Other Ramblings...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Most people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 'have' a number which most of their compulsions are based around.

When I was younger, and I went through a prayer-based phase, I didn't have a number.  I used to have to say 'please' until it felt 'right'.  Back then, I used to long for a number so that I didn't have to repeat things so many times because saying 'please' - even if it is in your head - a couple of hundred times before you can go to sleep is, to put it mildly, a bit of a trial.

It wasn't until quite recently, when I suddenly knew one day that I had to ring the bell on the bus three times that my number had arrived.  Now, everything is three.  I have to touch wood three times if I say something which might have implications on something else (for example, saying, 'Aren't these shoes comfortable?!' would probably result in me having to touch the nearest wooden object three times so that the shoes don't become incredibly painful and cripple me with blisters.  If there is no wood, I panic.) or I have to say something three times in my head.

Why the number three?  I was watching Jon Richardson's programme about OCD last night and most of the people who were featured use four a lot in their compulsions.  To me, the number three is 'rounder' and less intrusive than the number four.  Four is a messy pattern in my head whereas three forms something which is perfect in itself.  I was talking to another OCD-er recently and she agrees although, in her OCD, the number four took on a much stronger meaning; four was the 'anti-number', if you like, and something to be avoided at all costs.

Now that I've got 'my number', I'm not sure I like it (OCD and I have bargained on that: apparently I'm not allowed to write that, but I am allowed if I cross it out...don't ask!).  I guess that having OCD is such a prescriptive, ordered way to live that it was nice to have some unpredictability about it, but then at least I'm not stuck doing things until it's 'right' anymore.

Clouds and silver linings!

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