As I said when I first began blogging, I am not an expert on OCD. In fact, sometimes I feel the more I learn about the disorder, the more confused I become.
Latest case in point: Many OCD sufferer’s obsessions and compulsions revolve around needing to arrange things in some type of orderly fashion. Maybe certain items need to be lined up or spaced a certain distance apart from each other. Or there can only be a set number of items visible to the sufferer (usually an even number). This type of OCD is often referred to as evening up OCD. (To prove how not an expert I am, when I first heard this term I thought it referred to OCD in the nighttime!). Evening up compulsions can also include mental compulsions such as counting, tapping, or touching things a certain number of times. So I get it. Order, symmetry, evenness are important to many people with OCD.
Then why is disorganization so common in OCD sufferers? One of the first things I said to Dan when he told me he had OCD was, “How come your room is so messy? Isn’t it supposed to be really neat?” My ignorance showing through again. Many people with OCD have unbelievably messy living areas. I’m not talking about hoarders. That’s a whole ‘nother blog. I’m talking about not being capable of keeping your space and belongings in any kind of order.
When Dan was suffering from severe OCD, I saw his dorm room, and that memory still haunts me. There were papers and artwork, sketchbooks, schoolwork, clothes, art supplies, paint, books, towels, food, and toiletries, all completely covering the floor. He said that once he lost control of the order, he just couldn’t get it back. Is it that his OCD took so much time and energy that there was nothing left for daily living tasks? Could this be why many of those with OCD are also diagnosed with ADHD?
A lot of questions. Not too many answers. I’d love to hear your thoughts.