Before I begin I just want to say that this is not a complaint about my life, I am just stating facts about my OCD.
When I was in elementary school, they had us do these exercises where they gave us a list of words in the column on the left, and we had to write them on the right in alphabetical order. Well, that sparked something in my head and I became obsessed with putting everything in alphabetical order. Whenever we got crayons for birthdays and/or Christmas, they were organized by color, so when someone would put the crayon back in the box out of its color coded order, it nearly drove me insane. I would try to take them out and put them where they belonged, but it was nearly every time and I got to the point where I had to stop driving myself crazy so I gave up.
When I was in junior high school, now called middle school, I would alphabetize my books in my locker by which period I had the class. So if first period was math, the first book on the left was my math book.
I had some music tapes that my parents bought for me and I kept them in alphabetical order by the artist’s name. I even tried to color coordinate my clothes on the hangers, although that was very difficult since my mother would do the laundry and she never put them back in their order, I wasn’t as obsessed about my clothes though. I would make lists and alphabetize them to the point where I would waste hours alphabetizing things for no apparent reason. I even still do that to this day.
I do the same thing with numbers, I am obsessed with Sudoku.
When I was 14, I had a girlfriend (this part is in the book btw) and her father had a massive collection of movies on VHS tapes. He kept a card catalog like you would see at the library, but it wasn’t in a drawer, it was in a Rolodex. Every movie was cataloged alphabetically by the title. He would write the title of the movie, a synopsis along with who was in it, what it was rated and what year it was released in theaters and a number at the bottom which indicated which tape it was on, and all of the tapes had a single number on it. And I thought my obsession was bad. That only gave me the idea to start doing that myself when I grew older and started collecting movies.
When I had my first Apple //e computer that I bought from my sister and her husband when I was 19 years old, I used the database in the program Apple Works to alphabetize my music and video tapes. It automatically alphabetized the titles for me so that was perfect, I didn’t have to do it anymore. The list wasn’t very long by any means, but for some reason I had to have it. I sold that computer when I was 23 because I needed the money and so I lost the ability to alphabetize easily so I had to go back to writing them down in alphabetical order on a sheet of paper. When I would get a new music CD or a new movie I would have to start the list all over on a new sheet of paper.
I didn’t want to, I had to, don’t ask me why. It caused me so much anxiety to not have them alphabetized and I never understood that.
When I was 35 or 36 years old I found a program called Ant movie catalog which only added to my obsession because you can type in the title of the movie and have it download the movie poster that is on the CD box and it will fill in all the information, like what year it was released, what rating it got (stars as well as PG, R, etc), who is in it, synopsis etc, and it alphabetizes the movies. I had a file for my movies as well as my music, games and programs.
My doctor gave me medicine in the 90’s to control my OCD, and it did help, but then I was taken off of it by a psychiatrist who didn’t think that I needed it in 2001. Of course I had totally forgotten that I was taking it for my OCD and anxiety so I never stood up for myself to say hey, if I stop taking this medicine I might have anxiety. He moved and I totally forgot about the medicine until my regular doctor prescribed it for me for anxiety I am currently having. That medicine is Clonazepam which is generic for Klonopin.
I don’t have the urge to alphabetize everything as much as I used to because I’ve suddenly realized it doesn’t matter. I never look at the things that I had alphabetized so I’m not going to lose any sleep if it isn’t coordinated correctly. I still don’t understand why I have that obsession.
More recently my OCD has evolved to washing my hands, locking and unlocking the door, not wanting to touch door handles in public restrooms without using the paper towel I used to dry my hands with as well as stressing out that I might have forgotten to turn something off when I leave the house or that I might have forgotten to lock the front door. I try not to think about things like that, but the thoughts come to mind all the time. I try to ignore it because I know that I did lock the door and turned everything off, but the thought is always there.
I am supposed to take the Klonopin twice a day, but my doctor tells me to only take them when I need them, which is usually twice a day LOL.
I’m sure it’s just a chemical imbalance in my brain, but I am not a neuroscientist so I can’t say what it is for sure, but I do know that I don’t like the anxiety that comes with it because it makes me look like a crazy person, or as my sister likes to call me, a drama queen.