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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Doc, OCD.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disclaimer: I have zilch education on psychological disorders.

In one day, I came across three cases of obsessive compulsive behavior that triggered the following trail of thoughts. Early this morning I browsed the winners of the 2006 Emmies, my resentment of Grey's Anatomy not winning have abated, and I found out that Tony Shalhoub won best actor in a comedy for his role as Monk, a detective with OCD. I was doing my blogroll and Rho talked about her compulsion to keep her counter drip free in her blog. And sometime this afternoon, I found out that David Sedaris has a compulsion to touch the heads of strangers, especially so when he is anxious and could not smoke, in Chicken in the Henhouse (Dress Your Family...).

I took this as a sign, and despite my insufficient knowledge about OCD, I gave in to my compulsion to blog about compulsions.

Without gahooyoogling, I made a mental list of all the things I stocked in the recesses of my brain relating to OCD. The first thing that came to my mind is As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is a writer of romantic novels who suffers from OCD, Helen Hunt is a waitress in the restaurant Jack frequents and she had an innate way of dealing with his eccentricities. They fall in love yaddah yaddah... (It was impossible to beat Titanic... but that year, As Good As it Gets and LA Confidential were more deserving Best Picture Winners, for me at least)

I also remember Monica (Courteney Cox) Geller-Bing's hypochondria in Friends. How she finds a freakish amount of joy in organizing things and cleaning the sink. There are also patients in medical series like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy who had OCD.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior is an anxiety disorder (Wikipedia). In general, people who suffer from OCD have impulses/thoughts (obsession) which drive him to perform some repetitive behavior or mental acts (compulsion) because not doing so would result in extreme anxiety. Tony Shalhoub in Monk has a fear of germs and his compulsion is to always sterilize his hands. He also has a compulsion to set everything he sees at right angles.


Jack in As Good As it Gets, needed to unlock and lock a door a certain number of times (usually in a multiple of 3) before he can walk through it. He needed to wash his hands with three bars of freshly opened soaps. He also didn't step on lines in the pavement when he walked.

This got me thinking and eventually diagnosing myself. I have a lot of compulsions but I never really thought I had OCD because they are usually hypochondriacs... and I am a slob. I usually clean my room on Sundays and as the week progresses, my room gets more cluttered. Mondays means a couple of jackets I tried but didn't look good with what I wore hung on my chair. Tuesdays meant I had two empty glasses on my bedside which held my mandatory glass of water before I sleep. Saturdays meant I slept only on a half of my bed because the other half if filled with tried on clothes, books, CD cases and whatnots.

I found it unsettling when I discovered that not all people with OCD are hypochondriacs. So I thought of all my compulsions:

  1. I can't stand a crooked framed photograph on the wall.
  2. I need to finish the whole bag of junk food when I open one.
  3. I need a glass of really cold water on my bedside before I recline.
  4. When I don't have anything particular TV show to watch I need to do a complete channel surfing lap before I can settle with a show.
  5. I always feel like I left my blow dryer on.
  6. I always feel like I left my cellular phone.
  7. I always feel like I left my wallet.
  8. I need to empty my recycle bin everytime I delete something. (Need is the operative word here)
  9. I need to google everything I don't know.
  10. I arrange all items on my desktop by type and as much as possible in a symmetrical pattern.
  11. I always copy and paste my entries onto a text document before I post it.
  12. When in traffic, I do one of two things. I either make equations in my head using the 3 digits of the vehicle infront of us. I need to use the digits the same number of times in two equations that add up. i.e. Plate No. = AYD 963; 9-6+3 = (9/3)+(9/3)x(6/6)
  13. Or, I do anagrams in my head of words I see, something Text Twist programmed in my head. i.e. Save our TREES = TERSE, STEER, RESET or Physical EDUCATION = AUCTIONED, CAUTIONED.
  14. I go to the same 7-11 store almost every office day.
  15. When I play MP3s at the office there needs to be some sort of connection between the songs. Sometimes it is by genre or artist so I don't burn that many brain cells, sometimes it's raining so the songs I play have "rain" or "ulan" in the titles.
  16. My digital pictures since 2004 are so organized it scares me.

I think I am obsessive. I know I'm compulsive. The trouble is I don't know if I'm obsessive-compulsive... or just too mentally agitated... or merely a straight jacket away from the loony bin.

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posted by Alternati, 10:01 PM

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