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Old 01-25-2020, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

Hey, guys. New to this board, so super-quickie history: Long-time bipolar 1 with a lot of recent mania and psychosis. Voices, cameras in the apartment, racing thoughts, etc. On and on. Been going on for years.

In the past several months, I have noticed myself counting (in my head) pretty much continuously. I count everything. How far I turn up my music, how many strokes I pedal on my bike, how many vegetables--everything. The final count must always be an even number, otherwise, in my mind, something disastrous will happen. So, it is very important to count correctly.

Generally speaking, all other things being equal, I count to 16 and then start over again. So, if I ride 100 miles on my bike, I will count to 16 over and over for those 6 or whatever hours, without stopping. 16 is the preferred number, but if that can't be done, it has to be an even number.

Any thoughts on this are appreciated. I have no hand washing, door locking, hair pulling, germ cleaning type of history of any kind. Not really sure about this, but thought you all might have some thoughts. Thanks!!
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Hey, guys. New to this board, so super-quickie history: Long-time bipolar 1 with a lot of recent mania and psychosis. Voices, cameras in the apartment, racing thoughts, etc. On and on. Been going on for years.


In the past several months, I have noticed myself counting (in my head) pretty much continuously. I count everything. How far I turn up my music, how many strokes I pedal on my bike, how many vegetables--everything. The final count must always be an even number, otherwise, in my mind, something disastrous will happen. So, it is very important to count correctly.


Generally speaking, all other things being equal, I count to 16 and then start over again. So, if I ride 100 miles on my bike, I will count to 16 over and over for those 6 or whatever hours, without stopping. 16 is the preferred number, but if that can't be done, it has to be an even number.


Any thoughts on this are appreciated. I have no hand washing, door locking, hair pulling, germ cleaning type of history of any kind. Not really sure about this, but thought you all might have some thoughts. Thanks!!


Isnít there something called pure O OCD?
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

Since it just started, maybe it is due to a med you are taking.

I have had mild OCD (self diagnosed) since I was a kid. I type in the air while listening to a teacher or conversation. I count; like all the steps I take doing something. But I donít believe that something bad will happen if I donít. Itís only a compulsion, thatís why I say itís mild. Just my opinion.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

Thanks, you guys. I appreciate the feedback. Yeah, it's possible I might have something along the lines of a Pure O OCD. A bit of a less common one, apparently, but it seems possible. I do think the counting is an avoidance strategy. That as long as I count, these things that terrify me won't happen. Makes me very, very, very anxious just writing this. But I do want to get better, as it is a bit debilitating to have to constantly count everything.

So, I'll look into it some more and ask my pdoc what he thinks. I am pretty good at CBT, which is one of the treatments, appraently. The other, the exposure therapy thing, that just totally terrifies me. I'm not sure I could do it.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

So, did a ton of reading last night and I personally feel I have a pretty good idea maybe of what is going on here. First, the counting is definitely an avoidance strategy. It allows me to avoid dealing with a fear or two. Second, I did some CBT while I was out for a walk last night and realized that one of the fears was actually completely irrational and not supported by facts. The facts strongly support the opposite, which is very calming. Third, the thing that I am most fearful of is actually my own, longstanding PTSD. I do not want to deal with it. You'll note I don't even list it on my sig, even though it is horrific and crippling for me. I don't really want to even acknowledge that I have it, for some reason or other. In short, I am afraid of being afraid again.

So, I need to figure out how to deal with all this. I did do something recommended on my 3 hour bike ride last night and forced myself to not count to 16 the entire time. It was anxiety-provoking, but I did it. Every time I started counting, I just brought myself back, kind of like when a thought comes by and you are trying to meditate.

I'll post a f/u when I know more. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wondering About Constant, Repetitive Counting

Hey bp!
I completely relate! I have OCD, and I count repeatively. Anything from ceiling tiles to simply counting forwards and backward to 100 over and over again. Counting rituals are considered compulsions, and are usually done to "conceal" the compulsion to avoid shame and embarrassment. I can usually keep the counting rituals under control, unless I'm under a tremendous amout of stress or a trigger comes along to disrupt my zen. My therapist and I have concluded that it only starts getting bad again when PTSD rears it's ugly head. LIke you said, I'm afraid to be afraid. I've learned that if I picture a stop sign in my head in the middle of counting, it usually helps stop the ritual. Then I can take a few nice, calming deep breaths and normally re-center myself.
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