When I was growing up, I used to hear stories about my grandfather’s need of having things sorted in an often peculiar way. He would line up items on the fireplace mantel with the edge of the mantel and if items were placed too far back, he would raise his eyebrows in jest at my grandmother.
Other examples exist, and if the term ‘OCD’ existed in his time, he might have been a possible candidate to earn that title.
My granddad’s legacy? I inherited some of his peculiar ways.
He was the king of his fireplace mantel.
I am the queen of my kitchen cupboards. When I see that things have moved in my absence, I go on the lookout for explanations.
As you can imagine, other furniture or fittings have to submit to my OCD tidbits.
My medication takes up two drawers in one of my bedside tables, and is sorted by name and expiry date. If someone were to raid my stash, I would see it at once because of a third – and yes… secret – manner of ‘cataloging’ everything.
The word ‘cataloging’ is used deliberately here. I used to be a library assistant, and one of my tasks was shelving books. To me, it felt like a great OCD task – even when I didn’t have any obsessive compulsive behaviour traits yet – as items are shelved according to the Dewey Decimal System.
I added my grandpa’s ‘edge on a ledge’ peculiarity. Of course.
Other ways of having OCD-tendencies is in the form of hygiene. According to Healthline, “Because MS is an immune-mediated illness, the body’s immune system attacks healthy nerve tissue resulting in nerve damage. Immune system activity seems to result in the inflammation responsible for many MS symptoms.”
This means that extra care needs to be taken to avoid such infections, something I had been doing ever since being diagnosed. After catching a hospital-acquired superbug some years ago, I was told I would have to be even more mindful now:
- Do the dishes in hot, very hot, water
- Be very mindful of giving people hands
- Cleaning light switches, keys, laptop keyboard & mouse, cupboard and door handles very regularly
- Wash hands after holding rails on trains and buses etc. In short: carry a hand-sanitizer wherever I go
- Frequent disinfecting the house, especially bathrooms and kitchen
This list is by no means complete because other requirements to avoid a repeat superbug, are in place.
Does this mean I am a germaphobe? Perhaps to a certain degree and out of necessity. My aim in life is to continue living at least another few decades, so I joke I haven’t teased enough people yet in my life to die much too young of another superbug.
Am I that overly anxious about germs that it affects my daily life? Not anymore now that I’m used to applying all the rules on the list of requirements. But, I am not superwoman and I don’t walk around in awful blue and yellow tights. There’s no large antibacterial dispenser strapped around my waist, either so I cannot always avoid catching germs.
In light of branding myself, I am a 25% follower of some over the top instructions, but those rules do help!
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.