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After watching many of channel 4s shows about mental and physical health I went onto the embarrassing bodies website to do their tests on OCD and depression and the results were moderate for both. Though I don't know how accurate these are so I went to my GP and he asked me pretty much the same questions and gave me the same results. Though I am not sure how accurate these are as I don't think that they affect my real life all that much and I would hate to think that I would be prioritized in the same place as other people who really suffer so badly from these conditions that it effects how they eat and how they work. So I really don't really mention it if I am applying for a job since despite what the website and GP said so a bit confused over all by this.
Reasons why I am apparently OCD
I have a seat that is mine in the living room that I dislike others sitting on
I have to sit on the right hand side if I am in the back of the car and the right hand side of the bed
I have to check three or four times that I have my keys, phone and purse in my bag
I can't have people using the same knife for the butter that is used for the jam
I cant have toast or bread crumbs in the butter
I can never take the last or first of something
I need to get at least 8-12 hours sleep
I make lists constantly
I refuse to eat burnt toast if there's any black on it I won't eat it
I have to find a bathroom when I arrive anywhere before I can relax
I have to use the bathroom every time I arrive or leave somewhere
I can't let anyone see me with ought a hat or wig
I constantly count up bills or prospective costs of things in my head, I cannot just go out and buy something with ought having a good think about the cost or value of it
I do hoard and collect a lot of things but I am able to get rid of them and sell them on when I am done with them.
There are probably other things that I don't realize I do but I still don't know if these are bad enough to properly qualify as having this disorder as I know some people have severe anxiety over a lot more simple things. So I kind of think to help people out and to understand them better tests should be more detailed and explicit since anyone can memorize the answers to these where as people with real problems relating to this order maybe don't get taken seriously enough which isn't great.
In terms of the depression that is linked to this I just think I am very skeptical. I am sure we all have dark days especially if we are having a bad day or have been unemployed for a long time but I think its the people that are maybe just a little bit sad sometimes are taking away from people who have a severe mental illness and the tests definitely need to be made more thorough so that people realize how serious the condition is and effects daily lives. So do I think I have depression? No I don't but if I get that high a result and I can still work and carry on working and am just extremely skeptical then there must be somebody taking advantage of this and bringing a bad name to those who have a severe illness.
To me I think I am just skeptical and picky and these tests need to be taken a lot more seriously so that people with these disorders can get the appropriate help that they need.
I have written the introduction to this review about Fifty times already and wasn't quite sure on how to announce that I suffer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (mixed with the fact that if the review is not correct I am unable to post it).
For all those that read my reviews must think I am falling apart or otherwise being held togethert by a piece of string, as I may only be 27 but I am already a sufferer of Hypermobilty Syndrome, Anemia and a Rare Skin Disease. Believe me sometimes I could voluntarily take myself to the vets to be put down especially after a long hard day coping with chronic pain.
~ What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ~
OCD is the fourth most common Mental disorder.
The disorder is controlled by intusive thoughts to the sufferer which leads to anxiety with the reptitve behaviours that follow being generally used to control the anxity levels reached. OCD affects people in so many different ways and can either come out in the form of constant hand washing, hoarding and even nervous habits.
There are three dfferent types of OCD which are Obsessions, Compulsions and OCD without overt compulsions.
Obsessions - Used to control obsession related anxiety, the sufferer cannot feel calm until the unbalance has been amended. For example if there is an item out of place it can lead to the sufferer thinking someone will get hurt.
Complusions - This is where the sufferer thinks that compulsive rituals must be completed because they have to. For example it may include the sufferer counting footsteps otherwise a dreadful event may take place.
OCD without overt compulsions - This is where the sufferer completes mental rituals rather than obvious compulsions for others to see. For example the sufferer might feel driven to aviod certain social situations due to the intrusive thoughts.
~ How I suffer ~
I suffer with both the Obsessive and Compulsive sides of OCD which has left me within a living nightmare now for Five years.
I have always suffered with OCD since I was a child but it was only small things that used to upset me. For example if my food touched or got mixed together it would leave me unable to eat and more often than not leave me physically sick.
I started suffering severe OCD however on the 27th November 2005 after a normal night out left me fighting for my life. It was just the little things that changed first but all too soon it became such a problem it left me unable to leave the house.
I am an obsessive cleaner and perfectionist. At first I thought that everything being in a certain place or cleaning the house five times a day was normal but after my partner woke up with a different duvet on the bed to what he went he fell asleep in, he knew something was wrong. When he finally went to see a Doctor on my behalf a year later my OCD seemed to be at it's worst.
Some of the behaviours that I have demonstrated throughout the last Five years have left me and my partner heart broken. I have been a hard person to live with and I really do think this behaviour had some part in the breakdown of our relationship. Nothing he ever did for me seemed good enough. I would go around after him tidying up Scarlet's toys putting them in the correct place and facing the same way.
My everyday routine has to be completely the same. I have to clean everyday still and at my worst I ended up spending the whole of my waking day cleaning over and over again. I have washed my skin so much it has been left bleeding. But to me washing my hands until they bled was normal, it is what everyone else did. Now however, I know different.
I just can't explain the things I have done when I have been in OCD destruction but I know people saw me a physcotic.
~ My Treatment ~
After being convinced to see my Doctor I was prescribed some Pain Killers which also act as a mild Anti-Depresent. As I am currently on controlled Pain Killers for being Hypermobile I am unable to take any other tablets.
After a few weeks of taking these my partner noticed I was a bit more relaxed but it was when I had councelling to deal with the obsessive thoughts that we really started to notice a difference.
The post tramatic stress I suffered after being left bleeding to death triggered off the severe OCD behaviour and reliving the night when the disorder became it's worst helped me realise what I was doing.
~ Me Now ~
I will never be fully clear of OCD and any change in my life or hard time I go through will set me back five years and it will all start over again. Thank goodness I have Scarlet to bring me back to reality. I am still on Anti-Depesents every so often if I am in desturction mode and it helps everytime.
I still however clean the house on a daily basis, bath or shower on a daily basis and will not leave the house until everything is in it's place. I have though stopped cleaning other people's house's when I go for a visit.
I will always try to help someone who is going through the same situation but when people who clearly are not suffering with the disorder think they have OCD it makes me mad as they will never know what the sufferer and their families have to go through each day.
I will completely beat this one day.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
Before I explain more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I want to tell you why I decided to write this.
Luckily I do not suffer from OCD but my husband does and as of yet has not managed to completely rid it from his life despite recieving therapy and medication for it.
OCD is a chronic mental health disorder which effects both how you think and behave. People who have OCD have obsessive thoughts and/or ritualistic behaviour.
OCD is not like an addiction where the person gets great joy from gambling or taking drugs or whatever their addiction may be. A person with OCD will get no joy or pleasure from their compulsive behaviour and have to complete it, in their mind to prevent a bad event from occuring or their obbsession from comming true.
I am not sure when my hubby's OCD first began but specialists believe OCD is often started in childhood and begin with a simple obbsession such as not stepping on the cracks in the pavement.
However it is believed my husbands OCD started when he was doing a five year prison sentence, years before he met me. It is believed that because so many privliges and choices were taken from him, he gained a compulsion about personal hygiene and tidyness because this was something that the Prison could not control.
If OCD goes untreated symptoms will usually not improve and if left, it will usually escollate.
His OCD went unnoticed for years after, probably because he lived alone. It wasn't until another eight years later when we met and another two years later when we began a family and moved in together that I noticed his obsessive behaviour.
At first I thought he was just extremely house proud. However the more I watched his behaviour the more it worried me until I did some research on the internet and came up with OCD.
The first reason I noticed his behavior was because we always seemed to be late for everything. I began to realise the reason for this was that we couldn't leave the house until hubby had swept every floor, emptied every bin, closed every blind and un-plugged every plug.
I began to start documenting all his behaviour which I considered compulsive as he didn't agree with my diagnosis!
For months I watched and it became more and more obvious. I began to test little theories I had to see how he reacted.
For example we have six coasters which sit on our livingroom table and I would push them so they were squint and tempt hubby to leave them if he didn't have OCD but he never could. He just HAD to straighten them like his life depended on it.
Other habbits which he had were when we were walking outside, any Telecom Slabs or Drainage Slabs which were attached together in a set of three had to be avoided. He would litterally knock me or our child over just not to stand on a "Threesome" as he called it.
Apparently the only time he had ever stood on one of these was the day he got five years in jail. I tried to point out that he had commited a crime and if he had not done so, whether or not he stepped on the threesome would have not mattered but he could not grasp this.
He associated this with something bad happening and was convinced something bad would happen everytime he stood on one.
It was also staring to affect our family life. My daughter was seven at this point and had started to recieve pocket money in return for doing a few chores.
Included in this was making the bed and assisting with the washing up. This actually caused more arguments as hubby told her not to do this as she couldn't do them to his high standards, and apparently neither could I.
This was the final straw as my daughter loved to wash the dishes and as much as hubby loved her he couldn't bear to let her do this.
By this time his cleaning habbits had escalated as well. He would make tea for everyone but would not sit down to eat his till the oven was cleaned and the dishes were washed.
Another annoying habbit he had developed was rug sorting. We had several rugs in the house with tassles and he would straighten every single tassle by hand until they were straight.
I told him the rug was for walking on and it didn't need to be perfect but there was no rationalising with him. In the end I cut the tassels off the rug which just diverted his obbsessive behaviour elsewhere.
Eventually I contacted his doctor, who was a long standing friend of the family who arranged an appointment for him to see a psychologist.
I brought along all my documentation and within five minutes of the pshycologist speaking to hubby he diagnosed him with OCD.
A treatment plan was devised which included anti-deprssants and a course of CBT(Cognitive Behavioural Treatment). I was relieved to know that at last something was being done to help him.
The anti-depressants seemed to lift his mood but I think the main difference was made by the CBT.
CBT is based on the idea that most unwanted thinking patterns, beliefs, and emotional and behavioural reactions are learnt over a long period of time.
The aim of CBT is to identify the thinking patterns that are causing you to have unwanted feelings and behaviour, and to learn to replace this thinking with more realistic and useful thoughts and beliefs.
The idea also was to expose hubby to situations he was uncomfortable in to try and slowly change his reactions in these situations.
We started off with small things such as pushing a few pictures on the wall so they were squint. When we first started this I could see hubby itching to straighten them and at first he always did.
However slowly over time something wonderful happened and hubby began to realise that although the pictures were unsightly and made him uncomfortable, no harm would come to him or his family if they were left like this.
We began to push his boundries further and further and although his treatment is still ongoing, confronting his OCD has saved our marriage.
My husband still has a long road to recovery in front of him but we will get there and now as a family, we couldn't be closer.
I have lived with someone with OCD for many years and I think that it is extraordinarily hard for someone who has never experienced it to understand.
Arnort health defines Obsessive compulsive disorder as
"An anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worry that he or she tries to manage through a ritualized activity to reduce the anxiety. Frequently occurring disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions, and the rituals performed to try to prevent or dispel them are called compulsions."
This is not a review of as a sufferer but as an outsider who has enabled his OCD to continue.
My husband does have all kinds of obsessions and something terrible would happen should he not follow there rituals.
While he did have issues about tidying up it was not the big deep clean that would have saved me housework. He would straighten the cushions and to tidy he would put things in piles in the middle of the room. Which wasn't tidy so if anything left me piles of things to tidy up.
A shopping trip would be a nightmare he would have an order for everything the trolley would often be emptied around the store to rearrange it .I can guarantee no one wanted to be behind him in a queue as if it was on the belt in the wrong order he would take it all off and start again. I wasn't allowed to help him pack as there was an order of which went in which bag so just let him get on with it .Then it could take two hours to put the shopping away at which point I would usually take over due to concern about defrosting food. As time continued I started taking over more of the tasks I would go and do the shopping on my own then put it away. It was done so much quicker and also meant there wasn't a strained atmosphere in the house while he was struggling with his demons.
Things changed for me when I watched a TV reality series call the house of OCD which was a group of people all with OCD living in a house all working towards conquering there fears. I learnt a huge lesson from the show .I realized that by not doing the shopping that he was avoiding his fears which would in turn justify his fear. So I decided that I would do the shopping one week and he would the following week he would,
To be honest I don't know how these trips to the shops without me went but I do know the trips on my own was more peaceful and relaxed and as I was able to do it at more relaxed pace actually enjoyed it. I do know that they got quicker as time went on.
In my experience my husband did know that these were part of his OCD but didn't want to challenge the issues probably due to fear but by helping him to avoid dealing with these situations meant I was colluding with his distorted beliefs.
When I altered my behaviour and expectations of him his OCD did improve dramatically.
If you are living with someone with OCD you really do need to take a hard look at how you are acting towards there illness and sometimes loving someone is about standing back and letting them tackle it themselves.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, sometimes referred to as OCD?
First of all it is an illness and help is available for anyone who suffers from it. Believe it or not it is thought that around 2%of the population have suffered, or are suffering from, OCD at any given time.
Women are more prone to it than men and it can also affect children.
Most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 30, but of course it affects other ages too and often starts in young teenagers.
WHAT IS IT?
OCD is a condition where people have repetitive thoughts, or have to carry out certain actions, almost rituals. They are unable to ignore these and become anxious if they don't carry out their "compulsions" or if they don't "listen" to their thoughts. They can be so badly affected that they feel if they don't do what they feel they should, then something bad may happen.
A common sympton is an obsession with cleanliness. My mother was like this, but of course at that time nobody realised she had OCD.
Mum had a fear of touching the handles in public lavatories, she would always wrap a tissue around her hand before opening/closing the door in public loos. Of course, we used to laugh at her for being so finicky, but her reply was always "I can't help it" and of course, she was right.
As for sitting on the seat in a public loo - we were told from an early age that this was not allowed in case we "caught something." Old habits die hard and I still hate public loos in restaurants etc and of course, in a way mum was right about germs being on the door handles etc, but where do we draw the line between being hygiene conscious and having OCD?
Hairs were another thing she hated. If anyone combed their hair near her or if an animal came near her, she had to change her clothes as soon as possible in case any hairs were on them.
Eating out, or even having a cup of tea in a cafe, were taboo to mum. Looking back we feel her OCD became worse after she contracted Hepatitis. She was seriously ill with this and the doctor said she had probably contracted it from eating in a restaurant where the hygiene was lacking.
After this mum was almost paranoid about eating or drinking. Even at home we each had to have our own cup, which only we used. Visitors were given different cups to those the family used and these were bleached after use.
I remember the first time mum visited my new home after I got married. She took a tissue and dusted the plate before she would eat off it!!!! My new husband was horrified, the plates were new and clean, but this was just mum's OCD making her double check. (Needless to say he soon got used to her ways!)
Some people who are affected by OCD have to repeatedly wash their hands if they feel they have been "infected".
They may have a fear of passing on germs or illnesses to others.
They may have to carry out some ritual before they feel at ease with themselves. I know a young boy who went through a stage of OCD after his father died. Every night when he went to bed the boy had to switch his light on and off repeatedly before he could settle down. This was anxiety and with counselling he overcame it.
Other sufferers may need to repeat a prayer or song in their heads over and over. If they don't finish the song or prayer, they have to start at the beginning again.
PERFECTIONIST OR OCD?
There is a difference between being a "perfectionist" and suffering from OCD. My mum used to say she was a perfectionist and it was really difficult to live with her at times. But of course we now realise she had OCD.
Everything had to be neatly organised in our house. Wardrobes had to have clothes hung all facing the same way. Socks had to be straightened and laid neatly in drawers, the same with undies. If anyone ruffled anything when removing items from the drawer or wardrobe, mum would have to tidy the whole lot again.
Tinned goods in the cupboard all had to have their labels facing the front and had to be arranged in order of size.
Cushions were plumped up as soon as anyone got off a chair. When ironing if there was a minute crease, the whole thing had to be ironed again.
We thought this was just a quirk that mum had, but it was something she just had no control over.
If we went out or before going to bed at night, mum would go round the house checking that all the switches were in the Off position and would repeatedly check the doors were locked. We got used to this in time and would follow her round saying "O-F-F, that's okay, now can we go please."
Suffering from OCD can be very time consuming. If these rituals are not carried out sufferers think something bad might happen.
Dangerous objects may pose a threat too. In our house all sharp knives were well out of reach. Pans on the stove had to have their handles pointing inwards and the front rings on the cooker were never used. This could be a sensible precaution of course, but it was so bad that if mum had used a sharp knife to cut veg or something, it had to be washed up and put away immediately and not left around until the rest of the washing up was done.
Sufferers from OCD often feel they may be "contaminated" if their rituals are not carried out. An example of this was my mother with the toilet handles.
However, another relative went through agony with her son after he started at high school. The boy became obsessed with bringing germs into the home from school. He would not have his uniform in the house, nor any of his schoolbooks, sports kit etc.
When he came home from school he would strip off his uniform in the garage and his mother had to spray his clothes or wash them before he would put them on again.
Homework posed a real problem as he would not take his books into the house. They solved this by the teachers agreeing that he could spend time in the school library, either after school, or at lunchtimes.
The causes of OCD are not really known. Some believe it is caused by stress or that it could be a family trait that has been inherited.
Depression can also exacerbate the condition.
With the young boy who reacted after the death of his father this was more than likely his way of dealing with his grief.
The boy who started with OCD after starting at high school was not happy in his new surroundings. Moving from a small junior school to a large high school caused him a lot of anxiety and this manifested itself via his OCD.
If you, or anyone close to you, is worried about having OCD, then the first step is to consult your GP. There are many ways of diagnosing OCD and by asking questions about behaviour a diagnosis can be determined.
A website OCD Action has a quiz on their website
This has a series of questions where you answer yes or no and at the end it states whether or not you could be suffering from OCD or are at risk of developing it.
After an initial assessment by the GP, various treatments are available. This may be a visit to a counsellor or a psychotherapist.
The first thing to do is to enable sufferers to gain control over their fears. Relaxation techniques may help or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
For example, someone who has a compulsion to wash their hands may be asked to handle an object they class as being dirty and not to wash their hands immediately afterwards.
This was used by someone who had a fear or picking up germs from handling library books. He was taken to a public library and asked to handle several books. It was a challenge and very difficult at first, but eventually he conquered his "fear".
After reading this review, if you are worried then do seek help. OCD can control people's lives, not just their own but their families and friends too.
I only wish we could have sought help for my mother, it was hard trying to help her cope with her OCD but we didn't recognise it as being treatable and just had to learn to live with it, often resorting to humour to help her cope.
Thank goodness help is now available for OCD sufferers and their families.
When I was first diagnosed with o.c.d. it was a taboo subject. Even I had never heard of it. Frightning to know that I had something, wasn't going absolutely mad, but that this ' thing' had a name!
HAND WASHING :
My first experience was noticing my hand washing routine. I began to wash my hands almost every five minutes. I couldn't open a door, pick up a toy from the floor, shake someone's hand, without the urge to wash my hands. Maybe urge is an understatement. I had to wash my hands no matter where I was. I began to carry a bottled water round with me in case there was no place to run a tap. I knew it was not normal behaviour, but I was confused and didn't want to talk to anyone about it. I washed my hands before making a cup of tea, during and after too. I did the same routine when preparing food, before leaving my house, during and returning too. It was obsessive, and it controlled me.
LEAVING MY HOME:
This also became a problem. We all do minor checks before we leave our homes. Check we havn't left the cooker on, locked all doors, windows shut ect. But we then leave it at that. But for me it was diffrent. I would return and check, return and check, return and check, to the point it was pointless me leaving the house at all.
Thats how I became a prisoner in my own home. I didn't go out, I lost friends, and then my amily became aware, as they came to my home and saw what was happening. At first , I told them I didn't feel well. It wasn't a lie as such. I didn't feel well, I felt scared all the time. I felt the world was becoming a very scarey place for me. My family were concerned, but felt helpless, as they knew if they pushed me, I would stop them visiting me.
Though I know bolemia and anorexia nervosa become a complecation of o.c.d. I was lucky in the fact it didn't happen to me. What did happen though, was I became too afraid to eat in front of other people. I was scared there breath, hands, clothes ect would contaminate my food. I wouldn't allow anyone to cook for me, or make me a drink. I had to be totally alone whenever i ate or drank.
I stopped going to restarants, parties ect. that became a problem with family celebrations, and christmas was pure hell.
As I became a prisoner in my own home , I had to do something, and so I became an obsessive cleaner. I wouldn't just clean the rooms, I would scrub them from top to bottom. Curtains were pulled down and washed, bed linen too, polishing, sweeping, scouring, scrubbing. And as soon as I had finished I would begin again!
I began to loose sleep worrying I had forgotten to clean in a certain area, get up in the night just to clean it again. this then affected my sleep as this too became part of my routine.
I couldn't take anymore. I had to get help. I was frightened by what was happening to me, and I had no quality of life anymore. Everything had spirreled out of control.
I knew I would not be able to visit my doctor so I rang him on the phone.
In a way, this made it easier to explain. I spent over an hour on the phone with my doctor. He listened, reassured me that he had known cases such as this, asked me to sit near the phone, as he would call me back shortly.
This he did. He asked if I would allow him to ' home visit me '. I told him he would be welcome. That evening, my Doctor arrived, with a warm smile, and a hand shake. I immediatly ran to the kitchen and washed my hands.
I spent the next five minutes apologising for my rash behaviour, and he then named my condition.!
I was not a freak! Others also suffered this condition. He explained that a certain chemical in my brain had become unbalanced. ' SEROTONIN'. My messages were bouncing back and forth, causing the checking routine. The rituals, and routines were causing me to ' repress' thoughts too painful to face in my past. These were my routine freinds. allowing me to not concentrate on my hurtful thoughts, and giving me something else to occupy my mind.
I needed help, and he knew just the man for the job!
I was referred to a psycotherapist in Cambridge. A wonderful man that knew I was going to find the journey to his office extremly difficult. Though he made no effort to release this pressure from me. This was my first task. To get there. I did.
I met a man about the same age as me, 36'ish. He was bald, and lovely smiling face. I felt quite relaxed at first. He asked me the usual questions about my past, then asked me the more tricky one's. I began to panick. I wanted to leave the room, and he told me I was no prisoner and could leave when I liked.
I got up from the hair, went to open the door, when he hand, very gently, lay on the door. It would of taken no effort to remove it, but he knew I would not make physical contact with him. I was stuck! He told me to remove his hand so as to leave, or to sit down and work out my problems! I sat down, and began my therapy.
I have been with the therapist now for six years!
As I said, I have been in therapy now for six years. I have had cognetive therapy, aggresive therapy, and councilling for my past. Childhood sexual rape and abuse while in three care homes. One of my perpetraitors is now serving eighteen years, another died, and the third is about to meet me in court in september of this years!
I have hardly no more routines, obsesions, or panick attacks. I love eating out, and I am now persuing an mature career along with my daughters, entertaining as a female duo up and down the uk!
I still have a long way to go, as I have missed out on twenty two years of my life. I have forgotton how to deal with everyday life, and this is what I am working on now.
I hope now to learn to live a normal life, with normal worries, fun, and excitement, and to not be scared as often as I have. I am in the process of witing book, so any agents out there? proof readers,helpers? I would love to hear from you!
Anyone in this situation? please remeber, you are not alone. But please don't loose years hiding away. You then have to deal with the past and the ' missing years'.
love to you all, and thanks for reading !
My experience with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) came when myself and other family members became concerned for my younger sister.... her hair had been falling out at an alarming rate... she had bald patches on her scalp and had to start wearing a hat to avoid people's curious stares. She refused to let us take her to see someone about it, but finally agreed when she realised herself that she could not go on the way she was. When we got her there she confessed everything, she had not wanted to tell anyone as she was embarrassed and thought people would think she was some sort of freak.
Trichotillomania - a form of OCD.... My little sister had been pulling her own hair out as a form of release from her depression (we later found out that she had been getting bullied in school). Thankfully, she grew out of it and the problems she had in school were soon sorted out, but many people don't and Trichotillomania can carry on into adult hood. This is just one form of OCD that many people are not aware of.
**** What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? ****
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder where a person has recurrent and unwanted ideas or impulses (called obsessions) and an urge or compulsion to do something to relieve the discomfort caused by the obsession. For example: Thoughts about contamination will lead the person to spend hours washing their hands, and in more severe cases, they will avoid touching anything that they feel could have germs, some can't even bring themselves to hug a family member or friend, even something as simple as going to the shops can cause severe anxiety for a sufferer of this form of OCD.
The obsessive thoughts range from the idea of losing control, to themes surrounding religion or keeping things or parts of their body clean all the time. Compulsions are behaviors that help reduce the anxiety surrounding the obsessions. Most people who have OCD have both obsessions and compulsions. The thoughts and behaviors a person with OCD has are senseless, repetitive, distressing, and sometimes harmful, but they are also difficult to overcome. It's a conflict between their rational knowledge and the irrational, the great majority of people with OCD are aware that their rituals are meaningless, yet they still experience a tremendous urge or impulse to escape the irrational threat by engaging in these rituals.
I believe there is a little of most forms of OCD in all of us, and because of that, I think it is easier for us all to understand...
Have you ever been late for work and had to get up, throw yourself together and rush out the door? How many of us then feel extreme anxiety as we sit in the car, bus or train on our way, convinced that we have forgotten something and worried that we may have left the iron on, or forgot to lock the door behind us etc. I can relate to that. But for someone suffering from a 'Checking' form of OCD, that anxiety is constantly with them, they have a strong need to double check, triple check and more....
Have you ever been in a restaurant or Cafe and noticed a fork or glass that is not clean, leading you to be anxious of everything else, the plate, the napkins, the food, until you just can't eat there? Well, for someone with an extreme fear of contamination, this feeling is always there, even when they clean and scrub, the fear of germs that may still be lurking there, remains.
* Purely Obsessional OCD (Pure O) *
This is when people have thoughts that disturb them, and lead them to spending a large amount of time reassuring themselves (also referred to as ruminating). A typical example of this would be: when a person sees a knife, and suddenly the thought flashes through their mind to stab someone with it, perhaps even a friend or family member that is with them at the time. A man or woman who knows they are straight having a sexual thought about their friend of the same sex. These people will then spend hours reassuring themselves that they are not capable of murder, that they do not have those sort of feelings toward their friend etc... but as the OCD starts to get a grip, they then start to believe they must be crazy and start hiding knives and other things for fear of what they may do. For some... thoughts of suicide are part of what they have to shake off. Imagine for example, you are waiting to cross a road and suddenly, the thought of throwing yourself in front of a car enters your mind... you know you are not suicidal, but now this doubt is in your mind, and you start questioning yourself, but of course, the more you agonise and punish yourself, the more important it will be made to your subconscious mind, and therefore, you actually end up having these thoughts more frequently. They don't trust themselves, and every day becomes a battle with their mind.
Another form of Pure O, is a heightened sense of superstitiousness, in which, for example, certain numbers might take on a great significance related to positive or negative outcomes. Typically, positive numbers or perhaps the number 'seven' involve a greater likelihood for safety or permission to proceed with a given task. Other numbers forewarn of something ominous about to happen. As well as this, the old quirky childhood games of avoiding cracks or walking under ladders takes on a significance beyond most people's ability to comprehend. Avoiding walking under a ladder is a matter of life and death, and no matter how ridiculous the rational mind will know it is, the need to do it - so as to feel safe, is too strong.
The last form of Pure O, is 'responsibility OC' (hyperscrupulosity). Here, the person's concern is not for themselves, but directed toward the well being of others. Typically, significant others (although sometimes society at large). The responsibility OC might take on a Pure O form such as getting a noxious thought that some harm might come to someone else. Also the responsibility OC might engage in elaborate cleansing rituals to prevent others from receiving germs or diseases which he or she may be carrying, yet feels no fear for his/her own well-being. People with this form of OC often engage in warning others about possible risks or cleansing their environment of possible risks to others. People with responsibility OC also often engage in excesses for another's distress or danger, so as not to be held culpable. The reason this form is particularly difficult to treat is the combination of anxiety in association with the risk and guilt at being responsible for adversity happening to others. I actually have some experience with this form of Obsessive Compulsive. A friend of mine used to be a very nervous sort of person, someone that would worry about everything before it happened. She would be constantly fretting, and warning people to be careful when going down the stairs etc... almost to the point of having a panic attack one time, when she caught her mother trying to do down stairs with her bedroom slippers on. When any of her family were sick, she would go into their rooms about five different times in the middle of the night to check if they were still breathing, and if she was unsure, she would wake them up. Her family were understandably worried about her... this frail and anxious person, who would freeze if someone so much as coughed. I lost contact with her about five years ago, before I knew anything about OCD, but I do hope she got help. Seeing someone with OCD can make you realise what an exausting disorder it must be to have.
* Phobias *
When Phobias start affecting your life and causing you extreme anxiety, then they can also be classed as a form of OCD.
Agoraphobia - fear of open places or being around people. Often the person can not leave their home.
Anorexia Nervosa - (Self starvation) an eating disorder. When people start doing obsessive rituals to avoid eating, then that person has crossed over into having OCD.
Social Anxiety - Strong fear of a large group of people, excessive fear of social situations, fear of being embarrassed.
For many years, OCD was thought to be rare. The actual number of people with OCD was hidden, because people would hide their problem to avoid embarrassment. Though we now know that OCD is, in fact, very common, and there is a lot of help out there for people suffering. There are many sites out there with information and reassurance that most cases of OCD can be treated very effectively. Sufferers of OCD are not alone.
Thanks for reading.
People suffer from stress and anxiety. Understanding if you have a mental illness or not is something you have to find out for yourself by consulting a doctor. It could be apparent if you are constantly told that you have some weird obsessions to do with things.
Ask yourself the following questions for a breif idea if you suffer from this mental illness:-
Do your thoughts involve having concerns with contamination of dirt/AIDS or how clean something is etc?
Do you have thoughts about death involving yourself or another person?
Have you kept thinking sexual/religious thoughts that you felt were wrong but couldn't stop thinking about them?
Do you worry a lot, spending 1 up to 8 hours worrying constantly about these thoughts?
Do you sometimes lose control of your thoughts/actions and start doing something again and again but you dont understand why?
Do you have thoughts constantly that actually stop you doing something or being somewhere or with someone?
Do you have a lot of distress and emotion living through your thoughts?
Do your thoughts encourage you to do things you do not want to do?
Do you feel an urge to touch things or people around you?
Do your thoughts or things you do make you feel like you want to confess them to someone like you have done a bad thing... Do you need reassurance constantly?
Do you avoid colours?
Do you search your body for illness signs?
Do you re-read, re-write or re-open letters pointlessly?
Do you feel the need to count things or make things line up or become 'even'?
Do you wash things a lot over and over or do something like this over and over again just to make sure?
Do you fear a disaster such as a flood/fire or hurting someone
Do you need to check the trash before you throw it out?
If you answer to several of these questions is YES then I advise you to arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist. Remember, they are just doctors, you lose nothing if they say you are fine, and you lose nothing if you are unwell. Trust me it is hard to say to yourself that you want to see a doctor about this... It so embarassing and you feel like you are the only one in the world with this problem. Before you say that I want you to know that there are millions of people out there worried and anxious in a way that stops their lives, makes them do things that they dont feel like doing and causes them a great deal of pain as if something else is controling their brain.
If you are diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, do not worry. OCD is an illness that affects your judgement of things and you develop obsessions that prompts your brain to develop 'compulsions' straight after you think things.
It is a cycle of thoughts that is hard to get rid of, the only way to get rid of it is to receive therapy from a doctor who will prescribe anti-depressants if needed (dont worry they wont hurt or change anything about the way you think, they just make you less worried/anxious about your thoughts... not less worried about normal things)
Bear in mind teenagers like me have this... You can be 40 or 14 and be equally as ill so remember dont let it get you down, sort it out!
The condition was famously portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the film 'As Good As It Gets', but what about real life experiences of the condition? Share your experiences with us.