Let’s start this one off with a definition from NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health):
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety. More about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder »
I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass by posting the definition first, I promise. I did it for my own reference, because I want to think about it. What is it that gives me anxiety if it is not done correctly? Hmmm.
OK, I have had this on my screen minimized all morning, and I have come to a wonderful conclusion: Nothing makes me truly OCD. I’m way more laid back than I first thought. I have things I prefer, and things I don’t like to do, but none of it is routine or ritualized.
The closest thing I have is the thing with locking the car doors. I always hit the button an extra time or two, just to be sure it’s really locked, I guess. And then I try the door handle before I walk away. I’m sure I don’t do it every time, but I think I do it a lot. I just want to be 100% sure the car’s locked. I’m so aware of how fast cars get stolen (or broken into) in Arizona. And 9 times out of 10, it’s because the owner didn’t lock the doors. I’m just being smart. I don’t think that’s an OCD behavior. I’d bet money that the majority of people I know do the same thing (because I know smart people).
I don’t have issues with having to do things a set number of times, or in a set order. I actually like to mix things up just a little bit, here and there. Like sometimes I will floss before brushing, and sometimes…after. Very exciting stuff! I’m kind of haphazard about a lot of things. Not sloppy, per se. Just kind of laid-back. Things are rarely ever done perfectly in my universe. I do them “very well” and that’s the end of it. I used to be more of a perfectionist and all it did was add to my depression-tendencies. Of course, now I have some issues with sliding too far into the lazy, non-motivated direction, but that’s a blog post for another day. I mostly go with the flow, lately. I don’t freak out if something changes, someone does something I didn’t expect or I can’t accomplish one thing. (I freak out when big things happen, like work writes me up, or someone rear-ends my car, but beyond that… I’m like a little Bobby McFerrin over here, sorta.)
By the way, I know people with actual OCD and it’s not pretty, at all. I even hesitate to be jokey about it in any way. This one dude I work with is fairly consumed with his rituals and with having things follow set routines. He has to lightly kick his wastebasket four times before he can leave for the day. He washes his hands so much the skin is super dry and pink. There’s more, but those are the two I see every day and they make me feel pity for him. I wouldn’t want to be chained to that kind of thing, everyday, forever. It’s not cool.