My TOP 10 Obsessive-Compulsive “Quirks”

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.

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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.  

 

My OCD “Phantom” Quirks

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I still have some lingering OCD quirks; OCD habits that seem to have been engraved into my brain, in which no longer serve any OCD purpose.  These are behaviors that I perform without even thinking.  There is no compulsive need or emotional suffering behind any of these left-over quirky behaviors; they are just simply habit.

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My brain is very much OCD wired, but I am in control.  I no longer allow my OCD brain to cause me “emotional” suffering.  Sure, on occassion, I still experience some OCD episodes, but they don’t last very long and are always triggered by stress.  For me, stress management has been the key to living comfortably with an OCD brain.

Today, I often experience, what I call, OCD “phantom” quirks (compulsive-like behaviors with no OCD meaning or purpose), lingering around from a time when my OCD brain was in full control.  For whatever reason, these quirks developed into routine habits.  I am guessing, as an ingenious way to beat my OCD brain to the punch.  Over the years, as I began to conquer my OCD brain, I became so focused on eliminating “emotional” suffering, I seemed to have failed to change some of the physical OCD behaviors (quirks) that morphed into habits.

My 5 Best Phantom Quirks

  1. When shopping, I always take the product behind the first product on the shelf.  There is no compulsive need to do so, it’s just a matter of habit.  Most of the time, I grab whatever is in front of me- I do not care, unless the product looks damaged or something.  But if I am in rush, I automatically grab the product from behind the first product- it’s just habit developed from an old OCD quirk.
  2. Vigorously Checking the Door To Make Sure It’s Locked  Before, I would wiggle the monkey’s out of a doorknob to make sure it was in fact secure and locked; sometimes, unlocking and locking again to be extra sure.

    Today, I do it out of habit.  The other day, in fact.  While running through my mental checklist – backpack, lunch, homework,  my hands were automatically checking the locked doorknob.  I didn’t even realize what I was doing until my daughter loudly interrupted my mental thoughts with “Mommy, it’s locked!”  Obviously, something I have to work on.

  3.  Not Reusing a Spoon For Coffee  I used to experience OCD contamination fears.  If you put down a spoon on a surface (even a known clean surface), my OCD brain was convinced it was then contaminated and I was forced to get a new clean spoon.  

    Today, after stirring my coffee with a spoon, I generally just rinse it off and put it back in the drawer.  Sometimes, I leave it on the counter for later and just rinse off and reuse.  But, if I am not fully in the moment, when I go back for more coffee, I will automatically get a new spoon- even though, I notice a perfectly good spoon sitting next to the coffee maker.

    Fortunately, I have successfully broken my habit with cups!  I used to never use the same cup twice.  Man, now I use the same cup all day!  Just rinse and re-use!

  4.  Counting Traffic Lights  I used to count how many traffic intersections were between point A and point B.  I don’t know why I did this, but I had some compulsive need to do it.

    Today, I am guessing it’s habit or perhaps it’s been embraced as a navigational skill.  Although I no longer actively count intersections,  I can still generally (not always, like before though) tell you how many intersections you have to pass through to get to your destination.  It’s a great party trick!

  5. Using A Knuckle To Press The Elevator Button  Not all OCD habits are worth breaking; especially,  those that are probably better for your health anyway.

    As I mentioned before, I used to have contamination fears.   One OCD habit I acquired was pressing the elevator button with my knuckle, rather than my finger, to avoid germs.  Then, I would immediately (as if it were an emergency) wash my hands or use hand santizer afterwards.

    Today, I prefer to use my knuckle instead of my finger to press the elevator button, because it’s a healthy habit (kind of like, sneezing into your elbow rather than into your hands).  I rarely have a compulsive need to wash my hands after pressing the button, unless, of course, it was noticeably icky or sticky.   Flu season is also an exception, I might seek some hand sanitizer afterwards, just because I really do not want to be sick with the flu.  Nobody likes having the flu!   

Maybe My OCD Brain Is Controlling Me From Behind the Scenes And I Don’t Even Know It!

Maybe, my OCD brain is subconsciously triggering compulsive behavior?  Oh, that sneaky OCD brain of mine….

No, my OCD brain is not controlling me subconsciously.   The OCD brain is a bully that is driven by emotional suffering.  If you aren’t experiencing emotional suffering, your OCD brain is not winning, thus, definitely not in control.

I truly believe compulsive behaviors are physical responses to emotional suffering caused by obsessive irrational intrusive thoughts.  If I am not experiencing any emotional suffering with my OCD quirks, then I am pretty confident these quirky behaviors are nothing more than just simple habits left over from years of actually performing compulsive behaviors due to frequent OCD episodes.

If you think about it, a habit is something you do routinely, and practiced enough, it is very difficult to break.  So, it is certainly reasonable to assume, compulsive behaviors due to frequent OCD episodes, done routinely, and practiced enough, could develop into normal everyday habits.

In my opinion, if you aren’t emotionally suffering from a habit, it’s not OCD (anymore).

Am I Just In Denial?

Of course, I am not a professional expert or anything-experty.  For all I know, I am just in denial of my OCD and I am still “suffering” from OCD.  But, if I am, am I really suffering?  Isn’t the entire point of overcoming OCD, overcoming the emotional distress caused by OCD?

I’ll always have an OCD wired brain (or, so I have been told),  and if I can re-wire my brain to be truly OCD-free…how long is that going to take?  Baby-steps, please!  Baby steps!  

If there is one thing I have learned on my OCD journey, is that OCD is personally unique to each individual.   Although no two bully brains are the same, every bully brain causes emotional suffering.  If you can free yourself from the emotional suffering, then that, my friend, is what I call progress in my book!

It’s truly okay if you cannot re-wire your brain back to normal!  Normal is so boring anyway.  The important thing, in my opinion, is overcoming the emotional distress (suffering) caused by the OCD bully brain.  After that, any OCD “phantom” quirks left behind, embrace them!  Embrace them like OCD battle scars!