Rather than focusing on a specific incident for today’s “sketch,” I thought I’d look at a habit that I often have that affects more than one area of my life. For lack of a technical term, I will label it “the fear of the incomplete.” 

Reading and seeing

For me, this fear of being or leaving tasks incomplete most often appears when I’m on social media or reading a book. When reading, for instance, I often feel compelled to make sure I read every single word on the page. If I think I skipped a word, I will go back and re read the sentence or paragraph. This made it really hard for me to agree to various updates or software things (itunes, etc.) on the computer or online because I felt that if I clicked “Yes, I read this” I had to literally read every. single. word. Honesty, right?

In addition to reading, sometimes I will someone or something and I will “scan” that image and then occasionally my brain thinks I missed something. When this happens, I feel like I have to relook and see if, for instance, that person was wearing Vans or not (or whatever my brain decides at the time). If I don’t, I feel uncomfortable and incomplete.

Social Media

On social media, I used to have to compulsively scroll down and read through status updates on Facebook until I hit the last one that I saw the previous time I checked Facebook… same thing with Instagram and people’s photos. I felt like I couldn’t “miss” any new updates. I had to see them all in order to feel complete. It was an obsession followed through with the compulsion of checking and scrolling through the updates.

Online shopping

Lately I’ve noticed this obsession and fear of missing out or being incomplete with online shopping. There is this brand of clothes called Lula Roe, and the premise is basically that they make a few styles of clothes but in a variety of patterns and colors that are “limited edition”—and different sellers receive various styles/patterns and then sell them online (or in person). I just realized that my OCD in regards to this fear of missing out has latched on to this phenomena. I feel like I must check through people’s online listings for clothes just to make sure I don’t “miss” any. It’s not like I particularly need to buy anything or even want to buy anything, it’s more the act of checking and going through all the photos just to see them. It almost could be qualified as a nervous habit and something that I feel that I need to do for no reason besides my brain telling me that I have to do it. I need to check it off the list. I need to “complete” this task.

Obviously, OCD in regards to feeling the need to shop or buy things is not awesome for one’s budget or time management. I think the key is to recognize the problem and then, like any other obsession, resist the urge to engage in the compulsion. You need to see the “temptation” and then say, “no, I’m not going to do that anymore. And it will be okay. I will survive.”

Have you ever had an obsession and compulsion related to either feeling “incomplete” or shopping? How did you handle it?