Sunday, August 23, 2015

Uncertainty: OCD's Kryptonite

Beyond the Doubt, a Facebook page, recently posted quite the gem of an article which you can find by clicking here

But I've summarized the meat and potatoes:

The Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale was created back in the nineties by a Canadian psychologist who refers to a higher score as a "cognitive vulnerability."

This, more specifically, was my favourite quote from the article:
[The psychologist] compares extreme intolerance of uncertainty to an allergic reaction. "If you’re allergic to nuts, and you have a piece of birthday cake that has a drop of almonds in it, you have a violent physical reaction to it,” he says. “A small amount of a substance that’s not harmful to most people provokes a violent reaction in you. It’s like a psychological allergy.
What a find! Like mining for metaphors!

I recently had allergy testing and watched as hives transpired across my forearms (please excuse the veins.) 

Side note: I posted this photo on my Instagram account and, without having read the caption, my friend thought I was proudly displaying my new tattoo.

My emotional experience is like the picture. Different pen marks to represent different vulnerabilities. I don't burst into psychological hives when opening a gift. The uncertainty of what's inside is exciting. But throw in some pen marks for my future state of health, my loved ones future states of health, and I'm swollen. 

This is why I don't watch the news. There are too many stories of what could happen, what has happened. The tragedies become imprinted in my mind and the world becomes a dangerous place. For all I know, there's also a "Good News Only" station that reports on births of babies, job promotions and thriving vegetable gardens. But the good doesn't matter when it comes to OCD. The fact that something bad happened once is terrifying. 

Show me the stats, the data, whatever you've got to demonstrate how rare something may be. Rationally, I can appreciate what you're trying to do. But my allergy to uncertainty has me breaking out.
Valid point, Voltaire. Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? But these hives, the itching, the scratching, the swelling. Uncomfortable is an understatement.

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