According to WebMD, 3.3 million adults in the United States have some degree of O.C.D., Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I don’t know how WebMD came up with that statistic, but I suspect there are millions more cases that are never reported.
I have a mild case of O.C.D. but have never felt the need to seek professional help. I have figured out some ways to deal with it. There are lots of places on the internet to get detailed technical information about O.C.D., so I won’t bother to cut and paste any of that. I’ll just share a couple of ideas which might help you, or someone you know, who has a mild case of O.C.D. (Note: If I had a serious case you probably wouldn’t be reading this. I’d still be editing, working on about my 6OOth rewrite.)
I have learned to deal with O.C.D. in a manner similar to the common memory technique of association. Tie the word in with a graphic image, make it as bizarre as you can. For example, you might remember Mrs. Burnside’s name by picturing, not just something burning, but something weird like a snowman burning… but, burning just on the sides. Picture it, a snowman…burning, just on its sides. . . and melting fast. Get it? Just don’t mess up and call Mrs. Burnside “Mrs. Snow.” This example would be even more effective if Mrs. Burnside actually looked like a snowman. Of course there are other ways to remember names. For example: If someone named Moran, is a moron, that’s a piece of cake. I actually know a plumber named Carpenter. But, we got off track. . . back to O.C.D
My biggest nuisance with O.C.D. is making sure the door is closed when taking the dog out. While my dog, Roy, waits patiently wondering what the heck I’m doing, I firmly grip the door handle, pushing it gently against the latch, and create a mental picture of, for example, a green elephant pushing the door closed with his trunk. I repeat the mental process. Half way down the street, when I’m asking myself, “Did I close the door?” the green elephant responds, “I’ve got it. Don’t worry.” Next day, different picture. You can always trust a green elephant to have your back. Or a purple kangaroo, for that matter.
Original version published 10/19/15 as “Is That Door Closed” Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for someone else. If you think you have a serious case of O.C.D. please consider seeking professional advice.