I run a company that has a monthly event where I have to handle a lot of cash. It is a somewhat chaotic little job I have to do that involves quickly getting people into the event for $20 each. They can pay via credit card (which is its own mess of worry, but all doable) or cash.
Ok, side point here because we’re talking about my OCD within the context of this whole event. Taking credit cards is a mess because it works so flawlessly that I have to keep checking to make sure each transaction went through. My OCD has no trust. Not in technology, and further from the subject at hand—not in really anything.
Let’s stick with my OCD and cash. I’m not here to brag about making millions in cash, we’re talking about a thousand or so, give or take. And again, $20/person. Most people do the obvious and give me, well, a $20 bill per person. That is absolutely perfect! Nothing to fumble with, just put it in the safe place I keep the cash and they move on with a pre-printed ticket. There is literally a bill of US currency made that fits this transaction—in any permutation—in a way that fits seamlessly with my OCD.
However, from time to time I will get a $100 bill. If this pays for five people, that’s ok-ish. If I need to make change, it gets tricky because of my lack of trust again. This time, my lack of trust in myself. If I need to give someone back, say, $40 I can easily. Two twenties. Done. But my brain will fixate on me accidentally giving too many twenties back. I’m very good at math, but my OCD doesn’t trust it.
So aside from all of this, when things calm down (for a few minutes or for the day) I now am in possession of a number of $100 bills. This is not good.
Oh, it is perfectly good in terms of making money! I will take the $100 bills and a lot of them financially.
But this is not good for my OCD. You see, I will fixate on the potential for losing one or more of the $100 bills in my possession. I will have to keep checking to see if they are still there, and I will need to remember when I check how many I should have. I will check multiple times. I will double-check three seconds after an initial check. Over and over, I will think about losing the $100 bill or bills.
Here is the very odd thing about this, I barely feel this way about any other lesser denomination, even though I am carrying far more $20 bills than the $100’s would add up to.
I cannot stop thinking about losing the $100 bills. I think to myself that it would be so much more soothing to my anxiety to have five $20 bills in place of each $100 bill. That makes no sense, that is OCD.
I hate even looking at $100 bills because I can only think of losing them.
When I get home or to the office, safe with the layout of my desk and all of that… I can finally take a tally of the money. The first thing is to equal out the number of $100 bills I think I should have and what I do have. Of course, with my compulsions keeping things well perfect, this always does equal out. But I trust no feelings until I see it on the desk in front of me.
Then it is off to the bank. As soon as possible. To deposit the $100 bills. Where, for some reason, I have complete trust in a place where I cannot ever actually see my money, it will remain safe and at the correct amount.
I trust banks. I don’t get it either.