Self Talk

Despite all of my achievements, I have no confidence in my abilities. Any confidence I gain I immediately tear down. I want to be confident in myself, but my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is currently taking that away from me.

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought that I did horrible on things. Even if I knew I did well, I would convince myself otherwise because of my OCD. My OCD tells me that if I think that I did well on something, I would cause myself to fail because I thought I did well. I am aware that this logic is extremely backwards, but I can’t seem to get out of the loop because my OCD is extremely convincing and I am terrified of failure.

My thoughts about school range from bad to worse. After every test or quiz, my thoughts go downhill. I will usually have a thought something like, “Oh that wasn’t so bad, I might’ve done all right.” Then my OCD freaks out and I compulsively tear apart my confidence to the point where I am absolutely convinced that I failed. The thought that I have done well has pretty much turned into an intrusive thought for me and makes my stress about grades even worse. I occasionally don’t think I do well when a test is really really hard (AP classes seem to have ridiculously hard tests), and for those tests I am completely convince that I failed without having to tear apart my confidence. My complete lack of confidence on a hard test becomes the standard that my OCD says I have to get to after I have a thought about doing well. Currently my options for a test are either to completely be convinced that I failed and try not to cry or think that I did okay and that my think of doing okay will cause myself to fail (at least according to my OCD).

Band is another target for this lovely flavor of OCD. Whenever I play something and think that I did well, my OCD freaks out and I have to convince myself that I am the worst French Horn player in order to not fail and get kicked out of band (or fail an audition). With All-State coming up, this has gotten really bad for me, and I end up feeling like I have to convince myself that I won’t make AllState despite making it as both a freshman and sophomore. It’s not too hard for me to convince myself that I’m a horrible player, especially since recently I’ve been unable to tell if I’m in tune or not because my OCD always yells at me that I’m out of tune. I know that my OCD cannot go unchallenged, but with All-State auditions, the thought of causing myself to not make it is absolutely terrifying.

My OCD also attacks my physical appearance in a similar way. Whenever I have a positive thought about myself, my OCD says that I have to counteract the thought and think more negative thoughts about myself or else I will become overly confident and turn into an mean, arrogant, self-centered person. Since I strive to be nice to people and not ruffle any feathers, those thoughts are very distressing to me, and I give in to the OCD and tear my self confidence apart. If someone ever gives me a compliment on my looks, my OCD doesn’t want to me accept the compliment, and if I do I have to counteract it by listing the bad things about my appearance in my head. Since it is considered rude to not accept a compliment, I usually kind of half accept it (by thanking the person but spinning it around by saying something kind of negative to sort of counteract it in a socially acceptable way) and then think of my bad physical qualities until my OCD is satisfied.

OCD has taken over my self talk and turned it sour, and I cannot just sit back and let it happen. As hard as it is to write, I am smart and I do well on tests. I am a good French Horn player and I have a decent chance of making All-State. I am pretty. While I can’t control what my OCD says, I can control my own self talk, and I fight back with positivity.