About OCD

“I like to have my book shelf organized from the largest to the smallest book. I must have OCD – LOOOOOOOOOOL”

“OCD has nothing to do with mental health. Besides everyone has a bit OCD because in the end, we all need a routine in life”.

Hearing statement likes, and unfortunately I do too often, makes my heart sink.
It’s pretty clear that OCD is still seen as a joke and highly misunderstood.

I have suffered OCD from a young age.
My room was always clean, but quite unorganized.
My dad joked once about how my alarm clock wasn’t positioned in a straight line.
I started paying attention to it and I think that’s when it started.
From that moment on, EVERYTHING has to positioned parallel to each other or a neat line.

I started cleaning the house thoroughly on Saturdays, which, initially, made my mum very happy.
But I didn’t take too long for her to notice that something in the way I was cleaning seemed obsessive.
I would freak out if I’d find out the later that someone had changed something.
It were no longer the Saturdays that I was cleaning.
It could easily happen that I would feel the urge in the middle of the night.

After a visit at the dentist, I was advised to brush my teeth more often or better.
That marks the years that I brushed my teeth 20 times a day.
My gums were bleeding.

A boy in my class was teased a bit because he wet his pants during school.
This couldn’t happen to me, ever.
I started going to the toilet even if there was no urge.
The nights were the worst as I was scared going down the stairs at in the dark.
Mum and dad got very little sleep as they had to guide me.

I started counting things, but some specific numbers would mean bad luck.
I had to be really careful.

I was raised quite religiously and started blaming God for shaping me this way.
Immediately after I would feel guilty and need to do a number of rituals to prove that I didn’t mean it.

I always thought that acting, chess and the dance school I was in marked my youth.
But writing this post and thinking back to those moments, I realize that my OCD has taken most of my time.
And yes, I am tearing up. 

I’ve spend a large amount of my youth with psychologist, but nobody ever detected my OCD until I brought it up myself after reading an article in the newspaper.
From that moment on, a label was put on me which I was never going to be able to remove.

Living with OCD is not easy, but certain steps have made it  more bearable for me.

The first big improvement was when I moved out of my parent’s house.
My OCD became a large part of their lives too.
Living on my own gave me the freedom to create my own rules without others getting into my way.
Or I in theirs.

Changing of scenery also helped. 
I would always make sure I saved enough money for travels a couple of times a year.
Not only being on a vacation spot, but also the looking forward to it has made is easier for me.

Informing your partner about it.
If you think you can keep it a secret from someone you life with, you can’t.
And you shouldn’t do that to yourself either.
It helped me a lot telling Jasper about it.
We celebrate the baby steps together and look for continuous improvements.

Keep busy
Watch your favorite childhood cartoon. Draw. Write. Read. Listen to your guilty pleasure songs. Hug someone.
Do whatever makes you focus on something else for a while.

Sleep
The long commute to work and back home are becoming very annoying, but it makes me very sleepy. By 8:00 in the evening I’m already struggling with keeping my eyes open.
Which means, there is less time to concentrate on my rituals.

Seeking for professional help might not be for everyone.
Unfortunately, for me it has never been successful.
People around me keep pushing in to that direction.
But I simply don’t have the energy or mental state of mind to start up a heavy process like that.

I know I, or this post, might not make the difference towards more OCD awareness, but I hope people realize that OCD is NOT joke.
It is a huge obstacle for living your life in happiness.
And if anyone every feels the need to talk about, I’m very happy to do so.

35 thoughts on “About OCD

  1. I am with you on this. A lot of people are actually making fun of people who’s suffering from OCD, but I understand now, and I admire you for this. 🙂

  2. OCD is also different for each individual. As where one person might brush their teeth 20 times a day, another may check the door and window locks around the house 10 times before bed (me).
    We are misunderstood and hopefully, someday, it will become more widely known and helped.

  3. Ugh I didn’t know you had that. It takes so much energy to constantly check that. I used to have that with the gas. Instead of getting up each time, I took pictures to re-assure that it indeed was off when I finally got to bed.
    But that might be difficult with windows and doors.

    I really hope that awareness can be raised like this as it really is a serious topic.

  4. I agree! I’m not sure I would trust pictures, then again I do not live alone. My mother constantly changes things which drives me batty! Now you know why I keep cleaning the pantry out too 😀

  5. I too cringe a bit when people joke they are OCD. When my doctor finally diagnosed me with anxiety and OCD, it was a huge relief for it to be acknowledged. She said there were different types and I was a “checker.” I would lock the door, drive to work, then turn around and drive back home convinced I left the door open. I once did this three times. I couldn’t enjoy myself when I left the house because I’d imagine I left the toaster oven on and the house was going to burn down. I don’t let it run my life anymore, but the urge is still there. I still feel that nagging little twinge to check something and sometimes I do still drive around the block and go right back home to check that door.

  6. Ohh sorry to hear. It really keeps your from living a normal life.
    I was never really a checker, only after I watched something scary. But then I was afraid to get up and check the front door.

    Have you ever tried “professional help” for your OCD? Or are you trying to come up with methods on your own?

  7. The doc sent my straight to a psychologist and prescribed Xanax. I didn’t like the psychologist at all! But I did like the Xanax lol. I stopped taking it when I was pregnant and didn’t want to get back on. My mom has been taking it for 10 years and can’t even sleep without it and I didn’t want that to be me.
    The weird that helped was seeing my mom freak out one time when we were heading to dinner. She was convinced she left the stove on and was going to burn down the house with her dog in it. It was like an out of body experience watching “the crazy” from the outside. She tried to grab the steering wheel to turn the car around.
    Everyone I feel the urge now, I think of that and how worked up she got over literally nothing.

  8. I’m sending you a lot of e-support.
    This was a very raw post. Thanks for sharing.
    I know OCD can be tragically debilitating to the affected person, as well as the people around you. I read a bunch on the subject.
    Some of my actions resemble OCD like rituals, but I’m nowhere near anything what you’re describing. However, I do feel like it started a few years ago, and that it’s getting worse. I just hope it’s not going to go any further.

  9. Thanks. It’s now simply part of my life.
    I really hope it won’t get worse ffor you. Try not give into it, but that is easier said than done.
    And if you think your life is going to hell, make the change before it happens. I have a feeling my life is going worse which will make my OCD unbearable.
    I need to move out this country asap.

  10. My biggest pet peeve is when people joke about OCD. I’ve been called OCD many times for being organized or neat, but that is not why I actually have OCD! It’s debilitating for those of us who have it and yes we know it’s irrational, but no we can’t just stop doing these things. So many of my compulsions are mental too, so a lot of people are completely surprised when they find out I have it and it’s not like they thought it would be like.

    Okay rant over lol 🙂

  11. Brave to write this post and it sounds very tough. No wonder you are so tired. It’s not ok to joke about certain things for sure, unfortunately people are uninformed of some subjects and disrespectful.

  12. You are right. This exactly why I have always been tired. It takes a lot energy.
    I sometimes wish I could push a reset button and start with enotions and triggers!

  13. Oh that is very annoying as well. Maybe people are organised because they learned an important lesson in life, being that if you’re messy you’ll be spending too much and stressing over searching for things 😉
    But that’s not necesarily OCD.

    Thanks for the rants. Rants are always welcome 😉

  14. Thank you for sharing! I’m happy you have your own space and the loving Jasper to celebrate each baby step you take, and I agree that the term shouldn’t be used so lightheartedly. I think it’s getting better slowly with more awareness, at least 😦

  15. Aww thanks! All the support means a lot to me. Anyone who would meet me at first wouldn’t even think I have OCD. So it’s nice to share my story 🙂

  16. I have had pure-O OCD since I was five years old and I am currently doing exposure response therapy. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has shaped who I am, I probably would have had a very different life if I hadn’t had it. I would suggest if the OCD is still a major problem in your life (I don’t know if it is or not) that you seek therapy, but only if you have a therapist you really like. I told my mom the other day that therapist were like lovers, you either have chemistry or you don’t. I was joking, of course, but I think there’s a bit of truth to that. I agree that OCD is badly misunderstood and misrepresented, it’s also usually portrayed in the media as a harmless foible rather than a serious illness, which is a very destructive mindset to have.

  17. OCD is large part of my daily life.
    I avoid people because the might say something which triggers me. That’s why therapy wouldn’t suit me at the moment. I would even be able to speak with them.

    I’m with you! Anyone who calls OCD “mild” has obviously never been ruined by it.

  18. Just wanted you to know that I know exactly what you feel. In fact, my ocd has caused me to do and feel a lot of the same things that you have. You’re doing great. ♥️

  19. Ugh, so sorry to hear!
    Physically I feel my heartbeat go up and usually I could start hyperventilating.
    Mentally, I feel any emotion. I’m angry, sad, scared.
    Often I wonder what the point of life is, if it’s these rituals 70% of the time.
    Have you tried any methods or therapy to reduce it?

  20. Well I have the medication. I think it works wonders honestly. And I feel that exposure therapy works pretty well for me. That is the only thing that helped me to stop doing the intense compulsions I had with cars when I was younger. I’m not a hyper-ventilator. My problem is that my heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket, and I feel like my chest is tightening and have an overwhelming feeling that I might die. It’s hard to do exposure therapy, you just have to expose yourself to the trigger without letting your compulsory behavior take place. It’s emotionally and physically draining though. Or sometimes I like to see if I can find something else (that’s less hurtful or obvious) and attempt to make that my compulsion. That has worked one time. That’s what helped me to stop emptying my bladder frequently (just like you had issues with). I eventually was able to replace that urge with another compulsion instead. But my therapy for OCD has been pretty hit and miss, like I’m sure it is for you too.

  21. Wonderful post! I’m coming to terms with my recent diagnosis of OCD and it’s amazing how often I’ll think back to a childhood “quirk” and think “oooOOH it makes sense now!” 😂

  22. That opening line got me reading! I hear this all the time, and to see it on your page was a sort of relief. So many people use the term so easily, without concern for what it really is. It has taken me a while to get used to it and understand that it is based on a lack of education on the illness. I really enjoyed this read, and I will be trying some of your tips! Thank you xx

  23. Thank you for reading!
    I hope the tips help, but most important is that you know you’re not alone in this! 🙂 And therefore definitely not weird!

    Most people are so wrong about OCD because din’t have a clue and a bad sense of humor 👺

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