I have OCD. For those of you who don’t know, OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There are several characteristics of OCD which leads to people being put into at least one of the following categories:

  • Hoarders: These people are afraid of throwing something away in case something bad might happen. Some people may keep leaflets of information for items they may not have anymore. But, they don’t keep everything. Some people will keep bottles, other will keep newspapers or leaflets, and a lot of clothes.
  • Counters and Arrangers: These people are obsessed with arranging things to be a certain way. They’ll need to count in a certain way, arrange items by colour or length/width, and want their area to be the way they want it.
  • Doubters and Sinners: These people have an obsession within their heads – if they think of something that they don’t like, or afraid of, they won’t be able to stop thinking about it. They may also worry about something that they’ve done which they regret, find embarrassing or now see as wrong. They may feel as if they’re going to be punished for something minor they’ve done.
  • Checkers: These people religiously check and double check certain things. It’s not just about locking a door, it’s anything they associate with being in danger. To avoid harm, they double check, constantly.
  • Washers: This is the most commonly shown in media, but isn’t any more common than the rest of them. These people are afraid of contamination, they fear getting ill or getting someone else ill.

But, it’s not always as cut clean as the categories; why? Because I’m not really in any of the categories. Most people are in one or two, I’m in one with many tendencies of others.

Let me explain:

I’m in the Doubters and Sinners category, this is because I’m constantly thinking of things I don’t want to – but I can’t stop myself from doing it. My thoughts become obsessive, I think of things I find embarrassing or things I regret doing but can’t stop thinking about them, it lands me in an Anxiety attack, and it mainly happens when my mind isn’t occupied.

However, there are other tendencies I suffer from:

  • I have the inability to leave my bathroom without turning the light off and on at least six times. Even in the middle of the day when I don’t have to put the light on; before I leave, I need to turn it on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off… If I don’t do my ritual, I go into an anxiety attack… This ritual has been known to wake my family up…
  • I fear passing my illnesses onto someone else! I wash my hands religiously, not to avoid germs but to avoid spreading them. I gave up on trying to stop myself from being sick after finding out I have an immune system disorder. However, I don’t like passing germs to people. So, if I’m ill – I avoid human contact.
  • I hoard things – anything, just things I like. But, I don’t have the issue of getting rid of them. I can get rid of stuff, but I need to be prompted or see an issue before I do. I’m currently working on getting rid of paints and clothes that are cluttering my office.
  • I need things to be arranged by colour – mainly when it’s my art equipment. I have a box of pencils – 120 of them – and when they arrived, they weren’t in order… They weren’t even in number order! So, I had to fix it.
  • I also need certain things to be on certain numbers. Adjusting the volume of the TV? You better leave that fucker on an even number, or a factor of 5, otherwise, we’re going to have issues.
  • Each morning, before I do anything, I need to stare at the ceiling before I get out of bed. If I need to get up at 6:30 am, I’ll set up three alarms. One at 6 am, another at 6:15 am, and the third at 6:30 am. This gives me time to adjust.

How does OCD work?

Well, if you don’t do something you have to – for example, if you have an issue with checking things are locked, but you aren’t able to do it for some reason, you’ll end up having a panic attack until you’re able to calm your resolve the issue.

You can have compulsive behaviours and thoughts without having OCD. OCD is characterised not by the rituals but by the constant terror, that the inability to do something or stop something, that something puts you in.

OCD can have many causes, including abuse, genetics, and just how the brain is wired. For me, my brain is wired differently. I have a higher amount of activity in certain areas, but also have a family history which makes it more likely to also be genetic.

 

If you want to learn more about OCD, here are some useful links that I read when I was diagnosed:

NHS UK: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/

OCD UK: http://www.ocduk.org/

Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/conditions/ocd/

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/#.WmOjAahl9hE

I also found this music video, by Rhett and Link, helpful when I was struggling with my OCD. Simply because it showed a lighter side to OCD, it’s a comedy video and it’s what I needed when I was down. Enjoy;

If you have any questions about OCD or need to talk, feel free to talk to us via the comments below or by messaging us via our Contact page.