Let me be clear, I do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But, you don't need to be diagnosable to have ritualistic things you do that don't make sense to anyone else, that you can't stop yourself from doing. I call it Almost OCD and everyone's got it. It's the equal opportunity mental illness. The only prerequisite is being human.
It all starts for me with my morning rituals. Coffee and twitter. Compulsively scrolling and searching for content I can share by retweeting it. Which is exactly where my compulsion meets my addiction. After that it's time to get the kids up and off to school. Which requires at least three rounds of attempting to wake the dead before I get the teenagers out of their beds. (Please note: this part is not voluntary.) By this time, the coffee has kicked in and I'm really ready to start obsessing.
When the kids leave, the counter stools are all pulled out cockeyed. Every single morning. Why do they do this? Why can't they push their chairs in? My adrenaline starts. And I have to push them all back in and line them up perfectly. Which is how they'll remain until the kids return from school.
It's about this time that I have to decide what's for dinner. I can't plan a week of meals ahead of time. Because dinner depends on two important factors: the weather and my mood. And how am I going to know these things ahead of time? I'm not psychic. Well, I am in that I know whatever I make my kids are going to hate it, so none of this even matters anyway.
By the time I get in the shower, I've figured out dinner and made a list of things I have to go get to make whatever comfort food for whatever emotion needs to be fed that day. If I don't have it figured out by then, I start to get panicky. Yes, at 7am, I'm stressing about what to make for dinner. And that's when I'll forget to shave a leg, which will drive me insane for the rest of the day.
When I get out of the shower that's when I need to take all the laundry downstairs to the washing machine. Because I do. I'll tell myself not to go in the kids' rooms and check their floors or the floor in the bathroom. But, I can't stop myself. And I'll begrudgingly pick up their clothes they failed to put in the hamper, even though I told them I wouldn't. I hate that! And take it all downstairs in one heaping pile I can't see the stairs over. I don't know why it's so important that I make it in one trip because I will go upstairs and re-check the 2 hampers, 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms at least 3 more times, just to make sure I got everything before I start the load. It's imperative every article of clothing that's dirty be in there. Even though 5 minutes later there's more laundry.
Then, I'll stretch and work out on the pole where I'll either attempt to do something new and/or perfect something that's old. And I will do the same move over and over. Sometimes in excess of 50 times. (Or until I've broken the capillaries in my knee pit, pull a muscle, get motion sickness or start to get a migraine because I tweaked my back again.) And it still won't be good enough. I'll tell myself that I'll only try it one more time. But that's a lie. So I bargain with myself. I'll keep doing it until the end of the song. Or, I'll stop at 9:30 or whatever arbitrary time I make up. And when I do finally stop (well after I promised myself I would), that's when I start berating myself for not being better.
Now, it's time for errands. I'll hop in the car and find a radio station I like. But, only after searching from all the available choices. And then constantly checking to see if there's a better song on another station. And then volume needs to be on an even number. Or a multiple of 5.
If I have an appointment, I'll plug the address into the GPS, even if I know how to get there. It's just a little insurance policy. When I arrive at my destination, I'll check the address, to make sure I'm in the right place. Then I'll re-check again. And then again. I'll still be at least 10 minutes early because I'm always habitually early for everything. If I'm on time, in my mind that means, I'm late. I've tried so hard to break myself of this habit because it sucks to be the first person at any social gathering. Although, I reason that if I'm the first person there, I can leave first. Which totally makes sense to me.
Shopping isn't any better. Say after an exhaustive search, I finally find a denim shirt on-line to replace an old, dying denim shirt that I love and buy it. Then it arrives and it's not denim at all, it's chambray. And chambray isn't denim! But, otherwise I love the shirt. And even though I keep the shirt, I can't wear it. Because I have to wear my old one out completely before I wear the new one. But, I can't wear the old one out, because I don't like the new one as much because it's a lighter fabric and therefore not a good replacement for the old one. So, now I have two shirts I love that I won't wear for fear that I'll never find an equivalent replacement for either of them. It's the same with jeans. And sneakers. I know it's stupid...
but, I can't stop.
Maybe I have Overly Critical Disorder.