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Do I have OCD?

(48 Posts)
Greatnan Fri 11-Nov-11 12:38:22

My grandchildren are convinced I have OCD, so would be interested to know if you think this behaviour is normal:

I make my bed as soon as I get up.
I wash the dishes as soon as I have finished eating.
I put all my clean clothes into their appointed drawer or cupboard and all my dirty washing into the laundry basket.
I hang up my towel and clean the bath every morning.
I keep all my documents in labelled folders.
I answer mail as soon as I receive it.
I check my oil, water and tyres regularly and have my car serviced twice a year.
I make sure I never run out of essentials like toilet rolls, detergent, soap, bin sacks, clingfilm, milk, or teabags.
I check my bank statements, utility bills and tax forms with a calculator.

I find I am often called upon to sort out the messes caused by someone not doing any of the above. One of the reasons why I enjoy living alone is because there is no-one to untidy my flat. However, my books are crammed into my bookcases with no special system.

Should I be receiving treatment?

greenmossgiel Fri 11-Nov-11 12:47:07

No, Greatnan! You're living your life in the way that makes you feel safe and secure. The fact that your books are crammed in (good that -I like to see shelves crammed with books!) perhaps shows that this part of your life gives you pleasure and doesn't need to be controlled. Actually...on reading your post again, I see that I do exactly the same as you - apart from the car stuff, as we no longer have one. smile

absentgrana Fri 11-Nov-11 12:47:30

Greatnan If that list strikes your grandchildren as an indication of illness, I bet you're glad you don't live with them, however much you love them. One of the things about age and experience is that one has acquired all sorts of tips and tricks for making life easy. Putting things in their proper places isn't odd behaviour – it makes them easier to find. Where do they think you should put your clothes when you take them off? Oh, of course, on the floor ready for the laundry maid. Obviously, you have quarrelled with the supply fairy who tops up milk, teabags and loo paper. What you are "suffering" from is tidiness and organisation, not OCD. smile

glassortwo Fri 11-Nov-11 12:51:36

greatnan I would just say that your system is you being tidy minded and is just saving you time, 'a stitch in time'.

Annobel Fri 11-Nov-11 12:55:06

I don't know if you suffer or don't suffer from anything. I only know that I am your evil twin.grin

effblinder Fri 11-Nov-11 12:58:04

I don't think you have OCD but I am definitely very jealous of how organised you sound!

glammanana Fri 11-Nov-11 12:58:20

greatnan you live in your own flat that you keep neat and tidy for your ownwelbeing not anyone else's,if you lived in say a very large house which DH and I owned before our move abroad you can get away with a bit of clutter here and there but once you downsize you have to keep up with things or things will overtake you,you do not have any OCD at all you are just a tidy minded

Butternut Fri 11-Nov-11 13:32:43

Are you my twin?

All sounds perfectly normal to me! smile

Seriously, I doubt there is anything you have written that would lead me to think you had OCD. Unless you have been economical with your post.

I feel the expression 'OCD' is now used, and is seen by many of the younger generation, as something to explain away, or to tease someone about a minor behaviour pattern or routine, that really is of no consequence at all. I doubt they are fully aware of the serious and life limiting problems OCD presents.

Perhaps you might like to ask yourself this:

Do any of your behavioural patterns impact upon your life to such an extend that you find it impossible to live it fully and happily? Does it stop you doing things that you enjoy? Do you panic if you are unable to complete any set tasks in the order to which you want to do them?

And the big question: If it is life limiting, what is the pay-off for continuing with this behaviour or set of patterns?

I think there is a huge gap between being 'set in one's ways' and maybe going a 'little over the top' to having clinical OCD.

Hope this has been useful.

syberia Fri 11-Nov-11 13:36:30

Phew! I shall tell my DD that I am perfectly normal then and refer her to this page!!! smile

bagitha Fri 11-Nov-11 14:23:09

No, you don't have OCD; you're just organised. It makes life easier, doesn't it? I've noticed that people who like to be thought of as 'laid back' are, in fact, just disorganised. This often affects other people as well as themselves. I find it far less stressful to be organised about things like bills and car services than it would be to be 'laid back' about them, which seems to mean letting things go wrong and having to do things in haste.

A friend who does suffer from a mild form of OCD told me I am 'relaxed' and 'calm' but not laid back. No wonder I like her! wink

nanachrissy Fri 11-Nov-11 14:33:22

I love being organised, it makes life so much easier. You know where everything is (if you can remember!) and you are more prepared for whatever may happen next. Your OCD = normal to me wink

Greatnan Fri 11-Nov-11 14:56:38

Thanks to all of you for your reassuring posts. I do admit to feeling a bit uneasy if I can't straighten a picture, but the only impact my tendency to be obsessive has had on my life is as I described in the weight loss forum - I have become addicted to taking very long walks and think I have lost weight too drastically. I do feel stodgy and unhealthy if I can't get out because of bad weather. I never panic - I am a very calm person but I think the mention of control is significant.
Seven years ago my daughter came close to death when a gastric band operation was botched. The medical negligence case took seven long years to settle, during which time I had to take over her affairs and try to deal with her mounting debts. She lost her business and her home and I had to sell my own home in France and lend her the money to pay off the debts. I felt completely out of control of the situation.
I had to live with her and the children for 18 months and all of them are extremely messy, so I ended up doing virtually all the housework, laundry, shopping and taxiing and it had a very bad effect on our relationship.
It seems impossible for people who don't care about cleanliness and tidiness to understand the feelings of those of us who do!

absentgrana Fri 11-Nov-11 15:05:45

Greatnan Don't forget how people bandy about technical terms – OCD, psychotic, schizophrenic – without understanding them or using them in a proper context. I would guess that your grandchildren are just taking the micky because you are well organised and tidy. One day they will have to run their own lives. I didn't realise that your first post had a genuine underlying concern and apologise if I was offensively flippant. I have known people with OCD and it's a much bigger and life-disturbing, lie-consuming problem than anything you have mentioned. I think your life sounds good because it suits you.

absentgrana Fri 11-Nov-11 15:06:43

life-consuming, not lie-consuming (but that might be Freudian). Sorry.

numberplease Fri 11-Nov-11 15:18:14

No, Greatnan, you`re not OCD, just conscientious and well organised, which I definitely am not. But I think that I may have a touch of OCD, in that I like the bathroom towels and flannels to hang in a certain way, also the teatowel in the kitchen, and on the settee there`s my current book, on top of which there`s the phone, and my glasses case, and at the side of it, the TV and DVD remote controls, always in the same order.

Butternut Fri 11-Nov-11 15:31:47

I always straighten a picture, because it gives me pleasure, greatnan . I love shape and form and enjoy visual harmony. I have been teased for my tidiness, applauded for my 'artiness', always have piles of books and candles on the kitchen table, and complimented on the serenity of my surroundings. I would say I am fairly controlled, but in a way that pleases me. It is my home and my pleasure.

You've clearly had a dreadful time during your daughter's problems, so now it seems to me that you have every reason to embrace and enjoy your life exactly as you wish to.

absentgrana Fri 11-Nov-11 15:47:36

I can't help feeling that there's some unnecessary protesting here. Surely everyone likes to live in congenial surroundings. For some of us that means colour co-ordinated towels in the bathroom, precisely positioned cushions on the sofa, straight-hanging pictures, bills and letters filed or a neatly stacked vegetable rack so you can find the onions in the dark (should you want to). One person likes the books in alphabetical order by author but doesn't care which way the handles of the coffee mugs are turned, someone else likes to pay all bills the day arrive but is happy to leave the ironing stacking up in a basket for three weeks. These are our lives – not subject to someone else's judgement. If it isn't the way we prefer, none of us is going to have a nervous breakdown. It's not a compulsion of any sort – just many years of deciding how we like our lives and homes to be. Come on – most of us have grandchildren who are more than capable of wrecking any sort of order in any room in homes within minutes of arrival – and don't we love them?

Greatnan Fri 11-Nov-11 15:50:58

My original post was a bit flippant anyway, so I certainly did not take any offence.
I have unfortunately become all too familiar with psychological phraseology as my daughter has suffered post traumatic stress, depression, and addiction to codeine since her operation.
Ironically, before she emigrated to New Zealand my older daughter was the Drug Action Officer for a large area and she was able to explain most things to me.
It has occurred to me that I might have been suffering PTSD myself as I had to stand by her bed for four hours watching her vomit up litres of blood, then wait (alone) for three hours to see if they could repair her stomach. Don't be dangerously ill in hospital on a Friday evening! I have to smile at programmes like Casualty , where there is always a nurse or doctor on hand to comfort worried relatives. When I asked a young doctor what the prognosis was, he replied cheerfully 'Not good, it is a very risky operation'. When she came out of surgery I asked again and this time he said 'Well, her organs might fail'. Nobody offered me any support or sympathy and I had to wait all night to see if she would survive. I turned 63 at midnight - not the best birthday of my life. I think I was frozen with horror as I seemed to focus on minor points, like whether I would tell her sister or her children first if she died.
I have not been able to discuss my own feelings except with my other daughter, as it seems selfish , compared with what my daughter has suffered.

absentgrana Fri 11-Nov-11 16:15:24

Greatnan Gosh. How our children occupy our thoughts, hearts and minds. I feel a connection with you as my daughter lives in New Zealand (and I am highly organised and tidy, going back to your original post). My daughter has had one very worrying very early premature birth and a couple of other worrying pregnancies. The big fear in our family was the prospect that I was going to peg just before my twenty-first birthday. I don't know how my parents coped but I was always aware of how much worse the whole process was for them than it was for me, simply because it was about me and I knew how I felt, in spite of the bad state I was in. What can I possibly say about this terrible time you have endured, but it is over, so far as I understand? That you have had to cope with serious worry in this way, hasn't turned you loopy and, of course, you want your life under your control. Seems cool to me. smile

greenmossgiel Fri 11-Nov-11 16:27:00

Greatnan - what an absolute nightmare you've been through. You've suffered terrible fears and concerns over the last while. There is no way at all that your feelings could be considered selfish. Any mother would be ripped apart by the fear of what was happening to your daughter, and you had no control whatsoever over anything to do with it. Lack of information on her care must have driven you up the wall with anxiety - I can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like. I hope things are settled now - and if you like to keep a close eye on how household things are run, then so be it. Be kind to yourself. thanks

nanachrissy Fri 11-Nov-11 16:37:09

Bless you Greatnan what a dreadful time you've been through. No wonder you want everything in it's place etc. I can totally understand that as it is my way of coping too. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are among friends here.xx thanks smile

Greatnan Fri 11-Nov-11 16:52:04

How kind you all are. My daughter has refused to have a hernia repair - partly because with such a large one the chance of recurrence is very high, and partly because she is now terrified of surgery. For some months, she could not shop in Tesco because the overhead lights reminded her of the operating theatre.
I don't know if our relationship will ever get back to what it was - she likes to be the one doing the giving and has found it very hard to have to rely on me. Drugs mess up the brain, so she does not always see things logically.
Of course, as a mother, you can't win. I could show her how much I had lost financially but that would make her feel bad and that is the last thing I want to do, so I let her believe that she has repaid me in full.

One of the worst things for me is that I have lost almost all my trust in the medical profession. We were lied to repeatedly, notes were changed or were said to have gone missing, and she was covertly videod to see if they could deny her claim to be disabled.
Just one thing finally amused us - the surgeon had apparently operated on some poor women after his medical insurance had been revoked, so they were going to have to sue him in his personal capacity. He promptly put all his assets, including his million pound house, in his wife's name (mind you, the Official Receiver would have soon spotted that ruse). His wife then left him for a younger doctor, leaving him totally broke. As he has ruined the lives of about a dozen women that we know about because they successfully sued, I cannot feel any sympathy for him.

silverfoxygran Fri 11-Nov-11 17:14:57

I think there is too much labelling today - ADHD, OCD. Most of us have our little foibles and they make us who we are. I had 2 boys a year apart and then a daughter a little later. It was impossible to keep up with tidying and I longed for a polished shiny home so now I have it. What's wrong with that.

Anyway with what you've been through greatnan a think a label of 'supermum' fits far better than OCD. wink

Carol Fri 11-Nov-11 17:16:55

No, you don't describe the symptoms of OCD, such as obsessional hand-washing, house cleaning from top to bottom to stave off fearful consequences, continuous counting or tapping out patterns around things like light switches, going back again and again (and again ad infinitum) to checks doors, gas off etc. You are exceptionally organised - I am the opposite end of the spectrum - please come and stay with me until Christmas, and everything will get done!!!

Jacey Fri 11-Nov-11 17:17:56

OK Greatnan ...have read all the posts on this thread ...have come up with various words that could/might fit OCD ...some not repeatable ...please will you enlighten me?