This is quite a sensitive subject to cover on my blog. But I think it’s important to make people more aware of OCD. I never really realized I had OCD until it started to get worse. First of all, I’m going to start off by explaining what OCD is and then move on to what my version of OCD feels like.
What is OCD?
Mind describes OCD as: “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety).
Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.”
I’ve always had a bit of OCD. When I was 9 I went through a phase of having to drink lots of water – more than normal – so that I felt things could be alright. I have had those “I have to touch it otherwise a family member dies” type experiences. But predominately the one obsession I get over and over again is having to read the same sentence in a book three times over. If I’ve read the sentence twice because I wasn’t paying attention the first time around, I have to do it a third time otherwise something bad will happen. It changes every day, which person will die if I don’t do it, whether something else bad may happen. I know it won’t, but my mind always asks me “what if?” So to be on the safe side I do it anyway. I haven’t really told people that – and it’s partly why I’m such a slow reader.
Another compulsion I have had since I was little is to have to say goodnight to everyone I love three times in my head. And to also repeat the same sentence three times if I think a bad thought and want it to go away.
I try to work on it every day, by dismissing it and telling myself over and over that nothing bad will happen if I don’t say the same thing three times in a row. But our minds work in mysterious ways. I know for a fact we will all die, something bad always happens no matter what. It’s just trying to overcome the urge to complete the compulsions that I find difficult. But I will get there.
I wanted to write this post mainly because I always feel very alone in this. But I know there are loads of people out there who feel the same things as I do. We aren’t alone in this. OCD has always been stereotyped as needing to be a clean “freak.” But that’s not at all what OCD is. It’s about obsessing and having to repeat yourself and battling with the thoughts in our heads every day. You are not alone.
How to Take Care of Yourself
OCD can be really scary sometimes but there are ways to take care of yourself. These include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Try some relaxation techniques
- Try mindfulness
- Create a support network of who you can trust
- Try to get some exercise
- Try to say affirmations every day
- Manage your stress levels the best way you know how
- Get online support (OCDAction and OCDUK have online communities)
I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, don’t forget to check out my other mental health posts.