Weather forecasters said we’d get a lot of snow, but only a dusting fell around here. School is on after all, and the kids will surely be disappointed. It goes to show that sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned.
As a man with OCD, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. When you have a brain that never stops thinking, you tend to expect certain things out of your day. When the expectation is a bad one and isn’t fulfilled, it’s a huge weight off the shoulders. Expect to be told that you have cancer and then learn it’s just a benign lump is freeing.
But when you expect something good and it doesn’t happen — a snow day, a night out, a promotion at work — the sudden change of events can be devastating to a guy like me.
I know the disappointment Sean and Duncan will feel when they wake up to a day of school after all. I experienced that let-down often enough as a kid. Many of us have. One time in fourth grade, I was so upset that a snow day didn’t materialize as expected that I made myself sick. I got to stay home that day after all, but I spent it throwing up and cowering under the assault of a migraine. It was a sign of things to come.
As I’ve gotten older and gained more control over my OCD, I’ve gotten a lot better at managing the expectation game. At the least, I’m able to proceed with my day and make the necessary adjustments without the old sense of dread and the feeling that maybe God hated me.
But I still get thrown for a loop sometimes when expectations don’t pan out. A couple of weeks ago, I was gleefully anticipating a Saturday night out with Erin watching friends’ bands play. Because of illness things didn’t work out and I was bitterly disappointed. I carried a bad mood into the next day.
It can happen to all of us once in a while. But when you have something like OCD, every emotion is exaggerated.
I’m glad I’m better at getting over it. Hopefully, my kids will get better at it, too.