The Imagining OCD area on this site is a series of quick things I notice about my OCD—things that track with the common attributes of the disorder—sometimes in an atypical way, but along the lines of what one would consider OCD. This piece is different. I present a list of things that I feel and/or do that are decidedly not OCD. I do not know why I am not obsessed with these things—these items are in categories where I have obsessions—it just… doesn’t happen. “Well, that’s no fun!”
• I don’t believe dust is dirty. I am obsessed with keeping a clean house as much as I can, and most of my obsessions are with Orginization. Putting things away. Excessively, if indeed putting things away can be done “excessively.” (It can, it involves containers within containers.) But dust—it doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t even consider dusting to be cleaning1, really. It is just a thing I do from time to time, with none of the elation I get from organizing, putting things away, washing clothes, and all that great stuff. Yeah, not very OCD.
• I don’t care about the ratio of creamer2 to coffee. I drink a lot of coffee (mostly decaf, because of anxiety.) I care a lot about the taste of coffee, and it stands to reason that with the specific measuring scoop I have for creamer, I would have a system. I don’t. But what is odd here is that any time I am asked to help cook, I’m often tasked with measuring out ingredients. In this case, I cannot wing it. I just can’t. If something needs to be an ounce of something, it needs to be 1.00000 ounces. If something needs to be “a pinch” of something—its off to the internet to find what the common actual measurement of “a pinch” is. I’ll remove grains of spices to perfect my task. Coffee creamer—whatever. Yeah, not very OCD.
• On of my skills in my business life (computer programming) is ripe for my OCD to take over in all the typical ways. When coding, one can easily get completely lost in hyper-organization. And I absolutely have a rock-solid system of organizing that could fill a book with rules and the like. However, I truly believe in speed over quality in work. I believe in both, I just choose speed first. I am somehow able to reconcile disorganized work if it is done quickly. It may be my obsession with money, it may be that my brain is so full that speed equals relief—in that once something is done, I can no longer worry about it3. For those I manage, I am actually a pretty forgiving and amenable person. And nice. But I demand speed from them as I do from myself. Even if it is messy. Yeah, not very OCD.
• I try to be perfect with grammar. I know I am not and it kills me—I am obsessed with the beauty in the rules of putting words together. However, I use words of my own making often. Example: “I recently had an uppage of my dose of medication.” “Uppage” is not a word, at least not until I right-clicked on it and selected “Add to Dictionary.” I also have no specific rule on spelling or capitalizing this word in the following manners, randomly: “okay,” “OK”, and/or “ok.”4 I zig and zag through different methods of writing/typing the word “ok,” sometimes in the same sentence. Yeah, not very OCD.
• Back to the issue of what is and is not dirty, and my askew obsession with cleanliness. I have two coffee cups. Travel mugs, to be precise, as I have a palpable fear of spilling coffee. Some would call them—oh, hell I call them—”sippy cups” colloquially. I have a weekly list of things to do on a spreadsheet, and it is the first thing I start in on, on Saturdays. One of those things is to change out the current coffee cup with the one I used the week previous. Yes, I drink from the same cup for a week straight. Any grime (knowing from the second item above it is not dairy-based) I consider patina. Yeah, not very OCD.
Does any or all of the above relieve me of my OCD badge? No. First, there is no badge. I am only proud of my OCD because it is a real diagnosis and I do truly love myself for who I am. The point is—aside from the utter silliness of this article—is that everyone with mental disorders are wholly different than others with the same disorder. That may seem obvious when you read the words, but if you think about it—when you hear of someone with a mental disorder I bet you think of a horde of things that person thinks, does, and feels. It’s ok. I do it too.
Just understand you may not fully understand mental disorders just by how they’re portrayed outside of real life. This does not make anyone—including me—a bad person for not knowing every way a mental disorder can present itself. Or not present itself. Merely understanding this goes a long way towards compassion.
And… OCD can be funny.
2 Yes, creamer. Not milk. Not half-and-half. Not liquid. Powdered creamer is how I learned to love coffee in the break room, and I am sticking with it. On purpose. [BACK]
3 I mean, I am going to worry about it. But on so many other levels including others finding a lack of quality in my work, that I just accept the whole universe of worry as me being me. [BACK]
4 But not “k” I do not text speak. [BACK]