What's yer problem?

Several years ago, I knew a guy who said he would get sick if he saw eggs cracking. He couldn't stand the sight of eggs cracking.

When I was a kid, for several years, I couldn't eat yogurt without mixing it all up with my spoon first to make sure there wasn't a beetle in it. I had to check thoroughly. That's because I had read a newspaper article about a woman who was suing Dannon because she was eating her fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt and saw half a beetle in it and realized she'd eaten the other half. In court, she said she suffered from shock and her hair fell out.

I couldn't eat that yogurt without thinking about the beetle. I knew the odds were 99.99999 percent that there was not a beetle in my yogurt. Just like my friend knew there was nothing wrong with eggs cracking. But we all have our little irrational things that we must do, or feel, even though in our heads we know it is completely irrational.

A psychologist might say that they come from something early in childhood, or something our parents did, but maybe sometimes it's even genetic. Who knows.

I had a math teacher in high school who kept the windows open even in winter because he'd spent several years on a submarine where there were no windows...and now he always wanted to know the windows were open. He otherwise was pretty normal.

In college, my psych professor asked us this question: Would you wear a sweater that had been worn by an AIDS patient?

Most of us said we wouldn't. We knew you couldn't get AIDS from a sweater. But still, we didn't want to wear it.

You can be otherwise normal and just have a tiny issue, something you don't even think about most of the time and that people don't know about: Being repulsed by eggs cracking, needing windows open so you won't be claustrophobic.

So, today's topic: What is YOUR tiny mental health issue? (Note: I am not talking about the major ones. ;) Just tiny things you barely think about that are irrational and hardly even affect your life. If you deny having any, then that counts as one! Fear of spiders may or may not count. Some spiders are poisonous.)


A reader writes:

I absolutely, positively hate putting anything metal in my mouth. Whenever I eat with metal silverware, it can't touch my teeth at all, and at home, I pretty much use only plastic silverware. Someone scraping their fork on their teeth with every bite - even thinking about it makes my pulse double. This is probably due to the amount of dental work I've had done over the years, but I also read recently that it was a side effect of a medication I take.

Either way, it's a good case for eating pizza or some other utensil-less food.

That's interesting, and pretty much the kind of thing I mean. Weird.

But that brings me to something related: Does anyone know why most people can't stand fingers scraping down a blackboard? There must be some simple answer in science, and I don't remember ever hearing it.

Someone else wrote to say he checks and re-checks to make sure doors are locked, and the stove is off. I do that too...but it's not a bad practice to have, since leaving a stove on or a door unlocked can lead to disaster. I guess it's hard to draw a line between safe and mental tic.

No comments: