Monday, May 18, 2015

OCD Lite

Mr Monk and the Keyboard

It's time for a small confession. Marcus and Agata will admit to harmless OCD  (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  Of course we prefer to think of it in other terms

- Particular People

- Gentle OCD
- Bad Memory

OCD At its worst

At its worst OCD can be defined as an Anxiety disorder. Serious sufferers perform repeated actions such as washing, cleaning and checking that might at first appear amusing, but when seen over any time period are recognised as quite disturbing.

5 minute OCD Documentary

OCD and Anxiety

Particular People
It's no secret that Agata and Marcus are quite precise, methodical and persistent.   This is along the same pathway to OCD but at the productive end.

Gentle OCD

Marcus's perspective is that gentle OCD is usually charismatic and part of what makes us different.  

You can test any obsession is not too severe by seeing if you can stop doing it temporarily, and assuming that you can, how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

Essentially if you can't stop doing X, even as a test you need to seek professional help.

Bad Memory Philosophy
There is a philosophical school which suggests that certain low level activities are absorbed into are brain as automatic actions. This is purposefully so, to relieve our brains of thinking the mundane action through.   Locking the car or house door are common examples.

And so when we reflect on whether we carried out the action, our "brain" just cannot remember, it was performed automatically. Many  actions fall into this category and so when I really want to know whether I locked the door I may have to go and re-check it, even though in the last 100 occasions it was never found to be unlocked.

Too Important Wasteful

Being a particular person I am quite critical of people who claim they are too busy to be careful, and cost justify an overtly wasteful and intentionally careless lifestyle.

It typically goes like this: My time is too precious to do:  Any recycling, to put my litter in bins, to park my car properly etcetera.

Such people use the cost of their time to justify selfish, unsociable, wasteful and bigoted behaviours. Basically they are wankers with a cost benefit excuse.

Friends OCD Confessional
I asked friends for their OCD/ foibles.  Thanks to those who replied and here is a small anonymous selection:

-  Toilet paper has to fall over the top and be presented (I've been known to turn it round at other people's houses).

- Checking the light switch is off multiple times because that last click didn't feel "right".

- Weighing and graphing my weight every day for the last ten years.

- Checking car keys, house keys, wallet and phone are where I left them.

- All underwear must be matching and must match the outfit worn on top.

- Keeping all the computers with ALL the latest application updates, OS,  security updates, virus updates

- When hanging washing on a rotary line all underwear must be hung on the outside of the line. Socks must be in pairs and bras and knickers in their matching sets. 

- Plastic washing up bowls must be cleaned immediately after use to ensure they are stain free.

- Checking the speed limit on a road I have driven on by looking at the signs on Google maps

- It is obligatory to wash my face and pee and have popcorn before a film.

- Every time the mailbox is passed it must be checked even though there is only one delivery per day

- Food types must be separate on a plate and always eaten individually.  They must not be mixed on the fork.

- All pillows must be placed on the bed with the opening facing the same way, unless it means the pattern does then not match the duvet or the curtains.

- Earrings and necklaces must match and must match/tone/compliment outfit.

- House must be cleaned in this strict order: dust, wipe down, swifter, Hoover, clean floors.

- The petrol gauge in the car must NEVER read below a quarter.

- I have to eat toast by biting the corners first, then eating the crusts around and then what's left of the centre after. 

- The stacking of my food bowls, one stack for striped and another for non-striped (never mixed).

- Todo lists are written with the title in red felt and the rest in black pen, crossed out once done in blue.

- If using both shampoo and conditioner they must be the same brand.

- When putting tinned foods in the cupboards like should be with like, and sweet and savoury should not be mixed

- Magazine, newspapers etc are always read from the back

- Doors are locked, lights off, appliances off.

- Checking car is locked, brake on, in neutral, windows shut, boot locked, interior light off 

- Semi skimmed milk always on the right in the fridge door - full fat to the left.

- Washing hands because the last thing I touched might not have been clean.

- Restoring a computer if the slightest unexpected thing happens, so that the computer is perfect.

Marcus / Agata OCD 

(Marcus unless noted)

  • All fluids in fridge door are sorted in weight order with the heaviest closest to hinge to put least stress on hinge.
  • Toilet paper roll holder comes out at the top
  • Paper money must be sorted from small to large denominations and all in same orientation
  • Putting dirty plates and kitchen pots into dishwasher as the meal proceeds

  • (Agata) Putting the spoons into the dishwasher correctly end up. Marcus says: who does that, really that's weird!

  • Checking the front door is locked
  • Checking the heater in the basement is off
  • Listening to my Podcasts in time sequence
  • Stacking the cups in the cupboard: higher the shelf the taller the cup
  • Sports clothes are used once then washed. - We just like the luxury of starting an exercise in fresh clothes.  However this does mean we change our clothes at least 3 times each, for each of us, per day.
  • All spare cables and tools must be put away before the next day if working on a computer or electronics project

  • (Agata) fastidiously cleans all her sports equipment.  Here you see the inner lining of the Cycle helmet is washed
  • (Agata) Unlocking the car first then boot second just in case car keys fell inside the boot(trunk)  and fell closed, locking us out
  • (Agata) Turning lights off after exiting a room even if you are shortly to return.

Known Foibles

  • Never installing Computer fixes immediately (need confirmation from Forums they are okay)
  • Making sure that I complete my 21K daily steps
  • Sunday is music preparation day for the coming week
  • Every item we own is photographed and every document scanned
  • At least 3 copies of all Computer data, stored in at least 3 different countries
  • Always try to wash my hands when entering home  (This is honour of Marcus's parents who emphasised this behaviour since they lived for decades in countries without comprehensive sanitation)
  • Never sitting down on public toilet seats!  (We think this is just basic paranoid hygiene)
  • An excessive focus on reducing weight
  • Shower after exercise. This usually results in over 3 showers per day and 3+ clothes changes which could be regarded as excessive.

Our Hero: Mr Monk
Mr Monk on a Motorcycle

Mr Monk is a now ended TV series about an American detective with quite severe OCD which he uses to his advantage to solve criminal cases.

Mr Monk and the Blood Test

Mr Monk touching the Lamp

(Unfortunately there are hundreds of un-watchable low quality Mr Monk YouTube clips.  Don't be tempted, just buy the DVDs below)

So in summary:  We think that mild OCD, which we classify as Charming OCD is an essential part of modern characterful living.  And we would not want to lose it for the world.

And detective Adrian Monk is our hero!