10X greater, 10 is the magic number – OCD: oral count down

Reading Trista’s recent post on National Weird day, she discussed her OCD.

We all joke about OCD like symptoms.  However, if you have ever lived with someone truly diagnosed with this disorder, you would know.  Because they will drive you batty, well in my experience any way.  This got me to thinking about my step-grandmother.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 5.  Around the age of 6 or 7, my dad remarried.  One day, the family was having dinner and someone was teasing me.  So my stepmom jumped in claiming, at least, I wasn’t like her mom, each bite she had to chew 10X before swallowing.  Grandma Jo laughed, and said

“Not necessarily true…sometimes I have to chew more than that.  I need to ensure my steak is thoroughly chewed before swallowing.  Damn-it!  Now you made me lose count and I have to start all over again.”

That was my first introduction to OCD.  That was fine and dandy, because I didn’t care how long it took her to finish her meals, then.  However, in my 10th summer, Grandma Jo was the main care taker while my dad and stepmom were working.  That was shortly after my half-brother was born.

baby items 1

My stepmom decided to do cloth diapers and rubber pants.  Ugh.  Do you know how long it would take for Grandma Jo to wipe up after poopy?  Poor Jason’s privates were red from 10x of wiping, missing a tiny fleck of something and starting the count all over again.  Then the folding and ensuring no gaps… 10X.  Then pinning the diaper, checking each pin 10 times and making me check to ensure “It’s not going to poke him.  It’s not going to poke him, it’s not going to poke him.  It is closed.  It is closed.” to just lift him up and see a huge gap between his leg and private area and having to go through the whole process all over again!  Then 10x times of checking the rubber pants to ensure everything was sealed on both legs.  And everything was repeated out loud.

Finally, the diaper changing would be completed, and we’d exit the room.  She had to ensure the light switch was down to turn the light off… “that light switch is off, that light switch is off…Sandi, look at this, the light switch is off.”  My 10 year old-self audibly groaned “YES, IT’S OFF.”  Which would distract her and we’d have to do count all over again.  She made me stand with her and do it.  I learned very quickly not to distract.


I think it took almost 30 minutes to change Jason’s diaper.  I have creamer in my coffee, I have creamer in my coffee…my cup is there and won’t fall…the clothes are in the dryer, the dry is on…the dishes are in the rack and will not fall.  That hot water is off. The bottle is warm and not hot. Faaaaawwwwk.  This is not the person you want watching a pre-teen who isn’t used to the personality disorder.

My stepmom would come home and inquire what we did each day.  Oh, we changed 10 diapers, did the dishes, took out the trash, watched t.v.  We might have played aggravation (which was truly aggravating each time she counted and left her finger on the marble to ensure it wasn’t going to roll away… or rummy where she left her finger on discarded card for the count of 10, but usually, it was television.)

Watching T.V. was my only reprieve.  She didn’t count everything… aloud anyway.  That’s when she would go out and smoke.  That cigarette is lit, that cigarette is out.  As she would grind it back-n-forth into the ashtray 10X and bring it in to the trashcan, and open the lid to stare inside and  say “that butt is in the trash and not burning anything.”  That gave me about 30 minutes of freedom.

Ohhh, the routines!  I often found myself wondering if there was anyway we could speed it up?  I remember asking her…

“Can we say it faster, or like in math class…say that light is off  X10!  Or to the 10th power?  And call it good?” 

She laughed.  At least, she had a sense of humor about everything taking 10 times longer.

So anyone that truly suffers from this disorder, my heart goes out to you and your family.  Maybe find a way to reduce your count.  Only 2x maybe?  And if it’s an extended family member, please don’t have them babysit your 10 year old.  It’s just not nice.  Or maybe a good punishment.  “Don’t make me leave you with Grandma Jo.”  NO…for the love of God, anything, but that torture!

*If you are interested in linking up with other bloggers, I did these ones:badge- forthelovetoBest of Worst

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19 thoughts on “10X greater, 10 is the magic number – OCD: oral count down

  1. Thanks for linking with #Alittlebitofeverything .. I enjoy your post a lot .. very informative for me since I don’t know much about OCD I have always heard some little thinks here and there but nothing serious like your post …. thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m venturing out into new blogs at my pal, Trista’s prodding. Tee Hee 🙂 I’ll be commenting on posts once I have some time. It takes a bit to link to everything and figure out rules, and getting the darn buttons to work. (they don’t always) but I’ve been blogging long enough to know some fixes. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, witnessing and actually dealing with them all day, every day is actually very trying. It was hard for me to not become snotty. YES, the dang light is off. NO, the milk is not too hot. YES, you turned off the water. YES, the dryer is ON. NO, your cigarette is not going to light the trash on fire- you squished it to bits with your fingers 10 minutes ago. Maybe you should stop smoking? Geeze, can we please move on to t.v. How ’bout I change my brother next time while you do the dishes?

      My stepmom would laugh and ask if she was driving me crazy yet…because that was her mom and she had to grow up with her. Suffice it to say- I refused the following summer to go to my dad’s unless they arranged for me to be at one of my aunt’s. 🙂 A 10 year old could only take so much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No way, Jose! If anything, once you are familiar with me, you’ll see I joke about the most serious of things. Otherwise, if we can’t laugh, we’ll be spending our lives crying. Something my wise mother taught me, learn to have a sense of humor, choose to laugh. (of course, my 10 year old self didn’t think it was so funny.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oy, I’ve studied the disorder quite extensively as a psychologist. What you’re telling about is a painfully classic case of severe OCD. It must’ve been quite a struggle for both your grandma to live with, and for you to endure as a young girl. It can literally be the undoing of people’s lives. It’s frustrating, at times it is humorous, aaaannndd yes, it’s very aggravating. I wish that they had adequate treatment for it back then. Her life would have been much easier if she could’ve gotten the appropriate meds and therapies that are now widely available. Wow, it really makes you stop for a second and count your blessings…
    Excellent post once again my dear Sandi! Love you! 💋 ❤


    1. You know, we didn’t see it as a disorder. We just saw it as crazy grandma and laughed at her. She laughed to…and we all joked how she drove us crazy in a loving way. It wasn’t seen as something wrong that required medication. We saw it as her quirky personality. You know? It was like she was muttering to herself, like old people do sometimes? I don’t know how to explain it. We just ended up doing a lot of things ourselves. No grams, we got it.

      The every-other weekend visits were fine. But being with her all day, weekday for a summer month without parents, that was a different story. Especially when she was in charge of a baby, I think that made her a little more over-the-top. Ya know? The next summer, it was agreed that my brother would go to a daycare/preschool place and I’d go to my aunt’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting post, I think OCD is very misunderstood. My husband thinks I have certain obsessive things about me but not the compulsion so it doesn’t affect my life. I think we all have a little bit of obsession about things but I think when the compulsion starts affecting your day to day life that’s where the issue lies. Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst and highlighting this. X


  4. All laughing aside because I have ocd a little bit myself and get teased all the time but those that have ocd to higher level that really have to go through the patterns and counting it must take patience and a lot of strength to do it day in and day out. So challenging to have that condition and exhausting. It tends to affect everyone too. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s great that she could laugh about it, even though it had to be frustrating to have to go through the rituals. That’s such a weird thing about OCD: you know the repetition isn’t necessary, but you feel compelled to do it anyway. I had some of these experiences when I was younger, and I can vouch for how irritating they are, especially to the afflicted.

    And like you mentioned, why not try counting two times instead of ten? Or maybe build a sort of pre-flight checklist to mark off to-do items, so you could be certain you had completed every task without having to check over and over. Anything to avoid having to count to ten each time!


    1. No need for a check list…Oh…we could not leave said item until she stood over it 10 x. We’d stand at the light switch and she would touch the light switch 10 times and mutter the phrase that light is off each time or a variation of that. Then we could leave the room. If I left in the middle of the count, she’d have to start all over again. Once her count was done, she could leave and forget about it. Oh, and if said light flickered at all, the count would start over. OMG…It took forever to change my brother with cloth diapers and safety pins.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Not to sound like the world’s worst candidate for fatherhood, but despite my OCD, if a dirty diaper’s involved, you won’t have to count to 10 … I’ll be out of the room in under three seconds!


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