I’m a special kind of crazy…

There are a lot of misconceptions about OCD. Sufferers on television or in film are generally obsessed with cleanliness. They turn light switches on and off 17 times. They go in and out of doorways. They always come across as nervous, anxious or twitchy.

While these things do affect OCD sufferers, we’re not all like that. There are so many symptoms and so many degrees.

I do not fuss over cleanliness or order everywhere. Anyone who has been to my bedroom will agree with me there. However, therapists agree that my bedroom is my sanctuary, and that I see it as the one room where I can let go. Throughout the rest of the house there may be clutter, but the clutter is in piles in tidy lines. The food in the fridge is organised and not touching. My paperwork at work is filed and lined up perfectly.

I must eat my M&Ms/jellybeans individually, and in colour order. I either go from darkest to lightest, or alternate the colours, with the colours repeating equally (ie. if I have more brown than anything else, I will repeat that more).

I hate stepping on cracks. I do it, but I hate it. If they are small tiles then damn, I’ll just do it, but if I can avoid it..

I compulsively check that my car is locked, even 3 times in a row. I will go out at lunchtime and before bed and check. I will drive home to check my dryer isn’t on. I will check every window in the house at least twice.

If someone taps a rhythm, I feel compelled to tap it back myself. If I don’t, I hear it in my head for the afternoon.

I have to read a magazine or newspaper in order. Newspapers standard, magazines/TV guide backwards.

I’m a hoarder.

If at a fair, museum or amusement park, I must go through everything in order, so as not to miss anything, much to the frustration of whoever is with me.

My files at work are labelled with letter/number sheets. I have to pull the labels from the sheet in a certain pattern.

I prefer to take the majority of tasks at work myself, as the idea of someone doing it a different way is very unsettling.

I have to cross off the days from the calendar each day.

I am at my worst when I am nervous. My OCD brings with it Compulsive skin picking, which increases when I am tired or anxious about something. I often go into a slight trance-like state while I am doing it, and only really see the damage when I come back around. I often do it without thinking or realising I am doing it.

Hell, I was just doing it then.

But in general, I don’t come across as anxious or nervous most of the time. I’m quite calm and laid back. I don’t wash my hands 100 times a day. I don’t force my obsessiveness on others. I’m not at all punctual. I don’t fuss if someone breaks plans or messes up my kitchen.

I’m just a little off-kilter. A little nutty at times. Ah, I’m just me.

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