The Downside of Metacognition

 

Metacognition-noun- awareness and understanding of one’s own thought process.

I’m good at thinking about thinking. I like understanding why I think the way I do. It has helped me understand and control my impulses.

The downside of having metacognition is that it interferes with my OCD.

Today, I went to my cousin’s house because my parents and relatives had a small gathering. My parents and I drove in separate cars. Backing from the driveway, I checked to see if I closed the garage. Closing the garage is one of my daily obsessions. It drives me nuts and I feel that if I haven’t checked a certain amount of times, I get super anxious.

When I drove on the freeway, I obsessed if I closed the garage. I have left the garage opened by accident before, and nothing has happened. But I always think the ‘what if’s?’ What if someone robbed my house? What if someone stole the dogs? What if my house is burned down?

Metacognition comes into play because after the initial worry, I worry about worrying. I worry about worrying because I know when it happens, I’m not able to function. I feel sick and my head feels heavy. It’s hard to pay attention and listen because I’m too busy obsessing.

At my cousin’s house, I was so worried that I had difficulty having a conversation with my cousin. All I wanted was to go home and check the garage.

I calmed myself down by diverting my attention to reading articles on the net, eating, and talking to my cousin.  In addition, I told myself that the thoughts I had were not real. The latter helped a little a bit.

After staying for two in a half hours, I headed home because the obsessions were too much for me. In the guise of “I needed to walk the dogs,” I told my parents and relatives I needed to go.

When I arrived at home, I saw that the garage was closed. I felt relieved and annoyed. Relieved because it was closed, and annoyed because I wasted my energy obsessing.

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