OCD to the general public seems to be conveyed as simply washing your hands too many times, or organizing objects certain ways when they bother you. People on social media are always putting pictures up saying “this triggers my OCD”, or “I’m so OCD” not necessarily knowing what OCD is for people dealing with it severely.
OCD stands for Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder. The Obsession’s tend to be obsessive thoughts. Obsessive thoughts are basically unwanted thoughts that repeat in your mind, or under your breath. Unwanted thoughts are triggered by fears, or anxiety related issues to specific people. The obsessive thoughts are then followed by repetitive activities which help stop these obsessive traits. This can be something that takes up a lot of time. For some it can happen for a large portion of their day (or all day), and others it can be just a few hours. Either way this is the only way they can get the obsessive thoughts to stop for the time being. Then it can repeat itself multiple times.
Mind you while doing this over and over again all day people with OCD realize it makes no sense and won’t have any real impact on things out of their control. But they can’t help it. They cannot get rid of these thoughts and cannot stop the Compulsive behavior even though they realize it doesn’t make any sense.
Finding out you have OCD
Before most people find out they’re living with OCD, they don’t realize the reasoning behind their experience. A lot of the time people tend to just live with it, fearing what the outcome would be if they were to tell others. I grew up thinking it was almost normal. Just something that I would ignore. I never talked to anyone about it at all. Being in high school there was one friend who caught on to some of the compulsive (repetitive) activities I would do. Neither one of us said anything, he just thought it was funny and didn’t really question it. Obviously I would try to hide compulsive activities, and was pretty good at it. But as it would take up most of my time, I would wonder more and more about why I was doing this and if someone should be told. Everything I did my mind questioned, and without a definite answer the more it would bring me down.
It wasn’t until college (about 7 years later) that I found out what was going on. One semester my obsessive thoughts became more frequent and it was on a day my dad was flying. That triggered the unwanted thoughts, which then triggered the repetitive activities. While talking to him on the phone I would repeat thoughts and step on the sidewalk bricks certain ways. If it didn’t feel right I would turn around and re-walk over that same spot until it did. Sometimes it would be the second time and sometimes the fifth, it varies. I’ve done this my whole life at this point, but this was the worst it’s been. The internet helped out alot when searching these traits, and realizing others go through the same thing. It took me about 2-3 months to actually make an appointment to talk to a professional about it.
Talking to a professional
The next step most people face is talking with a professional. This is always helpful and resourceful. It’s a good way to talk to someone who understands what you’re living with. Making an appointment and opening up about it can be nerve racking. It took me almost three months to actually commit and make an appointment. First I thought it was a great idea, then simply thought it was unnecessary. After a while I finally attended an appointment.
An option they will talk to you about is medication to help limit OCD traits. The main thing is working with the medication by trying to control the continuous habits. The medication helps some more than others. It might help some a lot at first, but not enough over time. If that is the case your doctor might recommend increasing the dosage. One of the main things they warn you about is substance abuse, whether you are on the medication or not. Turning to alcohol or drugs will not help out. For a year or so I started to drink more than I ever used to. At one time I thought it was too much, too often and also believed I felt better because of it. Maybe not felt better because of it, but it was almost as if it distracted me. It was never out of my control, but it’s definitely not a habit I want to get back into. It didn’t distract me like I thought it did and I don’t want to become dependent.
Explaining OCD to others
This can be frustrating. Some people will understand what having OCD is actually like. Others will continue to agree and say they have similar traits when they don’t. Or they will think it’s crazy and make unwanted comments which makes you regret telling another person. This isn’t the case for everyone. I found it’s easier to tell close family. My father didn’t really understand, but my brother and mother did. It was nice to talk to another person about it too. I haven’t told any of my friends, or other family members but i’m hoping some time in the near future I can! Just make sure you are ready to do so at the right time.
I’m Joe, and I’ve been dealing with OCD since i was a child. I recently started writing about it, and it seems to make me feel more comfortable. I figured if i could find a spot to write about it and encourage others it’d be even better. I have never had anything published. I just recently started writing about living with OCD. I have writings about my personal experiences and others like this example.
If you enjoyed this post, please take a few moments to leave a comment, or share with your friends using the share buttons below.