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Letter counting/alphabetizing

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Guest Scott

Wow - I thought I was the only one! I'm 33, and remember alphabetizing the letters in words as early as age 12. I sometimes also count total letters and/or syllables in sentences. Even go as far as splitting the the letters of a sentence into 50/50 halves if there are an even number of letters. If there is an odd number of letters, I determine the exact middle letter!!!

 

Other tell-tale signs of mine include adjusting my glass dead center on a coaster, and measuring everything before I move any furniture. I'm sure there are more, but I'm drawing a blank. All of this plays very well into my career - I'm a mechanical designer and use a computer aided drafting program (read: nice straight lines, exact dimensions, perfect angles and circles). I am also in charge of quality control and testing at our facility, both of which require exactness and methodology.

 

I used to reason with myself that I did this because I helped out in my grammar school library for 2 years. Reshelving books: alphabetizing, dewey decimal system, etc. But I've laughingly begun to realize that I have OCD. It's actually a relief knowing that I'm not the only "strange" person out there.

 

My question is: should I be concerned about this and/or see a doctor and/or consider taking some of the suggested non-prescription supplements? I don't believe this is having a profound negative effect on my life, but I'm no psychologist either.

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Guest kate

I not only count the lines that make up a digital number but count the sides of the lines then add them all together and divide them. Very exhausting.

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Guest Russell

This is the first time I've searched the internet for "letter counting disorder" and it sent me to this forum. The reason I searched is because of a similar tic to some mentioned herein ... but mine takes two deeper/weirder steps other than just being able to calculate the amount of letters in a person's sentence before or in time with them finishing their sentence. My two additional tics are this:

 

1. More often than not, if I'm introduced to a new person named "Jamie", the next time I encounter said individual I'll remember their name to be five letters in length, starting with the letter "J", and two syllables in length ... but I can't recall whether it's "Jamie", "Jerry", "Josef", "Julie".

 

... and the weirdest of all ...

 

2. I additionally compartmentalize the amount of letters in people's sentences into the left-hand and right-hand letters it would take to type the sentence on a typewriter ... and I seek for perfect balance in this: 50% of the letters on the left hand, 50% on the right. Balanced words/sentences are "calmer" to me than odd-numbered ones. Take the word "additionally" ... I know it's 12 letters long, but it's 5 letters on the left and 7 on the right. That's a bad word. The word "computer" is 4 letters left, 4 letters right.

 

I recognized this oddity in myself when I was 14 and learning to type as I could outrun an IBM Selectric typewriter and was brilliantly fast. My instructor had taught me to think of words as "bursts" on the keyboard ... instead of letter-by-letter input strokes.

 

Anyone with these additional tics?

 

Russell H. Steele (russells@msn.com)

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Guest michael

i've been able to alphabetize as long as i can remembe, since at least kindergarten. i can do it much, much faster than i can spell the word. i dont even have to know how to spell the word and i can alphabetize it. another thing i do is arrange pairs of letters from a word in ascending order based on letters in between them in the alphabet. such as the word: MICROSOFT. st (0 letters in between), mo (1 letter in between), cf (2 letters in between), im (3 letters in between), ot (4 letters in between). and this can go on and on with some words. does anything else do this? i am curious to know. does this mean that i have obsessive compulsive disorder?

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Guest michael

my last post was a bad example. heres a better one: COMMERCIAL. lm (0 letters) ac (1 letter) or (2 letters) ei (3 letters)

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Guest Matt

I can count letters extremely fast. It also takes me around 2 seconds for a sentence around 30 letters. It is an annoying habit, but it freaks people out, which is kinda cool.

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Guest Tim

I just found this website while looking up obsessive counting - I can't believe others have a similar obsession! I have for much of my life counted syllables in words, music, songs, and just about everything I read or hear. I count in 7s – I will read something or hear something and organize all of the words into phrases that have multiples of seven. I even repeat the phrase or set of words in my own head to the silly tune of “Shave and a haircut – two bitsâ€. This has exactly 7 syllables. But I twist it around a little bit and often repeat it to the tune of “Shave and a haircut – ten bucks†(I'm not sure where that came from - I think I just had no idea what 2 bits were when I thought of it) I will sing entire songs I listen in this phrase and sing different parts of it, so long as I end the song with the “ten bucksâ€. I've even gone so far as to know when I hear a song I know right away if the syllables in the lyrics total to a multiple of 7. If something does not have a multiple of 7, I will add phrases before or after to force it to be a multiple of 7. If a phrase does not have a multiple of 7 even without adding phrases, I get frustrated. So I will go back and find ways to make be a multiple of seven, by making different stresses on various syllables (i.e. Fire – could be 1 syllable, or Fi-re could be 2 syllables). Anyone know of any treatment options, I don't know - a magic pill? I know I have Tourette's, and I won't bore you with the other tics I have but I wanted to get other's thoughts on this particular tic. Thanks for listening!

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Guest Mike J
This is the first time I've searched the internet for "letter counting disorder" and it sent me to this forum. The reason I searched is because of a similar tic to some mentioned herein ... but mine takes two deeper/weirder steps other than just being able to calculate the amount of letters in a person's sentence before or in time with them finishing their sentence. My two additional tics are this:

 

1. More often than not, if I'm introduced to a new person named "Jamie", the next time I encounter said individual I'll remember their name to be five letters in length, starting with the letter "J", and two syllables in length ... but I can't recall whether it's "Jamie", "Jerry", "Josef", "Julie".

 

... and the weirdest of all ...

 

2. I additionally compartmentalize the amount of letters in people's sentences into the left-hand and right-hand letters it would take to type the sentence on a typewriter ... and I seek for perfect balance in this: 50% of the letters on the left hand, 50% on the right. Balanced words/sentences are "calmer" to me than odd-numbered ones. Take the word "additionally" ... I know it's 12 letters long, but it's 5 letters on the left and 7 on the right. That's a bad word. The word "computer" is 4 letters left, 4 letters right.

 

I recognized this oddity in myself when I was 14 and learning to type as I could outrun an IBM Selectric typewriter and was brilliantly fast. My instructor had taught me to think of words as "bursts" on the keyboard ... instead of letter-by-letter input strokes.

 

Anyone with these additional tics?

 

Russell H. Steele (russells@msn.com)

Finally I have found some people that can count letters like I do!! Yippee! I don't remember how long I have done it, but I do it all the time (maybe less now that I have kids...too tired!) ^_^ It mainly is just very entertaining to my students--they think I am quite weird!

I must admit, I also have the same problem with names--I sort them in the same way, based on first letter, # of letters, syllables.

This is fun finding other people with similar "talents." Have any of you seen City Slickers II? That's where I first got he idea that there must be other people out there like me. In the movie, Glen Robbins (played by Jon Lovitz) counts letters really fast.

The alphabetizing thing that some of you do is interesting...I don't want to try it because I might not be able to stop! :)

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Guest Guest_Michelle

Thank God there's others like me!!! I'm 36 and thankfully I somehow shook the letter counting habit. I would also count the number of letters in words and whole sentences. The habit is about 90% gone since I started studying for and got a job as a medical transcriptionist. Maybe that's the key...to find an occupation where there is an outlet of some type for this insane habit!!! Best of luck to you all!

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I'm 20 and I've been counting letters for over ten years. I count the number of lines that make up each letter, always capitalized and add that up, then I count how many letters are in the word, then i count how many syllables the word is and then i always add one, because it's one word (unless of course im doing a sentence, then i add up each word in the sentence) for a simple example:

 

"READ"

3432=12 +

4 letters= 4 +

one syllable = 1+

one word = 1

total: 18

 

I count road signs ALWAYS, and I can be counting while I'm having a full on conversation with someone, I can count the words after I close my eyes, it stays in my head. I try to stop counting in the middle and often find myself forcing to do something else. It works sometimes but a "habit" that is over ten years old is hard to stop. I went to a psychologist about a year ago to see if this was OCD but I dont think it was very insightful. I have self-diagnosed it as obsessive or chronic letter counting. It was actually welcoming to read other threads about people doing this, all with a slight variation but mainly the same idea. I want to add that the speed I can do this at is remarkable. My brother thinks it's crazy and he sometimes teases me by saying such things as "AEROPOSTALE... OK GO" and without thinking I'm already counting away. He doesnt understand that my brain is constantly working, I can be relaxing on the couch yet my brain is counting the "Bless our Home" sign hanging on the wall. This is a long thread but I'm encouraged knowing other people do similar acts. It's nice knowing you're not the only one out there.

 

-anxiously awaiting replies

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Hi All, I'm usually over on the Tourettes forum as my son has TS but also has some issues with OCD (that's actually what we saw way before the tics started) but wanted to chime in on the counting part - my mother-in-law does that all the time and I also suspect she's high functioning aspergers as well (my diagnosis now that I understand so much more). Anyway no one has ever helped her with this - or knew how to- until my son got TS. It seems in telling her about all the stuff we are doing for him she gasped and said that she has had chronic yeast infections her entire life! And horrible gastric problems. She is now addressing the yeast and all the little OCD things are lessening too! I just love when sharing information it helps other people - glad we have these forums to do just that!

Giselle :)

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anybody still here?

abdeehillnorstyy?

 

i would love to talk to other people that can alphabetize words like me. i am 31 and figured out i could do it in 3rd grade or so. it is sometimes extremely distracting. i do it all the time. i also find that i am always adding things up. for example, if i am driving and i see road signs or miles to go i have to add it up. has anybody ever talked to a doctor about alphabetizing?

it is like i see the words shoot across my brain, from left to right, and each letter drops into its corresponding slot from a-z. like the toys you played with when young, where the round peg went in the round hole, etc. except each "peg" is a letter of the alphabet.

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Okay, seriously, I cannot believe that there are other people in the world who do this. I have counted letters for as long as I remember. I think that it may have started sometime in high school, but to be honest, I cannot pinpoint the time that I began to count letters. I do this constantly. I just automatically envision the word or phrase in my head, count the letters,and break it down to determine what the "middle letter" is. Until recently, I had just assumed that everyone had little quirks like this. I mentioned my habit to one of my friends, and began to realize that not everyone does things like this. I have become extremely fast at it over the years, and now it is a fun little thing that I do with my friends. They think that it is fascinating that I do this, and they are constantly rattling off phrases and asking me to count the letters, which I do almost instantly. Anyway, I've never been troubled or bothered by this because it doesn't get in the way of my daily life. It's just another part of it, almost like breathing or walking. It is great to hear about other people who have similar quirks.

 

Jodie

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I am reading all the posts and really starting to worry about my beautiful son he's 7 yrs old and has suddenly started counting letters in words on his fingers while talking At first I probably didn't notice but then he started pointing out to me that certain words were either odd or even. So I started to take note but not mentioning it to him to be honest I was impressed and thought wow what a talent. He's a good student get good grades and has never been a behavior problem so obviously I never would have thought that this is an actual problem. In all honesty Im terrible in Math and thought great he's going to be good in it but my sister pointed out that it was a sign of adhd and then a friend that it was ocd I don't know what to think should I be concerned at this stage or wait and see where it goes. I would hate to ignore

it but would also hate to repress a tool he's possibly using to help him spell or become better in math whatever the case may be. Also I did recently just ask him why he did it and he said he doesn't know he just can't stop and that he likes odd numbers. So anyone with some insight please help a concerned mother. :)

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