How an obsessive-compulsive personality may actually be productive
When I was younger, I was flirting with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I held money on the tips of two of my fingers, and I would count to ten to make sure that the door was locked when I went to bed or went out. That was about twenty years ago, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten over it because of my parents’ guidance. My mother was especially prescient as regards my development toward the disorder that she steered me towards normalcy by reminding me that it was all right to be dirty at times, such as when handling money and that it was all right to only check the locks once, because once it had been locked there was no way that anyone could do anything about it except perhaps noisily. I grew up to be a relatively normal teenager and adult, which was already a miracle. Had I less informed parents I would probably just walk on straight lines and be an excessive stickler for cleanliness. But because they steered me onto the right path, I simply became someone unique, but within the boundaries of what most people consider to be normal.
I mean, despite being a certified fan of anime and Korean dramas, I can relate to other people well and don’t have an addiction with order outside of my head. I don’t impose my will on other people’s cleanliness especially because my own is quite lacking: I’m a relatively normal guy.
There are times, however, where shades of my obsessive-compulsive behavior actually help me do stuff. One of the things I hate doing is to drop something I’ve started, even if it’s horrible. That’s the reason why I finished Gin-iro no Olynssis, and that’s also the reason why I could read obsolescent textbooks just because I already started reading them. Of course I would often want to stop but I find an indescribable resolve to finish whatever I have started. I think those are mini-compulsions of mine: remnants of that childhood personality seem to surface whenever I feel like I need to complete something.
That already applied in my medical education for one. I never had a heart for medicine but decided to continue pursuing it since I didn’t fail anyway. I don’t know whether I love it now – I love what I’ve learned from it, but I really can’t see myself not having regular sleeping hours or even regular working hours. I also can’t see myself reading more textbooks of it for the rest of my life.
That atavism, however, keeps me going. Just now I finished skimming through an anatomy reviewer just because of that drive to finish what I’ve started. Even though I’ve essentially learned nothing, I still skimmed through the book until its very last page. I’m not even a masochist, but I still felt I had to finish it, for what it was worth. This post is even similar to that: I don’t even think I could write any worse because my eyelids are drooping and I’m in for another 36-hour duty tomorrow but I write anyway because I wish to provide at least some sort of conclusion to this post.