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Thread: Confessions about Obsessions and Compulsions

  1. #1

    Default Confessions about Obsessions and Compulsions

    I have OCD. First symptoms surfaced when I was about 3 years old, and my parents thought it was "cute" that my Pooh Bear had to be in a certain place on my bed. They thought it was great that I was neat and tidy. Always made my bed, never had clothes or toys thrown around the floor. My teachers thought I was organized and studious, all my papers and books were "in order".

    What they didn't know, and I didn't know, was how exhausting these rituals could become. When I was younger it could be channeled into specific activities that required a certain degree of obsession/compulsion (repetition) for success. That's why I excelled at competitive swimming; following the underwater black line, chasing the lead swimmer, counting, timing everything.

    But I was still haunted by inexplicable compulsions (breathe only on even-numbered strokes, make only right-sided turns, back-strokes from flag to wall should be even-numbered, etc.) Even singing a song in my head meant stanzas should coincide with laps. And my bedsheets at home should be aligned and even, too!

    I used to play a mind game where every sentence had to be "even", and I used to count words, even letters within a word. If things came out odd (uneven) I might add punctuation to make it feel better.

    Just today, I used a pet brush to comb the tassles on my oriental rug, and make the strings lay straight....because it was causing me anxiety to see them twisted and jumbled. I knew it was "crazy" but I couldn't ignore it. Hanging pictures has been a small nightmare because the floors and ceilings in my apartment aren't level or plumb, so nothing looks even. I'm constantly moving things up/down, right/left, in increments.

    My OCD makes it hard to feel comfortable in a world that's already out of whack. What about you?

  2. #2
    I've had friends with these symptoms. It's a REAL issue. Have you ever been able to seek any professional help?

  3. #3
    Not really. I was able to use my OCD to be a good student, athlete, employee, etc. where attention to detail and striving for excellence was rewarded. It took years before these traits became 'negative', and eventually led to deep depression. Doctors are quick to diagnose depression, and prescribe meds, but I ended up in a pharmaceutical mess that changed every 6 weeks. I tried cognitive therapy once, but that only reinforced the notion that my problems were self-inflicted, and "first world" at that, boo hoo, get a grip.

    No one else has confessions about their own mental health struggles? Really?

  4. #4
    Would have appreciated hearing others' struggles, surely I'm not alone in this?

    Anyway, it's taken me years to recognize the signs and symptoms, let alone connect them with (often dysfunctional) coping mechanisms. I don't have the luxury of being a genius, for which all sorts of obsessions and compulsions can be "forgiven". (The movie Phantom Thread confirmed that. I understood exactly why he was bothered by sounds of food crunching, teeth scraping on forks, breakfast breaking his concentration for the whole day.) But it's not like I can make the same demands of people around me. And I wouldn't want to anyway. I don't want my problems to bleed onto others....

    Still, it's ominous when my foot begins tapping, like a tic. Then I realize I've been counting everything, including words, then trying to make all things even/symmetrical. Straightening pictures on the wall, towels in the bathroom, sorting coins and bills in my wallet, aligning things, ALL things, even steps walked. There is a pattern that starts small and grows and before I know it, it's all consuming. It's like watching a seizure approach. Impending doom. I've been told this is a symptom of bipolar disease. And that there's a pill for that. Or many pills.

    Yes, Dread, this is a REAL problem. It's not life threatening, but it does make life harder than it ought to be. I feel guilt complaining about it

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