Growing up and living With Un-diagnosed OCD...CDO.
At the risk of offending someone, I write this article.
Mind you, my goal isn't, in any way, to make light of anyone's serious mental problems, I do realize that many people are seriously handicapped on a daily basis with being OCD. That being said, I knew at an early age that my mind worked differently than most. It started at a very early age and happened frequently. I can remember vivid, daily thoughts and physical feelings that I was literally dying from a very serious disease. Every little pain or discomfort that I felt, I thought for sure that I had a serious illness and I probably wasn't going to make it. My Mom played a major role in diffusing most of the situations and she became very adept in finding home remedies to take care of the situation and satisfying my fears. I didn't let it stop me from being very active, I thoroughly enjoyed playing ball, riding bikes and playing with the guys in the neighborhood. At night, I would really have my struggles, as things quieted down for the day, my imagination would take over.
My room was very tiny growing up, there was just enough space for my bed, a small desk and one little book case. I spent a lot of time there reading books, organizing my baseball cards and doing my homework. My childhood was rough when it came to sleeping, I had a terrible fear of the dark and even though my parents room was literally next door, I spent many nights, between the ages of 7-13 asleep on their floor. My parents were saints and they made it as easy as possible for me as I struggled with my fears and anxiety. Eventually they talked me into seeing a therapist and he helped me through those tough times. Amazingly, now I like being alone and the darker the room at night, the better...go figure.
I always knew I needed things to be a certain way growing up, my crayons had to be the same size, grouped in the same colors and all facing the same direction in the box. My food couldn't touch on my plate and it had to be eaten in a certain order. My books had to be stacked a certain way on the shelf, my shoes must be put away in pairs and side by side. I could go on and on with examples but I think you get the idea, I always knew my mind worked a little different than others.
High school was almost 20 years ago now, but I vividly remember it like it was yesterday. Counting the floor tiles from the main doorway to my locker, being careful not to step on one of the lines, all the while chatting it up with my buddies. Counting the lockers as I passed, being careful not to miss one or I would force myself to start over. Sitting in the different classrooms I would have the ceiling tiles memorized, the pattern of the grid work and the number of them. To this day when I enter a room I automatically notice any patterns and begin to count them, such as windows, chairs, ceiling tiles, wall coverings and lights.
When I finally got my drivers license I feel like it went to a whole other level. I found myself counting the cars as they passed, the light poles on the sides of the road and the stripes that were painted down the center. I find myself at times staring at the odometer watching the miles slowly tick off, until I force myself to cover the numbers with a scrap of paper or a picture from my wallet. It is almost a mile up the hill to our home in a quiet subdivision and every trip in that direction I find myself scanning the tires of the parked cars and counting the number of lug nuts and spokes. From counting the dimples on a golf ball and the stitches of a baseball to the drops of rain on the car windshield, I never know where my habit will take me from day to day.
I wish I could say the older I get the better I get, but that isn't the case. I'm not sure why God makes people the way he does, but I do know he doesn't do it on accident. My quirks have also been a blessing throughout my life, in a weird way. Teaching me to appreciate the small details in life, and forcing me to take pride in my actions, regardless the task.
Well, it is 11:11 and time to rearrange my paperclips and possibly the new fruit in the basket on the kitchen table, just another ending to a perfect day!