WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION IS IN


DISCLAIMER: The following has been written by a man with no medical expertise or knowledge of mental or physical disorders. All “knowledge” about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder comes only from watching a few episodes of Monk.

I have a condition.

It is undiagnosed, but that's not to say that it isn't real.

I have, what I call, LOCD. Lackadaisical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Lackadaisical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it just isn’t as severe, though it isn’t any less serious.

For example, a person with OCD cannot walk along a row of parking meters without feeling compelled to reach out and touch each one, counting them as they walk.

Similarly, a person with LOCD cannot walk along a row of parking meters without feeling compelled to reach out and touch each one, counting them as they walk.

The difference is that while the person with OCD will usually touch and count all the parking meters, the person with LOCD will only do the same if the mood strikes them. The person with LOCD will still feel the same compulsion that the person with OCD does, they just won’t go out of their way to touch and count the parking meters.

So what’s the big deal in that?

I’ll give you a personal example.

I’ve lived with LOCD all of my life and it tears me up inside. I’ll sit at my desk and look on in horror at the chaos that is strewn about it. I want to, no, I need to clean the desk. I need to put everything in its proper place. I need to bring order out of chaos. The problem is that I just can’t be bothered to actually do it. My lazy side kicks in and overpowers my obsessive compulsive side, and usually wins.

Not my actual desk

So I feel this compulsion, this desire, this simple need to organize my desk, but I can't find the energy to tackle such an ambitious project.

Therein lies the crux of LOCD. You feel the obsession, you feel the compulsion. It’s always there, tugging at you, nagging at you, giving you the jitters and the twitches. Scratching away at the back of your head. Yet, it isn’t so powerful that it actually forces you to get up off of your butt to actually do something about it.

It’s like living with a slight buzzing in your ears that’s always there, but you can only really hear it when everything else around you is quiet.

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. Laziness isn’t the sole reason I’m unwilling to attack my desk. There is an emotional stress that also comes into play.

For example, what if I can’t find a proper place for everything? Then what do I do? Do I throw those items away that don’t have a place at my desk? Do I try to force them into the harmony that I may create by straightening up? Should I construct something to put these “lost” items into? Because I have to tell you, that sounds like a lot of work and I don’t think I’m up to the task. No, I think it might be easier to just try to ignore the chaos and live with it. But there will always be that itching there at the back of my head telling me that something isn’t right with the world.

My LOCD manifests itself in odd ways, too. For example, if I’m washing my hands at work and I grab a paper towel from the dispenser to dry my hands, the paper towel has to be in one piece. If I grab one and it tears, I grab another. If that one tears, I grab another. If the third one tears, I grab a fourth. I wind up using them all, but I can’t have the last paper towel I grab to be torn. I can’t stand that.


At my night job, I work in a photo lab. Back in the day, we used to actually process film in the lab. Back then, when folks would drop off rolls of film, we would create a label for the order and stick it to a photo envelope.

Then we would pull about an inch of the film out from the canister and, using adhesive tape, attach the end of the film to a plastic card. The card, with the film, then went into the processor. Before we could put the film into the processor however, we would need to have a way of matching up that roll of film with the envelope to ensure that we put the correct pictures with the correct order. We did this by attaching a numbered sticker to the film, and a duplicate of the numbered sticker to the envelope. At the end of the process we would also write the number of pictures printed, as well as the price of the order, on the label we have attached to the envelope.

What does this have to LOCD?

I’ll get to that now.

When I used to process film I would attach the label to the lower left hand corner of the envelope. I would put the numbered sticker on the upper right hand corner of the envelope. I would write the number of pictures on the upper left hand corner of the label. And I would write the price on the lower right hand corner of the label.

But sometimes, when I would start my shift, there were already envelopes sitting there waiting while the film was in the processor. That meant that someone else took the order. They had already attached the label and the numbered sticker to the envelope.

While this shouldn’t have been any big deal, sometimes they would put the label in the center of the envelope. That made it difficult to work with. Not because I couldn't put the photos in the envelope or anything. I mean, there wasn't anything physical that actually stopped me from processing the order, but I would get that itchy feeling in the back of my head because the label wasn't in the lower left hand corner. But, in most cases, I could power through.


But sometimes they would put the numbered sticker on the upper left hand corner of the label, meaning that I had to write the number of pictures printed on the upper right hand corner. That got the back of my head itching something fierce.

There was always the option of tossing the envelope away and starting over so that everything was where it needed to be, but again, I would do nothing as it felt like doing so would be a lot of work. So instead I would deal with the itching until the order was out of my sight.

I'm sure glad we no longer process film.

But, we still print digital pictures, which can also pose a threat to my mental stability.

Sometimes, and this is a big one, sometimes one of my coworkers will put the label on the envelope so haphazardly that a crease forms in the label, a crease that goes right down from the top of the label to the bottom. That’s something I won’t stand for and will often have to throw the envelope and label away and start a new one myself. So there are times when the LOCD does turn to OCD, but not often.

This is my life.

I’m the one who has to live it.

I’d like to try and make some big changes in my life. Changes that will take that itch out from the back of my head.

I’d like to, I really would … but it sounds like a lot of work.


2 comments:

  1. Haha, love it. My OCD wants to comment on writing errors in this post, but my LOCD only allows me to tell you there were errors and to find them yourself.

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