I’m so late! It’s 2020, lol! But I’m 18 and I have this letter/word counting thing too!! It’s SUCH A RELIEF to know that I’m not alone!! If any of y’all still check this thread, I’d love to hear from you.... I’m specifically wondering, is there any way to at least quiet these thoughts and habits? It’s been going on for like 3 or 4 years for me, and I haven’t been able to stop it. Or can it naturally go away over time?
Here’s what it’s like for me. I don’t really do the alphabetizing thing or certain other stuff y’all described. One of my tics is something I didn’t see anybody else mention. I’m obsessed with the heights of lowercase letters. High, medium, and low. Example: h, a, y. So I love finding words that form patterns that I find visually appealing in this way, like “yelling”. See how the letters’ heights flow from left to right? I dunno, I just like that. And “Nintendo”. I like splitting words in two groups of 4 and making them kinda mirror each other visually (still with the letter heights). If there aren’t enough or are too many letters in the word, I’ll just add/take away some and change the spelling. I also change the heights of certain letters as needed to fit my desired patterns. I do all this in my head. And sometimes I subtly nod my head along to the pattern as well. Not a noticeable motion, just a very slight head movement that indicates the up-or-down direction my pattern of letters is going in.... I feel like I’m not making any sense, lol.
Another weird thing I do that I think only one other person mentioned, is counting the “pen strokes” in the letters of a word and then adding them up. Example: “wow” is 9 pen strokes, or lines as I usually call them. Then I take the number of letters in the word (“wow” has 3) and add it to the number of pen strokes. 9 + 3 = 12, and I like that number. Usually I use all lowercase letters for this, but for pronouns I typically keep the first letter capitalized. Sometimes I capitalize all the letters and do the same routine to see how that changes things (because capital letters often have more pen strokes).
Speaking of numbers I like, my favorites are usually 4 and 3 to divide with, and 10, 15, and 20 to add up to.
It’s not just letters for me. I also count words in sentences. In things people say, in music lyrics, in tests at school, in text messages, etc. Even as I’m writing this, I’m counting my words. I crave a balanced amount of words, meaning I want to have a “good” number of words like 10 or 20. For example if somebody sends me a text that’s like 7 words long, that really freaks me out and I have to scroll up to find the last message so I can add 3 more words to the first snippet.
The letter-counting habit isn’t as distracting as it used to be because I’ve gotten faster at it over time. But the word and sentence counting thing can be very distracting when I need to pay attention to something I’m reading or listening to.... Reorganizing sentences kinda makes it hard to keep track of them, y’know? At least for me.
Anyway, those are just some of my main habits that I currently deal with. Here are some other things about me that might be related, I dunno? I have mild misophonia, which is where you’re bothered by very specific sounds (for me it’s chewing noises), but more so than a normal pet peeve, like, you can’t concentrate at all when you’re around the sound and it even makes you have more extreme reactions (sometimes it makes me wanna cry, shout, retaliate in anger, etc). I also have epilepsy. I’m also considered pretty smart. Between those three things and the counting thing, what the heck is going on with my brain?? Oh, and I also love English and grammar and am pretty skilled in it, so maybe that contributes to this letter counting thing? And I’m very socially awkward and I talk to myself a lot when I’m alone.... So yeah, I don’t know if any of that could be related somehow but I thought I’d share it just in case.
Another counting habit that I have is where I’ll count my steps, but I have to step the same number of times with one foot as with the other. I also do this when I’m drumming a beat with my hands.
I just told my mom about all this today. I’ve kept it to myself for all these years because I didn’t know how I could possibly explain it to anyone, and I thought I must be the only one.... I’m so glad I found this forum!! I really wanna meet someone who shares my habits!!