Help! I’m a Compulsive Multi-tasker!

My regular readers probably know by now that compulsions are no new thing for me.  I was diagnosed with OCD over 18 years ago.  That and my studies in psychology have led to a lot of introspection and self-analysis of my behaviors.   I sometimes wonder where my OCD ends and my real personality begins.  Or maybe I’ve dealt with it so long, in ways it’s shaped my personality.

This isn't me...but it may as well be...

This isn’t me…but it may as well be…

That said, I’m not sure if my propensity for multi-tasking is rooted in OCD, or a conditioned thing.  It’s probably both.  Or maybe it’s more closely related to an addiction-type disorder.In any event, lately I’m finding it all but impossible to do only one thing.  The two main culprits are the television and the internet.  I started watching back episodes of Grimm lately.  I’m really into the show…yet I tend to miss a lot of little things each episode because I am usually seated on the floor in front of the laptop, either bouncing back and forth between Facebook and this blog, or I’m playing Fishdom.  Fishdom, for crying out loud!  It’s actually burned into my brain!  My art has fallen by the wayside in the wake of other things, but when I draw, I often have something on the TV…like white noise.

I’m practically incapable of just sitting on the couch and watching TV now.  My blog is like my baby, so my compulsive stat checking and commenting is excusable.  What is not excusable is that my two year old finds it necessary to climb in my lap and sit in front of me to get my attention.  I’m not saying I ignore her, and all parents need and deserve a break sometimes.  She is by no means “neglected…”   But I do spend a lot of time on the computer during the day.  And maybe part of it is just that she’s accustomed to us showering her with attention or that she’s just being a normal two year old.  I dunno; this is the first time having one of my very own (a toddler, I mean.)  And even though I love playing with her and seeing her laugh and learn, it’s hard to have an extensive conversation with a two year old…especially when they barely talk…     I mean, she’s a chatterbox, but her conversational topics are few.

I find myself sneaking peeks at the computer screen even when I’m playing with her or doing other things.  Sometimes, I just have to shut the damn thing, so I leave it alone for a bit.

I’ve lived without cable TV for years.  I’m the point now where when I do watch TV, usually over other people’s houses, commercials drive me more crazy than ever, because I am so used to watching DVD box sets or downloaded shows with little to no commercials.  So I know I can live without it because I do.  Elementary, right, my dear Watson?

I’ve lived without internet before.  But these things are like many other habits, easy to form and hard to break.  When our internet connection was gone, I didn’t mind not having Facebook access so much as I hated not being able to access my blog regularly… yet I still find myself compelled to check Facebook often now that I have regular access to it once again.

One of my main concerns is that I’ve basically conditioned myself have a sort of attention deficit disorder.  I don’t mean I fear a clinical diagnosis of that, but more that I am annoyed by my need to be entertained so constantly that I need to do not just one thing, but multiple things.

All day long while doing these things to entertain myself, I also do dishes, laundry, and take care of my daughter.  I exercise and fix food.  This type of multi-tasking is necessary to run an efficient home.  The problem comes in when I can’t devote my full attention to any one task because I feel the need to do more than one at any given time.

Anyway, last night, for my daughter more than anyone, I decided that if I’m not actively writing and article or story, I’m going to try to limit my time on the computer.  I’ll get up and do my “morning check” of all my stats, comments, and notifications on both WordPress and Facebook.  But then I’m going to step away for a while.  My child deserves my full attention.  So does my husband, and even my art and writing.  Just not all at once.

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Having All Your Ducks in a Row

I’ve contemplated this post before, but I wanted photographic evidence.  I know depression and anxiety disorders can be hereditary.  My maternal grandfather often had severe depressive episodes as he aged, requiring hospitalization on more than one occasion.  My mother suffers from depression and anxiety, and I seem to have gotten a full blown anxiety disorder.  I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 12, but can recall, in retrospect, episodic evidence of the problem as early as eight years old.

My husband also has some issues with anxiety and depression, although I’d wager not all of his issues are due to chemical imbalance like mine, but also partially stem from loss and abuses he suffered in his past.

So my poor kid has got her work cut out for her.  I have often wondered and worried about if she would inherit these issues from us.  It seems possible, if not likely.

And now I have the evidence! Two years old and already obsessed with lining things up!

Hold on, don’t get your knickers in a twist.  I’m just kidding.  I know she’s likely just exhibiting normal two year old learning behavior when she lines up her little rubber ducks, or our shoes, or her diapers…  I mean, I’m assuming that’s the case, because even though I was a psych major, I didn’t study kids specifically, and as this is my first time raising an actual child (as opposed to an imaginary, fictitious, or counterfeit child,) I am learning a lot about child development as I go.

But in all seriousness…  I’m going to be watching my kid like a hawk as she grows up.  Luckily, I felt comfortable enough to talk to my Mom (who actually worked for a shrink for many years) and to her credit, she got me evaluated when she began to recognize in me patterns of obsessiveness and sadness.  I often felt abnormal and guilty.  Still, in my mind, memories of my childhood often come with a painful bittersweet twinge.  I had way more worries than a child my age should have had.  I don’t want that for my daughter, and you know what they say…forewarned is forearmed.  So as she grows, I’ll try to foster the kind of relationship where she knows she can tell me anything, no matter how weird it may seem.

Mommy’s got your back, baby girl.  I’ve got this shit under control.  I’ve got all my ducks in a row on this one!

The Senile Stalker Strikes Again!

So, just recently I regaled you all with tales of my senile stalker.  Strangely enough, a small (eensy, weensy, teeny) part of me feels a little bad for talking smack about him on my blog and with my neighbor and whatnot.

And then he goes and pulls some shit like he did tonight and I practically can’t help myself from venting  writing about it.

As I may have mentioned before in my other article, he got basically told off by the maintenance man for bothering the ladies around the apartment complex and just generally being a creeper.  Following that incident, there was a small period of reprieve where he was pissed at me I guess because he assumed I had set the Maintenance man on him (which would indicate that despite his dementia, he is at least marginally aware that I’m getting tired of his bullshit.)

Who knows?  Whatever.  Anyway, in that time period, the only person he felt at ease bothering was my middle aged neighbor (we’ll call her Marie, for anonymity’s sake.)  He’s been “setting up camp” there more and more, asking telling her when he needs her to drive him places (he’s a menace behind the wheel,) and “hanging out” in her living room, waiting for me to show up to visit her or bum a cigarette.  I avoid visiting her when I know he’s there, or else I’m in and out as quickly as possible, usually sachaying sideways out the door so he can’t stare at my ass.

Earlier today Marie gave me a small bag of flat breads she had gotten at the store, as she had gotten two and would not be able to use both before they were outdated.  So this evening, I tried out an idea I had for basically turning them into giant cinnamon toast rounds.  As I often do when I cook a new dish, I took some over to her.

The old man was sitting in his usual spot in the love sofa.  I went in with the plate of food and asked her for a smoke.   She was out of her store-bought cigs but offered to roll us some.  I didn’t feel like waiting and being under the Old Fart’s scrutiny the whole time, while he lamely attempted to engage me in conversation.  So I handed Marie the plate and said, “I just wanted to bring you this,” and I left.  She knows I avoid being around him, so I know she isn’t insulted and usually understands when I need to cut short a visit or make a quick getaway.

As I walked back in my apartment, hubs was getting ready to go out to smoke.  It was still nice out so I put the baby’s shoes on and took her outside too.

Not five minutes later, Marie came out the door with her smokes in hand.  At first I just assumed she had heard us outside and came out to talk and give me a smoke because I had left her apartment without one.

She proceeded to tell me that when she went into the kitchen to get her tobacco to roll the smokes, the Old Man picks up the half a cinnamon flat bread on the plate that I had given her and proceeds to help himself to two bites.

She said after that she just walked out the front door, and she tells me all of this, I realize she’s really pissed off, so pissed off in fact, that tears are standing in her eyes…which of course pisses me off even more.  She just didn’t even know what to say to him.  She was pissed, but also feels badly for him because he is old and sick, so she’s probably more tolerant of him than she should be, considering that in his twisted mind, tolerance is almost like tacit permission.  This is a man who seems to think that me returning a wave to him to be polite is indicative of the fact that we might have a romantic future.

I mentioned (more to make her feel better than anything) that she should just cut off the part he ate and the rest would be fine, and she said “He picked it up with both hands.”  Now depending on how germ phobic you are, this may or may not seem like a huge deal… unless you’ve seen him carrying around his ratty, crumpled tissue and repeatedly dabbing at his nose, or worse, seen him sitting in Marie’s apartment mining for nose gold and flicking his findings out into the air.

I even offered to go into her apartment and “take care” of the situation for her and get rid of his rude, imposing ass.  Believe me, I would have let him have it.  But I think maybe he actually had his hearing aid in tonight and heard the three of us outside talking shit, because he came outside a few minutes later…  but not before helping himself to some of the cornbread that was in her kitchen.

~Sigh~  I told her that she can’t keep letting him get away with that behavior.  In fact, I think sometimes he does certain things to see just how much he can get away with.  I understand he’s ill, and maybe not playing with a full deck, but there comes a time to draw the line.   How long do we allow his behavior to make us uncomfortable because “he’s sick?”

One thing is for certain; my tolerance for his passive-aggressive tendencies, his manipulations, his advances, and his bad manners are about down to zilch now.