Tonight, after the Mrs. and I had our Friday night date dinner, we stopped by Trader Joe’s to get some groceries. After a few minutes, I was sent to get the cart. When I looked down at the handle, I felt a sense of dread. As though, someone touched that and probably didn’t wash their hands. Immediately, I ran over and grabbed the alcohol wipes to clean that handle before using it. Then it was ok (at least the part that I washed was).
Yes, I confess… I have, since about the age of 13, suffered slightly with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). You may be thinking to yourself, ‘Could have fooled me…'. But, for those who know me, you’ll recognize it right away.
OCD is not something we go around talking about. Much too embarrassing. It is something that affects everything we do, however. From the time we get up in the morning to the time we lay down for sleep, OCD is right there with us playing a role in every decision we make.
I’m not the type to get stuck on something and ‘obsess’ over it, but I’m the type to concern myself with things like germs, straight lines, being sure everyone’s safe, over thinking decisions, self-consciousness, and some social anxieties. I like things picked up, but they don’t have to be perfect.
Over the years, I’ve had to take a few psychological profiles for different jobs and they confirmed that I was, indeed, slightly OCD. The psychologist told me that it wasn’t anything to worry about and that many CEOs, and leaders, have the same thing. So, I guess I’m in good company…
For the type of work that I’m in, it’s actually a benefit to pay attention to the details. My father has the same thing. He excelled at his work as a master mechanic, parts inspector, and too & die maker. His shop is spotless, and every tool, bolt, nut, and screw has its place.
I’m not like the guy who pulls out the hand sanitizer after shaking hands with people, but I am the guy who keeps a small container of sanitizer in the car to be used as needed. And, I’m that guy who likes to use a napkin to operate public dispensers and that guy who feels nauseous when people eat loudly. Sort of reminds me of that show, ‘Monk’. Not that bad though.
Being a little OCD is ok. It’s when the OCD takes over so much that anxiety paralyzes us or causes us to suffer anxiety attacks. Then, it would be a good time to find help with a counselor or medicine. I can empathize with those who have OCD that bad. Believe me. It truly isn't a laughing matter.
So, tonight, here’s to all my fellow hand-washers, straight line people, picker uppers, germ conscious, perfectionistic, and slightly self-conscious people. We’re in this together. And, trust me, I’ll probably re-read this blog five times and still miss an error which will cause me to re-read it again.
I’ll leave you tonight with the clip below of an interview with Howie Mandel who has secretly suffered with a more extreme form of OCD. I’m not that bad, but can relate to him using his shirt to open a door (especially the men's room... most men don't wash their hands... UGH) and the outside of his hands to do things...
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