Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Superstition...or OCD?

To think that my worst fear has come to reality. I ran out of Purell hand sanitizer. There’s no turning back, except for that trip to the drug store to purchase more. My friend advises me I should stock up on the BJ family size—which is the size of a keg of beer. I’m not that obsessed, but I’m getting there. I keep trying to squeeze out the last drops of remaining Purell that was stuck to the sides of the bottle.

*Spsssssssssssss! Spsssssssssss!* is all that you hear coming from my office.

*Spsssssssssssss! Spsssssssssss!* again, trying to make sure there’s absolutely none left.

OCD isn’t just trying to be pathetically clean all the time. It’s other things as well. For instance, what do you think of someone who’s super super superstitious? Think about it.

“Step on a crack, break your mama’s back.” (Those of you who have sent the movie, “As Good as It Gets”, shows Jack Nicholson hopping through sidewalks, avoiding any crack to be seen. When he sees a cobblestone sidewalk, he nearly faints!)

“Don’t open that umbrella inside! It’s bad luck!” (Another OCD symptom. Think about it—it’s obsessive to think that bad luck will come to an open umbrella that needs drying off.)

“Don’t break that mirror! Seven years bad luck!” (Come on now…)

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would yell at me for placing my shoes on the table. I have no idea why I did this, but if I did, she was sure to correct me and tell me that it was bad luck if I did that. So anytime I see someone placing their shoes—even if they are super clean and new, I cringe and take them off immediately. I have no idea where that wives’ tale comes from, but it still bothers me till this day.

Okay, the number deal. I know, that’s a typical sign of the OCD mania. I used to do things in even numbers only. My favorite number was four—because I have three older sisters, making us four in total. I did this in numbers, but would avoid the number *6* for the entire family, fearing that two more 6’s would follow. Get me?

Now, I do things in threes. I know, stupid. I pump my lotion in threes, I pump the Purell in threes, I even spray my hair in threes. Three, being the trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) to give me protection and good luck. So it’s not too far off from all these other superstitions that everyone else has, right?

My socks have to be lined up evenly, and perfect. The line (the seam) by the toes have to be just right. It can’t be crooked or out of place. My whole day’s ruined if it is. My foot feels awkward and I feel unbalanced.

Now here’s something that I have to live with. I have come to terms with it, because I usually don’t see the number. I have a Nextel phone/two way radio. On the two way radio, you are assigned a totally different number other than your phone number. The ending numbers of mine, is “666”. It creeps me out and is scares me. When I worked for the phone company, I assigned a woman a telephone number with the last three digits of “666”. She was like, “OH NO!!! You assign me another number now!” I felt better, knowing there was someone else like me. But the difference is, I didn’t complain. I should have changed my number when I got it…but was embarrassed to show my OCD.

So what is the difference between OCD and superstitions? Do we all have it? Is it much like manic depressives being called bi-polar now? Is it a new word for something that has existed for years upon years?


Saur♥Kraut said...

Ooooooh, firsties! I have a friend with OCD that's fine till she gets home from work. Then she goes into Full Routine Mode and lets out the dog, takes a shower, etc., all a certain way and in a certain pattern. It's nothing that meds can't fix, but I don't believe in medding anyone up unless absolutely necessary and they're miserable with how the OCD boxes them in.

samuru999 said...

I bet your sock drawer is in perfect order...mine is a mess right now....
but, I am working on straightening it up!
Can you come to Colorado....
and give me a hand....too many socks!
I have a friend that also has to have the seams on her socks lined up evenly and perfectly!

I don't know what the difference between OCD and being superstitious is...
My hubby has a touch of both of these traits....

Well, enjoy the day!


samuru999 said...

Did I say... "A touch of both these traits."?
I should have said..."A full blown
case of these traits."

But, He's the best guy on earth!


J R Estelle said...

Ok, here I go getting all serious on you. I think OCD is when it interrupts your life, such as you must check the door lock at night, no less than 10 ten times before you go to bed (uh yeah, that's me). Superstition is just something you believe in.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Deb, in my humble opinion
and it is only ONE among many ...

There are good Compulsive Habits
1) Check your rear view mirror and wing mirror before pulling out in traffic
2) Brush your teeth when you get up, after every meal and before going to bed
3) Washing your hands is (should be) a ritual in every jewish, christian & muslim household, in fact in most enlightened households, whether it be ritually before eating and/or before praying
4) Wiping your ass is a ritual which some take more seriously, and you ladies wipe your sensitive parts too (not both the same way).

5) SMOKING heavily is a bad Compulsive Disorder
6) DRINKING heavily is a bad Compulsive Disorder
7) BITCHING cussing & swearing are bad compulsive disorders

Make sure you are wearing clean underwear in case you get hit by a car, is one more frequent in modern society - because there are more cars, you are more likely to be hit by a car, and if taken to hospital other people will get to see any 'skidd marks' - which would be embarrassing not only for the child (or youth) but for the mother too. Of course in adults one can only be an embarrassment to one self - and some cannot be embarrassed by anything.

PS - I didn't intend to confuse in previous post. I was just trying to highlight that we invaded Iraq allegedly to remove a cruel dictator, and the only way to stop insurgency & opposition would seem to be by being as harsh as Saddam. Not meaning to justify Saddam, but rather criticise those Yankee (US)Iraqies which have replaced him.

Pittchick said...

I think I have some OCD tendencies, but I'm not superstitious. I've found this great new hand sanitizer that's a lotion, so it doesn't dry out your skin like Purell does. Being in a lab, I wash my hands a lot, and the new lotion helps. I do buy purell at sam's club for the hubby, though. He's around computers all the time and his co-workers are always sick.

GW Mush said...

Its best not to wear undys because if your in an accident, you will never have dirty Undys.
I have some OCD too, i was my hands all day long, and i have a wet washcloth next to my computer mouse to dab my hand on, hehe

Miranda said...

I have a few little superstitions, it used to drive my ex nuts. Like when we were driving to work, and going through every green light. He'd say, this is great we're just speeding along. Sure enough, I'd give him that look and the lights would start turning red.

I use purell now and then, but finds it dries out my skin.

Quasar9 - you said "3) Washing your hands is (should be) a ritual in every jewish, christian & muslim household, in fact in most enlightened households, whether it be ritually before eating and/or before praying" Why should washing hands before eating be a religious thing only? Shouldn't it be something everyone should do?

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

I think the difference is about extremes - if it disrupts your life its OCD other wise its superstition. I don't have alot of superstitions, but rituals, I think, are a mild form of OCD that all of us have to some degree. Rituals fill the need ALL human beings for making order out of the chaos of human existence. My younger son has OCD - I am sure. He lines the books up he wants to read in order on the floor - they have to be read in that order and when you finish each book it must be put in exactly the same place with the corners lined up. And he did this from the time he was very small!!!!

Jazz said...

I don't know what to call it. But I have quirks (I like to call them that for lack of anything better) such as:
If I am eating anything I have to have equal amounts on both sides of my mouth. Like if I'm eating MnM's I have to have two. My husband thinks it's funny to give me and odd amount of things. I will either make him give me one more to even it out or give him one back. Doesn't matter what it is.
If I have an itch on my left foot I have to scratch my right one too in the same spot. They need to be even. It's a freaking wonder I can wear my wedding rings since I don't wear any rings on my right hand. ha ha.

I don't have a problem walking on cracks in the sidewalk or anything but if I walk on one with my right foot I have to step on one with my other foot too. Same concept, it has to be even.

So am I OCD?

Jazz said...

Oh and as soon as I come in the house it's an automatic reaction to lock the dead bolt on the door. My husband always askes why I do this and I have no answer.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Miranda, I was using the word religious as something that we do regularly, as a custom(?):
1) we brush teeth religiously
2) we eat + drink religiously
3) we use the bathroom religiously

ergo we should wash our hands religiously...
cleanliness being next to godliness

of course washing your hands in itself does not make you 'clean' and cannot wash away the blood as Pilate found out. ...

but I think in Deb's case it is more like (hospital) doctors and nurses washing of hands, so you do not carry germs or infection to the next patient or wound
or chefs - washing your hands before messing with food, especially other people's food.

Spitting in other people's food I would term as a childish sociopathic Compulsive Disorder

Miranda said...

Lol ...thanks for clarifying Quasar. I like your example of a childish sociopathic Compulsive Disorder.

~Deb said...

No, I actually do have that "check the stove and lock the doors a few times" type of OCD too. But I think that's a safety net for me because NY isn't to be taken as the most safest city in the world.

I have a touch of all of the OCD features... (ha features) I don't think of them as "disorders" per se, I think of them as preventative measures.

Maybe that does make me sick...who knows! ???

normiekins said...

we all have "tendancies"....my entire garden is planted in threes JMJ (jesus mary joseph), three seeds, three plants grouped together....something my grandmother taught us when we were younger....never stopped.... ;)

Video X said...

I just love OCD people. I find it fascinating. I am sure it is not the most fun thing thought to have it.

CP said...

Shoes on the bed/table meant someone you love will be dying soon.

Just sayin'.

Either that, or both our grandmothers were REALLY fucked up individuals.


GW Mush said...

I feel a need to post on Deb's blog 3 times per day, 3 times, do it in 3's.

P.S. Did you Notice three three's in that post? Gotcha Deb, hehe

Heidi said...

I hate setting my alarm clock for an odd number. My whole day goes wrong if I wake up at 7 or 9.
If I'm setting it for 8:00 it has to be 8:02 or 8:04. I really like when the minutes can be divided into the hour. If it's 8:05 I lie in bed until 8:06. I like even numbers. Nobody knows that about me...

If I eat m&m's they have to be lined up, 4 of each color.

~Deb said...

Hmm, that's interesting, so if someone puts shoes on the table, it means that someone we love is going to die soon? OH LAWD someone help me. That just kicked up another notch in my OCD or superstition! CP- remember, we come from a close knit, Jewish/Italian household. Our grandmothers were probably very much alike! (ha)

And, why is it that when we hit the snooze button on our alarm clocks, that it stops at *9* minutes.

Is it me? Or did anyone else notice that?

The whole world has OCD!!!

GW Mush said...

Does anyone ever notice that when they look at the time on the clock, its happens to be 3:33 so often? And sometimes 11:11?

3:33 AM is the time that the devil, demons, and spirits have easiest access into our world, its called the witching hour or something like that.

say it hot said...

I always look at the clock at 10:10.

The mirror superstition comes from the colonial days. Servants unloading luggage from ships that had traveled overseas had to pay for anything they broke and mirrors were ver expensive. So, if a mirror was broken it was considered seven years to pay for it. That's what I heard.

QUASAR9 said...

Do you lot watch Charmed
easiest access, the witching hour
mirrors ... and what's on the other side

I guess seven years to pay for a broken mirror is woven into the seven year cycles ehh, not that there were many glass mirrors in Egypt, but later I guess ...

I don't think any one is going to die if you leave shoes on a table, but dogs howling at night ... it is eerie in the countryside when one dog barks and the sound carries for miles, and if one dog howls more dogs start howling
but hey thousands of people die every night, thousands die every minute, every second somewhere someone is dying and someone is being born ... the cycle of life

What is more interesting is who is being born where ...
and who was born (or even reborn?) in the 40 years in the wilderness

But I digress, Compulsive disorder?
is learning or wanting to learn a compulsive disorder
is reading or loving to read a compulsive disorder
is loving and wanting to love a compulsive disorder
is blogging and loving to blog a compulsive disorder

will there be in future years an old wives tale blog no more than three hours lest you blog into the witching hour

How about be nice, and don't think twice - or my grandmother's favourite
"do good and be kind, and don't look (think or judge) twice to who you do good or are kind"


Catch said...

I heard the one about shoes on the table when I was very young, and I do not put shoes on the table. I also heard when you see a hearse grab a button or it will be someone in your family next, well..I dont always have a button to grab, but if I do I always grab it. The other one I do is when Im walking with someone if a tree or a pole or something gets between us, I always say " bread and butter", because if you dont you will have an argument. Just silly things that have stayed with me for a long time. I think everyone has at least one of them!

Anonymous said...

You're a mess lil missy. I think we need to do one on one counseling...possibly over a Swanson dinner.


The Absent Minded Landlord said...

I will second (or perhaps third) what a few others have mentioned. For something to technically be a disorder, it must be life altering. One of my psych profs drilled this into our heads as a warning not to start diagnosing ourselves as we leaved about the different symptoms.

Many people have superstitions, ask any athelete for proof. It has more to do with a good-luck/bad-luck type of scenerio. With OCD, life does not go forward unless a certain thing is done or not done.

GW Mush said...

speaking od absurd rituals, what about the circumcision of foreskin for newborn boys?
Oh, and dont tell me about infections, there isnt ant medical proof of that, you can look it up. Even if it helped for that, which it doesnt, could you imagine if it was reversed, that we mutilated part of the vagina of girl babies so they might not have so many yeast infections?
God made the foreskin for a reason, leave it alone.

~Deb said...

GW: I usually catch the clock on 12:21 for some reason. I don’t know why, but I do. Generally, I think that it’s safe to say that we remember the 11:11 or the 3:33 more often.
As far as foreskin on men being ‘unclean’… the key word is good hygiene. Men who don’t wash JUST as women, will develop nastiness. Goes both ways.

Say It Hot: Very interesting. Isn’t that just like when you go bankrupt? You have to wait 7 years before your credit gets back to normal?

Quasar: The witching hour is 3am, right? They say that ghosts are more apparent at 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 (per Sylvia Browne). Yes, I watch her. Now the other day I heard about ten cats howling- well meowing in a spooky way, …what does that mean? It sounded really eerie.

Catch: You just made my OCD tilt a bit there! If I was walking with someone, and they blurted out the words, “bread and butter”, I’d probably burst out laughing. Remember the punch buggies???

Mike: You knew I was a mess from the beginning! You’re on---Swanson’s and Bush beer!

The absent minded landlord: Hmm, not necessarily. I think that OCD can be a “safe” thing if it means being clean, checking the stove and making sure those doors are locked! ;)

GW Mush said...

yes, the 7 year bankruptcy thinggoes back to the old testament in the bible.
Slaves were free'd after 7 years, blah blah blah.

Also, I have 7 toes.

Nihilistic said...

We all have our "little" things. I used to USED to have a compulsion with being even. If I touched something with my right hand I had to touch it with my left to make my hands even. DROVE ME NUTS! I finally had to make myself stop, but I still feel uneven if I don't do it...and I sneak a few in sometimes...LOL

Miss 1999 said...

I totally hear you- my OCD is kinda bad these days. I can't get in bed *anytime* unless I've had a shower, and my bed has been "Febreezed" to kill the bed bugs. I have a horrible fear of bed mites, even though, I can't see them. It sucks, but what can ya do?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Debs,
don't know about cats, I'm not much of a cat person, nor are cats really pets, too egyptian for my taste. I'm more a dog person.

Dogs howling is one that came down thru the ages. You know animals are more sensitive than we dumb humans, they can foretell storms, smell fear, danger, smoke from fires, etc...
and it is said they can sense death (even ghosts? or spirits?)
but this could be myth.

Because a dog howls at night, does not necessarily meam they can foretell death, there is a fair chhance that someone died last night in a village in a 10 mile radius - even smaller radius in NYC

PS - Being clean, checking the stove, turning off the lights, locking the door are all good habits, but we should not obsess about things or even people, no matter how delightful you are
PPS - Do as I say, not as I do. lol!

Anonymous said...

I try not to be superstitious, but there are a few things that I'm positive will bring bad luck. My father and grandmother always yelled at me for rocking an empty rocking chair. I'm not sure why, but now it freaks me out, and I won't let my children do it either. I also have to knock on wood. I swear bad things have happened when I didn't knock on wood. I'm fine with all the other superstitions though, like opening an umbrella indoors, walking under a ladder. Although I did break a mirror the week before I got married, and I ended up getting divorced, so maybe there's some truth in that one. If so, I still have another year before my bad luck is over. :-P
I think we all have a touch of OCD. When I use the microwave, I always set the timer for 58 seconds instead of 60, or 42 instead of 40. And when I set my alarm, I can't set it for the exact hour...it has to be 6:58 or 7:02. I don't know why.

kathi said...

Okay, again...racked my mind (doesn't take long) trying to come up with anything that I do here. The only thing that someone might consider superstitious would be that I will not say things that I don't want to come to fruition out loud, but I believe it's based in faith, not superstition. Power of the tongue (hush, perverts...geeze, lol) and all that. :)

Whatever you do, though, makes you, you...and we love you.

~Deb said...

Wow, it’s great that many of you admit to this stuff! It made me think of others I have and well…still have…like starting a staircase with my right foot only. I don’t know why, I just do. Picture frames in my house have to be perfectly lined up. (I’m sure that’s very common with a lot of you.)

And the Fabreeze on the bed? I have that antimicrobial stuff that I dowse liberally on the mattress----and then I vacuum it up to make sure all the mites or whatever was lurking is dead---and off! I wash my sheets like every other day, in hot hot water and bleach and after THAT---give it a little antimicrobial spray. They even say you should buy a new pillow every three months and change your pillow cases almost every other day. I heard this on Oprah. She had a whole show on it. This is the reason why people get allergies and even break out in acne, because their pillow isn’t as clean as they thought.

And---about cats, I have something to say about that:

A single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii
causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. While the
parasite is found throughout the world, more than 60
million people in the United States may be infected
with the Toxoplasma parasite. Of those who are
infected, very few have symptoms because a healthy
person's immune system usually keeps the parasite from
causing illness. However, pregnant women and
individuals who have compromised immune systems should
be cautious; for them, a Toxoplasma infection could
cause serious health problems.

Not a cat person either!

And Twla, I can’t believe you got divoriced after breaking a mirror! That’s uncanny.

What about when they say if it rains on someone’s casket? Didn’t they have bad luck to start with…if they’re already dead? I never understood that one.

Cinderella said...

Ok, I now believe I suffer from a touch of OCD...I always divide the time on my clock..for instance if it is..say...2:42 pm, I will divide 2 into 42 and get 21 and so on...geeze now I am worried. But you make a good point, superstitions are on the same page.

GW Mush said...

This might be common to most of you, but when I read blog comments, I flip my monitor upside down, then I stand on my head and read all the comments.
I think i do it because I think its an upside down crazy world, and it makes more sense to me that way.

GW Mush said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I prefer manic-depression. It sounds so much more official. Bi-polar sound like I am swinging the bat both ways, and that just is not happening....unless I go back to prison, lol.

Claire said...

Count me in for the OCD confessions. I'm very into numbers - I really dislike numbers which are 1 on from the multiples f 7 (so that's 1, 8, 15, 22, etc.). Why? Because my friend's mum taught me the 'one for sorrow, two for joy'...rhyme, and her version stopped at seven. Ergo, I think in bunches of sevens, and each 'one' is a bad number.

Hee, I'm aware that sounds utterly loony :-).


~Deb said...

But if you really think about it- OCD stems from superstitions, don't you think? Everyone has their little pattern of unique habits. I find it fascinating.

Ut---gotta check if the stove's on!

Natalia said...

666 lol :)
I love purell. But I also know it is part of the problem :) We have been over this.
My dad is very superstitious... ridiculously so. I grew up just accepting this. Some of the stuff he does or doesn't do now seem odd to me but they still hold true for him. Who am I to judge, right? I have my own little rituals. We all do.


Chinky♥ said...

i know this is a very old blog, but hey i'm doing my final year dissertation on this! :)