Number Symmetry OCD

People would probably be surprised to hear that I have OCD like tendencies, especially since so many things in my life are seemingly random and unorganized. There are some things that I do, which make my actions seem complete, at least in my own mind.

If I am adjusting the volume of a television or radio, I will consciously keep the volume at numbers that end in 0, 2, 5, or 8. These numbers just seem more complete in my mind. If the volume is displayed on a horizontal or vertical bar, I will move the bar to a fraction until it appears to fill a fraction of the total bar into what I consider to be more complete fractions, such as 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2. If the volume is a dial with a line, I will turn the dial so it lines up on 45 degree angles. I can’t give a reason why I think these settings sit better with me. Perhaps there are some complex algorithms being crunched in my head, or maybe I’m just crazy.

These are acceptable volume settings. I have compulsions in other areas of my life too, but this next one no one would ever see.

When I eat small snacks, such as crackers or nuts, I will find myself popping in even numbers at a time and chewing half of them on one side of my mouth and half on the other side. If I happen to grab a handful of nuts or crackers that gives me an odd number, I’ll bit the last one in half and chew it on both sides of my mouth. When eating items with colors, like Gummi Bears or M&Ms, I will pair up colors and chew one color on each side of my mouth. Again, when there is an add number or odd color out, it gets bit in half and chewed on both sides of my mouth.

What possesses me to do this? I honestly have no idea. I don’t always do this either. I will never change the volume on anyone else’s radio or television just to correct the setting. If I toss a handful of foods in my mouth and I didn’t count them before I ate them, I don’t try to sort them with my tongue to wrangle equal amounts to each side of my mouth. I believe the majority of time I am not doing these things, but it’s the times that I do them that I am conscious of my decision to do it and that’s why I remember.

Next week: The Voices in my Head.