Sunday, August 5, 2007

My 200th Post- OCD and ADD

So, I've come to another milestone in my life. 200 posts. I've stuck with this blogging thing for two hundred posts, and I'm still going. Keeping at any project for 200 times is quite an accomplishment for me. That's because I suffer from a double whammy of alphabetical psychological syndromes- OCD and ADD, and who knows what else. At least in this case, my OCD is helping me, by giving me a compulsion to keep blogging, no matter what. If you know how to manipulate it, OCD can actually be helpful in certain ways. Mostly, though, it is just a real pain in the ass.

I've written about my OCD before. It's still there, and it manifests itself in different ways. The most obvious way it manifests is through the classical symptoms of hand washing and germophobia. I wash my hands many times a day. My bottle of hand sanitizer stays with me wherever I go. If I touch anything which I consider "dirty", out comes the sanitizer, and I feel better. What does "dirty" consist of? Sometimes I don't even know myself. I know that if something that is "dirty" touches something that is "clean", then what is clean instantly becomes "dirty", and stays that way until it is somehow sanitized. I carry a whole list of things that are "dirty" in my mind, things (and sometimes people) that I have to avoid for various reasons. Otherwise, I become dirty, and I have to do some cleaning ritual to make myself clean again.

Sometimes it is a thought that makes me dirty, and then I have to cleanse that thought from my mind, by doing another ritual. It could be saying a phrase to neutralize that bad thought. Sometimes I get that bad thought out of my mind by literally spitting it out, and expelling it from my mind and my consciousness. Other times, the only way to get that thought out of my mind is to obsess on something else.

Sometimes it is something else that I can't get out of my mind. Sometimes it is a song that literally will keep playing over and over in my mind for days on end. The only way to stop it is to find another song to take its place, hopefully one my mind will find less catchy. What helps during these times is that I have the ability to deconstruct the song in my mind, and follow the various parts. For example, lets say that the song that I am obsessing over is Pink Floyd's "The Wall". What I can do is follow just the lead guitar part, and then take it, and play around with it, and improvise a new lead part in my head. Then I can fit that into the rest of the parts, and play that back in my head. If I want to, I can follow each one of the parts individually in my head in turn, and play around with them. Sometimes what I will do is follow one of the parts, play around with it, and come up with a whole new song. I just wish that I knew how to write music, so that I could get these things down.

I also have the compulsion to fix things, straighten things and put them in order. If there's a loose thread somewhere, of course, I have to pull it, even if it means partially unraveling a sweater. If something is out of order, even if it doesn't seem that way to others, I have to "fix" it. Even if I know it would be better just to leave things alone, sometimes I just can't help myself. I just have to mess with things. I have to make things "perfect", even if I know that will make things worse. For example, sometimes I like to draw. Sometimes I can capture something in just a few simple lines. I stop and admire it. Then I have to try to improve it, and by adding another line or two to it, I ruin it, and that magic is lost.

Then there's also the compulsion to collect things. I have learned to control this somewhat by buying a portable hard drive. That way I can collect electrons and groups of ones and zeros, and easily move them from place to place. Electrons and ones and zeros don't weigh much, or take up space, which makes them very convenient for someone like me who likes to move from place to place. It was a really hard when my compulsion was to collect books.

I ended up with about 20 milk crates full of books. I never read 90% of them. I would buy a book because you never know when oh, say, a book like "Build Your Own Underground Home" will come in handy, or who could use it. So I would collect ball sorts of books, and drag them around with me all over the place. I would never think of getting rid of any of them, so they just kept piling up. They are sitting in my Mom's garage, along with the rest of my worldly goods she hasn't gotten rid of yet. My Mom complains that there is no space in her garage. It seems that she is a bit of a collector herself.

I have the first season of Monk on CD, and Trien likes to watch it before bedtime, now that we don't have cable TV anymore. I think she likes to watch it because she is looking for tips on how to live with me, or why I act the way I do. More than once she has said that me and Mr. Monk are the same. That's because she just doesn't know what label to put on my behavior. Well, Baby, it's OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It's not something I want to pass on to my daughter. I pray that she won't have OCD, and be able to live a somewhat normal life free from rituals, obsessions, and compulsions, unlike me.

As for the ADD- well I'll have to write about that some other time. It is getting late, and Trien is at her friend's apartment. I know she'll be wanting to go home very soon. She may have even been calling me, but I wouldn't have none it because I have the volume cranked up on my headphones. What am I listening to? All the music that I have downloaded to my portable hard drive, of course!