Obsessive, Compulsive, and Autie too!

I wear a necklace around my neck most of the day.  The necklace is the “plain jane” variety.  It’s not for decoration sake.  I wear it under my shirt to discreetly hide why I wear it.  Its sole purpose is to carry my spare remote car key.   I wear it even though my main key is either in my purse or in my pocket.  It doesn’t make sense, logically speaking, to have two identical car keys on my person, but that’s obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for you.  I’m obsessed with losing my key to transportation.  If I were to somehow lose my main key, I’d have a spare one on me…literally speaking.

I am compulsive with the location of my remote key.  It’s a repetitive irresistible urge that is against my own “thinking” wishes.  I make a mental note of placing my keys in one of the compartments in my purse.  When I later go to hang up my purse, what do I do?  I check to see if the keys are in the compartment.  Logically speaking, I know they can’t jump out and walk off.  But to get rid of the urge, I check anyway.  That’s OCD for you.

When I got my first smart watch, I was so excited because electronic gadgetry is an obsessive interest.  Having such interest is a common Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) trait.  My gadget collection keeps growing thanks to my overattachment to its items and thus, having a hard time of letting go of the old while bringing in the new.  But what I couldn’t have seen coming is that one of the smart watch applications would add another item to my OCD list.

It was the health application that counts my steps per day.  The default goal was six thousand.  If I stayed idle for more than an hour, I’d feel a buzz on my wrist with my watch displaying a message to get moving.  And like an obedient child, I would.  My ASD tendency is to obey the rules and keep up the routine which was stepping up to the default.

Since I started jogging in place, I found it to be a way to “stim”.  Just like rocking in a chair or pacing the floor, it is repetitive movement.  Stimming is one of a number of my ASD traits.  It may sound strange, but jogging for me can be more “soothing” than tiring.  Within a week after my smart watch came into my life, I was doing far more steps than 6000.  At the time I am writing this, logically speaking, I don’t need to do 20,000+ steps per day, but tell my OCD that.

Woe is me!  I don’t really know where my ASD ends and OCD kicks in.  Since I know I have both, I don’t reckon it really matters.  I guess it is kind of like having a set of fraternal twins.  Double the trouble, but a double opportunity to rely on the Good Lord and keep a sense of humor about it all.



Autumn Leaves and OCD

This past fall I picked up a new hobby.  Well, it may have bordered on an obsession and of all things to be obsessed about … raking leaves.  Strange, I know.  At least, if it was an obsession, it was a temporary one since nature has since taken its course with the tree limbs being bare until springtime.  I’m not so bad off that I’m outside raking leaves that aren’t there.

I never thought I would have any interest in yardwork.  However, I didn’t have a yard to do any work in until I moved back with my Mom.  To help her out, I took over the leaf raking chore.  I bought a leaf blower which I perceived as an addition to my continually growing gadget collection.  I worked the raking chore into my daily routine.  My problem wasn’t adjusting to the slightly altered routine.  It was knowing when to STOP my raking session!  I may or may not have a hard time starting a chore, but once I start, it’s all I can do to find a stopping point.  I’d often think in the yard as I was bent over from picking up one leaf too many, “Would somebody please come out here and stop me!”

When I told my doctor about my leaf-gathering affair, he didn’t burst out laughing.  He said without even a chuckle that I might have some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) going on.  That was in addition to my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  I didn’t pay much attention to the OCD since I could only handle the news of one disorder at a time.

When I go back to see my doctor in a few months, I’ll have to tell him he might be right about OCD being an accomplice.   I took an online test for OCD and my score was within range of being more than less likely of having OCD.  I think it is more a minor than a major, but it’s still a player.

Wedding Crasher at Georgetown

I wasn’t the first nor the last person to move from the hinterlands to Washington, D.C. to work for U.S. Gov.  It was at first exciting to see D.C. tourist attractions since I was a history buff in school.  Then, weeks later, it dawned on me I wasn’t a tourist, I had a rash of panic attacks.  I came close, many a time, to escaping D.C. by way of a one-way ticket on a Greyhound bus.

I did take up a hobby to occupy my weekends.  I bought a video camera.  Not like the ones today that you can hold in the palm of one’s hand.  The one I had resembled a heavy-sized one you might see a TV camera person walking around with on their shoulder.

With my having been diagnosed with autism only a few months ago, I have a different pair of lens looking back at my video filming days.  I may have gone too far with this hobby as I have with other hobbies or interests.  I would go to some historical landmark to film every weekend.  I traveled solo as north as Philadelphia, as west as West Virginia, as far east as the Delaware beaches, and as far south as near the border of Virginia/North Carolina.  I put a lot of miles on my Chevy Cavalier.  No wonder its alternator and battery died on the very same evening.

Some of you will find this hard to believe, but some of you won’t, that I was so desperate to get the JFK Center for the Performing Arts on video that I stood on the highway ramp to one of the bridges that cross the Potomac River.  As cars whizzed by me, I was holding my big video camera aiming straight towards the JFK Center.  No doubt those driving by thought they had seen everything until they saw me.  HA!

The oldest part of Washington, D.C. is the neighborhood called Georgetown.  It is the home of Georgetown University and the home of many of those who get invited to White House parties.  I went one Saturday morning to a famous church in the neighborhood.  I parallel parked at an empty parking space near the church door of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

There was an historic sign in front that stated it had been a place where John and Jacqueline Kennedy had attended church.  I eagerly filmed the outside of the beautiful white church building.  I noticed white bows tied along the gate but thought nothing of it.  I decided to venture further and capture more of the neighborhood on film.

As I was walking back, I noticed some people were gathered around the front of the church.  There were no empty spaces on either sides of the street.  They were all dressed up and it finally dawned on me they were having a wedding.  Since there were several pairs of eyeballs peering at my Chevy, I figured somebody wanted my parking space, like maybe the bride and groom.  I also noticed something else that was making my car stick out like a sore thumb.  All the other cars were parked facing the opposite direction of mine.  Oops!

I know the common sense thing would have been to make a beeline for my Chevy and drive off.  But one of the autism behavior traits that one on the spectrum might have is a lack of common sense.  No kidding!   My line of thinking was to keep on walking and wait the wedding out.  Then, I’d skedaddle.  Bad plan!

After a walk around the block, there was stll a line of wedding guests standing near my car.  I swallowed my pride, went over and got inside my Chevy without making any eye contact with anyone!  After several attempts, I successfuly made a U-turn and headed out not looking back.

It was one of those times when I was sure thankful that I couldn’t read people’s minds.