OCD vs. Perfectionism (Which Is It?)

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For years, I’ve had this fixation with order, structure and cleanliness when it came to my surroundings.  Perfectly kept drawers, closets and cabinets at home, organized console, glove compartment and cubbies in my car, my desk and drawers at work pristinely set up with everything in it’s proper place and pictures positioned straight and symmetrical at all times.  When I saw the image below, I had to laugh.  It was SO me!  My purse, wallet and book bag are immaculate, not a single item out of place.  I have this obsession with having my receipts and dollar bills perfectly straightened and facing the same direction.  I also keep track of every expenditure in a spreadsheet, right down to the pack of gum at the convenience store.  As for my digital world, my windows desktop is pristine and free of extraneous icons.  In my inbox, not a single email goes unread or unfiled.  I view every message immediately, flag it for follow up and then file it away.  I am also concerned with the alignment of physical objects.  Every item must be centered or symmetrical with other items.  If I walk into a room and see a towel or picture that is misaligned, it will immediately be adjusted.  Oh, and I love keeping lists and checking off items.  I could go on and on.  This type of behavior would probably drive any ‘normal’ person insane!

Having shared all this, I would still question whether my odd fixations stem from OCD syndrome or am I just a perfectionist?  I’ve been this way most of my life.  My mother was very organized and her home was always ‘showroom’ ready.  I admired how she kept everything so impeccable.  Even her appearance was flawless and exquisite at all times.  But I can say that there are other aspects of life that I don’t necessarily fixate on.  I’m not paranoid.  I don’t obsess about home security, hoarding items or using public restrooms.  Germs are not an issue.  After all, I do have an unfastidious husband, rambunctious 9-year old and furry little pooch to keep after.  I’m not ritualistic and don’t repeat actions or phrases over and over.  I don’t feel the need to check things constantly such as light switches or locks.  I’m not superstitious and am perfectly fine with stepping on sidewalk cracks.

So, my inclination tells me I’m mainly a perfectionist and a product of my beloved mother 😉  I sometimes worry that my little obsessions can cause undo stress as I do tend to be harder on myself when things are out of order or I’ve not ‘checked’ things off my To Do list.  This has somewhat impeded my ability to be more connected with my family and simply relax and enjoy the simple things.  At work, there’s an added layer of complexity.  Due to the nature of my job as IT Manager, my world revolves around keeping order and fulfilling tasks.  At times, my concentration is challenged by attempts at “Serial Tasking” (as women tend to do).  But, engaging, creating and innovating can suffer when your mind is muddled with insignificant things.  It can be debilitating…but thankfully my energy and ‘quirks with perks’ philosophy prevail.  Our odd behaviors can serve a higher purpose!  But I suppose a little therapy never hurts.  * CRINGE *…do I see a decorative sofa pillow out of place?!  See you all next time…