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Letter counting/alphabetizing

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I was amazed to find this forum. I´ve been counting letters in words and sentences since I was in my early teens (I think). I never really noticed I was doing this until a friend of mine in college asked me to help him center a sticker on the rear window of his car. In a split second I had counted the number of letters on the sticker and was able to tell him which letter was in the exact center. He stood there dumbfounded, trying to figure out how I had found a solution so quickly. We then discovered that I have what I consider to be a completely useless but fascinating "talent". Since then, I have shared this with others and am now often used to entertain people when we have get-togethers. Often friends try to compete with me, but it´s impossible for them to come anywhere close to my speed. I usually do words, but can also do sentences up to about 25-30 letters in just a matter of seconds. I also speak Spanish and German and do the same thing in those languages, as long as I know how to spell the words. Another post referred to the City Slickers 2 movie where one of the characters mentions his ability to count letters. I hadn´t seen the movie until one of my friends called to tell me about the amazing coincidence. Then I realized there must be other people who do this as well. When I discovered this forum I started to read more about OCD. I never thought about there being a connection, and counting letters doesn´t normally distract me from my daily life, but I am an extremely structured and organized person and without a doubt a perfectionist. I always have been that way. Anyway, thanks for letting me share. I´ll definitely be back to check out additions of other people´s stories.

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It's such a relief to know that other people do this. I have been counting letters in sentences for as long as I can remember and it is instantaneous for me as well. I kept it to myself for years, but recently have told my friends and family about it and they get a kick out of it. They will look at me and say a sentence and I will give them the number of letters in the sentence the second they are done...they think it's the coolest thing. It has never really gotten in the way of my day-to-day life, but there are other things that get on my nerves. Such as, when something has a volume control that reads out with a digital numeric display, the volume must be on an even number or a multiple of five, or it freaks me out. If someone put the volume on an odd number I try to change it inconspicuously, but people always notice and make a big deal out of it, and I think my friends do it just to piss me off now. I also count the number of stairs when I am walking. If there is an odd number of stairs (or not a multiple of five) I will avoid those stairs whenever possible, thinking that the person that put them in did it in a hurry and should have put in an even number, so they are not safe. I also find myself constantly lining things up so they are in some kind of order; I don't like disorder. I wish I was compulsively clean, because even though things are in order...I let things get all kinds of dirty and that doesn't bother me at all. It feels good to get these things out and know that I'm not alone.

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Oh happy day that I've found this site! Hi everyone. I'm a constant letter-counter, and Russell, I totally do the typewriter thing all the time too, making sure there are the same amount of letters (in the word) on the left side of the typewriter as on the right, and if there's not, I add spaces or a period or whatever to even it out - I feel like such a WEIRDO!

 

My brain does NOT like to be still. While people are talking, I'm doing weird brain things with the words they're saying. Geez Louise. (So what's this about candida in my system? If that's fueling this, how do I get rid of it? I'd love to hear how you've found some relief.) I take two naps every day, and have been told I'm sleepy because my brain is tired from working all the time and never truly relaxing...any input? Thanks, my new fellow brain-freak friends! woohoo, I"m not alone!! (Do you guys know of any other sites that deal with this?)

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This is lovely. Today I have discovered that other people hate butterflies and count letters in words really fast (for me the perfect number is 12 so words and names with 12 letters, eg a 6 + 6 name are excellent).

I've been doing this ever since I can remember and sometimes it irritates the ###### out of me but I can't stop.

 

What I need to know is: who in this world hates butterflies AND obsessively counts (I count people, windows, justaboutanything - sometimes i'll be alone and count myself over and over 1, 1, 1, 1 ....until I've counted myself 12-16 times* - 4 times forwards, 4 backwards twice, 4 forwards again etc)? and when i find you, will you be into music and films and will you marry me?

 

*there's still only 1 of me at the end of it

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wow im amazed at this!!!! ive never heard of other people who can do the alphabetizing. i also see the words in my mind as they fall downward into place. ive found that i can do it regular (aeglrru) or backwards (urrlgea) and sometimes i can do whole sentences with upto 26 letters. i dont know why its 26 but thats just about all my mind can handle. i think its ironic that 26 is the number of letters in the alphabet. that may be it. i have become a phenomenon with all the people i meet including my high school, college, and football team. everyone asks me to do the "alphabetizing thing". ive been doing it since i was 12 but i never told anyone until i was 15 or so. i thought it might freak people out that all i do when im looking at anything or listening to anyone, im alphabetizing the words in my head the whole time. i also find myself counting things in 8's because for some reason 8 is the perfect number and anything with 8 is perfectly symmetrical and it makes me feel better. i also have to even myself out all the time. what i mean by this is if i press on something hard with my left index finger, i have to press on the same thing with the same amount of pressure with my right index finger or i will feel off balance which makes me feel anxious. its weird and i feel crazy when i do it but i have to or i feel bad. i have been thinking about going to see a doctor to figure out what it is but now i realize that it is common...sort of. well, either way, im just glad other people can do it too.

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I'm so glad I found this forum!!! I've been counting letters in words in my head really fast since I was probably 14 years old. And Koala, like you, my favorite number is also 12. It's the perfect number. I can break of words/phrases into groups of 1,2,3,4,6,12! So many possibilities! Also, when counting small phrases in my head, I love it when there are 3 words that have 3,4,and 5 letters in order. For example, "The girl cries." Three words, whose letters all add up to 12, and are in consecutive order, 3,4,5.

 

Also, I haven't seen anyone post about this, but I spell with numbers. What I mean by this is I think of letters in my head and visualize how they would be spelled with numbers. For example, the letter "a" is most closely resembled to a digital 2, letter "b" is a 6, etc.

 

Like everyone else, I kept this to myself for a while, and then recently started to share with friends and coworkers and they get a kick out "testing" me and throwing words out at me to count. I do find this mentally exhausting as well and wonder if maybe that is why I constantly have tension in my neck and shoulders, because I can never really get my brain to rest. Has anyone ever taken medication for this? Seen a professional? I'm curious to know whether it's something I should take care of now (I'm 24 years old) and if it will get worse when I'm older.

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I'm so glad I found this forum!!! I've been counting letters in words in my head really fast since I was probably 14 years old. And Koala, like you, my favorite number is also 12. It's the perfect number. I can break of words/phrases into groups of 1,2,3,4,6,12! So many possibilities! Also, when counting small phrases in my head, I love it when there are 3 words that have 3,4,and 5 letters in order. For example, "The girl cries." Three words, whose letters all add up to 12, and are in consecutive order, 3,4,5.

 

Also, I haven't seen anyone post about this, but I spell with numbers. What I mean by this is I think of letters in my head and visualize how they would be spelled with numbers. For example, the letter "a" is most closely resembled to a digital 2, letter "b" is a 6, etc.

 

Like everyone else, I kept this to myself for a while, and then recently started to share with friends and coworkers and they get a kick out "testing" me and throwing words out at me to count. I do find this mentally exhausting as well and wonder if maybe that is why I constantly have tension in my neck and shoulders, because I can never really get my brain to rest. Has anyone ever taken medication for this? Seen a professional? I'm curious to know whether it's something I should take care of now (I'm 24 years old) and if it will get worse when I'm older.

 

 

WOW....this is odd. I was about to take my son into counseling. He is six years old....he WILL NOT stop counting letters in almost every word he sees or hears. Not all words but big ones or phrases with multiple words..he will say, "Daddy there are 9 leters in Go in there..." I thought at first he is/was autistic....but do you all feel this is natural....he is ion the first grade and can read 4th grade reading level. He also has a phot-graphic memory and even if we are in a crowded store or going 60 down the interstate he always knows which way is north, south east or west....i love u soo much...now i love thi site...thank! pls reply to email if u can...sirleer@yahoo.com

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I know most of you have heard of counting being a part of OCD, but I had a question about it. I have counted letters in words for as long as I can remember. While people talk, while I write, while I drive and read road signs, always. That's common for people with OCD. But, somehow, I can do it really, really fast. Pretty much instantly, as soon as I hear a word, before I can even think, I know the number of letters. I can do this within probably 2 seconds tops with words or sentences with about 26 letters or less in them. And if that's not enough, I can alphabetize the letters in any word almost as fast as I can spell the word itself. I have talked to people who count and alphabetize, but never anyone who does it nearly as fast as I can. I was just wondering if anyone else has ever heard of anyone that can do this???? I would like to just hear about it. Thank you in advance. -Brian

 

Yes i do this all the times =/ and sometimes i even hold my breath wile im counting the letters and i have to make sure that the word/letter im counting give me an even number and if they dont ill add other letters to them till i get an even number , other wise i feel like something bad will happen to me in the long run if i dont do this.I have actually gotten so good at this lol that i can just look at most words for a sec and no exactly how much letters there are in them or i can walk in a room take a quick look inside and most of the times i can tell exactly how many people are in the room.

I wanted to ask you something , are there moments in wich you dont do this? or is this something you do all the times ? for example if you have something on your mind , like a big event or you are thinking about something that is extremely important to you do you notice not doing this things? Also do you notice that there are days in wich this tics are stronger then other days?

 

sorry for my spelling but english is a second language to me=)

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I'm so happy to find this site! My son, who is 9, just told me that he "counts words while people are talking". I sort of blew it off because I've had a "numbers" thing as long as I can remember; however, I didn't realize the extent of his counting until I said a sentence and he said, "that was 43 letters" (literally within seconds of me finishing my statement). Unbelievable! After quizzing him a few more times, we've decided that he may need some help as he also counts letters while he reads. The crazy thing is, his reading comprehension is great and he's getting all "A's" in school. He has dealt with minor tics since he was about 2...the doctor chalked it up to a habit or stress. But, now after doing some research, I'm convinced that he has OCD. Any suggestions on getting him to stop doing this? Does it effect your daily lives? Is it truly compulsive? How do you add the letters so quickly? Do you visualize each letter? How does this begin? These are questions he cannot answer...can someone help? Thanks.

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Hi sbechtel and welcome to Latitudes/ACN

 

what you describe does sound like OCD

It can be treated with medications, but these sadly bring many potential side effects. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective ways to help people with OCD and is done with the aid of qualified psychologists. There are also over the counter supplements, like Inositol, samE and 5HTP, used with vitamin B6, that can bring much relief by elevating serotonin, which is usually deficient in people with OCD.

Always a good idea tho to have a physician provide guidance before giving anything to a child

 

here are some useful websites that I have put together on OCD and its treatment

http://www.latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=1963

 

hope that helps you find some answers

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why on earth would sbecthtel or sirleer give their children medication to stop this? i feel i have mild OCD and that alphabetizing and counting is one example of how it presents (i also sometimes have a compulsion to touch certain things or count to a particular number e.g. before leaving a room. while i know that nothing bad will actually happen if i don't do it, it makes me feel better to act upon my compulsions). however none of this impacts upon my day to day life. i would describe my head as 'busy' and occasionally 'noisy' but i do not need medication in order to function and i would query the need to provide medication to children unless their OCD is severely impacting upon their lives. if your children are getting good grades, are functionning socially, are not restricting themselves because of their compulsions/habits then why would you be concerned?

my nephew is 7 and counts footballers, i.e. he will add/subtract the shirt numbers of players and the answer will correspond to a different player's shirt. my sister is (rightly, I feel) entirely unconcerned about this, just saying that she thinks he takes after me. other than this little quirk he is a happy, stable, normal litle boy with many friends.

i have spoken to many people about my number obsession and it is more common than you might think. your children are probably geniuses. ALPHABETIZERS WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!! <_<

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Hi, I am from Mexico...

 

I have been counting letters since I was 10 years old, I am 26 now... and its been really great, I can do it whenever I want, It is not a tic and amazes all my friends.

 

A 30 word phrase is easy for me to count it in less than 3 seconds.... I did not know it is part of OCD, is it always like that? because I have been tested all the time when getting a new job and no one told me this.

 

Well... I am really glad there is others like me... I also count the syllabs and consonants that are in every phrase...

 

So, can we do a tournament or olympics of this... jeje... it is really great... thank you all.

 

Hi sbechtel..

 

This counting letter thing does not affect my life at all... I can control it, I do it just when the party is lame... and its a great ice breaker for me....

 

I do it by splitting the sentence in groups that are easy to count... example:

 

"The dog is really hungry"....

 

If you count it letter by letter you wont finish....

 

so this is the thing I automatically do in my head....

 

Thed-ogis-real-lyhu-ngry

 

Each group has 4 letters... so

 

4+4+4+4+4 = 20 LETTERS

 

Sounds slow but it is a fast calculation going on in my head... but this is the way it happens...

 

Hope I helped....

 

Best regards.

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In response to KOALADEVIL, I'm not even thinking about putting my son on medication; however, HE has approached ME to help him stop doing this and it's my responsibility as a parent to figure out how to do that.

 

Not only does he count letters, but we recently found out that he counts in multiples EX: 7+7+7 until it equals 100, but he knows that it never will, so he begins with 23 +7+7+7 so that it'll = 100. He can do this with any #. He can also count backwards by any multiple you give him (from whatever # you give him). Ask him to count backwards from 1000 by 36, he can do it.

 

He can also group letters like I've never seen before. He groups them in 100's before he turns a page while reading.

 

He said when he counts letters, he doesn't actually have to translate a word into a number. It ( the # of letters in a word) just appears in a long line and he squishes it together to come up with the answer.

 

I think it's a talent that is pretty incredible!

 

He asked me to ask one of you if you'd be willing to e-mail him. He's feeling a little odd about this and would like to talk to someone who does this as well. Would someone be willing to e-mail him?

 

Thanks! Susan

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Hi Susan - I'm 50 years old, and have done this "counting" thing since I was a kid. I remember when I was about 10, I was sitting on my dad's lap and he heard me saying something under my breath, and asked about it. I was "saying" the alphabet as though it were a long word all strung together. He cracked up and thought I was a genius.

 

I count letters in words, I "type" words and balance them (left and right) with punctuation, etc.

 

I actually think it's a combination of intelligence and anxiety. And I think it's also a combo of genetics and environment. So...all that to say, I truly believe you can help him (and teach him to help himself) by finding ways to limit the stress level in his life. Exercise is SO important to me. Limit caffeine and sugar. I take low-dose Lexapro, which takes the edge off....things like that.

 

But tell him he's not a freak, just maybe a little more intelligent than the average person, and a little more prone to need to release a little energy by playing mind games. I hope that helps!

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Hi Susan - I'm 50 years old, and have done this "counting" thing since I was a kid. I remember when I was about 10, I was sitting on my dad's lap and he heard me saying something under my breath, and asked about it. I was "saying" the alphabet as though it were a long word all strung together. He cracked up and thought I was a genius.

 

I count letters in words, I "type" words and balance them (left and right) with punctuation, etc.

 

I actually think it's a combination of intelligence and anxiety. And I think it's also a combo of genetics and environment. So...all that to say, I truly believe you can help him (and teach him to help himself) by finding ways to limit the stress level in his life. Exercise is SO important to me. Limit caffeine and sugar. I take low-dose Lexapro, which takes the edge off....things like that.

 

But tell him he's not a freak, just maybe a little more intelligent than the average person, and a little more prone to need to release a little energy by playing mind games. I hope that helps!

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