Scrupulosity Returns Author: Kristy Cobillas M.Ed LPC
Scrupulosity. You hadn’t visited me for some time now. It's been at least seven years since I have experienced this grasping for security. What set you off this time? The state of the world? My father’s increasing dementia symptoms? Or the fact that I am 51 and realized that myself or my husband will die before the other, and one of us will be left alone. I am completely unsure.
Or is it possible that every time I go off of my medications you leave me alone for three or four years, only to come crashing back violently? This is your fifth onslaught.
You have brought on another hellish episode, reminding me of one flaw after the next and demanding that I figure out how to fix them. Yes, I told a lie five years ago. What do you expect me to do about that? You dug up the fact that I didn’t pay taxes on money I made babysitting at fifteen. I’d pay it back just to shut you up, but how much would I owe? No matter what I paid, you would still torment me with the possibility that it was the wrong amount.
The things I enjoy, you make it your business to destroy. When I merely want to play with my dogs, you torment me with thoughts that I might be worshiping them. I look at a beautiful piece of art, and you intrude with the thought that I might be looking upon an idol. My world becomes smaller and smaller and you scream louder with every move I make.
Your constant accusations are trivial. You accuse me of stealing just because I thought someone gave me an extra piece of pizza with my order. Truly, I didn’t realize what had happened until I removed the foil on our ride home. I was still shaken and terrified as I tried to grasp what my husband explained; you get two slices if you don’t order a drink. No luck. You demand that this issue be rectified! You screamed at me to go back and make sure he was right.
As that issue fades, you hit me with more. What was my motive for making that comment to that person a month ago? Was I manipulative? Was I deceitful? How about my interactions several years ago? Was I seductive? Was I a liar? My list gets longer and longer with every passing moment as I plan for how to possibly make amends. Life has become one horrific episode of My Name is Earl.
After three months, you finally ease up a bit. The whirring of mental images of past indiscretions has reduced to just one. I have continued to perseverate over this particular thought for the past two weeks. I go to sleep and wake up with the same damn thought. Yes, I have obeyed you and asked a friend for assurance about the severity of the indiscretion. I trust her judgment and perspective as a “non-OCD” person. I only asked her once. Then, despite the fact that you quickly returned screaming, I resisted you and did not seek assurance again.