More threads by southwardbound

Okay, I have a major problem with counting letters. Every time I say a sentence, my mind will automatically start counting the letters and trying to put them into pairs. If the letters don't fit into pairs, I'll try and put them into threes. If that doesn't work I'll attempt fives and if even that doesn't work (a rare occurence) I'll become extremely panicky and unsure of how to act, it's like my world is crashing down around me. Sometimes if it's a rushed conversation, I'll substitute counting letters for counting syllables.

Though this comes and goes, normally I'll have it for a few weeks then have an ok weekend and then it will return, it is an exhausting process and a great mental strain, but it is impossible for me to stop. At the back of my mind I know it's ludicrous but I'm always terrified of the consequences if I don't do this. It's affecting my concentration on my GCSEs, I'm slap bang in the middle of the final exams right now, and I simply cannot stop. I don't know what to do. I mentioned it to my mam once in passing, and tried to make it seem like it wasn't really a problem, just a phase or something, but now it's just getting out of control. I'm 16 so I know I can see the doctor confidentially and he won't have to inform my family, but I don't think this is the kind of thing he could help me with.

Do I have OCD? Am I losing my mind? I just don't know what to do anymore, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Amy xx

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
do i have OCD? please reply...

I think it's foolish to try to diagnose anyone on a forum like this but I will say that what you describe certainly could be OCD.

If it is OCD, you can learn to manage it through a combination of medication and psychotherapy -- I think it would be a good idea to talk to your family doctor about it: He or she may suggest some medication and/or a counselor/therapist who could help.
do i have OCD? please reply...

It sounds a lot like symptoms of OCD, but you would need to confirm this with your doctor. Don't be afraid to see him/her and seek advice and a possible referral. Is the counting making it difficult to carry out conversations. Sometimes I know that I get so stuck on an obsession that I will start to tune out the world as I try to solve the latest problem. Even when I am trying to talk to my family, the urge to analyze becomes so strong that I feel I cannot resist the urge.

Also, it is important for you to realize that you are not crazy, that OCD is a disorder of anxiety, and that the obsessions are merely a coping mechanism for the brain to deal with the feeling of danger and threat that your brain perceives to exist. That explains why you feel the need to count or else the whole world will come crashing down on you. If you can find a therapist with experience in anxiety disorders that would be very helpful. Also, a number of antidepressants seem to have a positive effect on OCD symptoms. Drug treatment, together with therapy, is an efective two-pronged approach to tackling this disorder. While the drugs help stabilize you, the therapy will teach you good coping skills and find a way to tackle the bully in your mind.

I remember having obsessive tendencies since I was a child, and also remember that around age 16, it seemed to get much worse. I felt like I was going insane, until I figured out what the problem is. Not knowing what is wrong is the worst part, if you ask me.

Oh and by the way, welcome to the boards!
do i have OCD? please reply...

Yes, it is affecting my concentration in conversations, I'll kind of zone out for a while. I'm going to see my doctor tomorrow, but I'm very scared of what he will say, as I have a history of mental illness in the family. I know that OCD isn't hereditary, but I'm still scared. I'm terrified incase I'm out on medication also. I've seen how it affects my grandad, though he's schizophrenic, this is still an awful element lingering at the back of my mind. Well I've made the appointment so I guess there's no turning back now.

Thankyou for welcoming me to the forum by the way, and thanks for the advice xx I'll update tomorrow on what happens.
do i have OCD? please reply...

I do believe that things like OCD do in fact run in families. I recently found out my grandfather had OCD type symptoms, and my aunt definitely does.
do i have OCD? please reply...

well maybe it is genetic whatever I have then , however I do not know as of yet as my friend turned up early to her exam so had to crash at mine. So I had to cancel my appointment. So I got a fine. So I'm pretty pissed off and my mind it still processing numbers like a maniac.


I know what you're going through

Wow! I thought I was the only one with that problem. I can't speak for the professionals, but what you have sounds an awful lot like OCD. I know exactly what you mean when you say the problem baffles you and drives you out of your mind. I was in highschool when I began counting letters in words and putting them in pairs. This was back in 1982 and I had no idea that I might have a medical disorder called OCD. Instead, I thought I was possessed by demons like the girl in the Exorcist. I spent a lot of time worrying I was dooming myself to eternal damnation and that the bizzare thoughts would take over my life and drive me to madness. Today I can laugh at my paranoia but when I was fourteen years old it was incredibly terrifying.
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