01 May 2017

Combating OCD

It is a common trope to declare oneself as OCD due to some specific desire of orderliness. Shockingly, keeping the house clean or carefully ordering books doesn't qualify as a symptom of OCD by itself. Some people with OCD are complete slobs. Others just shove all the books on the shelf where ever they fit. Merely preferring something a particular way is normal. Having it completely take over everyday life is when it becomes an obsession.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder consists of two parts. As described above, the obsession can be nearly anything. Many of my obsessions are around what I consider perfection. The compulsion is something that eases the mind and makes the obsession go away. Mine are often fixing things to make them perfect. Even that last sentence needed to be perfect, so I rewrote it three times before convincing myself to move on.

Rewriting a sentence a few times doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is part of a much larger problem. If my blog posts aren't perfect, readers will see these imperfections and think I'm an idiot or incapable of properly editing my writing. In reality, these responses aren't actually likely. In my mind, I need to prevent people from thinking poorly of me. And therein lies the problem, causing me to rewrite sentences and even paragraphs over and over.

The only proven method of combating OCD is through exposures. Exposures have absolutely nothing to do with streaking. An exposure is purposely creating an appropriate obsessive situation and not performing the compulsion to make the anxiety go away. It often takes weeks or months of daily exposures to combat just one obsession.

Exposures suck. Really really suck. Even minor ones. You can't just do it for five minutes and declare it finished. The entire point is to sit with the horrible anxiety until it decreases. A typical exposure lasts forty-five minutes to an hour. The anxiety may not decrease at all for awhile. For it to work, you have to keep at it, repeating the same exposure daily until the anxiety decreases or disappears entirely for an obsession.

Any exposure worth its salt is mentally draining. Two a day, plus an hour of regular therapy and an hour of group is also physically draining. Just this half day routine is enough to leave me useless all afternoon.

Most people with OCD have a large pile of obsessions. That means each of these obsessions needs to be treated individually. The obsessions are usually ranked into a hierarchy, from least horrible to completely life-destroying. As the lower obsessions are conquered, the higher ones become relatively easier to experience.

Even with countless exposures, some obsessions and compulsions never go away entirely. You just have to be diligent about not falling back into old patterns. It's a lifelong struggle. And on that note, I'm going to hit "Publish", without checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

31 March 2017

The High Cost of Perfection

Everything must be perfect. Me, the world around me, even this blog post. What constitutes perfection depends whatever exemplar I create for the thing in question. A major example is my notebook. If I make a mistake and need to cross out or write over something, it is no longer perfect. And when something is no longer perfect, it is ruined. While other people may not even notice such a slight flaw, I need to fix it somehow. Continuing the notebook example, I tear out the page and rewrite it until there are no mistakes. If tearing out the page is not possible, well, the notebook is a complete wash. I need a new one. In the new one, I must rewrite everything exactly as it was the first time. Even the same pen(s) used the first time. Clearly this is no way to live.

The level of imperfection, and therefore damage, varies from situation to situation. Some things can easily be fixed and once fixed are of little consequence. If something is impossible to fix, such as a past action of mine, I experience high levels of anxiety. My brain can't handle it, so it ruminates on the imperfection for hours, days, even weeks. I only dwell on the perceived problem. Rationally, I know this is completely inane. Nothing in life is perfect. Things get scratched. I make mistakes. Normal wear and tear occurs. And yet it is still the end of the world when these things happen.

One detrimental way to get around imperfections is to ask for reassurance. Just hearing from someone else that something is not a problem gives me temporary relief. But temporary relief is temporary. It becomes an addiction, with my brain always needing another fix of "it's fine." As with any other addiction, I can't ever get past the problem myself when I keep getting further reassurance.

Matt used to constantly provide reassurance until he found out that it's actually detrimental in the long run. Even after years of him denying me, I continue to ask. I still crave that quantum of relief.

My inability to make seemingly simple decisions arises from this perfection problem. I need to make the perfect decision every time, so I continually mull over every option, looking for possible benefits and flaws for every option. I even ask other people for opinions. I get so wrapped up with trying to make the perfect selection that I never actually make one.

After selling my beloved car, my therapist suggested that I use a bit of the money to get myself something something nice. Nothing that I need, merely something to enjoy. I narrowed my search down to a necklace, a nice pen, and a camera lens. I was able to remove the lens from consideration as it would be slightly superfluous, but there isn't a right or wrong answer for the other two options. It's been two weeks and I've successfully accomplished is looking at both in person. The longer I take to decide, the more energy I waste ruminating on the options.

I really wish I could see the world like most people. Imperfections are okay, and things are still completely usable. I just need to convince my brain of that.

27 March 2017

Review: restaurant delivery

grubhub
-

doordash
- multiple problems, but always resolved it easily
- wider selection

caviar
- never had a problem with the delivery
- set delivery price + service charge
- smaller selection, but "curated"

postmates
- service fee + delivery fee + tip
- doesn't know what customer service is

uber eats
- don't come to the door
- cheap delivery if no surge
- owned by the uber asshats

10 March 2017

Review: Nextdoor, letgo, OfferUp, and Close5

In my effort to speed up the process of getting rid of the stuff in the garage, I decided to take a foray into all the local selling apps that are appearing everywhere. I chose Nextdoor, letgo, OfferUp, and Close5. There are many other apps, so I narrowed my choices down to the four that seemed the most popular. I listed the washer and dryer on all of them, as well as on Craigslist.

Nextdoor

Nextdoor is more of a social network based on proving you live in a specific neighborhood. Aside from their annoying verification system, posting a classified was easy. I had no problem using existing pictures, even in the app. The only real downside is that it is similar to Facebook's news feed - as new posts are created and responded to, your post gets pushed down. Though I created my listing through their app, I had no problems editing anything through their full-featured website.

The big drawback to Nextdoor was finding my post. There is no option anywhere to just get a page of your posts. Their help page even says to just search through your feed to find it! If there is a lot of action, this is obviously annoying. The best way I found was to search through only the classifieds section, which had fewer posts.

Nextdoor is all down to business - everything you need to know arranged in a logical order.

letgo

letgo's approach is SELL YOUR EVERYTHING! The app is dead simple to use, which unintentionally also makes it frustrating. Every page has some sort of new listing button, often taking up otherwise valuable screen real estate on a phone. Clicking any of these buttons allows you to take a picture or select one existing picture. Once selected, your post is live. That's it. Perhaps you'd like to include a price or a title? Now you have to go back and edit your listing. Don't bother with the categories; they are too vague to matter. Does my vacuum fall in "electronics" or "home and garden?" Meh.

Why was I searching for something when I could be selling my stuff instead?

They want everything to be done from within the app, but they have a website. I don't recommend visiting unless you want to lose brain function. letgo also sent a "helpful" email informing me that my item was listed. I made the mistake of clicking the link to my item; it only ever showed an error page. The worst part is the website has the same issue with new listing buttons. All of them just give you a popup saying to use the app. Even the mark as sold button doesn't do squat. Web design 101 - if you have a giant button, it damn well better work.

Both streets are a random street near me. I think they were supposed to be my city.

The listings themselves were tenuous at best. Sometimes they appeared in search results, and sometimes they disappeared from my account entirely. My personal favorite was the pictures randomly changing order until the least useful picture became the main picture. I had to delete and reupload that picture. When the listings did appear, they were listed as being in <streetname>, CA. Everyone's listings had this problem.

The one thing letgo did right was alerting me when prospective buyers made contact. Of course, the entire city was alerted by the disturbingly loud and annoying notification sound. And the entire city continued to be traumatized as notifications had to be on for everything or nothing.

Note the title they "helpfully" inserted for me. At least they got the object correct this time.

I have no idea of to where in the aether my description ran.


Offerup

OfferUp's app feels a lot more pleasant to use. Creating a listing takes a few more steps than with letgo, but I felt like I created a much better listing when I was done. You take pictures, pick a price, pick a condition, and write a description. While I was happy to see condition options, they were overly broad.

My listings didn't appear immediately, but they eventually did in both searches and my online profile. Again, I couldn't edit anything on the website, but everything could be easily edited in the app.

OfferUp clearly had the same person in charge of notifications as letgo. This time it was an absurdly loud cash register sound. I desperately wanted to turn off notifications for everything but activity on my listings, but I either had to turn them off for everything or nothing. Not cool.

The cutesy tag is totally necessary.

The pictures are larger, so you have to scroll down to get further info.


close5

After using the other apps, close5 felt like a school project that hadn't been finished, but needed to be turned in. It insisted that my location was Redwood City, CA, no matter how many times I changed it. You can pick multiple pictures at once, instead of one at a time like the other apps, but you can't remove them or change the order. Postings just have a short description, no title, and don't always appear in search results. Make sure your listing is perfect the first time, as there is no way to edit the description. close5 did let me delete postings instead of marking them as sold, which felt more correct since the items weren't sold via close5.

close5 barely has a website. It offers a basic search and nothing else. Don't even bother checking it, and definitely don't bother trying to use their search.

Why must they ruin an otherwise acceptable layout by overlaying the price? WHY?

tl;dr

Just stick with Craigslist. Their search actually works, posts aren't transient, you can access it easily from a computer or mobile device, and, most importantly, it is easy to update or remove an existing post. If you really feel you must get more attention for an item, then venture into the apps. But until they stop spending all of their venture capital funds on advertising and start making their apps and websites work properly, they are not worth the headache.

06 March 2017

OCD vs My House

We bought our house and spent an imperial buttload of money renovating it to our exacting standards. It's been done for nearly two years, and yet I can't simply enjoy living there. Instead, I focus on the tiny little things that aren't perfect. Some are minuscule mistakes that anyone normal person wouldn't even notice. Some are game-day decisions to get around construction obstacles. Some are things we just plain didn't think about until after they were already done. The only thing they all have in common is they make me uncomfortable in my own house.

One of the major offenders is the living room ramp. There are three stairs between the dining room and living room area. Code requires that the risers are the same height across every stair. To accomplish this, there is a slight ramp at the bottom of the stairs.
There go my dreams of being a graphic designer.
The rest of the lower area (living room, powder room, and office) is all the same level. If we knew about this problem, and I convinced Matt to spend an extra five thousand on subfloor, we could have slightly raised the entire area. But we didn't, and now I have to live with it. Except I can't.

Every time I feel the slight incline under my feet, I get upset. Rationally, I know this isn't a big deal. I even measured the angle once, and it's only 0.2°. A negligible angle that most people don't even notice, while I spend hours ruminating over its existence.

Avoidance is a characteristic response of OCD. I, being the queen of avoidance, take a larger step at the bottom of the stairs to avoid treading on the offending ramp. I've done it so often that I don't even notice the altered gait going either up or down. Long term, such avoidance only perpetuates the cycle. For right now, it gets me through the day and through my house.