Use the Quirk

Eating only the red m&m’s, never reading the last page of a book, washing your ears first, only wearing blue on Thursdays – we all have our quirks. Some quirks are truly interesting while others seem just plain odd. However, whatever the quirk is, they are one of the things that make us uniquely human.

My younger son (SY) is 5 ½ and has a few quirks. In fact, I would venture to say he may have a touch OCD. Remember the Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson movie – As Good As it Gets? Nicholson’s character has OCD, and it is presented in a comical way. He has to have certain foods, the table needs to be set in a particular way, etc. Anyway, SY must close doors. It doesn’t matter what room he is in as long as the door is closed – other wise uncomfortable/bothered. If you are exiting a room, he will remind you to shut the door. In fact, it is not only the room he is in. If as he is walking to his bedroom, he sees the doors to the other bedrooms open, he will stop and shut them. This seems to have started a few months ago, and I have no idea why.

In lieu of this compulsiveness, I have an idea. Everything is for a reason, and we can make the best of each situation – lemons – lemonade. You know the deal. So, I want my boy to join me in the crusade to save the planet and along the way build up a trust account. Huh? You see I am the one in my family that goes into the empty rooms to turn off the lights or electronics that were left on. Others will walk out of the room and think nothing of leaving things on, so I have taken on the role of electric cop. I am looking to recruit SY. Why not be obsessive about something that is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective? Save money and the planet. Brilliant – wouldn’t you agree?

Look, I acknowledged recently that both of my children are going to end up on the psychologist’s sofa? So, why not harness the OCD in a productive way? Does anyone know how to make a child obsessed with turning off the lights? Behavioral chart anyone? What an original!

8 thoughts on “Use the Quirk

  1. Speaking as both an OCD patient and psychology student, it appears that you are not understanding the nature of the obsession. May I recommend the NIH as a place to start with your understanding?

    Despite the comical portrayal of OCD in mass media (as your movie reference) the truth of OCD is much more upsetting. Imagine, if you will, being on a 500 mile car trip with no stops, a full bladder, and having to drink bottle after bottle of water. The need to pee will be God-awful and all-consuming. It will cause significant distress, but there will be nothing that you can do in order to permanently resolve the need. Stopping to relieve yourself will take care of the immediate problem but the underlying condition will remain.

    OCD is so much more than a “quirk” of personality. It’s a constant companion, no matter what you do. Usually, the obsession causes more than a little distress in the patient, and even knowing that it’s not rational doesn’t do much (if anything) to make you feel better. Sometimes it will be easier to deal with, and sometimes it gets worse. Nothing makes it go away for good. It always comes back.

    OCD is as much an organic (physical) problem with the brain as anything, and a psychotherapist/psychologist will not have much help to offer. A medical psychiatrist (that is, an MD with specialized mental health training) is usually needed to prescribe one or more medications that rebalance the brain chemistry and significantly improve the condition.

    Please understand that I’m not trying to ride you down for this train of thought. But, unless someone can actually experience what it’s like to live with a mental condition (and I have several. It sucks), they can’t really understand how bad it is. I applaud you for trying to think of a way to help your son. However, if this door closing goes on for more than a couple of months, the best thing that you can do is take him for some professional help. I wish I had gotten help sooner, it would have made my life turn out much differently.

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger award. You don’t need to feel any pressure but if you want to participate, you can find the rules on my site. 🙂

  3. This is brilliant! I too have a child with OCD tendencies at times and we are looking into a few things for her… BUT I love the fact that you are thinking positively about how to utilise one of his “quirks” for something good! I must find that mind space more often with my Sunshine, instead of letting my nerves be grated! Cheers for the uplift 🙂

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