Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behavior (compulsions) that they may feel the urge to repeat over and over again. Anxiety is one of the most prominent symptoms 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 everyone does not have it. OCD can be different from one person to another. When you have OCD, you may have repeated unwanted thoughts that you cannot stop at will and you may repeat the ‘ritual’ repeatedly to stop those thoughts.
It can feel like you are losing control and you desperately follow a routine to try to stop those thoughts.
Here are the 10 ways people with OCD interact with the world differently.
1. You might wash your hands a lot.
Yes, there is hygiene, but then you might 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.
2. 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.
3. You have the tendency to be extremely organized.
Order and symmetry are particularly important to you. Your books might be organized alphabetically. Everything must be and look exactly right. All my black shirts have to be on black hangers facing the same direction. Life and your mind can feel so chaotic that having order and cleanliness at home helps you mentally.
4. You probably check everything too many times.
Whether it is checking if you locked the door, turned the lights off, or have all the things you need in your bag, you check it over and over again because you do not trust whether you did it. You are worried that you forgot something, and because of that irresponsibility, you are worried you or someone else might get hurt.
5. You may be superstitious.
You do things in a certain numeric pattern like stir the pot clockwise four times 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 the television to be a set number and if it is not, you cannot relax.
6. You are scared something bad will happen.
You never feel completely safe, and that is a terrible way to feel. 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.
7. You overanalyze your relationships.
You constantly doubt yourself because of your insecurity and uncertainty because you are worried to upset others. 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.
8. You worry about worrying.
This is the worst. 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 almost certainly 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 most likely 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 overly 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, but it takes time.
It is not easy to live with OCD, but you will find ways to cope, such as therapy or medication. 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.
You have to remember that you are not alone .