How I Knew I Needed Help with Obsessive Compulsive Note Taking
Note taking is a part of normal life. It can be done in a healthy manner. For me it started that way and devolved into a deluge of intrusive thoughts that overwhelmed me and interfered tremendously with my ability to live in the moment.
It’s 2020 and I’m 30 now. I’ve been seeing a counselor for 3ish years to work through the different manifestations of my OCD, picking them off one by one. Looking back, there’s not a particular moment that I can single out where my life path forked and I ended up on this rocky path. The best I can tell, is that it started towards the end of my college career and the beginning of my time in the work force around 2012-2013. Maybe it’s because the time for me following university was a whirl wind of change. New city. New job. New partner. New independence. New everything.
The purpose of this isn’t to pinpoint the start, because I don’t think I needed help at the start. Rather, I establish what I think was the start to see if I can help us better understand where things went off the rails. Looking at all the change, all the flexibility, all the uncertainty that was introduced into my life so quickly, I think the lion’s share of my anxiety can be attributed to my job.
In school from K through college I was always studious. I didn’t really question why I was trying to do a good job, I just took whatever was in front of me and tried to do it as well as I could. I relied on the structure of school to harness my personal entropy towards something meaningful. When I started my career as a software consultant out of college I lost a lot of that structure. Suddenly my life wasn’t structured into semesters broken down into courses with defined outcomes. Formal training was minimal. It was on me to absorb as much as I could on the job. And there was a lot to absorb.
I forged ahead the way I had learned to in college. By taking notes. A lot of notes. One of the benefits of retaining my notes over the past couple years is that (however disorganized they have become) I still have them and can see the descent from a place where there was some discernible structure into a…