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Counting Ritual - Zami - Aug 30th 2008

Question:

I also find myself counting constantly by fives. I break every object down into lines and count by fives. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember and I do not get headaches but I find it is almost a reflex action and I catch myself doing it without even realizing I am doing it. I find it calms me down when I am frustrated and for some reason the number 95 is to me the "perfect number". I cannot explain this and no one understands what I am talking about when I attempt to explain the situation. Please tell me what this is and explain to me why I am doing this.

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Answer:

Hi Zami,

The experience of counting over and again is a typical type of symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I would venture to guess that OCD is your diagnosis. As to why the nuber five fascinates you is more difficult to answer and has more to do with your personal history and individual mental dynamics than anything else. In other words, different people with OCD have different numbers and different variations of symptoms.

OCD is viewed as an anxiety disorder and the repetitive mental and behavioral symptoms an attempt to relieve anxiety. It is common for people with this disorder to experience depression along with anxiety.

There are several types of treatment that are effective and the choice depends upon the severity of those symptoms. For some people, OCD symptoms can be so severe that they are nable to to get out of the house because of the need to compulsively check and recheck things at home. For these people, medication is often the first line of treatment. The medication is one of the anti depessants known to relieve both depression and OCD.

The behavioral treatment with or without medication is behavior modification and cognitive behavioral treatment. These are done by a clinical psychologist who is specialized in doint this type of work.

I would urge you to get a referral to a clinical psychologist and begin your treatment.

I want to assure you that this disorder is now treated with a very high rate of success.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Elis

    OMG this is the exact thing I've had all my life since I can remember, the only diference is that i count by 2's and my perfect number is 10, I count every single thing and always have to end in an even number, I know i live a very stressfull life, I had no idea this is a condition, much less treatable.

    I can see that my stress levels are higher than before and i have developed other symptoms such as red painfull (burning feeling) spots in my tongue, could all this be related to Stress? should i seek psychological treatment?

  • Allan N Schwartz

    You should seek treatment for your counting ritual only if it interferes with your life and makes you feel miserable. If this is not the case and this happens only when you have a lot of stress you could go to our self help section and learn some stress reducing techniques. If this counting thing plagues your life, then I would suggest you see a clinical psychologist with training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

    Dr. Schwartz, PhD

  • Anonymous-1

    My ritual is to read things in groups of 8, and sometimes 6. Every sentence and thought has to end on an even number, and I'll often rejig or reword things in my head until that's achieved. My 'significant' number is 28. I'm undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression already, but had not given this counting thing a second thought until now. I'll be bringing this up on my next consultation.

  • Anonymous-2

    I am 60 years old and can remember counting as far back as high school. I count everything, usually in groups of 3 or 8, but also in whatever groups or combination will add up to the number (e.g.: number of letters in a phrase or sentence). I also take each word (or extended word) spelled backwards and try to make words from that (e.g.: atlas = salt + a the - bathe = eh + tab). There is a considerable amount of poetic licence used when formulating these words. I feel I am successful when I can make words out of over half the words in a sentence. I am very good at Sudokus and Crossword Puzzles.

    This behavior is virtually continuous, although I cannot isolate obsessions which trigger it. It seems worst when I am watching television. Do you have any comments for me?

  • jesse

    I thought I was the only one with this wierd problem, I have been counting since I was around 12 now I'm 31. I count all things words numbers, objects, until the answer equals 21. Which then equals 3. I count everything from time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I get frequent headaches and although I do it more when stressed it also causes me stress. The more I count the crazier I feel. Please help me.

  • Nova

    I am turning 25 in 80 days, and have within the last 6 months become overly obsessed with counting. I have always had a thing about numbers, but only recently did I really start noticing an obsession with them. I have to have odd numbers on things for example the volume level on my stereo, it bothers me to have it be even (unless its the number 4 - not sure why). I count random things everywhere, including blocks, tiles, and screws - in walls, floors, windows, ect. I have noticed that when I am more stressed out I count things more often. Sometimes this bothers me, other times I dont even notice I am doing it until someone points out that I am counting under my breath.

    The counting is especially obsessive with steps and stairs... I cant help it, it gets really bad when I go to a friends house. I know exactly how many steps from the front door to the bathroom and so on.... I used to be overly obsessed with keeping my food seperate. This food seperation was a problem about a year ago, and it seems that I have replaced "most" of this problem with counting. I dont know if this is possible but it makes sense to me at least.

    Odd things happen and I am not sure why things play out the way they do, but deep down I think that counting and numbers have some sort of significance to us all and that just some of us are more sensitive than others to their importance. There is hope out there for those who have not come to terms with this obsession. And for those still searching I leave you with these 2 quotes (not sure who said them but they have helped me in the past and they may help you).

    "If you cant learn to follow your spirit without hesitation, then you'll eventually end up following your hesitation without spirit."

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us."

    ~Nova

  • BobF

    I've known for years that I suffered from OCD. I recall the exact moment it began. I was 16 and had awoken from a terrifying nightmare (I won't go into it for fear of ridicule). I didn't feel right at breakfast that morning. On the walk to school I began counting the lines that composed the letters of the names on street signs. For example, OAK has seven lines, ELM has 10 and so forth. I couldn't stop. But, it was reassurring in an odd way. And it kept me from dwelling on my nightmares. And you are right when you say it is worse at times of stress or anxiety. At its worst I will count the lines comprising any object that I see. Windows, a coffee mug, my computer monitor, the branch of a tree. It doesn't matter. The numbers can become quite large. Then I reset to zero and start all over again. It's weird, I know.

    I did see a therapist about it and was diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder. Angry outbursts are also an issue with me. I cycled through a number of antidepressants but they didn't help for long and there was weight gain. I stopped going to my therapist after I told her about my recurring dreams/nightmares and she wanted to refer me for full blown psychiatric work-up. I balked and walked out of her office. I'm dealing with my OCD as well as I can now.

  • ken

    with all this complicated counting technique involving numbers as well as letters, we should all have been whiz kids in algebra class!!...so why did i flunk 3 times??!! trying to explain my "method" of counting and why certain #s predominate at certain times, is like trying to explain how to swallow - you simply cant, but you have no trouble doing it. its just something that comes natural to you, that is impossible to explain to anyone - or even yourself. at least for me - everyone posting here seems to have that "gift" of being able to sensibly explain it. im not jealous, though, the last thing i need is another "gift". between ocd, tourettes, lazy eye, and whatever form of bipolar i have-and have had for most of my 39 yrs, i think my plate is full enough, thank you! my parting thought: is it just me, or does anyone else have to analyze EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of every single word, phrase, statement that comes out of everyones mouth?? did i just make someone out there feel a bit "normal" with that question? hope so.

  • absentstars

    I'm 27 years old and I don't even remember when I began counting. I count the lines on the sidewalk, clocks, letters, license plates... but everything in increments of 5. I also have a hard time concentrating. Someone will be talking to me and within seconds, I find myself in deep thought. It's almost as if I blank out. But I am somewhat conscious of the conversation. I've never been to a doctor, and frankly, I don't even know how I would start. It's almost as if something isn't "clicking" in my mind, at times. (Not sure if that makes any sense to anyone.) Anyhow, it's nice to see that I'm definantly not alone with the counting.

  • Chuck

    Bob F.: I am a very successful professional and I have the exact same counting issues as you--I count the lines in letters just like you do. Very interesting. I fel best when the lines add up certain numbers. I also count the lines around window panes.I can stop myself easily, but find I am doing it again if I dont pay attention. I guess mild OCD.

  • Anonymous-3

    It was suggested that one can read through this area and get some help or relief.

    Where is it located? (The Self-Help Section)

    Thanks.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    The self help section, and it includes a book and tools, can be found at:

    http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/center_index.php?id=353&cn=353

    There, you will find many chapters and lots of information.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • crystal

    well ive also been counting, im 28 and I can remember counting as far back as the age of 6. My counting ritual starts on any finger but must end on my thumb, and if it doesnt i just keep trying until it does, and if for some reason I cant correctly spell the word, which would be crazy if I couldnt , because by now youd think id be a spelling whizzzzz, I just break the word into syllibles, Im currently takeing paxil because along with that ocd comes anxiety and depression, my main fear though that I might gain another ocd, Ive already kicked the other ocd, like awful horrible thoughts, kinda like mini movies in my head, Oh i also repeat words in my head that I hear on tv or from a conversation, strange huh. yeah well im not alone and that atleast gives me some twisted relief. Youd think by now id have carpentunnel huh !!!!!

  • Anonymous-4

    i'm 15, almost 16 and i have been counting since i was 5. It started with my alarm clock. i wouldn't be able to sleep at night so i would stare at my red digital alarm clock for hours. and i started to count the lines that made up the numbers... i would count all numbers.. the number 10:08 pm was the luckiest, because it had the most dashes and dots (when it was pm there would be another dot, and with the alarm clock set there would be another dot and all the dots and dashes added to 25) now 25 can be reduced to 10. and 10 is my golden number. i count everything in 3's though... so 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 etc. or 2 5 8 11 14 17 20 etc or 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 etc. but 10's are luckiest so whichever sequence (multiples of 3 starting at 1, 2 or 3) has the most 10's in it... is the luckiest. and it happens to be the multiples of 3 starting at 1. it has 22 25 40 46 49 52 55 64 94 127 157 172 175 217 271 517 571 712 715 721 751 1114 etc... its messed up but i count everything (even letters now have a number) and if it end on a multiple of 3 starting at 1, it's lucky. if it ends on a multiple of 3 starting at 2, its unlucky and multiple of 3 starting at 3, it's neutral. i mess up on my math tests because of it... i count wrong, i can't sleep it seems to be really bad when i watch tv i know every single word on my dvd player because i count it when i watch a movie... it drives me crazy my parents and friends have no idea what i'm talking about haha... and neither do i. i just wish i could stop thinking sometimes it's so intrusive! so yeah... ok i'm weird but at least i'm not alone kinda

  • Chris

    I often find myself counting to the number 23, it is just a coincidence that it happens to be a movie. in my head i make a picture of a christmas tree, 1,1 2, 1 2 3, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 8, 1. i say 8 as one number for some reason i am unsure of. if u make every number 1, except 8 and then add them together it makes 23. i also have another obsession, i dont know if it has to do with OCD but it may, whenever im on hotmail, i have to delete all of my messages, after that they go into the deleted folder, and that forces me to delete them once more.

  • Rachael

    My counting doesn't interfere with my life, so I guess I actually like it. I count mainly the dashes in clocks and other certain things I see everyday in my home. My perfect number is 8 and I absolutely hate the number 13. If the dashes on my clock add up to 13 I don't look at it until I know it has changed. I also like sequences. I love 2, 4, 6, 8. I don't just count things, I also count numbers out on my big toes. I tap them. I tap my left toe first, and in my head I say 2, 4, one number for each tap. Then on my right foot I say 6, 8. I do it over and over. Most of the time I don't realize I'm doing it until someone asks me why I'm tapping my toes. I also like color sequences. Purple, blue, green. The left toe gets two taps for puple and the right gets two taps for blue, green. When I'm super stressed or nervous I can do it really fast. I was even doing it at my wedding. It was so fast that I was bouncing a little bit at the alter.

  • Jen

    Interesting! I have been counting since my early 20's and I'm now 37. I count in the back of my mind usually up to 8 and then over and over ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 etc...). I don't realize I'm doing it until I hear it and focus on it. The only "things" I tend to count are stairs. I will count those every time I go up or down - past 8 until the number they are finished. Again, I don't always realize I'm doing it until half way through. It doesn't interfere with my daily life that I can tell... Thanks everyone for sharing your stories!

  • rubytuesday

    I knew I had OCD from the moment I found out what OCD was but at first my therapist didn't know if she believed me that I counted ALL the time because I've become an expert at hiding it.

    I don't flip lights off and on, for ex., like you see people do in the movies. Instead I will do everyday things like scratch an itch, even flex a calf muscle (that no one notices!), etc.

    I also have to BALANCE whatever I do on both sides of my body. So if I scratch my right arm I need to do something to my left side of equal proportion. By that I mean it's not enough just to match the number of scratches, taps, muscle twitches, etc. but they have to also be equal in intensity. So a light foot tap may equal one but a harder one might equal two, and so on.

    And of course all of this has to be done in certain numbers or multiples or certain numbers.

    Anyone else have this hiding thing? How about the balancing one side with the other?

  • ali

    i feel a little upset that i have the groundings of obsessive compulsive disorder. =-( i have counted letters and words up to the number seven since i was in my early teens. i finid myself doing it without even noticing and as much as i try to stop i always seem to end up counting.. again, and again, and again. i know where this habit came from ( i grew up with an abusive step father), and although i moved away from that situatioin a few yrs ago it seems i am still mentally suffering th effects. i otherwise lead a normal life, i have a beautiful daughter and a loving husband so i am very happy. i have noticed lately i count alot when i'm bored, ie watching tv i will count th letters and words in adds and things like that. if i keep my mind busy on things it seems to hapen less.... lol how often can we keep our brains mentally stimulated without burning out! i iam happy to see that i am not th only one with this issue, i have been worried about if for a few yrs now but am too stubborn (or scared?) to see a professional doctor about it. is this number counting at all able to affect my lifestyle as i get older? do i need to see about it? it was lovely to read everyone's comments for piece of mind =-)

  • Anonymous-5

    i'm 24 and i don't remember when i started, but i count all the time. usually in twos. I count everthing. Even in a moving vehicle i count. i count buildings, windows, i mean everything and whenever i end up with an odd number it drives me crazy. i have to get an even number. Sometimes i try to trick myself by saying, "its an odd number so what, i'm ok with that." it kills me but sometimes i pull it off and others i will make it my duty to find something else to make that even number. Even in social situations i will catch myself counting. My friend's are sometimes talking to me and i'm hearing and giving eye contact but i will eventually find myself doing it again. There was one incident where my counting got so out of control that i had to slap my self to snap out of it. Omg i hate it so much. i appreciate you all for sharing your stories.

  • Anonymous-6

    I will count license plate numers, add em up. count ceilling tiles, windows, cars, almost anything. I've had times that when people talk to me they will stop and look around to see what im looking at then i have to explain that i have a habit of adding things. the number 222 has come up in my life so much. i even owned a peice of land and when i bought the joining peice it adds up to 2.22 acres. wife, kids born in room 222. And when i count i caint stop on 13, 26, 39 or any total of 13 and if its cars mine caint be the 13th one. Or if its people i worry that the 13th one will have bad luck.

  • optional

    Hello... I am 6o years old, and I have been counting since I was about 9-10 years old. I started counting elec-telephone poles while on long family vacations. I also count items of clothing that I think people are wearing. I count almost everything, letters in words, windows, doors, trees, lines in the road, steps when I'm walking. My favorite numbers are 15 and 25. If my total doesn't add up to 15 or 25, I just wait until I find an object or word that will equal those two numbers. My counting doesn't impact my social or personal life, and only a few a my closest friends know that I have this habit.

  • Elaine

    I too have counted for as long as I can remember, it takes many different forms. At night when going to sleep i count repeatedly in a rouns using my toes or fingers or both, moving each one at the same time as the corresponding number. If my foot or hand is near my husband he can feel me doing it. It doesn't bother him so much. I also memorise number plates when driving. I frequently find myself counting and i can be up to about 100 or 200 before I realise I am doing it. i have recently been put on medication to help me cope with my daughters long term health problems but I am begining to realise I have suffered with symptoms of anxiety since being a child. I have many more idiosyncrasies too. But I seem to manage life like everyone else.

  • Anonymous-7

    I am 14, and ive been counting ever since i can remember. I like to make things add up to multiples of ten, perferabley even ones, like 20, 40, 60, etc. I usually find myslef adding in cars, I add up the numbers on the dashboard, and digital clock and the radio staion, and if that doesnt add up to the right number i look at road signs. In some cars that i am in alot, i know almost every outcome with every time and radio station with the numbers on the dashboard. I memorize what streets have certain signs with diferent numbers, and if the number im at and the number i know is on the sign dont add up to the right number, i avoid looking at that sign. When i watch tv, i add up every number on the tv screen. when im out of numbers, i count letters in words. It doesnt bother me though, because i like counting, and i can usualy take my mind off it if im around friends. And my friends know i have ocd, they dont mind either.

  • Julief

    Hi

    My dad is 81 and has always been extremely fit. In fact he has a lady friend at the moment and she has been very good for him and given him a new lease of life!

    However he is staying with me at the moment after being involved in a minor road accident and both my husband and I notice that he is continually counting - and he never used to do this. He counts as he goes up the stairs, when he washes the dishes, when he goes from one room to another, when he gets out of bed to go to the lavatory.... I have mentioned this to his friend and she said he has been doing this for a while now and she has tried to tell him not to do it - and she said it worked for a while. - But it is the first time he has done it whilst staying with us, and he stays with us every other weekend. I have spoken to him and he said he knows he does it and can stop it at any time.....but he doesn't! In fact when we have told him he is counting again, he wasn't aware he was doing it. Can you develop OCD in old age? He has always been so independent and so bright and sharp in his mind. He is quite disorientated at the moment but we think that is more to do with the road accident which left him quite shaken, but not physically injured.

  • Tia

    Several years ago, I had this "thing", where I would count syllables in everything that someone said. I did it for maybe a few months, but I tried hard as hell to stop it. I guess my brain let me forget about it for a while, yet most recently my OCD has gotten so much worse.

    I am back to counting on my fingers and my big toes. Just my big toes. Don't know why, but I leave out my other toes... I am extremely compulsive with the counting. I feel almost as if there is an electric surge running through my hands into my fingers and I HAVE to count, because it relieves the energy running through me... It has gotten so bad that EVERYONE that I am around notices. I can't stop. I have tried so hard because I look strange counting on my fingers really fast.

    I also, since I was small, have chewed the inside of my cheeks and lips, as well as my tongue. When I was young, I washed my hands so often that they bled, and this went on for years. Obviously, this OCD has come to me in many different forms. I almost always feel as if I am "electric", and I can even feel a "hum" in my body, of excess energy.

    I am prone to depression, and I am extremely anxious. I am so "lit up", that I have a very hard time falling asleep every night, and I am so exhausted all the time. I go to bed really late and I wake up early. Many things are going on in my life right now. I have three girls, 9,3, and 8 months. My marriage isn't great. We have had some issues, mostly stemming from my husband's lack of ambition in keeping and finding a job, as well as some dishonesty and deviousness on his part. I work close to 60 hours a week every week. I barely see my kids. It really bothers me. I feel like other people are raising my kids.

    There's a lot more to the story, but I had a miserable childhood with a very abusive father and an OCD mother who was a control freak and was constantly cleaning the house and putting things in order. I was taunted in school. I was teased. I have been through a lot of hardship in my 30 years, and it doesn't seem to be slowing up.

    I guess I am not the only one though... That at least makes me feel a bit better. I do need to get some help.

  • latoya

    I didn't know i had a disorder (OCD) didn't think they was a name for the things i do, or can't help doing... i just thought it was another weird trait i have... but anyway, like everyone else i have an issue with counting. i like sequence like 2,4,6 or 3,6,9...... etc.. and i tend to add numbers to make up the next sequence like adding 2 and 6 to make 8. i also can't stand open doors or zippers, or draws i always have to close or lock them... weird huh??

  • Susan

    I've been counting for sometime now. Didn't think it was associated with OCD, now it makes a little more sense. I count road lines, fan blades, add license numbers to total 10. Mostly count in twos, and it bothers me when it ends up in a odd number. Prefer to have even numbers? It can be anything, and I start counting. I do not believe I am severe but always wondered why I do this. I am a Type A personality, so I wonder if this has anything to do with it. I'm overall healthy, workout, watch what I eat, seems weird that I'm a counter. Recently went to my physician with pre menopause symptoms of anxiety, have never talked to anyone about this. At my follow up, I will tell my M.D, about my condition. We are trying a couple of meds. currently to see if my moods can be handled more smoothly. So, glad to have finally reached out to the net about my counting condition. Have put it off, maybe thinking it was just me. Now I know its not.

    Susan

  • Stan

    I cannot believe what I have read. I am a 48 yr old man, I have been in the medical profession for 27 years, and I have counted EVERYTHING almost as long as I can remember. Everything has to add up to 9 or a multilple of 9. I don't know why 9 is my number. It is a distraction, not so much as to impair my ability to fuction, but it is noticeable enough that I try to stop...it seldom works. I have never told anyone of this for fear of being thought mentally ill or unstable...I can't believe that there are others out there like me. Wow.

  • Anonymous-8

    I can relate to many of the stories above. I believe I count because of multiple bereavements when I was a child. Counting was a way of controlling my surroundings. I used to get really upset about it because it became in-control of me and it was a vicious circle because I would get anxious which would make me do it more. Then one day I realised that it doesn't matter at all that I count, and instead of fighting it I just let it happen, and as a result it seems to have calmed down a bit. I think I will always count, but now I don't really care.

  • Patrick

    What brought me to this sight was watching an episode of 'Monk' on TV, and saying, wow I used to be like that as a kid. So, I Google'd OCD, found out there were several types, and narrowed down my childhood diagnosis as a 'counter', particularly one who likes to keep things 'like so'.

    Today, however, I do none of those things at all, and don't even think about them or feel a need to (ie compulsion) like I used to. Counting or having things 'in order' in my opinion is a 'positive' compulsion and actually constructive for many reasons. It is something you really out-grow (I outgrew it by the time I was 21 or so) and I think I know why.

    As a kid, I counted things because 1) it was easy and they encouraged you to do it in school, and 2) I was glad to get so good and resourceful at types of counting-- it was a source of self-pride and self-confidence. I was a shy kid, however, more afraid of other people for some reason. My parents were strict and had high expectations of me, but also understanding, but not overbearing to a point of causing my compulsions, I think-- although I did have a want like most kids to impress them. This fact, actually, led me to grow out of my compulsion. I'll try to explain why.

    I think I counted because it was an easy source of self-esteem a quick-fix it's immediate result was something concrete, tangible and predictable-- and predictability presents to most people a source of comfort. Why? Consider what stresses most people: anxiety. Anxiety of what? Exactly. The unknown. You may get easily get stressed because its raining (to which you have no control), something breaks (no control), or you come across another person who is completely unpredictable-- a source of stress. In contrast you have something that is predictable: numbers. They number change you know what will happen with 2+5 is added, or 7+7 are added. It is always the same. Well, that is explaining the 'coping with' stress side: counting is a quick-fix solution to help you feel more comfortable with you immediate situation it helps you feel more comfortable with yourself.

    Therein lies the operative word: yourself. So, back to how I grew out of my compulsion. I never chose to stop counting. I eventually stopped doing it automatically, because I eventually found other things to do that gave me self-esteem (keyword: eventually).

    As my parents were strict and had high expectations of me, I followed suit and tried hard at everything. I grew into a hard worker. I picked up hobbies like playing the piano. It remember it being extremely difficult and time-consuming as a kid. But with lots and lots of practice (pressed by my teacher and his/her patience) I eventually got better. I got so good at it that it because an alternate source of self-esteem. I was still counting however. I was even counting more as I approach 17 or 18. I think this was because I had higher expections of my in that time of my life. I had to graduate high-school, take SAT's, apply to colleges, get good grades and keep up with piano concerts, friends, lots of goals that kept me so busy that I woke up at 5am and didn't get back home until 8pm 6 days a week (sunday I had church).

    I remember I had warts ever since I was 5 and even up until I was 22-- I was a worry wart warts are caused by stress (something about PH imbalances, stress reducing white-blood cell counts, etc. etc). The warts went away too when I was older. I think both the warts went away about the same time my counting gradually subsided (by the way I also was a light-flipper--esp those with two or more switches on the same panel--they all had to be up or all had to be down, had to line up books on a shelf, kept everything clean in the house like you wouldn't believe)...

    So, the counting went away about the same span of a year as the warts did. I think it's when I finally graduated college and found a job that paid the bills. I found I was so good at what I did at that time (and had a profession I really really enjoyed). The bottom line is that I had self-esteem and had proven to myself I have what it takes to make it in the world (and believe you me, I did NOT believe this as a teenager despite my perfect grades). The bottom-bottom cause of reducing anxiety: reducing sources of stress through self-esteem/self-reliance/self-confidence. It is a hard thing to come by and achieve, but with hard work anything is achievable.

    Furthermore, pursuing a hobby or a goal in itself gives one a sense of purpose and forward momentum-- to the effect that one day you reach that goal.

    Anyhow, sometimes I do catch myself doing little 'counting' things by accident once in a while (like once or twice in a year)--mostly in times of stress like when I'm going to be $20 short to balance the checkbook before payday. In fact, I feel great and have those old feelings come back when I clean the bathroom or line up a shelf from time-to-time (but don't do it often at all).

    Anyway, that is my story. I didn't know there were other people like me (or like I used to be) so that is interesting in itself-- so you should know you are going through some normal things, and counting is a great stress-reducing or coping mechanism in trying times.

    Right now, I recently picked up golf -- a really really challenging sport to get right. It's something I work hard at and am finally getting good at after several years of lessons and practice. It keeps me busy and keeps me challenged.

    My recommendation to anyone is to find something you love to do and pursue it, get good at it, get great at it, and never give up because life is too short not to. Good luck and great luck in your pursuits!

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