bsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is not just someone's psychotic preference of 'Order vs Chaos' in their lives. It's a decease often haunting their lives, as well as others surrounding them, to the extent that it may become intolerable. What is OCD? Ever heard of people washing their hands a zillion times? or arranging toiletteries in a perfect chronological order of the intended sequence of use? or having multiple locking systems on a single door? These are all examples of OCD. It drives people to the realm of madinsanity.
In a New Straits Times article on 23 March 2010 (pages 16 - 17) titled Having an Obsession by Kasmiah Mustapha, it seems that psychiatrists from hospitals confirmed that OCD is a disease within the category "Mental Illness" and there are medical remedies. Medical remedies? these people with OCD just needs a punch right in the middle of their nose to wake up from their dream of a perfect world. Sorry, that was just a joke. I declare that I too, have OCD - Does it make me a mental patient? So go ahead and punch me!
To share my life with everyone, here are my top 10 OCD's ranked by order of severity (measured by the level of my wife's intolerable screams):
No. 10: Neat but Not Necessarily Clean
A lot of people like to keep things clean and tidy. For me, I don't mind not being clean but tidiness is a must. The clothes may be dirty but as long as they are arranged nicely, I am O.K. The papers and envelopes may be junk but as long as they are neatly piled up, they are good to stay that way. The car may be full of dirt but as long as you don't leave those Mars Bars wrappers in my car, I am cool.
No. 9: Inability to Accept Failure
Failure does not necessarily means failing exams or some big deal undertaking. It's rather those menial routine simple things that we do everyday. For example, If I am sending an email and there is a connection problem, I will be going all over the configuration just because I need the email to go out regardless of the importance of the email or its content. Sometimes I sit and stare at the monitor until the email completes its process of delivery. At home, with the slow broadband connection, this can be a pain.
No. 8: Let the Greens be in Order
This is quite common. Like many others, I can only accept notes in my wallet to be arranged by order of value and the correct side facing each other.
No. 7: The Reminders
I remind myself all the time in various methods whenever I want to make sure that I carry out an intended task in the future. Mental note is good but it ain't a reminder unless it's carved on stones! I email myself so that I read the emails tomorrow morning. I also have it on diaries which is perfectly normal. I sms myself! Little notes in the wallet, and God knows what else I'd do when more medium is being introduced to me. In the end, I end up with loads of lists. List of books to read, list of movies to watch, list of blogs to write, list of things to buy, list of images to paint, everywhere lists of everything under the sun.
No. 6: "Can I wake up tomorrow?"
Staring at the alarm clock for a long time to be sure that it is not on "silence" mode and that the alarm is set at a.m. rather than p.m.
No. 5: Bloody Accountant
I update my 'actual' versus 'budget' personal expenditure almost on daily basis on a spreadsheet fearing that I may be financially uncontrollable when I don't know my current state of financial affairs.
No. 4: "God, please don't reject me"
I am a Muslim. A Muslim washes his/her face, hands, feet, head, etc with water before they go for prayers (the "Wuduk"). In my case, its multiple wash. When I am ready to pray, I'd be dripping with water all over. When a Muslim starts a prayer, he/she recites a declaration of the intention to pray ("Niat"). Yup, you've guessed it right - multiple Niats until I am sure that God Himself is bored of me.
No. 3: Maximum Resolution of Outstanding Matters
I hate outstanding matters. If I have a genie, my no. 1 wish would be to have the energy to complete all outstanding matters while everyone else are asleep. Like a bionic man almost. People at work may get annoyed with me because I am persistent in getting things done.
No. 2: "Did you hear what I just said?"
It annoys me to death when I don't get at least a facial expression from my audience when I am saying something. I love acknowledgement. Please acknowledge what I am trying to convey. Do whatever as long as I get the message that you acknowledge. Give a nod, a smile, say "Yes" and best if you ask me again "Sir, can you repeat that again". If you don't give me that acknowledgement that I seek, I will be the one asking you over and over again until I am satisfied that you get what I am talking about.
No. 1: State of the Art Security System
Well. Not the system, but the user really. Inherited from my mother, I lock my car numerous times to the extent that the whole family had to wait at the lift of a shopping mall while I am still a metre away pressing that lock and unlock button on my car keys over an over again. Chronic OCD I'm telling you. Once, I broke the handle of my car door as a result of repeated checking of whether the door is locked or not. I even force my 4-year old son to stand in front of the car to count how many times the Honda Civic orange lights had blinked.
Kasmiah uncovered that 2% to 3% of the world population suffers OCD. These people's behaviours normally badly affect their lives as well as their families', friends' and work colleagues'. I guess it must be a painful experience for Victoria Beckham to tolerate David's obsession about symmetrical order at home. He even has 3 refrigerators to store food, salad and beverages separately. Cameron Diaz seems to become spastic when it comes to opening doors - she uses her elbow out of fear of germs. Alec Baldwin cleans repeatedly and DiCaprio refuses to walk on a cracked pavement. Jessica Alba likes to be in control - I wonder in what sense.
According to medical discoveries, OCD is caused by neurotransmitter defects. Whatever it really means, only doctors know - my understanding is that one part of your brain does not communicate effectively to other parts of the brain. For example, you have locked your doors but somehow that acknowledgement of you locking the door does not get registered. So a few metres away from the door, you turn around heading back to the door to check whether it's locked or not. Some may say that that is simply being forgetful. Well, that may be valid but what would you say if that relay (of walking away and back to the door) happens multiple times in that one occasion? Now that's OCD - a state of excessive anxiety and doubtfulness, which, in most cases, consumes time and causes other detrimental effects such as lack of sleep, lack of concentration or even nervous breakdown.
Kasmiah, in her article, ended her piece with a recommendation that OCD sufferers should seek medical treatment. Well, in my case, I tend to fall back on her earlier statement in the article:
"...in Malaysia, there is the stigma that seeing a psychiatrist means you are crazy"
I ain't going to fall under that category, that's for sure.
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