An OCD Incident

As good as the author has gotten at managing OCD, some days it still comes crashing down.

Mood music for this post: “You’re Crazy” by Guns ‘N Roses:

Today was not one of my better days, folks. I had an OCD moment at work. My boss was pretty forgiving about the whole thing, but I’m still pissed with myself.

Before I go any further, this is not a bitch-about-work post. For starters, I have nothing to complain about. I have a great job and work with some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Every morning I wake up excited about getting to work. Call me crazy, but it’s the truth. And if I did have a problem with someone in the office, it would be between me and them.

No, this is a post about me being an idiot. Pure and simple.

I came into work itching to post two articles I wrote yesterday and did so even though my editor hadn’t had a chance to read them yet. In my head, it was safe to post them because I hadn’t heard back about any changes being necessary. Which meant I had the green light to push them live.

So I did. Now, the editor was very cool-headed about it. He’s one of the nicest guys on the planet and doesn’t yell. But I could tell he wasn’t happy. Not realizing what I had done, he had started doing his own edits.

I went back to my desk, feeling like a first-class asshole. I immediately sent him an e-mail apologizing profusely. He told me not to worry about it. But I worried about it anyway.

Because from the moment I saw the frustration in his face, I knew I had just allowed the OCD to run wild.

These weren’t time-sensitive articles. It really didn’t matter if they ran today or next week. But somewhere in the dark corners of my brain, the urge to control overruled my better judgement.

So here I am, making a much bigger deal of it than it probably deserves.

I’m doing so because there’s a lesson to share.

No matter how good a person with OCD gets at managing the disorder, once in awhile things still go haywire.

For me, this was a minor incident. But it was a sobering reminder that I must take care.

The good news is that I handle these things much better than I did a decade ago, when the very same incident would have caused me to do the following:

— Blame everyone but myself

— Brood for days, possibly weeks

— Let the brooding paralyze everything else, which meant all real productivity ceased and I’d spend time complaining to co-workers instead.

— Allow the stress of the situation to drive me into another episode of binge eating.

This time, the aftermath was happily different. I made my apology, accepted the forgiveness that came my way, and I moved on. I had a pretty productive afternoon of editing to boot.

I had the abstinent lunch I had packed for myself instead of running to the nearest junk-food joint for a binge.

After work was done for the day, I came home, did some chores and enjoyed a nice evening with Sean and Duncan.

And I still find myself looking forward to the work that awaits me tomorrow. And it’ll be a busy one crammed with editing, interviews, more writing and an evening meeting of the National Information Security Group, of which I am a board member.

These things may seem small, but for someone who used to come unhinged over his mistakes — especially the work mistakes — the progress is huge.

So instead of brooding, I’m making a simple course correction: From now on, I don’t publish anything until someone above me signs off on it.

Lesson learned. On with life. And grateful for th ability to put things in the proper perspective.

Some crazy stuff, eh?

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12 thoughts on “An OCD Incident

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  12. This doesn’t seem small at all! I am very impressed with how you responded. In the past, I would become very disregulated when I made a mistake, retracing, ruminating, going over and over it in my mind. To apologize and move on is extremely cool.

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