My OCD Explained by My Obsession with the Numbers 111 and 110

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I’ve written cursorily about my obsession-and obsession beyond my control-about the numbers 111, 1111, 110, and 110. I feel I have not given this as much attention as it deserves, and thus I’d like to expand on this part of my OCD from a day-to-day perspective (well, minute-to-minute may be more apt.) as well as a semi-scientific standpoint.

The numbers themselves seem a bit cliché, as I know I am not the only one who is obsessed with at least some of these numbers or collections of numerals (two different things.) However, I absolutely do not believe in numerology at all, not in the slightest. This is purely a product of OCD, as I have no control over my obsession with it regardless of being a rational and logical person-at least about this subject.

For pretty much my whole life, I’ve been obsessed with seeing the following numbers on a clock. Any clock at all, from ones that tell the time of day to ones that count up or down in stopwatch fashion. These things appearing in clocks is the major pathway to the obsession from the real world to my mind, but just seeing these numbers anywhere triggers pretty much the same. I’ll type them in clock notation:


And to a lesser extent:


Now, for the very brief definition of what these numbers mean to my brain, again outside of my own control, presenting as an obsession (more on that in a bit). They act as signs, though again I need to stress that my rational brain does not believe in signs at all. Anyway:

1:11 and 11:11 mean good things are going to happen or are happening without me knowing and I will see these good things come to light soon.

1:10 and 11:10 means the opposite, that bad is going to happen or is happening.

I focus less on 1:12 and 11:12, but this means that good was supposed to happen but it passed me up.

I can’t not think of the above when I see these numbers. I am obsessed with them, and I cannot control it. I’ve gone as far as setting a nice chime alarm on my computer to go off at 11:11 and 1:11 twice a day respectively. I even feel this is a form of cheating, but it soothes me so I let it ride.

I will go as far as trying very hard to see a clock or counter at 111 rather than 110 or 112 by any means… covering my eyes and trying to count down to when I should open my eyes, blinking very quickly when I see 111 during a countdown so I miss 110, and so on.

Now for the semi-science, and why I felt now would be a good time to write about this.

Over the past few months, I’ve taken to making a mental note (and often actual written-down notes) on when I see these numbers. It should be of no surprise to you and was no surprise to my logical self that seeing these numbers has no bearing on anything that eventually occurs in real life. It is not a sign of anything. And I needed to go as far as proving that to myself for… why? Well, proving it (again, only in a semi-scientific manner) did nothing for me.

Because this is OCD, and OCD will not listen to the logical part of my brain. That is part of the definition of what my OCD is.

I have, though, in taking the time to note any correlation or lack of correlation muted my reaction to these numbers a little bit. That is to say, I can often look at myself from the outside as I obsess over seeing these numbers and at least think with half my brain: “that makes no sense, it is just your OCD, move on, don’t make decisions based on seeing that number.”

See, previous to this I would let seeing these numbers guide me in an almost religious way. (Is now a good time to mention I am not religious but have beliefs that could be categorized as such, but I don’t care about such categorization? No? Yes? Well, that’s certainly for another piece of writing, but now you know.)

Moving on. Let’s say I needed to send an email or a text that I was not sure of the reaction, and the importance of such communication lent itself to a very wide range of reactions and eventualities from very bad to very good-if I saw the number 1:11 or 11:11, I would know it was ok to send the email or text. If I saw 1:10 or 11:10, I would “know” the opposite.

And, again, I’ve proven to myself that these silly numbers don’t have a bearing on what will happen when I send very important emails. Other real-life factors do.

Oh, but this is not silly to me. This is very serious. I am only able to muffle the seriousness a bit, I am not able to fully see this situation as silly. I don’t know if that would be a good end goal, even. I could try to joke about it, but I believe (in the same fashion) in omens so I’m rather reluctant to discuss these things lest something bad happen by just breaching the barrier into words.

So this all is a great example of my OCD in real life. This sort of thing extends to other areas as well, and those are for another time. I’ll stop here, even though I could go into greater detail.

I’m also at 948 words and don’t want a situation where I’m putting in filler to get to 1,111. Because I’ve done that. 970 words now.