Re-learning obsessive-compulsive behaviors

Anyone who has known me long knows that I am one of those geeky, overly-organised, slightly obsessive-compulsive, and highly meticulous people. Oh, and I have a great memory and am extremely detail-oriented. Well, I used to be.

Sadly, when Paul died many of those traits went to the way-side. As my world was enveloped by a thick fog of grief and despair, my brain turned to mush. My ability to concentrate was gone, as was my memory and my motivation. I really wanted to be organised and obsessive, but couldn’t. It’s a phenomenon often spoken about in the “Land of Widowhood” and even has its own term: Widow Brain.

More than a year later, some of the fog is slowly lifting. But I’m not back to my brand of normal. And if I’m honest, I don’t know that I’ll ever find that normal. No, I’m learning that I will need to create a new normal.

I have neglected so many tasks over the past year – big ones, small ones, and everything in between. I find it frustrating that I can’t find the energy to do the simplest tasks some days and try as I may, I’ve yet to find the motivation I need.

So, I am trying a new plan. I am taking all of the tasks I have to do and breaking them down into Post-It size bites. The task of writing an application letter for my master’s degree is broken into several small pieces starting with one note that simply says: “Write the first paragraph for university application”. Some notes are basic parts of a larger step whilst others are one simple task on one note that should be fairly easy to complete – if I get the motivation to pick that note.

Anyhow, I’ve dedicated half of the top surface of my desk to the “Frances Needs to Get it Together Post-It Plan”. When one sticky is gone, I will replace it with a new task. And, hopefully, I will slowly start to find some motivation and maybe – just maybe – one day my memory will return along with all of my favourite OCD-ish personality traits that I lost when Paul died.

In the mean time, here’s a stock tip for my readers: Buy 3M and Sharpie shares ASAP!

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