I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; well, more specifically, Pure “O” Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or Primarily OCD). Simply, what that means, is that you wouldn’t even know I had OCD, unless I told you. See, I have obsessive intrusive (horrible, irrational, emotionally painful fears) thoughts, but they don’t generally lead to compulsive behaviors. I have experienced compulsive behaviors, but I find them much easier to work through than obsessive thoughts.
There is no cure for OCD, or so I am not aware of any cure. But, we can for sure manage our OCD through cognitive practices, medications (if needed to better focus on cognitive practices), and anxiety management. Unfortunately, there is no medicine we can take that will magically (or clinically) re-wire our brains back to normal.
Although I still have OCD, I have successfully overcome the emotional suffering of my OCD. My OCD-bully brain doesn’t bother me anymore. In fact, I knocked my OCD bully brain’s butt right off its tremendous high pedestal. My thoughts and compulsive behaviors are now, what I call “OCD quirks.” They just happen and they don’t carry any weight or meaning to them anymore. I am in control of my own happiness.
With that said, I am willing to share with you my top 10 OCD quirks. Some of which I still experience today and some of which I have overcome and are now just part of my OCD journey.
I believe, but not sure if true, that everyone’s OCD is uniquely themed. For example, my OCD focuses around the fear of people getting hurt by my own negligence. I mean, sure, accidents happen, but my fears are incredibly irrational. Like, a close example would be like having a “what if” fear about forgetting to turn off the tub faucet, and the tub gets too heavy with water, and it crashes through the ceiling hurting someone. Yeah, pretty irrational, considering most tubs have a second drain that prevents it from doing just that, but, it can be pretty dang tough to argue with an OCD-bully brain.
I feel pretty embarrassed about this, but I also know, I am not alone.
So here are my top 10 OCD quirks…
TOP 10 OCD Quirks
10. Plugs are the enemy: When leaving the house, I used to have to unplug everything! All the appliances, clocks, computers, lamps, tv’s, everything. Honestly, I am much better now, for that the only thing I unplug when I leave the house are the kitchen appliances; but that’s because it technically saves energy. So, it’s really not too bad, having a bit of OCD.
9. Counting Traffic Lights: I used to count traffic lights. I used to be able to tell you how many intersections were between point A and point B, even on long road trips. I also used to memorize traffic patterns of each of those intersections. But again, not a bad quirk to have, because it comes in super handy when giving your friends street directions.
8. Rotating Furniture: I lie to myself and I call it Feng Shui. I am constantly moving furniture around in the house. My poor husband would go to bed with the living room set up one way and wake up with the living room completely rearranged another way. The silly thing about it, is that I don’t know why I do it. I guess, I am releasing stale energy trapped in the house.
7. So Organized, It’s Frustrating: I don’t like clutter, including App clutter on my phone. Everyone I know has a least a zillion apps on their phone, 3-4 pages full of apps. I have my homepage and all the apps I like to use are moved into a folder. Yes, if I want to access my apps, I have to click on a folder. I used to organize all my apps into several different folders, but then my phone was cluttered with folders rather than apps. I’ve actually gotten better, for that there is now a rational reason why I have all my apps in one folder, which is my kids. Yup, all my apps are in a folder, while the rest of the phone is cluttered in kid apps. I might as well, just give them my phone!
6. Stove Worries: I used to check the stove like crazy! I mean, leave the house, walk all the way to my car, get in the car, start the car, back out, drive around the block, come back home, check it again. Yeah, it was bad. Today, being a busy mom, I don’t have time for that.
5. Upside Down Candle: Candles make me nervous. Not only do I have an irrational fear of accidentally catching the house on fire, but I also have a rational parental fear that my kids will want to discover fire and get burned. Although I do enjoy candles, I don’t like to leave the house after using them. My OCD gets to me and for extra measure, in case, it re-ignites itself (impressively, with the lid on), I turn the candle upside down. Yup, I don’t get it either.
4. Handwriting Tourette syndrome: Writing cards or letters gives me anxiety. First, you never know what to write in the first place, it takes an origami skill to put it into an envelope, you have to pay for an entire booklet of stamps that will last a lifetime (if you don’t lose it), and considering it is now the 21st century, we still haven’t made envelope seals taste any better!
So, yeah, I hate handwriting and mailing anything. But, I have this irrational OCD-fear, that I would have some kind of handwriting Tourette Syndrome, where I would write some pretty nasty mean or inappropriate things without knowing it (something totally completely out of my character). I either end up rewriting my letters and cards a million times, spend 20 minutes convincing myself all is fine before sealing it, or I have the need for someone to do it for me.
3. Door knobs: I’ve broken my fair share of door knobs during my OCD journey. Apparently, checking the door knob as if you are trying to open the door as if it were jammed, totally wrecks the mechanisms in the door knob.
I am much better today. I just lock and check once now, with very little force. I have come to realize that there really isn’t much worth stealing in my house. I mean, everything I own is old and outdated, including the coffee pot.
2. Spitting After Cleaning: I don’t like chemicals. I used to fear cleaning products so much, I kept all of them outside in storage. I wouldn’t allow anything inside the house.
Today, I have a few cleaning products in the house, but they must be eco-friendly / non-toxic ones.
But, I will share with you a compulsive quirk I used to have when using cleaning products… For whatever reason, after using a cleaning product, I had to spit into the sink. Which was by far, the most bizarre compulsive-behavior I have ever experienced. Whether it be loading the dishwasher with detergent, pouring a scoop of detergent into the washer machine, or wiping down a counter with a Clorox wipe: I had to spit into the sink.
I don’t do that anymore. I don’t think I replaced it with any other OCD quirks, for that I am pretty chill with using cleaning products now.
1. Dash Cam Crutch: As some of you may already know, majority of my OCD episodes occur while driving. I have an irrational fear of hitting something without knowing it.
I was doing great, until we had bought a dash camera for long distant trips into the city. Since then, all my OCD-driving fears flooded back. My OCD-brain convinced me that I needed a dash-camera every time I was driving. If I don’t have it, I end up driving around in circles double checking everything, which is a waste of time, energy, and gas.
I think I am doing better, because I don’t check the videos anymore. Honestly, it’s just too much work to check the videos. I can’t check them on the camera anymore, because I broke a button. So, I have to disconnect it from the car, bring it inside, and upload the videos to my computer. Even my OCD-bully brain thinks its not worth it. So now, I just have a need to have the dash camera in the car while driving, like, just in case, I have an OCD episode.
Do you have any bizarre OCD quirks?
OCD can be embarrassing and emotionally difficult to talk about; however, getting those OCD thoughts and emotions out of your head, whether it be sharing them with a friend who supports you or writing them in a journal, is one of the first important steps to freeing yourself from your OCD-bully brain. 🙂
Even though OCD is apart of you, your OCD does not define you.