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Mental Counting OCD

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I don't know why i am writing in here really or if anyone can help me, i need support i suppose not help.. My partner has mental counting OCD. He counts all the time and everything faces, Furniture, radiators (he breaks them down in to parts in his mind), tile , strips, colours you name it he counts it. Most of the time i don't notice but in times of stress he seems to be doing it more and more. It gets hard to talk to him if he is in the middle of counting something in his head and i speak to him. He trys not to get cross but i can see in his face that it annoys him, but i don't know he is counting, so i can't tell when he wants me to speak. I have known him my whole life he is 41 i am 38 he only told me by accident two years ago that he does it. He didn't realise that everyone didn't do it. I would like him to get some help if there is any out there, he says he would like to stop but he has done of for so long he doesn't remember a time without it. He doesn't realise it effects our relationship. If we go out with friends i can see he is doing it and he just looks like he isn't interested in anything they are saying. Are there any other people out there is the same situation as me that can help me with coping. He doesn't seem the have anyother OCD tendancies.

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Hi Nattynoo

Sounds like you and your partner are having a tough time. Sorry to hear that.

I can't categorically say that your partner has OCD as I'm not a professional, but because it is a constant thing that he does certainly makes it sound obsessional and compulsive.

I have one personal experience of counting. I have words in my head where I count out the letters and try to break the letters down into patterns and groups to make them 'even'. For example, the word 'Apartment'. I count 9 letters, but I don't feel they split nicely into groups of three, so I have to add the letter 's' on the end so I can count 10 and comfortably split the word into groups of 5 letters, or a 3, 2, 3, 2 pattern.

The only reason I tell you that is because I have identified that I count when I am trying to alleviate some anxiety, stress or to feel like I'm in control of something.

Have you ever asked your partner why he feels the need to do it? It might be helpful for him to have a think about the reasons why he does it. What does he think will happen if he doesn't count? This may help determine whether you both feel something is wrong with this pattern.

There is definitely help for this type of behaviour. Medication and Cognitive behavioural therapy are the two main options. These are very helpful. A visit to your GP would be the first port of call. Also a brief look at OCD websites may help your partner identify with the condition or confirm in his mind that it's not OCD. This site is a great resource to start reading.

I hope you both get some answers and some help with this.

Edited by ldsruminations

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I have a similar problem - though, I don't consider it to be one. I think of a word, then try to see how many other words I can make. When I'm driving, I look at registration plates to see how I can calculate the maximum sum, or I'll recite the square root of 2 to over one hundred places. I look a patterns in paper or tiles to find recurrences etc, etc.

It annoys my wife, and she annoys me when she tries to break my concentration. Fifty years of marriage and she still complains. C'est la vie!

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Hi there. I have the same as your partner. I mentally count nearly all the time. I also thought everybody did it until a few years ago. For me, the numbers are constantly going, even when I'm not actively counting anything, but as soon as I bring my attention to something they transfer to that and I begin to count that. I'm counting now, as I type (but it doesn't stop me typing-counting may be a hinderance, but it doesn't prevent me doing anything). This is a constant in my head and, to be honest, I can't imagine not having it. If the numbers disapeared would there just be silence? Stillness? I don't know. I can't get rid of this. At 33 it's far too ingrained to go away. Mental compulsions are (in my opinion) extremely hard to get rid of. How do you stop thinking something? The more you try the more you are aware of the thing you're trying not to think about. I just have half my brain on counting, and half on what's going on around me, and so far that's fine. I wish I could tell you how I got rid of it so that you could use that info, but for me the numbers are a part of me, and my boy'f knows that and if I need to ask him to repeat stuff so that it can be even/touch his arm a set amount of times etc then he's fine with that-he just tells me (in good humour) I'm a nutter and leaves me get on with it. I just supress the physical side of it in public as best I can. I've tried every medication in the world and the only thing that makes the numbers go, surprisingly, was magic mushrooms! I'm not advocating this one bit, just being honest about my personal experience. They make the numbers dissapear about half an hour after taking, and for three days after. Apparantly many ppl use mushrooms to supress OCD symptoms (google it) and studies into their use is ongoing. But given that I can't live every day in the mystical mushroom world (boo) I will just have to count! There are worse things tho for sure-OCD can have horrific symptoms of which I view my counting to be the kindest of the bunch that I have. Hope it helps a little knowing there are other counters out there! :)

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I just came across this accidentally while looking for a way to support my OCD-suffering girlfriend. I have to admit, I had no idea this was an OCD-related symptom. This is something I've been doing in my head for years and never seen as an issue.
I mentioned this to my best friends a while back and we just laughed at me being 'mental', I had no idea it was actually linked to anything...

To be clear, what I do is mentally count objects that I see, or letters in words (for example, I just saw a table in my room. It's 'five' - four legs and a surface. Until I look closer, then it's 9 because I can see 9 different surfaces on it. Then if I look more it breaks down by shadow, colour, whatever, infinitely.) This has never really intruded on my day to day life, although I have occasionally found it a bit annoying and tried to stop (harder than it seemed).

Is this something I should be concerned about? As I say, it doesn't really affect my life, it just gives my brain something to do while I'm not focused on other things. I certainly don't feel it's on the level of OCD, as that's a serious and debilitating problem.
As far as I know I don't have any other symptoms, and after my girlfriend's awful experiences with the NHS I wouldn't want to waste everyone's time with such a minor thing.

So to those of you who sought out treatment: it wasn't just for this, right? Basically, how worried should I be? :p

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