Wednesday, May 8, 2013

OCD: Writing Numbers and Letters

Something that has been a minor part of my OCD, but has affected me a lot over the years has to do with writing.

Whether it's good ol' fashioned pencil-on-paper or today's technology of finger-to-screen, anything involving me physically drawing numbers and/or letters almost always, if not always, brings out my OCD to some extent or another.

Here's an example:

The letter d, in it's un-capitalized form, has...
1) A circular part: o
2) A line that goes up and down: l

(Obviously you know that, but I'm stating it so it's easier for me to explain.)

If the circular part wasn't "closed" all the way, it would make me feel stressed. I "needed" to close the gap. Also, when handwriting the letter 'd', the line that goes up and down might make a tiny point at the top of the 'd' that looks like an arrow facing upward. I felt like I had to somehow make it non-pointy. Sometimes I would draw a line over it. I guess you could say I was trying to "cancel out the pointy part".

Writing became a chore.

My letters were uptight, not laid-back and relaxed.
They were bound by chains, lacking freedom.

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there. After all, we are just talking about numbers and letters, aren't we?

It actually goes much deeper than the letters and numbers themselves.

You see, the reason I wrote my letters and numbers a certain way is because I worried that, if I didn't, something bad would happen to someone I love.

Logically I know I don't have that kind of control. But, when satan puts fear and any little doubt or "what if" in your mind, logic can easily be pushed aside because it's just not worth "taking a chance" - especially when someone you love is involved. Satan knows right where to hit you - in the heart. So, I continued "closing" my d's, a's, o's, g's, etc. and "un-pointing" the tops of the letters that "needed" it... just in case.

I struggled with this to such an extreme at some point in the past 7 years, that I actually quit writing anything by hand for a while. I've been writing again for a long time and, for the most part, I have gotten past it... or, at least it's not a struggle for me anymore. I do, however, find myself "closing" letters or "unpointing" pointy tops sometimes. I don't write very often, but that's because most of what I do in regards to letters/numbers involves an iPhone, iPad, or computer. When I do write, it doesn't stress me out like it used to. I know that something bad isn't going to happen to someone I love just because I don't carry out a compulsive writing behavior. And, if satan tries to throw around "what-ifs" or make me feel fear about it, I know that God is in control.

When I decided to push past my struggle and write in a non-OCD way, I took a piece of paper and a writing utensil and I wrote:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

I wrote them in a way that would make my OCD feel stressed. I knew that writing that way wouldn't cause something bad to happen and it helped me to do that.

If you struggle with this (or something like it), you could try doing something similar to the above.

Remember, God is in control.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I work in the health field. I am not an expert in anything faith-related, nor do I work in a faith-related area. The things I write are things I've learned and/or things I believe. I learned them from sermons, Bible teacher(s), Bible study, life, and/or etc. I take things I've learned and see how I believe they could be applied to OCD based on my experiences, etc. with OCD. I am not saying to use any of the things on this blog as treatment. Maybe you'll find some things in my blog posts to help you on top of whatever treatment method(s) you have chosen/choose to use or not use for your OCD, but you do so at your own risk. I am not responsible for any of your choices, actions, decisions. I am not responsible for any of your results, nor your lack of results. I have read something similar or the same as this in the past from a Bible teacher: If anything I ever write doesn't line up with God's Word, please throw it out.

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  1. Good for you for pushing yourself to fight the compulsion. That isn't easy!

  2. I am glad I read this. I haven't seen anyone else do something similar to what I do, although I do it for a different reason. I would rewrite and rewrite numbers and letters if they weren't even.

    I might try your remedy, although I have to admit, I have no desire to! On second thought, I'll just leave things the way they are! But congratulations on feeling better about it. I can say that sometimes I am worse and other times I hardly pay attention to how I write. I think it depends on how much anxiety I feel at any given time.