This week I have been almost completely monogamous and absolutely completely obsessed with the orange sweater. I'm having to bribe myself with it in order to get other things done (I can start the sleeve after I finish the Miller doily, I can work on it for an hour after my run).
I have been going to anxiety/OCD tendencies therapy every couple weeks for a few months now. I went last Tuesday, with the first 7 inches of the sweater I had started the day before. I know that I have a highly addictive personality (I get hooked on stuff easily and don't stop until I have finished it or completely exhausted myself) and I was talking to my therapist about my knitting and how when I'm stressed like I have been, stopping is just really hard to do. The fact that I'm really loving this sweater and it's going super quickly is just making me want to spend more time on it, and it was really worrying me how obsessed I was getting with this orange sweater. I kind of feel like I'm wasting time in therapy talking about knitting and the way it makes me feel because I can do that on my blog and I don't have to pay a co-pay for that, but it was good to hear her out.
She believes (we didn't use any machines or anything to medically confirm or deny her hypothesis) that my knitting is more of a self-hypnotizing coping mechanism for anxiety than a symptom of OCD. She continued to describe what happens physically (slower heartbeat and deeper breathing) and emotionally (calmness/elimination of fight-or-flight mentality) during self-hypnotization and I think that's she's right. I've known for a really long time that I do knit more when I'm stressed out (ie I'm a really nervous flyer. I flew to Beijing and had a pair of socks by the time I landed and there's the entire sweater I made during finals week my last semester at Purdue) and during calmer periods I don't feel incomplete or stressed out if I don't knit that day. I could go weeks without knitting and not have a breakdown, and I could knit all day and it wouldn't be a self-destructive habit, sore index fingers excluded. I also don't like to be without a knitting project in my purse, but I can go out and have a nice time if I don't bring it. It's like a security blanket in that aspect, comforting to have around but I'm a perfectly functional person without it.
So for the first couple days of orange sweater obsession, I beat myself up over it and kept thinking of all of the other, more important things I could be doing (working out and cleaning). And after talking it over with my therapist, I've accepted that it's okay to get obsessed every once in a while, especially if I do feel better after spending some time with my yarn (and I absolutely do).
So here is the sweater as it stands after today's knitting group...