The Psych Central website has a very thorough, pretty cool test you can take to see if you have OCD. Is it wrong that I had fun taking this screening? Perhaps. Let’s see how I did…
1. concerns with contamination (dirt, germs, chemicals, radiation) or acquiring a serious illness such as AIDS?
I used to worry myself into a frenzy over colon cancer. Given my history with Crohn’s Disease, I’m at a much higher risk of getting it someday. I don’t really worry about it anymore, though. I get the test every couple years, so chances of early detection are better than average.
2. overconcern with keeping objects (clothing, groceries, tools) in perfect order or arranged exactly?
As a kid I always had to have my Star Wars action figures arranged just right. I guess I got over that when my obsession turned to fire and I decided lighting the figures on fire was more important than having them arranged just right.
3. images of death or other horrible events?
4. personally unacceptable religious or sexual thoughts?
That one’s complicated. The short answer is yes. I’ll have to describe it more thoroughly in a future post.
Have you worried a lot about terrible things happening, such as…
- 5. fire, burglary, or flooding the house?
- Yup. Ever since the flooding we got during the Blizzard of 1978, I had a major fear of a repeat scenario. As a kid my mood hinged very delicately on each weather report. I must be better now, because my first instinct with a storm is to go out and get pictures.
- 6. accidentally hitting a pedestrian with your car or letting it roll down the hill?
- Not really. I have hit my share of squirrels, but that was their fault for running into the street.
- 7. spreading an illness (giving someone AIDS)?
- Yup. Specifically, spreading Crohn’s Disease and OCD to my children.
- 8. losing something valuable?
- Fear of loss extends to material objects. But since I’ve found something much more valuable in my recovery program, the materials don’t matter as much.
- 9. harm coming to a loved one because you weren’t careful enough?
- See question 8.
- 10. Have you worried about acting on an unwanted and senseless urge or impulse, such as physically harming a loved one, pushing a stranger in front of a bus, steering your car into oncoming traffic; inappropriate sexual contact; or poisoning dinner guests?
- More than once I thought of beating the guts out of a former boss. I’ve also had repeated thoughts of punching my mother in the face. I’d never really act on these thoughts, though. I worry about hitting my kids. But 9-plus years into parenthood, I’ve kept my hands to myself. ‘
- Have you felt driven to perform certain acts over and over again, such as…
- 11. excessive or ritualized washing, cleaning, or grooming?
- Of course.
- 12. checking light switches, water faucets, the stove, door locks, or emergency brake?
- All of ’em. Not so much today, but in younger years it consumed me.
- 13. counting; arranging; evening-up behaviors (making sure socks are at same height)?
- Yes, but not socks. More like pens and objects on my desk. Also, couch pillows and curtains. And the kitchen tablecloth.
- 14. collecting useless objects or inspecting the garbage before it is thrown out?
- Not really.
- 15. repeating routine actions (in/out of chair, going through doorway, re-lighting cigarette) a certain number of times or until it feels just right?
- Yup. Checking the laptop bag to make sure the laptop is in there (I’ve left the office late many times over that one), checking my desk to make sure everything is just so, checking the clothes I’ve put out for the next day to make sure all garments are accounted for.
- 16. need to touch objects or people?
- This one kinda ties into the last question.
- 17. unnecessary re-reading or re-writing; re-opening envelopes before they are mailed?
- I used to take three times as long to file an article at work because I would repeatedly re-read what I wrote. Unfortunately for my colleagues, I did it out loud. I never do that now. I bang out my article, hit send and go for more coffee. Or, on occasion, a cigar.
- 18. examining your body for signs of illness?
- There was a mole on my arm that always consumed me with worry, but I was always too scared to have it checked out. I thought I was growing skin cancer. It became a moot point when the mole came off in the shower one day. Maybe it wasn’t a mole after all.
- 19. avoiding colors (“red” means blood), numbers (“l 3” is unlucky), or names (those that start with “D” signify death) that are associated with dreaded events or unpleasant thoughts?
- Not really. And we did name one of our children Duncan.
- 20. needing to “confess” or repeatedly asking for reassurance that you said or did something correctly?
- I used to always beat myself for not measuring up on the little things at work. I stopped that about three years ago. My work has NOT suffered as a result. In fact, it’s better.