I Can Count Myself to Sanity...

I thought I was normal.....then I was diagnosed with depression followed by suicidal, some time before anxious, and all prior to OCD.  I now have learned they are all entwined.  After lots of therapy and years of being told I was odd I now have an understanding that I am normal for those of us who do abnormal rituals.  I don't know anyone who does what I do and when I tell people about what my life is like they just look at me like I am a serial killer or something horrific.  I do most of my rituals in my head and they mainly consist of counting on my teeth and completing sequences.  I count words both spoken in conversation and from songs in addition to printed words.  My day is consumed with the what ifs and the what might happen instead of the right now.  I obsess in my head about the numbers on the elliptical at the gym and determine when I stop exercising based upon the numbers.

Of course I must eat things in sequence and in numerical combinations predetermined by my head.  When I eat m&m candies I must eat in pairs and only 2 of the same color.  I have to eat all of the crust on my sandwich before I can eat the center.  And if my food touches I have been known to get up and wash my plate and start again.  My family usually gives me 2 plates in order to avoid this.

I tense up (mainly my hands and expressions), poke, and squeeze as part of the compulsion.  The obsession is my biggest challenge since I often will poke or squeeze after I obsess on a phrase, word, or thought for a while.  I am able to hide my OCD for the most part and am considering medication.  I would love to talk to others who share similar symptoms. 

Okay as if I didn't say enough I have been compelled to reread my entry several times and to add to it now.  I forgot to add some of the other quirks I do which many may or may not be able to relate to.  I often ask people to repeat nonsense phrases and words I make up, which I can't decide if it is worse then when I ask people not to say certain words because I simply just don't like them.  Since I began driving at 16 I began counting seconds between cars hitting certain points like telephone poles.  All because I was taught in drivers training that is the appropriate distance you should be from other cars when you drive. 

My poor dog.. When I was diagnosed with depression and suicidal tendencies about 6 years ago he was given to me as a gift to help me feel better. He has, however, I found my OCD kicked into high gear with him and I am constantly squeezing him and poking the little guy. Never hard but just to fulfill the need.  I have improved and no longer vacuum, dust, sweep, and do my laundry every day. 

I would like to hear ideas of things people have tried in order to live a more productive life.  I find my quirks are getting worse and they are developing into bigger issues for me.  I find myself doing more and more of them.  My doctor thinks if I could get my anxiety under control my OCD wouldn't be so bad.  But who knows....

Thanks for taking the time to read my story and drop me a line if you want to comment or even can relate.


countress countress
26-30, F
2 Responses Mar 5, 2008

It's kind of a shame that this story didn't gain more comments. I can certainly relate. I don't have OCD, but I have strong obsessive tendencies. If I'm doing something, I'll focus on it to the exclusion of all else, including sleeping, eating. I will spend all the time I possibly can on doing just that thing.<br />
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It gets worse if I'm unhappy - for example, I spent three weeks writing a sudoku solver incorporating a genetic algorithm to evolve a perfect solution from a population of potential candidate solutions. This was triggered and reinforced by my desire to withdraw around my father. In the end, I gave up out of sheer exhaustion.<br />
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Like you, I eat my food in discrete stages, one thing at a time, although unlike you I don't mind if it touches. However, I dislike chaotic foods like curries - any foods where there are no definite boundaries between the food items. I have routines, but I'm somewhat put out if they're interrupted, rather than acutely distressed. I went through a period as a child, where I'd avoid the cracks in the pavement while walking, for fear the bears might get me. I didn't believe in the bears, but that didn't matter.<br />
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Finally, if I hold something in my hands, I will often rotate it, ad infinitum, always in the same direction.<br />
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It's disturbing that the previous poster feels that the universe has to forgive your t'ransgessions'. I guess for some people. the bears are a lot more, erm, *visceral*, that existence is fundamentally sin-oriented, and that we all have a surplus in the sin bank, barring the chosen ones.<br />
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Peace,<br />
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Love...Try this on for size...Remember to treat others the way you wish to be treated. Then start practicing some real deep self-Love. ( From the inside out) You have the Breath of Life and Love inside you - like we all do. Remember to Love, Protect and Share it with & for yourself & others. Also do the same for the Temple it resides in..Tour Body... Once you can do this the universe will forgive your transgressions. Your life will take on better choices. Your Creator has things in control more than you think.<br />
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LOVE & HUGS, livingwell