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BiNa

Letter counting/alphabetizing

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Hi Guys

 

I suppose that I can remember having my counting thing since I was quite young. I remember being afraid of the dark and to help myself go to sleep, I would count all letters and numbers around my room to try to help to to sleep.

 

I am now 33 and still do it, quite alot.

 

Seems we all have our differences. I count words and give each letter a value of one and try to get it to add up to an even number, has to be a even number. Also I count and draw the letters in my head and count to get an even number. I also focus on on a specific word (one that I might have heard) and count it up. I also will focus on objects and count the lines, like floorboards, the side a ceiling had, just about anything.

 

Good to know I am not alone. Any thoughts on how to stop it. Have tried over the years, seems to be increasing and do it more offent than I think I should. To make matters worse I am a chartered accountant (in Australia), I even work in an industry that would be able to help me, but too embarrased to ask.

 

Cheers

Tony - you and I have one thing in common - we have to come up with an even count! I can't believe believe I found someone with this same quirk. I don't even realize I'm doing it until I catch myself. I have been a bookkeeper for many years and I think I am just drawn to a profession with a great deal of detail, as are you. You might want to bring this up with a psychologist for some input as to how you can keep it at bay. Some folks here say it's a form of OCD, and that may be true. Best wishes, Maeve

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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

I have been able to do this for years. It is not a compulsion for me. I do not count letters every time I hear words. But I can do it on command. My friends and family are amazed when they say a word and I can instantly tell them how many letters are in it. I have found that prime number words (11, 13, 17) sometimes give me a split-second hesitation. I do compulsively read the numbers on license plates, but that is the only compulsion I have. Maybe I just have a little OCD in me. It is great to hear from some other people who know of this. Get a copy of City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold. There is a scene where the guys are sitting around a campfire and Jon Lovitz's character does this same thing. Until now that is the only other place I've ever heard of anyone being able to do this.

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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.

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Hello, I am so glad to know that I am not alone. I count letters in words very very fast, it started in my early teenage years, I entertain friends sometimes, but after doing that I feel very nervous... My first language is Russian, but I can do it in English as long as I know the spelling. It's very sad that this talent is related to OCD. How about if we can find related talents for finding a right career for us, or maybe we can play and win some casino games that require that talent or....................... What people do you think about that? How can we apply our talent in real life? Or it's just useless.......?

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It's so strange to read that other people do this as well. I'm 19 and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I never really mention it to anyone because it's odd to try to explain. I don't alphabetise letters but i do count them. Although I didn't notice anyone else doing the same as me. If for example i was to count "cows eat grass" i would also have to count the empty spaces within the letters. So although there are 12 letters, I would end up with 17. I also count punctuation. And it does start to drain me when I'm reading. Does anyone else do this? Once again, it's so interesting to hear everyone elses stories.

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Hello,

 

I just wanted to mention a GREAT book to help with OCD it is called "Brain Lock" by Dr. Schwartz. It does not address the nutritional / diet / supplemental aspect of OCD, which is a shame, but it is all about the cognitive. The book has really helped me understand OCD some more.

 

Carolyn

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Her father (and mine!) has aspergers--also very bright, just not emotionally quite in sync. (It's our diagnosis! He would flip if he knew.)

 

One of her nephews has TS and has managed it very well with environmental medicine. Allergy injections for a while, special diet. Nutrients. It was like a miracle, he was getting so bad. And he's doing great.

Interesting info! Thanks for sharing! Have you ever thought about asking her nephew (or his parents) to post what works for them on this forum? I know that I would lvoe to know more about this. I am on the PANDAS forum, but the TS forum would also probably be interested in what works!

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It's so strange to read that other people do this as well. I'm 19 and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I never really mention it to anyone because it's odd to try to explain. I don't alphabetise letters but i do count them. Although I didn't notice anyone else doing the same as me. If for example i was to count "cows eat grass" i would also have to count the empty spaces within the letters. So although there are 12 letters, I would end up with 17. I also count punctuation. And it does start to drain me when I'm reading. Does anyone else do this? Once again, it's so interesting to hear everyone elses stories.

 

 

Hi Heather.

I know your post was put up a while back, but I've only recently stumbled on this forum and I couldn't pass the opportunity to reply. I can relate so well to what you're talking about, as well as almost all other posts on this page. I'm actually a bit older than you (40), and kept my "oddity" to myself for so many years. I actually came close to exposing it when I was in high school, but chickened out. But...I count the letters in words and sentences too. I also include the punctuation, but sometimes I don't. The spaces between the letters are included often as well, and it almost always is set to some sort of rhythmic tone in my head. After counting (or sometimes instead of) I immediately alphabetize the letters in first the words alone, then as a sentence altogether. so. "I eat grass" becomes I, aet, agrss, then aaegirsst. It is so refreshing to read that others are dealing with this as well. I felt like, for years, I was on an island all alone.

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O.K., so it's OCD. I'm 46 and I've counted as long as I can remember. Never talked about it, so it is cool to finally find folks cut from the same stock. I've often wondered if we could communicate in our own wierd language. Got to go,but interested to see more stories...

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Hi, I've been counting the letters in sentences and making them even,in my head,ever since I can remember-I'm 58 now.I don't considerit to be OCD at all.I think it keeps my brain sharp and that can only be a good thing.

I don't work with figures-in fact hated maths and had a bad teacher in school.I learnt to do maths my own way and that works for me.

 

I have no problems learning languages and am musical too.Very sharp with crosswords to.

 

Don't be embarassed about it..............it's a skill! :P

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wow, i posted on here in 05, and have not checked back since then. in fact, at the time, nobody had responded yet to my post about alphabetizing. (i dont count letters, but i do add up numbers, in addition to constantly alphabetizing the letters in words/sentences).

 

i see alot of posts about counting, but is there any new information about alphabetizing? i will try to keep checking back now that i see this post has lots more information.

 

cheers

(ceehrs!)

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wow, i posted on here in 05, and have not checked back since then. in fact, at the time, nobody had responded yet to my post about alphabetizing. (i dont count letters, but i do add up numbers, in addition to constantly alphabetizing the letters in words/sentences).

 

i see alot of posts about counting, but is there any new information about alphabetizing? i will try to keep checking back now that i see this post has lots more information.

 

cheers

(ceehrs!)

 

 

My daughter, 9 years old, told me out of the blue yesterday that she's good at alphabetizing the letters in words. She wanted me to give her some words and she would show me. She blew me away! She can alphabetize as fast as we can spell. I had my 2 older kids, 16 & 18 (A students) go up against her and they couldn't even get the first letter out before she was done. I asked how long she has been able to do this and she said for about 2 years! She says sometimes that's all she can think about in her mind while the teacher is talking. She is a good student but has a hard time with reading comprehension and I'm guessing this is the reason. And I admit, when she told me this, OCD did come to mind which is a concern.

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Ive been searching the internet for compulsive alphabetizers! I cant believe I found one! My 22 year old daughter can alphabetize faster than I can spell... It's really freaky! Once she saw someone on the Opra Winfrey (I think that was the show) that could do it. She called me all excited that she wasnt the only one in the world that could do it!

 

She alphetizes everything she sees..road signs, menus, etc. She also counts syllables & can tell you if there's an odd or even number on a book page after reading it.

 

I'd love to hear how you cope with it and how it's affected your life.

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I am so amazed to have found this group!! I never really thought it was weird to count letters in a sentence, for some reason I thought that everybody does it. Then I talked to my boyfriend last night and he was really stunned at the fact that I instantly told him the number of letters in the sentence he just said. So I decided to google it and this forum came up, I now feel that Im not alone and after reading some entries, it is so amazing to see that there are people like me out there! When I meet new people they often tell me that I am "the most awkward person they ever met". This is solely due to the fact that I often stay quiet for long periods of time because I am counting letters of what I hear or sometimes even of my own thoughts! But people only see a girl sitting there and staring into space. My really close friends are used to it and they dont mind it at all. I am also very random and I have an extremely short temper when it comes to things that dont go the way I want them to. I hate slow people, dumb questions, ignorance, and many other things that I blame people for when it is usually not even their fault. Before I go to bed I need every plug in my room to be unplugged and every door and light to be shut, otherwise I cannot sleep. My room is messy most of the time but I always have exact places where I need my things to be, which is why I rarely lose anything. I am very organized when it comes to timing and it makes me extremely angry when people are late. Also, I hate spelling mistakes and when people use abbreviations for texting because it messes up my letter-counting system. After writing all this I really feel like a freak and I was embarrassed to tell my friend about all this but he says that it makes me special. All these things only rarely bother me in my daily life though, it only really bothers me because I often get in my own way and have so many thoughts at once that I do not know where to store them anymore.

It feels so good to get all of this off of my chest!!

^_^

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