What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (also known as OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It’s not a cleaning disorder. It’s not a perfection disorder. It’s an ANXIETY disorder. It affects people in lots of various ways – some ways that you wouldn’t even imagine.
We all have thoughts, sometimes irrational, silly thoughts and they disapear out of your mind as quickly as they entered. With OCD, your mind won’t let the thought slip until you have done something about it. You may start obsessing about this thought. You then become anxious and frustrated because you can’t let it go. Your action to reduce the anxiety is the compulsion.
So, do you think you have OCD now that I have explained it a little?
I used to think of my ‘need to have things in order and organised’ was just a quirk. Little did I know that I was using ‘order and lists’ to control my life as a coping strategy to try avoid feelings of anxiousness…
There is a fine line between OCD and quirks and that fine line is anxiety. It’s only when the quirk you have makes you feel irritable and anxious that it becomes a problem and begins to take over your life.
It’s a pain in the ass to be frank and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
How OCD affects me…
As mentioned above, I’ve been living with OCD for 9 years subconsiously. Think of a ‘dormant volcano’ that has just errupted.
Or think of this for example. I’m sitting on the sofa after a busy day of work. I’m gathering my thoughts thinking about family that I need to go see, humming my favourite song and then I think about what to buy for tomorrow night’s dinner. Mmm, chicken fajitas sounds good. Yes. I think to myself that I will get the ingredients tomorrow after work. But here are my initial thoughts, ‘You’ll forget all the things you’ll need and it will be such an inconvenience to you. It will bring back that tight feeling in your chest that you find hard to release. Write it down. Make a list’.
So I make a list of the whole 5 ingredients that I would need to make fajitas. I want to delete the list because I should be able to remember 5 ingredients. However the thoughts come back, ‘You’ll be tired on a Friday night, you’ll forget to buy the ingredients or miss something and then you’ll have to eat a boring, crap dinner instead. Just keep it on the list, it’s easier. Remember the shame you feel when you forget something’.
I sometimes wish there was an ‘off switch’ for my thoughts. OCD is like having a constant battle with your own mind and the OCD always wins.
In the example above, I tried to challenge my negative thoughts because I want to get rid of my need for lists – THEY DO MY HEAD IN!! But the OCD tries to remind me of the shame and anxiety I feel when I forget something.
Your probably thinking…’How can someone become anxious if they forget to buy ingredients for fajitas?’
I can’t even answer that question. I don’t know why I get anxious! I’m 21!! I have the same feeling of shame and physical symptoms of anxiety if I forget anything – no matter how important it is.
Anxiety isn’t the only thing I struggle with. I sometimes experience panic attacks. My chest goes all tight and I feel like I can’t breath…there is nothing I can do but to just ride it out and try focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Panic attacks only happen when I’m going through change or under a lot of pressure or feeling extremely stressed.
(((Please, please, please…If you think you have OCD, go to your GP for help no matter how small or severe you think it is. My GP was great and very helpful in telling me that I’m not ‘crazy’.
She referred me for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help change my thought processes, prescribed me SSRI anti-depressants (not because I’m depressed but to help boost serotonin levels in my brain) and gave an information and contacts resource pack.
OCD won’t go away on it’s on. It will only get worse as the years go on.)))