OCD affects students

Kristen O'Brien

Even numbers. They’re just numbers to most people, but they’re a compulsion for Katie Orosz due to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Orosz, junior political science major, feels it’s necessary to leave the volume on her alarm clock at an even number and to eat potato chips in multiples of two. However, she doesn’t know why these compulsions exist in her life.

“If someone were to offer me some sort of food such as M&M’s, chip or a cookie, I would have to ask for two,” Orosz said. “Sometimes, if I don’t know the person that well and am embarrassed to ask for two, I will break whatever they give me in half, so that way I will still have two. This is because when I eat something on the right side of my mouth then I have to have something to eat on the left side.”

According to The Science of Mental Illness, OCD is “an anxiety disorder in which a person experiences recurrent unwanted thoughts or rituals that the individual cannot control.”

Aside from general inconvenience, Orosz said that her OCD has made her late on more than one occasion.

“There’s nothing worse than when I’m running late for something and I’m in a hurry, trying to get out the door, and I have a ritual that I have to do before I can leave,” Orosz said. “When I leave and shut the door I have to pause, count to four and then check the handle again to make sure it is locked. This makes me five minutes later than I already was.”

Orosz said that her OCD doesn’t just cause her to be late for events. It has even disrupted her from her schoolwork.

“I count things — ceiling tiles, pennies in the fountain; you name it, I count it,” Orosz said. “The worst is when I’m sitting in class and someone around me is clicking a pen, it drives me crazy. I end up becoming so focused on counting the number of clicks that I end up not paying attention to my professor.”

Orosz said that she thinks she has a greater level of anxiety because of her OCD.

“I’m already a full-time student, active in my sorority and work a part-time job,” Orosz said. “It just puts one more thing on my plate. It may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it gets annoying when I’m exhausted and I just want to go to bed, but I have to check my alarm clock four times.”

Orosz said that when her roommate knocks on her door, she tells her that she has to knock and even amount of times before she can enter the room.

Nicole Gennarelli, junior public relations major, said that sometimes she intentionally knocks on Orosz’s door an odd number of times just to see her reaction.

“Most of the time I’ll knock three times and then she will yell at me and make me knock one more time,” Gennarelli said. “Then I will knock two more times to make it an odd number. She will just keep screaming at me that it needs to be even, so I usually just walk away from her room and leave it at an odd number.”

Gennarelli said that despite Orosz’s rituals, she doesn’t consider it to be a huge problem.

“I feel like everybody has some part of OCD in them or some kind of weird habit that no one else knows about,” Gennarelli said. “It really isn’t problematic and it doesn’t inhibit her from living. I just think it’s funny.”

Contact Kristen O’Brien at [email protected].