Golly, what should I wish for? I'm perfect. The cake is perfect. My life is perfect. Hmmm.

Golly, what should I wish for? I’m perfect. The cake is perfect. My life is perfect. Hmmm.

Back in the day, I used to be called a perfectionist.

That was a label I could embrace; it sounded so, well, perfect.

Who wouldn’t want to be a perfectionist? Doesn’t it sound so, help me out here, People…perfect?

But somewhere along the way, the medical-industrial complex got their grimy gloves on just about every facet of human quirkdomery and turned my tidy perfectionism into something dreadfully scary and unpleasant sounding: obsessive compulsive disorder. Of course, it has an acronym (what self-destructive psychological condition worth its medication would be without an acronym?): OCD.*

So, the former perfectionist is now an OCDer.

Hey, wait a minute! What changed? I'm still the same little sweetheart but now the rules have changed. No fair!

Hey, wait a minute! What changed? I’m still the same little sweetheart but now the rules have changed. No fair!

All those behaviors that used to bring praise and appreciation from my mom, teachers, and adults who needed to keep hoards of young people in check are now evidence of my need for therapy, medication, or ridicule.

Oh yeah, you heard me. Ridicule. All those imperfectionists out there are having a high old time, flaunting their slap-happy, good-enough-or-not-at-all, half-baked approaches to important life issues and telling me I should  relax a little.

Well, my OCDisms are practical and could come in real handy in an emergency.

Perhaps some examples will convince you.

Half = empty

This translates into me having to make sure everything I own that can be full is full. I have to make sure that the batteries on my iGadgets are never below 80% charged. My gas tank must be full for me to feel comfortable. The closer it gets to half, the edgier I get. Even my Brita water filter needs to be full. I’m constantly topping that sucker off.

Panic time!

Panic time!

This all may sound silly, but if there is ever a power outage, my phone, computer, water filter, and car will be ready for the long haul–although I may turn everything off to conserve the full battery status, not drive, and hide the water filter jug. Being without power is bad enough, People. Watching the life drain from my gadgets would unduly stress me.

Straight lines and symmetry

Whether it’s hanging pictures or quilts on the wall or making the bed (which, by the way, must be done every day without fail in case someone stumbles into my bedroom and can report that I am not a slob), balance is paramount. Pillows must be placed so they are equidistance from the edges of the bed. The quilt on the bed must be lined up so that it hangs perfectly straight and is balanced (same distance from the floor on each side of the bed). Rugs must be lined up to be parallel with the walls or the lines on the wood/tile floor.

This is serious business. Imagine if you enter a space where everything is cockeyed. You might think something is wrong with you…or that there has just been an earthquake. Imagine the distress you could unnecessarily cause by having crooked or asymmetrical furnishings.

See what I mean? Quite unnerving.

See what I mean? Quite unnerving.

Clutter Cutter

There are probably some OCDers who collect all manner of things.

I’m not one of them. I’m the opposite. I abhor clutter. Think minimalist.

There is a place for everything and it’s usually not in my home. If it has to be in my home, please let it be neatly placed in a labeled box in a closet.

If you need to find something in my home, I know where it is. I know if I have it and can put my hands on it within a few minutes. Okay, so I maybe throw away some things that I don’t think are useful that, say, a man I’m living with might think is very important. Is that a reason to suggest therapy and medication?

Cozy, huh?

Cozy, huh?

That’s it. Not so bad, right?

Oh, all right. I am unnaturally concerned with Fozzie’s bowel movements (that he hs them and their quality) and the toilet paper simply must be put on the holder so that the sheets are facing down when you reach for them. Work with gravity, People, not against it!

How could you make the bear poopie effect if the roll went the other way. Case closed!

How could you make the bear poopie effect if the roll went the other way. Case closed!

Oh, and I pride myself on my beautiful penmanship–something that those credit card signing machines make very hard to do.

But, because I’m Buddhist and should be better at letting things go, I really should try to de-OCD-ify myself. Of course, because I’m a Buddhist, I should not be placing expectations on myself (or shoulding on myself), but everyone knows being a Buddhist isn’t as easy as it looks.

I simply don't have room in my house to meditate like this. Does this make me a bad Buddhist or just one not into soup?

I simply don’t have room in my house to meditate like this. Does this make me a bad Buddhist or just one not into soup?

I’ve tried the de-OCD-ification thing on my own and, let me tell you, it’s not going well.

My batteries are all charged up.

My gas tank is full.

The Britta water filter is full.

My bed is made and the sheets/covers/pillows are perfectly aligned.

No clutter to be found in my house.

I'm

I’m a mess.

 

If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need your help.

Which OCD issue do you think I should start with? And what techniques should I use to de-OCD-ify myself?

I'm sure you know the feeling. Paddling to beat the band and getting nowhere...fast.

I’m sure you know the feeling. Paddling to beat the band and getting nowhere…fast. A little help is all I need.

*I realize that many people suffer with OCD (2.2 million Americans). This post in no way belittles or negates their real condition and the debilitating effects it has on theirs lives and the lives of those they love. For more information, click here.