Does anyone have straightening/ordering compulsions which they cannot pinpoint the reason for where they get rid of one only for the compulsion to start straightening something else pop up?
I have created a hierarchy before and, utilizing ERP, have overcome specific compulsions. For example, I used to need to have my socks perfectly folded,ones up, and arranged by size and color in my drawer. I used to also need to place my toothbrush in the drawer a certain way. After overcoming these compulsions to the point where I could simply toss my socks or toothbrush in my drawer, I seemed to develop new compulsions surrounding items I never cared about previously, like needing to have pens lined up in drawers perfectly or the drawstring on my hooded sweatshirts be equal length.
I am wondering if this happens to anyone else and, if so, how you have dealt with it?
Because of this, and the fact that I cannot pinpoint any specific fears, I am starting to believe that my compulsion to straighten items is simply a way to preoccupy myself due to my anxiety. The irony is that doing these things just causes more anxiety because it results in me being late, falling behind in work, and saps me of time I can spend doing things I either need to get done or things that relax me. I will have a plan to get things done and, because I get so sidetracked ordering things, I don't get things done which results in me becoming so overwhelmed that I need to sit down and relax.
I was a very laid back person growing up. I never worried about anything who laughed most things off. If something bad happened, I was the type to reassure others that it "wasn't the end of the World". I was never tense, never raised my voice, and was usually the one to interject when others were arguing to get them to see each others perspective. I cannot pinpoint a specific event that caused me to change, but sometime in my mid 20s I started to have anxiety that manifested in me ordering. First, it was a single small rig in the hallway of my house that I would straighten and re-straighten for hours. As time went on, it got worse and I started having a feeling that more and more things were out of o order.
Ironically, the only time since where I have been nearly cured was during a very stressful point of my life when I was divorcing from my first wife. I was recommended the book "Brain Lock" and found it very helpful. Through a lot of reflection, I realized that I was hyper-focusing on small, meaningless things as opposed to what really mattered; and whatever is going to happen will happen irregardless of whether my belongings were straight. I was wasting my life away aligning objects that are utterly worthless, or can be easily replaced,leaving no time to get the more important things done. Instead performing necessary upkeep on my house, I was spending my time on upkeep of a single drawer. Kind of like the whole ocean polluting around you while you are repeatedly filtering a small tide pool.
Upon realizing this , I got 99% better. It also helped that 1/2 of the stuff in my house was gone and it had a very minimalist look it. However, when I remarried and my new wife moved in with all of her stuff, my compulsions came back with a vengeance.
I reread "Brain Lock" and still have that mindset. However, even when I am being mindful, I cannot seem to pull myself away from straightening even though I know it is not making any difference.
OCD is a pain. It is like training for months to go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and winning only to learn that Ali, Frazier, Klitschko, Ward, and others are going to jump in the ring at any time.
I've beat it before, and can beat it again. The tricky part is recognizing the feelings as they come up, staying mindful, and not giving in to the voice that tells you, "it will only take a few seconds to do this compulsion and I will feel much better". As we all know, that isn't the case as giving in only feeds it.
Anyway, sorry for the long ramble.
It's good to be able to talk to people that understand because everyone around me seems to think telling me to "just stop" should work. I have tried to have them read articles on how best to help, but they have no interest because they do it get it.