Thursday, November 02, 2006

My OCD (Personal)

Monk is a TV series about an obssesive-compulsive detective who is able to solve even the most mind-boggling cases despite his condition. I never liked that show. It just gives me the chills everytime Monk starts rearranging a bouquet of flowers or flips a switch several times before actually stopping. It just brings back dark memories.

A few years ago, I remember waking up every night to make sure every rug in my double-storey house has its fringe straightened. Then I'd proceed to rearrange my toilet slippers so as to have its tip faced straight at the toilet. Then right before going to bed, I'd flick my light switch twice. And when I thought everything was done, I'd wake up again just to recheck everything to make sure I didn't miss a rug or a toilet slipper.

I just had this feeling that if I do not perform or miss anyone of those midnight rituals, something very bad is going to happen to me in my sleep. Like maybe I would wake up the next day to find that I have a disease. Growing up, I have always been a worry wart. Why is it so hard for me to breath? Why am I always having a migrane? Why am I going to the toilet so often? I was so afraid contracting a disease.

I never told my parents about it. Though once I got really worried and had my mum bring me to the clinic just so I can check for signs of asthma. At that time, I also wanted to scream, "Doctor, I think I also have diabetes and a brain tumor!" but I kept my cool. The doctor told me that I was perfectly fine and that my breathing problem was all in my head.

Besides my obsession with personal health, I also had another compulsion. I used to worry that every night, I would be kidnapped. The sound of my house gate rattling and light taps in my living room would send me shivering under my blanket. If that was't enough, I also had a fear of being abducted by (don't laugh) extraterrestrial beings. It didn't help that my house was so close to the airport. Midnight landings used to scare the hell out of me.

Clearly I had a lot of fatuous fears while I was growing up. That is why as I got older I learned to suppress those thoughts by performing several self-made rituals at night when everyone is asleep (so my family won't think I'm crazy). But I always thought that I'm one of the lucky few who turned my obsession into something healthier. It was Form 4 when I started to look to text books as a new form of escape.

So every night instead of repositioning rugs and toilet slippers, I would read my school text books several times until I got sleepy. But even that proved tedious. After I've switched off the lights, I would occupy my head by revising everything that I've read but whenever I hit a road block, "Oh crap, what's the definition of Newton's 3rd Law again?", I'd immediately get up from my half-asleep state and find the answers. Sometimes I end up overdoing it till I never get any sleep for the entire night.

But as time passed, I had more 'real' things to worry about. Thank goodness for adulthood. Slowly, all of my inane fears dissolved away. No longer do I have silly thoughts flooding my mind, no longer do I have to perform crazy repetitive rituals, no longer do I have to suffer sleepless nights and of course, no longer do I score well in my exams. Sigh.

Truth of the matter is I do miss having an overwhelming sense of worry even if it is for something so preposterous. Now I could have my rugs all messed up, shoes thrown everywhere, have noises echoing from downstairs, books half-revised and yet still be able to sleep soundly at night. But so very seldomly, I would wake up and think to myself, "I miss those times when I actually cared."

4 comments:

p-t

Ben, whats an OCD?

Benjamin

You can find out more about Obssesive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) here.

-=[W]=-

David Beckham has a form of OCD. He has a compulsion to make his surroundings symetrical.

OCD isn't that uncommon. It's just that a lot of people have it but they just don't realise or they knew that there is something wrong but just can't put their finger on it.

My personal take on OCD is that sometimes, it might just be neurotic tendencies manifesting itself in an eccentric manner (eg. people with too much time on their hands or unable to channel these tendencies the way you do). OCD might just be a lable.

Or maybe it works in reverse, perhaps some forms of neurotic behaviour and tendencies are in fact OCD.

Regardless, time to count the smokes in my packet again to make sure I've got even numbers and re-arrange the lighters so they're all facing north....

qiwei

Gee, i never knew you have OCD. Well, all of us have some secrets to keep right? As for me, I was suffering from depression during Form 4 & 5. I never realized it until I started Lower 6. Gosh, the trouble concentrating in class, feeling down without reason, the frequent suicidal thoughts etc.
Yet, it also surprises me how I manage to camouflage everything. By the way, are you still suffering from OCD now? Have your parents found out?

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