10 Everyday Things That You’ll Only Understand If You Live With OCD

Female photographer looking over lake
Thomas Griesbeck

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts (obsession) and behavior (compulsions) that s/he feels the urge to repeat over and over again. Anxiety is the most prominent symptom of OCD.

The one thing you should never tell someone with OCD is It’s not a big deal….we all have it. Because it is a big deal and not everyone has it. When you have OCD, you have repeated unwanted thoughts that you cannot stop at will and you do the same ‘routine’ or ‘ritual’ over and over again to stop those thoughts.

Here are 10 everyday things that you’ll only understand if you live with OCD.

1. You check, re-check, and keep on checking.

Whether you locked the door or turned the oven off or do you have your ID – you check it over and over again because you do not trust yourself that you did it. What if you missed something? You overcheck because you do not want yourself or someone else to get hurt due to your irresponsibility.

2. You may be superstitious.

You do things in a certain numeric pattern, count as you do things, or associate something in the past (an object or a person) as having the possibility to have a positive or negative effect in your life. You may not wear a piece of clothing because something bad happened when you wore it. You may want the volume on television to be a set number (mine is always 22).

3. You wash your hands a lot.

This behavior has become the poster child for OCD. Yes, there is hygiene, but then you wash your hands so many times after you touch almost anything because you are worried that the germs may get you or someone else sick. You dread illness so much that you may be a hypochondriac.

4. You tend to over-clean.

The fear of germs, illness, and impurity leads you to clean your house a lot. In a way, it can be a good thing to clean if it helps calm your mind, but sometimes you can clean for hours and still feel the same anxiety in your mind.

5. You are extremely organized.

You value symmetry and order. Your movies might be aligned alphabetically. Everything has to be and look just right. A slight tilt in the picture on the wall will bother you. All my black shirts have to be on black hangers facing the same direction.

6. You are scared something bad will happen.

You tend to assume that the worst of any situation may happen. Everyone lives in fear of violence and getting hurt, but you are so worried about the bad things that might happen that you spend a lot of time trying not to think about those thoughts. You never feel completely safe.

7. You overanalyze every relationship.

You constantly dissect your relationship with your family, friends, or significant other. You are constantly worried that something you do or did has or will upset someone. You constantly doubt yourself because of your insecurity and uncertainty.

8. You worry about worrying.

Everyone hates to worry, but you even worry about why you worry so much. Sometimes you feel so anxious that you worry about things that you don’t need to worry about but you cannot help it. Your mind will just not stop.

9. You have your own rituals.

Maybe you turn the lights on and off four times, maybe you pray at certain times in the day or you take four little helpings of any dish – you have your own little rituals and quirks that help calm your mind.

10. You need reassurance.

Sometimes the only way to calm your anxiety is to have your family and friends tell you that it is okay because you are very critical of yourself. When someone reassures you (and you may need it a bit more than everyone else), it helps you with your compulsive behavior.

It is not easy to live with OCD but you will find ways to cope, such as therapy or medication. You have to remember that you are not alone – it could be genetics, the way your brain works, or the environment – there are people out there who feel the same way you do, who struggle the same way while fighting the same battle so they can continue living a happy life.  It is not easy, but you can do this. TC mark

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