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Old 08-11-2009, 08:56 PM   #1
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Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Hello,

I asked this question under the general mental health section but couldn't find an answer.

I always become VERY agitated if I'm in a room with a constant blinking light or a ticking clock. It is beyond the point that most people find simply annoying. I am COMPLETELY unable to focus at all and have been unable to carry on a conversation with someone, take a test, or drive a car if anything like a cell phone or clock is blinking/ticking near me. People think I'm crazy because they don't even notice them, but I find it impossible to ignore them.

I've noticed it has less to do with the actual light or sound but instead more to do with the repetition or rhythm of the blinking/ticking. I also usually have no problem with focusing on multiple things at once, like talking to someone while watching TV, but I have gotten into the habit of covering any blinking light or moving any ticking clocks away from me when I'm not in public.

 
Old 09-10-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

It probably bothered you once a long time ago, and ever since you or your mind has fine tuned your hearing to notice the ticking of a clock. It is an obsession and a compussion. SO you probably have OCD. You obsess over the clock and the lights, and you do something about it, which is where the compussion comes in: You cover them up.

 
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Thank you so much for your reply.

Is there anything I can tell anyone when I feel this way or when I go to act upon it? They think I'm crazy or silly but it really does affect me greatly, much more than a common annoyance, Is there anything it's called or just general OCD?

 
Old 09-12-2009, 06:06 AM   #4
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

If those are the only two things that annoy you beyond normal, then it could just be a “pet peeve” that fuels a bit of anxiety rather than a case of OCD. People who tap a pen on the desk while talking on the phone at work will drive me nuts, but I just consider that a pet peeve of mine.

 
Old 09-12-2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

It's other things besides those two, they're just the most frequent examples I experience. A pen being tapped on a table can be another one, but ONLY if it's being tapped at a consistent rate. If the tapping is out of rhythm then it doesn't bother me. That's what I think the main issue is. Anything that has a consistent rhythm to it. Cell phone chargers didn't used to exist, with their blinking recharge light, but those digital clocks with the blinking light in between the numbers have always made me agitated and unable to concentrate ENTIRELY. Even to the extent where I can't carry on a conversation with someone if there's anything like that in the room, no matter how hard I try.

Yet I am usually able to focus on multiple things at once, like if I'm watching TV with someone and talking to them, as long as any distraction isn't rhythmic. But if a drain spout outside is dripping water from rain, or some sort of faucet, I am unbelievably agitated. (unless they're dripping randomly or out of sync)

Last edited by MisterP; 09-12-2009 at 06:46 PM.

 
Old 09-12-2009, 07:55 PM   #6
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

It’s very interesting that it’s the “rhythm” of the lights and sounds that are key to the problem. Does music bother you at all, like say the rhythm of drums in a song?

 
Old 09-12-2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

If I'm listening to music alone then no, I guess because it's the only thing I'm concentrating on. But If music is going on in the background while I'm trying to do something, like talk to someone, then it'll be impossible for me to concentrate. But if it was just random talking going on in the background I'd be fine. I'd be able to concentrate even if there were a couple of people or just one other person talking. (if it was random speech)

Now that I think about it there are a lot of things I can't do while listening to music that I see other people doing. Having the radio on while driving is one of them. But only if it's music, talk radio would be fine. But it's not just limited to sound. Visually, lights blinking do the same thing, but not like epilepsy.

If I was completely alone with a blinking light it might not bother me. Not unless I tried to do something else while it was going on. I feel unable to tune them out like I would with anything else because they are rhythmic like that. It's like I am compulsively paying too much attention to them and I can't get myself to stop.

Last edited by MisterP; 09-12-2009 at 10:20 PM.

 
Old 09-13-2009, 07:47 AM   #8
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

This is most interesting. It just doesn’t sound like OCD to me, though. I realize OCD can take many forms, but you seem to have a genuine neurological response to this. If you can be in the same room with blinking lights and rhythmic sounds while carrying on a conversation with someone and not be bothered by it as long as you cannot directly see or hear it, then it doesn’t sound like an obsession or fear of these things and it sounds like you can be alone with these things going on in the background and really not be bothered by it either. It sounds like if your brain isn’t directly processing the visual and audible response to these things along with trying to process other information at the same time, then you don’t seem to be bothered by it. That's why it doesn't sound like OCD. This is a tough one though, because blinking lights and rhythmic sounds are everywhere. Even though it doesn't sound like OCD, I do know that most medications to treat OCD simply raise serotonin levels in the brain, so it might be worth a short trial on a medication just to see if serotonin plays any part in the equation. It would also be interesting to experiment around with seeing if the speed of the blinking lights or the speed in the rhythm of certain sounds made a difference. It may very well have something to due with the intervals between the blink of light that matters.

 
Old 09-13-2009, 07:27 PM   #9
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Interesting post.... I don't normally visit this board, but I'm procrastinating housework..... anyway....

I have exactly the same issues with anything rhythmic! I can fall asleep, talk on the phone, read books, work on the computer, etc... with the tv on, or my kids screaming throughout the house, no problem, but if there is a ticking clock around, or music playing, or if my ceiling fan is out of balance and is making rhythmic noise, it drives me crazy and I can't function! Someone tapping a pen on a table wouldn't bother me at all, unless there was a rhythm to it.

Now there are things I like to do with music playing, depending on the music. I can't stand music with the constant loud bass beat over and over again. I seriously get road rage when those ridiculous people come pulling up next to me in their cars with their bass blaring.... argh! I don't like a constant drum beat either. But I love to sing, and so I like playing music and singing when I drive or clean the house, or work on a project (like painting furniture or something crafty like that).... hmmmmm..... maybe that's all I like to do with music playing.... depends on my mood and what's on tv, I guess....

Anyway, I always thought it was an ADD thing, which is why I decided to comment here.... you might look into this on the ADD board and see what others there have to say about it.

ps - oh, the blinking light thing.... I can't sleep at all if there is a blinking light in the room, but other than that, I haven't noticed it during the day.... but I don't really have any blinking lights around during the day either! But I do have to fix the clocks immediately if the power goes out, so maybe that's part of it???

Last edited by marisuela; 09-13-2009 at 07:32 PM.

 
Old 09-13-2009, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremelyWired View Post
This is most interesting. It just doesn’t sound like OCD to me, though. I realize OCD can take many forms, but you seem to have a genuine neurological response to this. If you can be in the same room with blinking lights and rhythmic sounds while carrying on a conversation with someone and not be bothered by it as long as you cannot directly see or hear it, then it doesn’t sound like an obsession or fear of these things and it sounds like you can be alone with these things going on in the background and really not be bothered by it either. It sounds like if your brain isn’t directly processing the visual and audible response to these things along with trying to process other information at the same time, then you don’t seem to be bothered by it. That's why it doesn't sound like OCD. This is a tough one though, because blinking lights and rhythmic sounds are everywhere...
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really don't know what it is, and I've wondered if maybe it might be Anxiety if not OCD. I feel like I'm unable to NOT pay attention to them considerably, if the rhythm is slower. I think the faster they go the less bothered I am. I think you might be right about the pauses in between the sounds/sights. Perhaps It's like I can't stop concentrating on the space in between them as I wait for the next sound/sight. I absolutely can't tune them out like I would with anything else.

I feel like I'm getting closer though if something like this is not a symptom of OCD, but if anyone has gone down the same path as me I am eager to find out.

In terms of OCD, I would say I am mildly over organized and I feel the need to have things in order. I like things to be symmetrical. And I have sometimes gone back to places to see if everything's "alright". But when I do those things or act that way I don't feel like they are troublesome enough to not get by. but the ticking clocks or blinking lights have affected me so much that I have had trouble with driving on the road, or done extremely poorly on tests where I have found things like that significantly agitating/distracting.

Last edited by MisterP; 09-13-2009 at 07:42 PM.

 
Old 09-13-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by marisuela View Post
Interesting post.... I don't normally visit this board, but I'm procrastinating housework..... anyway....

I have exactly the same issues with anything rhythmic! I can fall asleep, talk on the phone, read books, work on the computer, etc... with the tv on, or my kids screaming throughout the house, no problem, but if there is a ticking clock around, or music playing, or if my ceiling fan is out of balance and is making rhythmic noise, it drives me crazy and I can't function! Someone tapping a pen on a table wouldn't bother me at all, unless there was a rhythm to it...
Thank you so much for your post! I am so glad to hear that I'm not alone with having things like this create so much agitation that they become problematic. I don't know what to tell anyone when I feel this way. I will definitely look into ADD, but I usually don't have any problems with attentiveness and seem fine when having to go through things like long speeches or ceremonies.

Last edited by MisterP; 09-13-2009 at 08:04 PM.

 
Old 09-14-2009, 11:34 AM   #12
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Go see a counselor, they are very understanding. They also provide great ways for relieving it and dealing with it. Sometimes you alone can't fight things.

 
Old 09-14-2009, 08:00 PM   #13
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterP View Post
Thank you so much for your post! I am so glad to hear that I'm not alone with having things like this create so much agitation that they become problematic. I don't know what to tell anyone when I feel this way. I will definitely look into ADD, but I usually don't have any problems with attentiveness and seem fine when having to go through things like long speeches or ceremonies.
There are several different types of ADD.... I can't remember all of them.... but look into it, you might be surprised. Good luck! Let me know if you actually find anything out about it. It's really got me curious!

Last edited by marisuela; 09-14-2009 at 08:04 PM.

 
Old 10-24-2009, 03:35 AM   #14
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Re: Blinking Lights, Ticking Clocks

Well, after checking in both the ADD section and the Anxiety section I was encouraged to look into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Both CFS and Fibromyalgia list ticking clocks and blinking lights as symptoms, however it's tough for me to diagnose whether or not I exhibit any of the other symptoms. I am tired a lot, but I usually attribute that to my job. I also have joint pain, but I exercise regularly each day. Although both CFS and Fibromyalgia list ticking clocks and blinking lights as symptoms I'm not sure if they are referring to the rhythm of the lights/sounds as opposed to just the mere sight/sound of them. Like I said, I am only severely agitated if they are blinking/ticking in a slow rhythm, I can easily cope with random or fast blinking lights or out of sync ticking.

I notice myself doing many things that are OCD related so that's why I checked here first. I have the tendency to turn off or block the blinking lights/ticking clocks, like when I find myself making sure things are "straightened out" or off instead of on.

I wonder if maybe it goes back to the pauses in between the ticks/blinks. If there is a large noise or distraction that I am expecting, like a garbage truck ready to empty a garbage can, I will often wait for it to happen/finish before I continue what I'm doing. Perhaps It's the same, where I don't feel like I can start/continue something If I'm waiting for the next tick/blink to occur.

Last edited by MisterP; 10-24-2009 at 03:37 AM.

 
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