What’s your obsession?

According to the dictionary, obsessive-compulsive-disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder in which patients are driven to repeat the same act, such as washing their hands, over and over again, usually for many hours.

Being of Sri Lankan heritage, I have a little OCD.

I don’t wash my hands continually in an “out, damned spot” Macbeth- kind of way, but I do run lists in my head that must be completed before I leave the house. Dress, do my hair, pack my bag, make the bed, eat breakfast and brush my teeth.

I also do a walk-through of each room in the flat, making sure it is neat and tidy. Not clean. Most people mistakenly think the place is clean- but that is merely the illusion that tidiness creates.

I know my Sri Lankan mother also has this problem as it drives me nuts when I am waiting for her to come and visit and she can’t seem to leave the house early as she has to do a quick tidy up first.

There is also a running list of chores that I need to do in my head. Fortunately this one doesn’t run every day or I may never get out the door. This may also be part of the reason why I don’t want a bigger place to live.

After leaving home, I lived by myself for a number of years and the OCD was easy to manage. Everything was still where I left it that morning when I returned from work each night.

Living with a partner, on the other hand, can sometimes be a challenge. Probably not just for me.

The only way I can deal with someone else’s mess is to allocate corners or areas where everything of theirs gets dumped and then I don’t have to think about it. Not very nice of me I know, but perhaps I just have an understanding husband who also likes the benefits of having a tidy house.

Over the years, I have heard stories of Sri Lankan aunts who suffer from the same disorder to varying degrees. Is it a cultural thing? Or a genetic disorder? Or a female thing?

The theory is that OCD is learned behaviour and distorted beliefs that could either be genetic or the result of chemical, structural and functional abnormalities in the brain.

So, for now, the jury is still out. But I can still blame my mum right?

Replublished to Story2Share.

18 thoughts on “What’s your obsession?”

  1. For a while I could not leave the house without checking and rechecking that the knobs on the stove were off. Even if I hadn’t used the stove that day. I managed to break that habit and took that as a lesson not to start another trend in my life like that. I am not sure it is a bad thing, more a quirk. Something that makes you special 🙂

  2. Oh this made me laugh! I am afflicted with the list disorder as well as being a bit of neat freak. I have been criticized for the neat thing, but I always tell people that if they could see what is going on inside my head, they’d understand why I can’t have (2) big messes at one time:) So, for me, keeping my surroundings neat allows my thoughts to fly freely.

  3. I think I too have OCD. As I have to do exactly same everyday what you are doing before leaving home.
    When I was doing my master I was living in hostel and I have seen many girls washing hands again and again that you will get sick to see them doing that repeatedly.
    I think this behavior of finishing home stuff before leaving in female thing.
    I always give a last trip after opening my main door and make a check of lights, fans, water tabs and gas…. This is like a must everyday.

    1. Perhaps females just genetically think of these things more than some men? Most blokes I know can only think of one thing at a time- but that’s why we love them 🙂

  4. It must be hard to have to cope with something that a spouse does that makes you feel compelled to fix. I don’t know whether the disorder is genetic or cultural but I don’t believe it is only females that have it.

  5. I am the exact opposite of you. I can forget a lot of things because I don’t check the lists in my head. I don’t tidy up the place. My pace is always messy and un tidy. I thought i have a disorder of not tidying up. I can go out with dishes in the sink, the bed unmade and everything scatter around. I tried several methods to make my place look better, including Flylady.
    My obsession is making mess around me and be happy. I have the feeling of ants in the pants if I am not making something with my hands. Thanks to my husband, who tells me how to make things look neat before company comes.

  6. Interesting read Rosh. I used to be a neat freak pre-baby but post-baby I’m the total opposite! How’d that happen!? Now that’d make for an interesting study…

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