OCD Perfectionism: Rituals
Rituals are a large part of my life and I can’t move forward with a project until I complete them. If I scratch my left arm, I must do so in the exact same spot on my right arm. That’s true for any part of my body. My life has to be even in all parts. My son learned at a young age that if he gives me a kiss on my left cheek, I need one on my right cheek. Every time I leave home, I double check the door to make sure that it is actually locked even though I know I locked it as I went out.
When cooking, I wash my hands before I begin and then again after each item that I touch. When I open a bag of frozen vegetables, I wash my hands. When I get the plates out of the cabinet, I wash my hands. To cook one meal, I wash my hands at least twenty times.
If the meal does not turn out to be perfect, I throw it away. Each dish has to be just right or I can’t stand the thought of serving it. Because of this, I rarely cook. Fortunately, my husband is a good cook and he prepares most of our meals. On the rare occasion that I do the cooking, I have to have a list of what I am cooking, the time it will take to do so for each dish, and check the dishes off as I finish them. I need the list of cooking times because otherwise, I start all the food at the same time and then some of it burns because I cook it for too long or it is served cold because it was prepared too far in advance of the other dishes.
When I pump gas, the dollar amount must be on a whole dollar before I can quit pumping. So, if it cuts off at $32.16, I slowly add enough gas to make it an even $33. I can’t help myself. It has to end on a whole dollar amount. My compulsion is so strong that I would rather run gas out onto the ground to make it an even dollar amount than to deal with the anxiety that having cents causes. I don’t, but I suffer the consequences on the occasions that my tank will simply not hold any more.