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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Message Board

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Old 07-27-2004, 05:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 5
kklimek HB User
OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

Hello, This is my first time posting. I have read almost all of the previous posts on this forum and I didn't find one that is the same as my OCD. I noticed from reading the posts that a lot of you suffer from several different types of OCD symptoms. I had a very traumatic childhood and I can remember my OCD starting when I was around 7. My OCD mainly consists of Symmetry. Every thing has to be lined up evenly and neatly in my house. Every one of my closets, cupboards, drawers, shoes in bottom of closet, furniture, knick knacks, books, pictures on walls, etc... has to be neat, clean, and symmetrical. The clothes in my closet are hanging up with all of the same style and color of hanger. I would NEVER have a mismatched hanger in my closet. I don't have a junk drawer. My junk drawer is very neat. There isn't one cluttered closet or drawer in my house. I hate clutter! I throw things out all of the time. I have files for all of my bills which are neat also. I promise that you couldn't find one messy, cluttered, unneat spot in my house. It horrible and it's driving me crazy. I'm 32 and this has been going on for a long time. I'm also very clean. I don't have any germ issues but I like my house very clean. I spend a lot of time keeping my house perfect. I'm a perfectionist. Everything I have or do needs to be perfect. I pay my bills early and I have a decent amount of money in the bank "just incase".I will not use credit cards. If I don't have the cash I don't buy it. Friends and family looking in from the outside look at me and say "you are so perfect with everything" when it's actually the OCD making me be this way. I have finally broke down and told friends and family about my disorder. They are mostly supportive but don't really understand me. Also want to add that I'm the most SENSITIVE person in the world. EVERYTHING hurts my feeling. I mean EVERYTHING. I have friends and family afraid to say things to me for fear they may hurt my feelings. My husband is very supportive. I recently started therapy with a PH.D. I'm also on 40mg of Prozac daily which doesn't help the OCD at all. But it does help with the anxiety and depression. the PH.D recommended that I try the medicine Anafranil. Anyone tried this? Also I live from Lists. I make lists every day of things I need to get done and I'm not happy until they are done. I think about them all day until they are done. Just wondering if they is anyone out there that OCD symptoms consist of mainly symmetry?


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Old 07-27-2004, 07:29 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 634
openseason HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

Symmetry and order are common forms of ocd. If everything is perfect then nothing bad can happen for instance death of a family member or world war three. The perfectionist is deep down afraid of being judged by others. If everthing is done perfect then the anxiety of being judged is lessened. Perfectionism can be extreme. Howard Hughes was flying and testing a plane and had to land it 1550 times until the landing was perfect, and his anxiety stopped.

Old 07-28-2004, 05:57 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 5
kklimek HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

I was really hoping to get more responses from people who share the same experiences as me. I feel very alone as I'm the only person that I know of that has this type of OCD. I feel ashamed and was really hoping there was at least one person out there that can relate.


Old 07-28-2004, 06:45 PM   #4
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Posts: 634
openseason HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

Kim I can tell you you are not alone with symmetry arranging and placement. The behavioral therapy you are on may help you but it takes time.

Old 07-28-2004, 07:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 614
auntchilada HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

I promise you that you are NOT alone!
Are you familiar with Marc Summers, the host of the 80's show Double Dare and host of the current show Unwrapped on FoodTV? He has cleanliness OCD. He said that one time his wife woke up in the middle of night and he was out in hallway kneeling on the floor fixing the ends of the run (you know those rugs with strings that come off the sides). He was separtating them and straighening them out. He wrote a book called Everything in it's Place: My Trials and Triumphs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

My sister who also has OCD is on Prozac and it is the best medicine she has been on. If it isn't working for you, there are tons of other medications that you can try. Talk to your doctor about switching. I am on Effexor XR and it has been a miracle for me.

Good luck and remember that you are not alone! This is a very very common form of OCD.

Old 07-28-2004, 08:00 PM   #6
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Posts: 614
auntchilada HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

Here's some info I found from a website about Marc Summers:

When Alice and Marc Summers first married -- 23 years ago -- neither of them realized that Marc had OCD. Alice just thought he was just a "very neat person." This isn't an unusual statement: many people with OCD are very secretive ... and most people with the disorder don't even know they have the illness. Millions of Americans have OCD, yet only a small handful of them know it by name ... and get treatment for it.

Alice Summers wondered why Marc compulsively cleaned their small apartment one day every week, and even more often once they were able to afford a larger house. But only when Alice discovered Marc -- on his hands and knees at 2 a.m. in the morning -- straightening out the fringes of a rug, did they both admit Marc needed help.

Marc would be compelled to clean and arrange everything over, and over, and over again. OCDers have nicknames for specific types of ritualistic behaviors they are forced to do. In Marc's case, he is an "arranger."

Like many affluent people, the Summers were able to hire a cleaning person. However, Marc would go into "overdrive" -- a cleaning frenzy -- the minute the cleaning person was done with her work, and left the house. Marc would re-clean and rearrange everything she had done to "get it right." Of course there is no such thing as perfection in this physical world, so Marc would drive himself -- and his family -- sick with his cleaning rituals.

Old 12-12-2006, 12:00 PM   #7
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Location: Eastern Canada
Posts: 118
bopper HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

Hi there Kim.

Let me reassure you that you are not alone in this. I am speaking from the otherside of the disorder however as I am the wife of an OCD'er.

Starting out as "neatness" at an early age, his rituals have compounded and gotten out of control. I am sympathatic to his illness and am here for him 24/7. It's been a long time coming: Me getting to a place where I can support him in getting better.

When the rituals started to affect our lives, my reactions were frustration and annoyance. Why? His rituals took place during the most stressful times of day for our famiy of 4 (we have two young daughters). First thing in the morning getting ready for work/school and dinnertime when I'm trying to make supper, help with homework, get their baths, read their story, etc. All the while he is "checking".

I feel for him and know he is under enourmous amounts of anxiety during these times.

My question to you as someone suffering from similar compulsions, how do I help him. I would like to help him work on finding distractions from following through with the rituals. How can I support him? What can I say when I notice he is going to perform his checks?

Old 12-12-2006, 04:38 PM   #8
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 55
cdefmomma HB User
Re: OCD Symmetry & Cleanliness

I have a cleaning and arranging and clutter problem. I go through and re go through cubards and closets and clean and clean and clean. It has to be perfect. If my walls just seem to not clean well for me I will repaint them all and start fresh. My mom is the same way. I just like everything to have its place and it is really bad once I get started I can't stop till I alomost drop to the floor w/ exhaustion. I actually clean other peoples houses while visting and arrange them and sit there and eat my nails and shake my leg nervously if I can't clean or arrange a mess I see and it makes me sick and I get very frustrated.
Anyway you are not alone at all I love it as much as I hate it. Cleaning and arranging helps burn off steam but them again when it takes me over it breaks me down so for me it ia a love hate relationship.

But too bad that isn't my only OCD problem. Just the biginning of a LONG list!

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