Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Compulsive List Making

If you think about it, you can create lists and notes and cross-references to infinity, to the nth degree.

I have a compulsion to make lists. But not just lists of things I need to do, I do make those lists but then I re-list the lists in sub-categories, such as: "Things I must do tomorrow," and then I relist the items in the order of priority. I cross reference things into a notebook I use under letters of the alphabet. Insurance, under I, will say, "see The Hartford" or "see Simcoe" (a local insurance company).

I keep all of my lists in my notebook I call my "working memory," and even tho I rewrite my lists, I enjoy going back to several different pages crossing off ONE thing I've accomplished on several pages. It makes me feel like I've achieved more than I have!

And "cross off things done on list" is on my list too!

I've been overwhelmed with paperwork and desk work and computer work for the last two months. I've had to research and select and arrange our auto insurance; our health insurance (we are dropping our Medicare Advantage plan because they stopped offering it in our area and because, with Obama-care, the premium went up over 100%. We are now on just original Medicare with a drug plan); our homeowner's insurance and our re-finance; and many other clerical things.

Clerical type things make my brain burn. I also in that time period wrote an article about our neighbor (with her blessings!) for a magazine, so there was that pressure to do it right and get it done on deadline.

I hate every single thing that has to do with my left brain. My injury was on the left side (I know because I still have the helmet with the divet in the felt showing where I laned on my head) (and I know because the MRIs show the lesions on the left brain).

I LOVE the right brain, the creative side. Mindlessly painting a wall or a door; cooking and baking; drawing; gardening, you get the drift.

Making phone calls; figuring out how something works; learning some new task (like how the new FoodSaver works) is all daunting to me.

And I keep these lists because I have anxiety that I will forget if I don't write it down. And my speech therapist back six years ago told me to make lists because if I didn't write it down, my brain would loop thoughts of it trying to hold onto it in my memory. I could let it go if I wrote it down.

I keep a list in my notebook-working memory. I write a list down on my calendar block saying what I did today. When I ordered something, joined something, sent away for something.

I have various file boxes, more than I can count without looking. I just organized a new expandable file with insurance and mortgage information. It's good to be organized and know where to find things. Oh that reminds me, I have a list of "where things are stored," but I can never remember where THAT LIST is STORED!

Problems with thinking plague me as I muddle my way through. Today, I had to call the auto insurance company. THANKfully, I got a nice man with a clear voice, easy to understand. I started off with my caveat: "I suffered a fall onto my head and have some trouble with thinking and understanding. I may ask you to repeat things and ask you to wait while I take notes on what you just said. I hope you understand."

I laughingly told him an example: I was reading all of this material sent to me by the insurance company, and it kept referring to "the covered vehicle." Each time I read that, I seriously thought it meant the car we keep in the garage, because, since it is in the garage, it is COVERED. A couple of hours later, it dawned on me: Oh, it doesn't mean our car in the garage, it means the car covered by their insurance! Oh yeah!

I always have trouble with nouns, the names of things. I know I have many readers who also have this funny symptom. Today, I was wanting to mention something about an envelope and ended up mentioning an elephant. This can really be entertaining at times!

I know my list making is compulsive because, in June, 2004, I started seeing a physiatrist as my primary-treating-physician for my work-related injury. Dr. R was funny, telling jokes all the time, a lot of fun. I felt the need to give to him each time I saw him (even if it was every two weeks or every month) a list of my symptoms. This list, typed, was always a page and a half long. It got to where I would give the list to him, and he'd say, "You know, there's a name for this, it's a mental illness called OCD, all of this list-making."

That made me feel rejected and judged. But I just told him back, "I don't care if you don't read them. I just don't want you to ever say I didn't tell you about such-and-such symptom someday!" I think that kinda put him back into his place, and he realised he better pay attention.

1 comment:

zoe said...

Hi sweetie,
I love that you were able to pop that doctor's overblown ego down a notch. They do love to label things, don't they!")
It seems like forever since I've 'visited' you and I do miss you!(and all at HF)I'm so glad I finally made my way here again.
So take a big hug with you when you read this, I'm smiling at the thought of you* and offering up some prayers*
love, Zoe