Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Shopping: OCD Vs. the Voice of Reason

Dramatis Personae

Me: British feministic person on a shopping trip.
OCD: 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder', forever at my side...
VoR: 'Voice of Reason'. Has been spotted on several occasions since I completed therapy successfully.

Scene: I am in a shop, trying to chose between Generic Gift A and Generic Gift B, one of which is destined to be Recipient's Christmas pressie.

Me: I think A is more the kind of thing Recipient would like.
OCD: She'll hate it. You're going to get it all wrong.
Me: She likes this kind of thing.
OCD: No she just says that because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. Whenever you buy her crap like this she is disgusted with your lack of taste. You don't know the first thing about her because you don't care. You can't give her A, no no no!
Me: Maybe B would be better then.
OCD: B looks cheap. You're so cheap, it's disgusting. A decent person would spend money, but you're selfish. You're getting it all wrong, because you're selfish and cheap.
Me: Shut up, OCD! [shivering, visibly anxious]
OCD: A and B are wrong. You'll never get it right. It's all wrong, all wrong. Whatever you do I'll be here, whispering in your ear. You're selfish, you're wrong, she'll hate the gift, she'll absolutely hate it because you have no taste and you don't know her because you care about no-one but yourself.
Me: I think she'll like B.
OCD: It's cheap, cheap, cheap!
Me: It doesn't look cheap, it looks lovely.
OCD: It's all about appearances with you. You're always faking, acting like you're better than you are and this proves it. You're so scared someone will think you're cheap!
Me: It doesn't matter how much I spend, so long as she likes it.
OCD: You're so cheap!
Me: I've had enough!
[enter Voice of Reason]
VoR: Breathe, Laurelin. That's better. Now think: what's the worst thing that could happen?
Me: She won't like the gift, and she'll be disappointed and she'll hate me forever!
VoR: Can you control whether she likes the present?
Me: No.
VoR: Is it likely that she'd hate you for something that's not within your control?
Me: No.
VoR: Is it worth this amount of mental energy and anxiety?
Me: No.
VoR: So what are you going to do?
Me: I'm getting B.

[Voice of Reason takes a bow as I march over to the cashier. OCD is sulking in the corner, muttering]

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