Me, the Worrywart: The Obsessive-Compulsive Life of a Girl Without OCD

One, two, three, four; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four.

Most people wouldn’t count the lights in their bedroom before they leave for school in the morning.

But I do.

Every single morning, I find myself counting the lights in my room. First, I look at the lamp on my desk. Then, my eyes shift to my main ceiling light. Next are the Christmas lights hanging above my bed and last comes the lamp on my bedside table.

I worry that, if I don’t double-check that all of the lights in my room are off before I leave for school, maybe there’ll be a fire.

And of course, it will be my fault if the house burns down.

I want to make it clear that I am not clinically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). While I wouldn’t be surprised if every single one of you reading this thinks that I need to go see a doctor and be diagnosed, I have absolutely no problem being an overly anxious person who constantly checks, double-checks and triple-checks.

Honestly, a major part of my day consists of just re-checking things.

Making sure my lights are off is only one of my many OCD-like habits.  I also worry that if I don’t say the words “one, two, one, two, one, two” while checking to make sure that my two dogs are safe in the house, they’ll cross their Invisible Fence while we’re gone and we’ll never see them again.

You might find me walking back to my car to make sure it is locked, or after the bell rings I get out of my seat and without fail, I turn around and make sure I haven’t left anything at my desk. God forbid I lose an eraser, right?

There’s one more OCD-like thing that I do every night. Every. Single. Night.

After a long day of school and babysitting, I return home and immediately begin my homework. Once I’ve gotten the easy things out of the way, I open up my assignment book. The only word to describe what happens next is “kooky.”

I write the numbers “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8” (the eight periods of the day) and begin crossing numbers out if I have done what I needed to do for that class. I make checkmarks left and right. Basically, I spend 20 minutes each night worrying about my assignment planner and highlighting what needs to still be done.

But by the time I’m done worrying, I’m tired enough to crawl into bed, ready to call it quits for the night.

After researching OCD several times during my life, I’ve learned that there are four types of OCD: 1) checking, 2) contamination/mental contamination, 3) hoarding and 4) ruminations/intrusive thoughts. According to OCDUK.org, it appears that I fit under the “checking” category. The website’s list of “common checks” even includes house lights—fear of causing the house to burn down—and car doors—fear of one’s car being stolen.

So yes, “Checking OCD” is a thing, and yes, it seems as though I might have it. However, according to OCDCenter.org, OCD is a common psychiatric disorder, affecting approximately 2.2 million Americans each year.

So I’m certainly not the only one constantly double-and triple-checking.

Call me weird. Call me crazy. Call me psycho. Call me sick. Whatever—it doesn’t bother me. I’m a very careful person and I’m proud of it.

The next time the bell rings at the end of the period and you see me looking like I’m searching high and low for something, ignore me and go to your next class. I’m just double-checking.

And triple-checking.

And quadruple-checking.

And usually, it’s for nothing.