This is all very familiar to me. I guess I am not the only one with an obsession for words. I have been counting words for as long as I can remember and I am almost 30 now. I always thought I was the only idiot in the world to do such a useless thing all day long, until I found a show on tv where there was a lettercounter. They tested her on the show and I saw how everyone was amazed of her counting abilities. Truth was that I also counted alongside her and was just as fast/faster. This led me to believe there must be people like me all over the world and then I found this forum.
The good aspects of this obsession, in my opinion, is wanting to make perfect sentences. I have always gotten good grades on grammar and such stuff. I have noticed in the replies here that most of you are writing in perfect English without many mistakes. People that are counting letters offcourse need to know how to spell so that's not very strange.
Unlike most of the people here I am not so much into even numbers. My 'lucky' number is actually 7. I like this number because 14, 21, 28 are multiples of it and I like these numbers. I check most of spoken and written sentences on their ability to be multiplied by 7. I do this for both letters and sentences. Whenever someone speaks a sentence to me with a multiple of 7 words where the words are also a multiple of 7, I keep repeating that sentence in my head and recounting it to be sure it is correct. For example a sentence like: Tell me the number of words please. That sentence had 7 words and 28 letters which is perfect for me. If someone speaks a simple countable sentence like that to me btw, it takes me less then a second to know that the amount of letters can be divided by the amount of words.
Next to checking spoken and written sentences, I also have times in which I only want to speak sentences which meet the multiply by 7 rule. As one can imagine this leaves me with a lot of time in which I don't say a lot. It brings me in situations in which I have to adjust my sentences a lot before I can speak them. Sometimes I want to say something for some time but haven't found a way to properly use it in a x7 sentenct. It can also bring me in situations in which I add words which make no sense in the sentence. All this takes a lot of time and causes me to say weird stuff at times. It does affect my regular life in a negative way. After reading most of your stories I think I have more problems with it then most people here.
My concentration also suffers a great deal from all the calculations. It happens a lot to me when someone is speaking to me and I can't really understand what they are saying because I am too busy dissecting and multiplying their words. In some cases I just ask them to repeat what they said for maybe 2 or 3 times after they spoke like 3 sentences of text to me. It causes people to be reall irritated with me because they think I am just daydreaming or not really paying attention. The fact is I cannot stop the counting. I wonder what someone will say when I would say the truth to them: I didn't get what you just said because I was counting the words you just spoke and then divide it by the amount of letters in that sentence, in the hope of it being dividable by 7. This seems to me to be the most idiotic thing that you could ever say to another person.
When I am writing this, it forces me to think about the counting and the bad things it brings me. The reality is that all of this is so weird, in my opinion that I do not dare to speak to people about it. To me it is almost as bad as being addicted to alcohol or something like that. It causes me to do bad at school and not being able to carry out normal witty conversations. I wish I was just addicted to harddrugs sometimes instead of this compulsive behaviour because doing drugs, as an external behaviour can be stopped more easy then your brain going mad over every sentence you hear. I am wondering how many people in the world actually have this. I am guessing it would be something like 1 in a million or even less.
I can only dream of a world without counting letters and words. If I would never in my life count letters I have no idea of what I could accomplish. The handicap hasn't stopped me from getting a high school degree but it has taken me a lot of time. Without it, I might just have been the president of the USA.
I do not know your name, and I know your post is from almost one year ago. I just made an addition to this forum trying to explain my condition, but it is really hard for me to explain it and always has been. Then I stumbled across your entry and felt like you and me are exactly the same and do exactly the same things. Pretty awesome, as I thought I was alone with this obsessive counting thing. Cheers!