Chester Kneads and I Ritualize

Chester is such a funny boy.  One of my favorite things that he does is knead K’s blanket.  What’s funny is I have the same blanket, but in pink; however, he shows little interest in mine.  Almost every time he steps on this blanket, he feels the need to knead 😉  It’s really cute. He gets in a sort of trance while doing it.  I finally had my phone on me and captured him with the blanket.  

He has his routines, or instincts, not really sure which, and I have mine.  No matter what time of year, I continue one particular routine besides the compulsive hand washing.  I can’t believe I never thought of this as a routine before, but it came to me today when I was at work.  Obviously this is not rational behavior, Megan!  Not sure why I never realized it before, but it’s definitely one of my OCD rituals.  I guess I’m just so used to this ritual that it didn’t even cross my mind before.  It actually takes quite a bit of time out of my daily lfe. Let me explain:

While at work, I eat every two hours.  This is not necessarily OCD-related because I have to eat something or else I get shaky, dizzy, and confused.  My doctor has no idea what it is, even at blood-sugar tests, but taking black-strap molasses for the iron seems to be helping.  Anyway, these times when I eat are very ritualistic.

I bring my own water bottle to work because I think the plastic cups are an extreme waste of resources.  I fill this bottle up every time before eating, which is obviously a good habit because the bottle holds 20 oz.  I can’t just simply go to the water cooler, though.  I have to either consider whether or not I’m going to eat right after I use the water cooler and if not, I hold off on using it.  I use only the left side nozzle because no one uses it; it’s the side that doesn’t cool the water.  Doesn’t bother me, I have sensitive teeth anyway.  I only use it right before I eat because I have to use my elbow or wash my hands immediately after using it.  I usually use the restroom after using the water cooler, just so no one sees how often I wash them.  I guess that means they think I have a bladder-control problem or worse…

Before washing my hands, I dispense a long paper towel, yes wasteful, I know.  Then I use said towel to turn off faucet, turn off lights, and open the door.  I never touch that door handle, ever.  Yuck.  My coworkers joke and say that that particular restroom is “Megan’s restroom” or “Megan’s Office.”  I laugh playfully, but in my mind I’m thinking, “You’re damn right it’s mine.  Keep your nastiness out of there.”

I then proceed to eat my lunch.  I rarely bring food that needs to be refrigerated because I don’t like other people’s food to touch my own, even if they are all safely sealed in containers.  I keep all my food in my little drawer away from anyone else’s reach.

I eat without touching anything except food in between hand washing and eating.  If I do happen to touch something (e.g. telephone because a patient calls), then I have to go back to the restroom and wash my hands.

After eating, I always have a cup of green tea.  I love having green tea in the afternoon for that extra boost of energy and it helps with digestion.  I fill up “my mug” in the kitchen faucet and then put it in the microwave for 3 minutes, enough time in my mind to “sanitize” the mug and water and to make it hot, obviously.  I would prefer a kettle, but that’s just the way it is.  Then I go back to the restroom, wash my hands, and then sit at my desk until I hear the ding of the microwave.  I rush back to the kitchen so that nobody decides to take out my mug because they want to use the microwave, thus forcing me start the stupid process over.  I then open the microwave with the tissue or paper towel that I’ve hidden above the microwave (I try to hide these rituals) and then head back to my desk.

Huh!!!  That was even exhausting to type.  Even though I’m sitting here thinking about how weird and irrational this ritual is, I doubt I’ll stop it anytime soon.  I take my food very seriously and am very, very cautious about what I eat, how I eat, and who handles my food.

I just thought I’d share that bit of exhaustingness with you all.  Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed seeing Chester “in-action”!



25 thoughts on “Chester Kneads and I Ritualize

  1. I loved seeing Chester in action! Also – wouldn’t it be great if someone compared the incidence of food poisoning or illness in your life compared to your co-workers? I think that would be so cool and so validating 🙂

    1. He’s a funny little cat 🙂 Glad you enjoyed that. That would be an interesting research project. *Knock on wood* I certainly get ill less often than most in here.

  2. It’s the color of the blanket. Cats don’t see pink. I have a blanket the exact same color and V kneads only that one, out of all the others she has to choose from. Of course, she also does it when I’m under the blanket, right before she curls into a ball and plops down on top of me for a bit. However, if I move or do anything other than lay still, she gets annoyed and leaves. It’s a happy thing though, it shows you they’re content. My cousin calls it “Happy Feet”, which makes me laugh.

    Hope you’re well. Talk to you soon! 🙂

  3. I find your posts interesting! 🙂

    You just reminded me to pay attention to Steve, my cat. I wonder what he’s up to?

    Do you think you could define for me the difference between doing something every day exactly the same way out of routine versus doing something the same thing every day out of compulsion?

    I mean, I have my little habits. I think everyone does. What I don’t understand, however, is how a person can be lucid enough to label themselves “OCD,” yet UNable to break from certain things that “need” to be done, you know?

    I hope I’m not putting my foot in my mouth here as a pretty ignorant person on this topic, but…does that make any sense?

    1. Your Steve is so cute 🙂 I especially love his art…

      I think I can explain it. My mind is often plagued with intrusive or unwanted thoughts like, “Could my hands be contaminated? I should wash them” or “She’s sick, I need to wash my hands 3 times right now or else I will be sick too.” On one level, I am aware that these behaviors are irrational, but on another level the fear is very real to me and the compulsions help to relieve my anxiety in a way and sometimes fuel it. It goes past routine when it’s fear-based and anxiety driven. I have emetephobia, which is what my OCD is based around at this point in my life. When I was younger, OCD manifested differently for me (e.g. I wouldn’t step on cracks in the sidewalk). For me, it’s not just a routine or habit, but something that I feel I need to do, or something bad will happen. I think the worst part about OCD is being lucid enough to know that it’s irrational, but also feeling like I have to do the things that cross my mind. A therapist told me once that it’s a disorder of anticipation 🙂

      Sorry for the huge, long explanation! I hope this is somewhat clear 🙂

      1. No, that was awesome and made perfect sense. Thank you. 🙂

        I’m reminded of a YouTube video I saw recently where a diagnosed schizophrenic (young guy, early to mid 20’s) simply talked to his web cam for about ten minutes or so in an attempt to explain his condition.

        At first I thought the guy would never hold my attention for ten whole minutes. Also, being pretty ignorant on the topic, I started thinking of jokes during his intro. “Wouldn’t it be funny if” stuff, like maybe he’d speak very calmly and professionally for one moment, then yell at an invisible Orangutan named Spaghettisauce or something because he “couldn’t play at the moment.” Or you know…something like that.

        As I watched and listened though, it was pretty ironic that this guy, who was actually in a mental hospital at the time and wearing a plastic bracelet on his wrist, was able to give such a clear and concise account of what he went through on his good days, so-so days and his bad days.

        A follow-up video I clicked to afterward had an “update” that said he had spent a year in the hospital and was finally out and doing well.

      2. Oh, forgot to reply to this. I definitely have my good and bad days, but never a day that I’m not myself. I just have greater anxiety on some days. I don’t know much about schizophrenia, but I knew individuals with it and it is a hard life.
        I would actually like to watch that video. Do you have the link?

  4. It drives me mental when they do that, just mental. I see the need, I really do. But goodness it is such a weird thing…..

  5. Love the way Chester settles down for a rest after all that kneading. Perhaps it’s his way of making his bed. Gosh, yes, no wonder you are exhausted after writing down all your rituals.

  6. I think it’s good to recognize the rituals for what they are, when you can critically examine them, then you have a better chance of changing your behaviour.
    The *knowing* it’s not rational, can be a good way for your brain to question it even when your not actively doing it or thinking about it. So that when you come back to it, you emotionally may feel less attached to it.

    As to Chester only kneading K’s blanket, I wonder if it’s because of the colour being more similar to his fur? Cat’s are only red-green colour blind the rest of the colour spectrum they see just fine, and it’s not inconceivable that they’d have a desire (instinct based?) to be camouflaged.
    Of course this isn’t to say cats wouldn’t also like lots of things which don’t match them. For instance one of our cats, though she does like to sit on the abundant amount of black things in our house, also seems to have a fondness for a particular hot-pink blanket.
    I sort of wonder if she likes the texture. <.<

  7. As my gran says in defence of my hand washing and hand sanitiser… ‘at least she’s clean’ hehe. Xx

  8. That sounds like how my day goes too, I think of mine as more of a habit though. I’m exhausted after reading this post and feel the urge for a drink of water,

  9. Hey Megan!

    Remember how I said I was “thinking of jokes” during the YouTube video about the guy talking about his schizophrenia? Well, I thought of a few relating to OCD, and our discussion kind of…directly inspired it. So thanks! 🙂

    One of the things you mentioned is how you are conscious of how “irrational” the habits are, but that they alleviate the anxiety. Well, I got to thinking: “What if someone, armed with this knowledge, encountered not just one obsessive-compulsive, but a whole whack-load of them? What might he or she do?”

    …so I wrote an Onion-styled article on it, and just put it up on my blog.

    I just wanted you to know that I’m not making light of the condition. Like I said, I’m a bit OCD myself, and in fact, even when I was a little kid in my crib I was very obsessive about “my routines,” where could not go to sleep unless I made my Mom stand and wait while I made each and every one of my stuffed animals do “the sounds.”

    …see, I’d hum the same little short tune for each animal, adjusting the “lyrics” for each of them as I went.

    The bear? “Grrrr, grrrr-guh-grrr-grrr-grrr!”

    The duck? “Quack, quack, kuh-quack-quack-quack!”

    The Rabbit? Well…I didn’t know what sound he made, so: “Hop, hop–huh-huh-hop hop!”

    Anyway. Just wanted to make that clear. 😀

    1. Hey!

      I am going to head over to your blog and have a look 🙂 I love the onion, so this better be good. Or else…. jk 😉

      I used to say goodnight to everything in my room or else I thought that I would be murdered by something in my sleep. I literally said goodnight to everything I could think of, “Good night dresser. Good night books…” Yeah, little weirdo kid.

  10. Oh Megan you are precious! I don’t think I have OCD to any great extent, but I too have the ritual of touching everything in a public bathroom with a paper towel and never touch the handle of the bathroom door…yuck!! If I am in a restaurant I will come back to the table with said paper towel as most of the time I need it to get out the door. I wish they would install more public doors with the swinging ones where you can use your elbow to push them open.
    It was so cute to see chester kneading the blanket. We have a little plush blanket on our bed that our cat Jinxy kneads too it’s so cute.

    1. You are too sweet and your words mean a lot to me. I can certainly relate to public restrooms and restaurants! I always have issues there too 😦 I love that video of Chester. He was doing that only moments ago actually. He loves that brown blanket.

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