A common concern for lots of people, not just those of us with OCD, is the fear of what other people think. For many, these fears hit their peak in the teen years. However, some people, like me, continue to take this to the next level. In particular, anxiety sufferers seem to be especially vulnerable, at least from what I have seen. For much of my life, I have existed behind a type of veil that I constructed to keep the real me safe from the criticisms of those around me. Through CBT, I have learned to become more confidant with who I am, what I stand for, and what my preferences are. I don't want to give you the impression that I move throughout my day imposing my personal taste on others, but I am more comfortable sharing my opinion these days.
Recently, I purchased beautiful bamboo wind chimes. I love wind chimes. I find them to be soothing and the musical notes bring a smile to my face. The other night, while lying in bed, I could hear the wind chimes. Instantly, I was overwhelmed with a terrible dread and anxiety about the noise that they were making. I became consumed with the idea that my neighbors would be kept up by the noise and that they would all be very angry with me because of it. It is very important to me that I'm viewed as a nice and kind person. A "good girl" if you will. I cannot begin to explain how deep-seated and long standing this fear is.
Thankfully, due to my previous CBT training, it only took about a minute for me to realize what my panic was all about. It was then that I understood that I absolutely, without a doubt, had to leave the wind chimes in place. This is probably one of the more silly ERPs I've ever done, but, I believe it is necessary for my greater mental health. It does not matter what my neighbors think. It does not matter if they consider me obnoxious or inconsiderate. Unless, and until, a neighbor knocks on my door and requests that I remove the wind chimes, they will stay in place forevermore. Well, at least until the beginning of winter.