1, 2, 3…Never Fear…OCD Girl Is Here!

I’ve always known I was OCD to an extent, I’ve always joked about it to an extend. Matter of fact, I am the brunt of my own jokes most of the time. But lately, I’m afraid it is getting out of control and I feel the need to look back and reflect on how this all came to be.
When I was young, I used to arrange my stuffed animals on my bed, this one here, one of equal size/color over there, a little one in the middle and so on. My Mom and Dad are both neat-freaks (seriously) and I was the only one that was allowed to dust as you must go with the grain, never against. I understood this concept at a very early age and shuttered to think that others did not get such a simple idea. As a teenager, pink was my favorite color (well it still is) and I wore something pink every day. I mean how else would everyone else know me? I wore pink, that’s who I was. These were all subtle foreshadowing of what was to become of me now that I look back on them. There are so many more examples, but this will suffice. It just kept getting more and more apparent and yet I continued to ignore that it might be the real deal.
My first real job in my mid 20’s should have really shed some light, but I was deemed “creative” and “organized”. I color-coded everything. Each sales rep, each region, each client…they all had a color. I don’t mean they just had a color, I mean I had pens, highlighters, folders, tabs, notebooks all in the color designated for that individual or entity, it kept me organized. I won awards for this peculiar behavior. Yes, I was fabulous, there was no problem here!
My next real job was in inventory control and this is when I realized the OCD thing was probably pretty real. Oh, I still got to color-code so that was awesome, but now I got to count as well. The counting had always been there, but now I got to arrange things, count them, and get paid for this. Yes, I was still fabulous, no problems here. Then I started looking at my life and realized that this counting, organizing, color-coding thing was just not at work, it was my life.
Hell, I even had kids in an organizational fashion. Two from my first marriage, two step-kids from my husband’s first marriage, and then two of our own. Ah yes, a nice even six…in pairs. Count them if you like…2 + 2 + 2 = 6….what a beautiful thing!
I organize the kid’s books by color, size, number (if we are blessed enough to have the numbered series), by author, by publisher, and this all thrills me! I don’t mean, I love to see the neat book shelf, I mean I get an adrenalin rush out of organizing them. Bug’s side of the room is pink, Bubby’s is blue. The cars go in the car basket, the baby dolls go in the baby doll basket, the diapers are stacked in the diaper stacker and counted daily. As a matter of fact, everything is counted daily.
I smoke, it’s a bad habit I know (don’t chastise me), but I feel the need to bring it up to explain how bad this counting has gotten. Every morning when I get up, I count my cigarettes. I take out the first one and say OK, it’s 7:00 am and I’m smoking my first, then I proceed to count them in the following fashion….8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm….and so on until I am through counting them. And I do this at every hourly increment that I take out a new cigarette. I try to break this crazy mold, and yet I keep counting.
Let’s don’t forget the minor details in my life like I wake up, make my coffee, of course count the cigarettes, make Bubby a bottle, fix Bug some juice, go outside and smoke and water the plants, come back in, get the kids up, fix them breakfast, turn on the TV, pour my coffee, check the bank account, then go take a shower. The shower in itself is an oddity. I wash my body, then my face, then shampoo, then condition, then shave my legs (yes every day without fail, the left one, then the right), then rinse out the conditioner and get out. I remove the remnants of my makeup, I put on my daily facial moisturizer, I put on my body lotion (6 squirts….no more, no less…and yes I count them), brush my hair, brush my teeth, check on the kids periodically (although they usually check on me so there is no need in that), put on my makeup, fix my hair, then back out to the living room to face my day with my own little cherubs and the others. Not overly absurd at this point, many of us have these habits, but I’m trying to paint the whole picture.
I make jewelry. I enjoy it. It’s a fabulous counting game. You see, you thread 3 pink beads, 2 green beads, 1 white bead, 2 green beads, 3 pink beads, lather, rinse repeat. And I count each and every one. Now I am attempting hemp jewelry which adds a new phenomenal element…knotting. You can make 10 square knots, counting them as you go along, and then you go back to count them once again before adding that first bead (just in case you missed count the first time). It is all so exhilarating! Yes, I’m beginning to sense a problem here, the family has noticed, and even Bubby walks around the house saying 1…doo…bree….9….10 for no apparent reason (oh we are going to have to work on his counting skills but at least he is getting the hang of it).
But Saturday, as I was cleaning (yes, I was cleaning on Saturday of course because Saturday is cleaning day), I decided that maybe I needed an intervention. I cleaned the kitchen as you should always clean the kitchen first, and then moved on to the kids’ bathroom. Toilet first, floor, bathtub, then the sink, then mirror. I sprayed the Windex on the mirror, 8 squirts, then wiped 15 times. It sparkled and I was pleased so it was time to move on to my bathroom. Same routine (as if you doubted that), but when I got to the mirror, I did the usual 8 squirts of Windex and then wiped 16 times. What? 16? This can’t be, surely their mirror was dirtier than mine, it always was. So I broke the mold…I actually went back to their bathroom, re-squirted 8 times and did the full 16 wipes and you know what, then it was actually clean. OK, so now I finally had to admit, this has all gone too far! I finished cleaning the rest of the apartment in my regular orderly fashion which I will not bore you with further and reflected as I took my 2nd shower. Had my OCD really become a lifestyle rather than a tendency? I was thinking yes.
I went through the rest of my day (in an orderly fashion) and after cleaning up the dinner dishes, I decided it was time for a 2nd opinion. I affectionately hugged and kissed my husband and explained some of my concerns. And then I said, “Baby, tell me it’s OK, that I’m OK, and this is all pretty normal”. He lovingly looked at me and said, “Baby, I’ve watched you, I always watch you and it’s freaking weird, it’s just freaking weird!”. Then he smiled, kissed me, and walked away.
WOW! That was just the reassurance that I needed, I am not insane, not certifiable at all. This man I love just said it was only “weird….freaking weird”. It’s official now and everything’s fine. I don’t need psychological help. I’m OK with weird, I’m actually good with weird. And here I thought I was losing it. Thank God for my husband’s infinite wisdom….without this insight, I might have committed myself. I love him! I’m so relieved now that I know that I don’t have a real problem!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. There are 4 bottles in the sink that need to be washed, 2 sandwiches to make, 1 dishwasher to run, diapers to count, 3 more jewelry sets to start (with countless knots and beads), and when I’m through with all that, I need to count some sheep! I do love sheep, but goats are better…the one in my head reminds me of that daily!

About Christy

Christy Gossett, managing editor of SoFabFood and creator of the healthy living blog, Insanity Is Not An Option, is a WAHM of 6 kids ranging in age from 27 to 8. She enjoys sharing her heart-healthy, low sodium recipes to help others with dietary restrictions enjoy a flavorful life while maintaining a healthy diet.

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  1. Want to come over to my house for a visit? You could organize to your hearts content.