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I have OCD

February 1, 2010

Thanks to our crappy health insurance and astronomical co-pays I usually only visit a doctor if I feel like death is knocking on my door.  Instead, I prefer to take the cheaper route of self-diagnosing using Google.  For example, I had a horrible stomach ache a while ago (what else is new, right?) and I couldn’t think of anything I’d eaten that was unusual, except for some tofu.  So I Googled, “Does tofu cause stomach aches?”  And naturally I found about a million people who confirmed that they too get sick from tofu!  A few days later I tested myself by eating another piece of tofu, and guess what?  I had another horrible stomach ache.  So I stopped eating soy altogether.  That was about 2 years ago and I haven’t touched it (knowingly) since.  I saved a bunch of money in co-pays, blood tests, and other non-covered insurance charges and was a happy camper.  Me and Google are BFFs.

In addition to medical advice I defer to Google for reassurance on just about everything else.  A few weeks ago I Googled “Do other people check the stove 100 times to make sure it is off?”  Yes, I really did.  And my BFF did not fail me.  According to this article on other people feel the compulsion to check the stove, locks, the oven, etc. numerous times because they can’t remember if they turned it off. The article confirmed that I not only have OCD but ERS too:

Excessive reassurance-seeking (ERS) is a common problem among both obsessive-compulsive and depressed populations.” 

Wonderful.  I figured okay, I’ll just add ERS to the lengthy list of things that are wrong with me and one of these days my long list will justify the cost of therapy.  (Please make me feel better and tell me you double/triple check things before you leave the house?)

So this past Saturday my ERS, OCD, and I were walking through the kitchen, doing my usual run-through before I left for lunch in Pasadena.  Mentally I was checking things off: Oven?  Off.  Toaster?  Off.  Dishwasher?  Off.  Sliding door?  Locked.  Stove?  I mentally counted off the five burners: off, off, off, off, on??? 

And I realized that Ali had left the stove on!  I nearly had a heart attack imaging what could have happened had I not checked.  I tried to stay calm.  I told him that he’d left the stove on for an indeterminate amount of time.  I said, thank God I have ERS otherwise who knows if you would have burned our house down!  I asked him, what were you thinking??  

Ali’s response?  “Oh. Guess I forgot to turn it off.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting him to say but that definitely wasn’t it. And now I’m not sure what worries me more – the fact that Ali left the stove on in the first place?  Or his indifference at leaving the stove on. 

All I know is that my ERS is going to be working overtime from now on!


32 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2010 10:02 pm

    Haha.. I might have ERS too!! It’s a curse. But I’m glad to hear it nearly saved your life. I’ll keep checking my stove often. 🙂

  2. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    February 2, 2010 12:24 am

    ERS doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as OCD 😉 Glad nothing catastrophic happened with the stove, my bros leave ours on all the time and it drives me mad! Web MD and i are pretty great friends too

  3. February 2, 2010 2:35 am

    I’ve never heard of ERS until now. And I thought I’d had everything. As I look back I’ve known a lot of people with this problem.
    Could it be a congenital defect?
    It’s good to find a well-written blog with some humor added in.

  4. February 2, 2010 4:40 am

    I’m constantly asking Google questions as well! Hooray for self-diagnosis! I use to check things like a madwoman. Stove. Appliances. Doors… but I think I grew tired of it because it’s lessened over time. I still feel compelled to check things when I get more stressed out though, so maybe I’m a bit OCD as well 😉

  5. 5kidswdisabilities permalink
    February 2, 2010 4:48 am

    It’s a good thing you DO have OCD, otherwise your house could have blown up! I think we are all OCD to some extent…
    Lindsey Petersen

  6. February 2, 2010 5:00 am

    That is exactly what my husband would have done too…what is it with men and their inability to admit when they’ve done something wrong?

    I don’t know ANY women with that problem. Certainly not me. 😉

  7. Danielle permalink
    February 2, 2010 5:46 am

    I’m exactly like you- google solves all my problems!
    It’s a good thing you have ERS because something could have happened 😕 (You have a really nice stove-top by the way)

  8. February 2, 2010 6:46 am

    One morning, I woke up to find that our stove had been on all night long (thanks to my husband)! I developed a severe case of ERS after that little incident. Oh, and my husband forgets to lock our door, too.


  9. February 2, 2010 7:22 am

    Wow. I have ERS too. Seriously. I’ve been late to work before because I decide to drive back home because the garage door is open. It never is.

  10. February 2, 2010 7:29 am

    I go through weird stages of ERS. Though I just always thought it was OCD behaviors. I used to get up multiple times to check the stove and oven, even if we didn’t turn the oven on. I am obsessed with making sure I have turned off my flat iron. I even unplug it the minute I’m done, but will still go back up and check to make sure it’s off and unplugged. I have even turned around halfway through an hour drive to go back and check an iron.

  11. traynharder23 permalink
    February 2, 2010 7:57 am

    my mom has ocd and ers. omg. she calls me at home sometimes to say- DID I CLOSE THE GARAGE DOOR?! DID I TURN THE STOVE OFF?!

    so i totally understand.

    and like Anne the doctor takes a wife- i’ve done that too. to reassure my own ocd mind.

  12. erintakescontrol permalink
    February 2, 2010 8:46 am

    I do the same thing with the door locks at night! I live in a great neighborhood, but during my college years, I did not…it kinda stuck with me! Glad you noticed the burner being on before disaster struck!

  13. February 2, 2010 9:53 am

    This is quite amusing that you would post this, as I was just making notes of things to share at my psychiatry appointment (aka “biting the bullet meeting”) on Monday. I didn’t know there was a name for it, but I definitely have this ERS. I check the alarm clock like 5 times, to make sure it’s set right, as if it re-set itself in the few seconds since the last time I checked. I check to make sure the fridge doors are closed, because I have this huge fear of leaving it cracked open, making the fridge die and all the food go bad. I check the oven burners often. Sometimes, I write things down in my day planner, and then I check a couple minutes later to make sure I actually wrote them down. Is that enough to make you feel less weird? I sure hope so.

    By the way, Google is also my BFF, although it has convinced me that I have a multitude of conditions and illnesses. This is creating another problem. Google tells me it’s called hypochondria.

  14. traynharder23 permalink
    February 2, 2010 10:01 am

    I KNOW! i was like, i like it, but i’m sure the salmon burger looks like SHIT photographed. it looks so gross. those weird like juices coming out.

    pb, now, that is DELICIOUS. i am 1/2 way down my jar. =D

  15. louisianagrown permalink
    February 2, 2010 10:12 am

    Sounds like me like you and Ali are a match made it heaven. He provides a way for your ERS to be useful; your ERS ensures that he doesn’t burn to death. Soulmates, for sure.

  16. February 2, 2010 10:35 am

    I do the same thing. It actually really annoys me about myself. Before bed I have to check all the doors a gazillion times. And I can’t just look. Oh, no. I need to physically shut them again. And I make sure my alarm is set a million times before I shut off the light. Just to be sure.

    As for calling Dr. Google, I try not to because it always seems to report the worst. The first time I had a migraine with an aura, Google told me I was having a stroke. Not so funny.

  17. February 2, 2010 11:08 am

    Is OCD more common in women? I will google that later. Garage door, car door, front door, yes yes yes for me. Does not help if you are living with big and small kids. One thing guys did a lot at home was leaving the cabinet doors open and my face or forehead bumped right against the door. Ouch! #@*%!

  18. February 2, 2010 11:16 am

    Interestingly enough, Google (and WebMD!) makes my OCD much worse–thanks to Google, I am constantly searching for random symptoms and what rare and deadly diseases might be the cause of it. I now have myself on a strict ban from WebMD 🙂


  19. February 2, 2010 11:21 am

    You are definitely not alone. I tend to pull the door knob so hard when I lock it before leaving, that mys husband fears that I am going to break it some days. Before leaving I have to check everything at least twice. So i get what you mean!

  20. February 2, 2010 12:13 pm

    I’m with you. I failed the OCD test but might have the ERS. I have taken to just throwing the breakers for the kitched stove when I leave. Since I started that I’ve started checking the speakers to make sure they are not turned on on the computer. Let’s not even talke about how many times the front door lock get’s checked.

  21. February 2, 2010 1:00 pm

    scary!!! i don’t check compulsively per say BUT if the thought does cross my mind, i literally cannot erase it and it haunts me. which is especially annoying when it happens and i am in the car, as i am then compelled to turn around and drive home to check 🙂

  22. February 2, 2010 2:21 pm

    I diagnose myself through Google as well. Health insurance is a joke

  23. February 2, 2010 2:21 pm

    I definitely have OCD, but it’s mostly a good thing. It keeps things me organized, clean, and for the most part on top of things.

  24. February 2, 2010 4:38 pm

    girl…i def have ocd…to the point where i question if its “serious” or not…if it disrupts function…there is a problem 🙂

  25. February 2, 2010 5:38 pm

    Girl…I can’t believe the stove thing! Hey at least Im a high raw vegan so the worst i can do is leave the dehydrator on LOL
    But that’s something my hubs would do. Classic: he leaves the house unlocked, drives out of the garage and doesnt close garagedoor.
    Me: WTF are you thinking Scott?!?!!
    Him: Guess I forgot to close it.

    I feel your pain 🙂

  26. February 2, 2010 6:40 pm

    YIKES! That stove! Bad husband!

  27. actorsdiet permalink
    February 2, 2010 7:13 pm

    AAAAAH! i almost had a heart attack just reading that. luckily my husband doesn’t go near the stove. well, maybe not so luckily.

  28. whydeprive permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:05 pm

    hahaha I check google for EVERYTHING! I had to take 20% off of the price of something at work and I was so worried about getting it wrong that I actually typed 20% of 395 into google. I LOVE google!

    And dont worry, I check my alarm about 40 times before I go to bed, sometimes I get up after Ive gone to bed to check it. I also get out of bed to check the stove. I use it as a space heater (NOT a good move for someone like me) so Im constantly worried that its on. I also check the locks at least 3 times before I can go to bed. CANT be healthy!

  29. February 2, 2010 9:11 pm

    Well, hahaha! That’s men for ya. And me, too. Today I realized that I’ve left my wallet in the fridge. After a few hours of panicking and near tears.

  30. February 24, 2011 10:01 am

    Hello again my dear. Don’t tell me you’re surprised that the title of this post on the bottom of your speechless post caught my eyes. Please add ERS to my list too. Thank God for our hubbies that 3 letter disorders like to reside in our brains. Ok gotta run cause OMG my house is a mess ;-). Have a great one my OCD BFF. Ha!

    • February 24, 2011 12:50 pm

      There are SO many 3 letter disorders in my house…mainly afflicting me of course. You have a great one too LeQuan! I love your comments as always!


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