipes. Once I decided I wanted cook more frequently, I amassed a library of cookbooks and every night, for a couple of years, I read nothing but cookbooks. I can now follow a recipe and eyeball quantities (accurately!), which is amazing to me! This wouldn’t have happened without my obsessive tunnel vision driving me to learn and grow in this area.

Obsessive-compulsive behavior to an extreme, as I said, can be paralyzing and unhealthy, but if you embrace it, you can reap some unexpected benefits. Once an obsessive person gets something in his or her mind, it’s like being madly in love like a teenager. All your focus and energy goes to one place only. Obsessives can’t stop until we’ve reached our goal, whatever that is, and once we attain it, our mind is set free.

There is a catch, you have to make sure an obsession takes over your life entirely. Once an idea or an activity starts taking away from my relationships and regular life activities, I back away from it for a while to gain a healthy perspective. Then, I am able to go back to the activity and enjoy it with healthy moderation.

I invite you to come on over and follow my journey at OnLifeAndHope.com.

Laura Carbonell

Laura Carbonell is a bilingual and bicultural language teacher in San Francisco, the place she calls home. Born into a family of writers, she enjoys sharing her vision of empowerment and motivation online. She blogs at Onlifeandhope.com