One symptom of incorrect laterality may be the need to count something, that we have already counted several times before, and that there is no reason to count any more, repeatedly. This is the way some hidden left-handers compensate for the feeling of insecurity through the dominant hemisphere. A hidden left-hander senses that something is “wrong” and, therefore, their mind creates an activity for itself to convince itself otherwise. Since it comes from our mind, it doesn’t work. That fact does not bother the mind at all; the mind lets us count things over and over without making any sense because it does not affect the mind in the slightest.
Repeated counting is not about calculating a mathematical example. It is about counting various things that one does not need to count at all. Moreover, it is done repeatedly, perhaps every day or several times a day. People do not talk about this internal calculation because they would be considered crazy by those around them. It is not insanity, it is only compensation for inner insecurity.
I will list a couple of real examples and options for repeated counting. Some of these are based on my previous experiences, and some I obtained from people who were not afraid to talk or write about it in the anonymous link below. I give these examples so that it is clearly understood what is involved. When I talk about it, a lot of people feel relieved that they are not crazy and that they are not alone to have similar experiences. Those others who do not count and it does not concern them can thus understand what an undetected left-hander can live in. There is no need to be ashamed of it, it’s just a way of behaving and a tool or crutch to survive. What I count:
- I count the fence posts as I pass them.
- I count the steps.
- I count the stairs.
- I count the beeps of the alarm clock.
- I count the slices of whatever I cut.
- When I walk past a house with solar panels on the roof, I always count them.
- When driving in a car, I count how many seconds pass between passing bollards.
- I count the numbers on car license plates and add them together.
- When I sit on the toilet, I immediately start counting the tiles on the floor and the walls.
- I count printed papers, even though there is no need for it.
- I train myself by the clock (for example, in the waiting room) so that I can accurately count the seconds in the right interval in my mind. Then I mentally count how much time it took me to do it.
- When I read a sentence, I then go back to the beginning of the sentence and count the number of words in the sentence. Soon I don’t even know what I’m reading.
- I count the stripes on the curtains and the indentations on the furniture.
- I make examples of car registration numbers, phone numbers and passwords – adding, multiples, series.
- In my studies, I often calculated a small multiplication table before going to bed, and later also integrals.
- Whatever I do, I make it count…e.g. I shell nuts and I count how many I have shelled… it throws me off when I just have to shell a pile and I don’t know how many nuts there are… I count the pile and shell… I shell a certain amount (e.g. 100 nuts), I count for how long I did it and I keep counting… how many were in the pile, for how long I will peel the pile, how much I can do in an hour, how many in a day… and when someone talks to me, I simultaneously realize how it disturbs me and at the same time even how unimportant the counting is…then I cannot concentrate on what the person is saying to me, nor on how many nuts I have already shelled and…. I just start to get nervous because I am not concentrating on the count or the person who is present. And I realize how absurd it all is all the time. But I cannot do it any other way. I do this for most of my activities. And of course, it makes me feel like a fool…
- I am still counting money e.g. the euros exchanged for a vacation. I keep recalculating if they are still there.
- I count windows on buildings, and their height-to-width ratio (numbers)…also on human faces, the ratio of the width of the eyes to the mouth and nose…also the numbers on cars, likewise the tiles on the floor – how many are in the doors and how many are on the walls (also their mutual ratios )…seats in trams & all means of transport, actually I am still counting nonsense. I sometimes count the small coins in my wallet to see if they are there. I count several times. When I receive an SMS or chat message, I read it several times to be sure. Or when I am writing something. So in the course of writing, I go back to the beginning several times to see if everything is okay.
- Train carriages, trees in an alley, tree rings, shapes in mandalas, windows of blockhouses, fence posts, tables and chairs in a room, seats in a cinema or theatre, street lamps in streets, license plate numbers, animals in a herd, birds in a flock, etc.
- Flowers on a curtain, parts of a cabinet (doors, partitions, handles, mouldings); letters in signs, slogans or short announcements; individual parts of a clock; lights around the road while driving, chimneys and turrets on roofs, windows and doors of a house, objects on a neutral surface etc.; it is always desirable that the result be divisible by ten or five or at least two. If this is not the case, I add other parts, letters, particles … The mind is looking for a perfect number, as complete as possible or at least divisible. I also combine parts into “sets” – letters in fives, when there are 12 of something, then in threes, etc.
- While drinking, I count down how many times I have swallowed. I count down the minutes in the shower.
- In the pool, I count how many paces I did when I swim in one direction, then how many paces in the other direction, so that I do it equally on both sides.
- Random things …Trees in alleys, tiles on the ground creating a lane, various other things……and that happens when I am somewhere waiting for someone or something and I have nothing to do.
- I count tiles, skirting boards, bollards and lines on roads, train carriages, creases in people’s faces, teeth, the curve of eyebrows, stripes on shirts, buttons, their holes and threads in the clothes, edges on anything… There are many and it is madness. Everything I do systematically according to the established procedure. Any anomaly and asymmetry irritate me internally.
- When I read a book, I count on almost every page how many pages I still have left to read. And since I usually do not remember on which page the book ends, every time I want to calculate this I must look at how many pages the book has.
Aligning into geometric shapes or searching for geometric connections are activities similar to repeated counting and performing the same function as repeated counting, for example:
- I don’t step on junctions when walking on the pavement and on the curb.
- I’m looking for which vertical objects are occluded with others behind them.
- In the room, I observe individual lines (corners, wood panelling, etc.) and their anomalies, what is parallel to what, what covers what, what continues, etc.
- I change my seat so that some objects are obscured.
- I deliberately buy curtains and decorations where I can observe interesting geometric shapes and connections. I am fascinated by Celtic interlaced motifs.
- If I see some regularity, e.g. on the sidewalk or in the environment, I try to connect it in my imagination (I make a snake) with one stroke. It’s an even bigger challenge when the regularity isn’t quite regular; e.g. handrails on the bus. When I see a square or rectangular object in front of me, I keep counting its vertices. In different directions, in different successions. It can be a picture, a wardrobe, a door, or a mobile phone…
Does that sound crazy to you? Or do you also repeatedly count or align geometric shapes?
I almost do not recount anymore, or very rarely (it appears for a period). The re-counting disappeared slowly and gradually by itself without any effort.
Thank you all for having the courage to reveal the secret and, at the same time, challenging everyone else.