Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Eating a Frog--One Gulp at a Time

So, just after the beginning of the year, I bought this book:

I'd hoped it would help me with my OCD and the procrastination it induces.  It's getting to be ridiculous how much control my OCD has over my decisions--as I mentioned in the previous post.  The one thing you should know about those with OCD--it's all about control.  We use compulsive behaviors to gain control.  We avoid things to maintain control.  We fuss over things--for control.  We hide our OCD because we don't want you to think we're not in control.  One of the most profound influences in our lives is this balance of control.  Does our OCD control us or do we control our obsessions?  I'd rather use compulsive behavior to maintain control than go without control.  It's that vital. 

So, the premise of the book is based on the Mark Twain quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  In order to tackle procrastination, you prioritize the biggest and ugliest frog and eat it first thing.  The book outlines how best to make use of your time and how to prioritize.  It was really fascinating actually.  One thing the author mentioned that stuck with me was that a feeling of success releases endorphins, and I've mentioned that I'm a total endorphin junkie--it's why I run.  Endorphins also help moderate my OCD.  On the other hand, the things I've been tackling and procrastinating--housework, laundry, dishes, etc... don't ever actually give you that feeling of success and closure--and I spend a decent amount of time procrastinating them because I hate them. 

Much of the book wasn't aimed at those who don't work outside the home, but it could be adapted easily enough. One of the habits I've fallen out of over the years is lists of goals, both long-term and short-term. I know that's helped in the past.  I think I'm going to start making a list in the morning of what I plan to do that day. 

When I wrote the last post on Friday, I was sure the only available avenue was medication.  Don't get me wrong, medication is more than just a viable solution, especially hand-in-hand with proper exercise and diet.  On the other hand, everything that goes with the medication is brutal.  Anyway, tomorrow I thought I'd try some of the things suggested in the book to try and calm my OCD and channel it.  

So, I mentioned that I can't read books by friends because of my OCD.  I realize now that was unclear.  I can, of course, force myself to read books.  I do it once a month for Book Club.  The backlash is that I won't be able to sleep at night, and I'll obsess over what would come of telling the author I read their book for days.  Some things are worth going without sleep for--some things are not.  This is iffy in my mind.  Beta reading lately has pushed me into wicked insomnia streaks that can last weeks.  I am still trying to work on this, and I've come up with a few possible work-arounds.  I'm thinking of telling myself it's research and then also reading my list in alphabetical order.  The temptation is to do it from Z to A because I go counter-clockwise and backwards whenever possible.  On the other hand, Kiersten White's third book in her trilogy isn't out yet but might be if I go the proper direction. My TBR category is up to 99 books, though, so maybe not.  Anyway, by determining to go in alphabetical order and then letting fate pick that order--I'm in control again. Also, I really like letting fate decide things.  Many with OCD are superstitious to the nth degree.  I'm one of those. 

I don't know how much the book will help--though I enjoyed reading it, and I highlighted throughout.  I think I can use it to control my OCD.  The solution may still be to go back on medication.  I'm surprised I've lasted off of medication as long as I have.  I never thought I'd manage longer than a year.  Perhaps I shouldn't have.  OCD is a tricky beast.  Maybe with a few tricks from this book, I'll tame it... a bit... maybe.  I hope. 


  1. Have you ever thought about not telling the author you read their book? Kinda like having a dirty little secret, except not really.

    I mean, that won't work for beta reading obviously, but for published books it might? I don't know.

  2. If I enjoyed their book... it feels wrong not to tell them--especially since I'd want friends to tell me if they enjoyed my writing. It feels dishonest not to tell them--which is silly, but I'm nothing if not silly.

    If I didn't enjoy their book--I'm taking that one to my grave. I didn't enjoy a few books last year--and that has snowballed to make this as difficult as it is.

    So, I've considered it... and done it, but it makes me feel guilty. I'm the guiltmaster. I've taken it to an art form. The guilt is almost around the clock about something. It's a disabling sort of thing. No one should feel this guilty and it's not rational, but both the guilt and the recognition that it's not rational are symptoms of OCD.

    It's so ridiculous. All these work-arounds. It shouldn't be this hard to suck air in and out and move muscles. Life should be easier to live than this. I think that nearly hourly at this point.

    My doctor says that people with my severity of OCD generally can't and shouldn't be off of medication because they lose function. On the other hand, if I admit that I should be medicated it feels like a life sentence and it feels like I'm saying that I'm not a good person unmedicated... or that, at least, I'm a better one medicated. Plus, the medication has to be on a schedule and dosages have to be exact--and I give control to something outside of me... and control is everything.

    I'm very conflicted on everything. I'm even conflicted on being conflicted. ; )

    Does that answer your question or just leave you with more questions?

  3. You dear person... what a battle, seriously. You are awesome, Wendy, and so inspiring in so many ways :D

  4. Sigh. I just want to wrap you up in a clean, sanitary blanket and give you a totally contamination-free hug. I wish I could make the world not scary and dirty and messy and out of control.

    Unfortunately, all I really have is good thoughts and prayers. And virtual hugs.


    Hang in there.

  5. Morgan, thank you!

    Miriam, *hugs back* thank you. Actually, I feel a lot more in control today. It might be some things I talked about with my agent or it might be that some of the things I'm working on from the book.