Do you have OCD?

Do you have OCD?

To begin with, I am no expert in psychology, but have dealt with mental illnesses as a caregiver and as a patient. I know not the intricacies of the illnesses– the whys and the hows– but I do know a little about how a mental illness disturbs life, and how one can deal with it, and hence these posts that I share on my blog.

I came across an article in the newspaper last week where the writer shared certain habits and thoughts that had become a part of his daily life. I couldn’t have agreed more with him when he said how these habits get the better of him and leave him feeling frustrated and helpless. I, too, have certain habits that are compulsive in nature and try as I might, I can’t get rid of them.

I am sure many of you must sail in the same boat.

Washing hands a hundred times, waking up or sleeping on a particular side of the bed, checking things again and again to make sure everything’s in order. We often joke about how we suffer from OCD–I did that myself–but on reading about the subject in detail, I realised that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental illness and for people suffering from it, it can be a struggle trying to live a normal life.

I haven’t approached my doctor with this topic during my sessions for Generalised Anxiety Disorder yet; maybe someday I will, just to make sure I don’t need any treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But, on reading the above newspaper article, I realised how so many of us suffer from certain obsessive thoughts and compulsive habits and how we ignore those, thinking that those habits are just a part of our idiosyncrasies.

Sharing today, those thoughts and habits, fears and worries I have on an everyday basis and hoping to get some help in that department, as well.If you are a psychologist, and if you think I need help, please advice me. I would be forever grateful to you!

OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS:

I fear germs, so much so, that when my pet dog was around, I would pet him and then scrub my hands clean–this happened each time I petted him, so you can imagine the number of times I washed my hands in a day.

I worry about getting involved in a road accident, so each time hubby revs up the engine of his car, I start palpitating. It’s related to my anxiety, I know, but I have no problem travelling by the bus or the train.

I fear a theft taking place when I am not home.

I have this age-old fear of the gas bursting and also a short circuit burning our house down.

I find it difficult to trust people as I think they aren’t being truthful to me and might have ulterior motives. There are only 3 to 4 people I trust blindly, no offence meant to others who are equally close to me!

I am obsessed about the idea of a perfect life (which I know doesn’t exist) but the obsession is so much, that even if I daydream, I make sure Life is perfect! Do I make any sense here?

I like everything in order…ORDER..and get disturbed even if a tiny thing, like a cushion, for instance, is out of its rightful place. I tend to lose my peace of mind, but I leave everything aside to go arrange the cushion correctly.

I like to make to-do lists and follow my schedule. But, I also wish others around me maintained a to-do list and worked accordingly, and get annoyed if they don’t!

I get very irritated if my schedule gets disturbed and it takes me some time to come up with Plan B, even if it’s something as simple as missing my evening walk.

 

COMPULSIVE HABITS

I am a cleanliness freak and cannot stay in a place that’s dirty or unkempt. And, if I do visit such a place, then I am sure to get some really disturbing dreams full of filthy places…The dreams stay on in my mind for days on end and it becomes difficult getting them out of my head! I feel like puking even as I type these words.

I have the habit of checking if the door is locked perfectly each time someone opens the door, or before going to bed at night.

I check the padlock by tugging at it multiple times fearing I may not have done it correct.

I check the regulator of the gas a few times to make sure I switched it off before bedtime or before I go outdoors.

I am petrified of touching the door handles of public washrooms. I also think a hundred times before holding onto the handle of the seat in a bus or a train, wondering how many germs might be residing on that handle.

I arrange my kitchen cabinets weekly and make sure the labels on the jars face the front.

I can never share my comb or my towel with anyone, not even with hubby!

To be frank, I am not so much of a cleanliness freak as some other people I know. I don’t get disturbed if my nephew spreads his toys all over the room while playing. My home may not be as spic and span as a 5 star hotel, but I like (and need) order, and often get disturbed if I find things in a mess.

I know, there are people out there who suffer from worst symptoms and can’t do without medical help. It is, indeed, a sad life they live.

Calling oneself OCD is definitely hurtful to those who suffer from severe symptoms of this illness. Yet, it is very important that we seek help for what comes in our way of living a healthy and peaceful life.

Do share your own habits and thoughts that you think hinder a normal life. You never know how severe things might be unless you have it in front of you, in black and white!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

P.S.

The one person I trust to give me the right advice on this post–my friend, and psychologist, Sanch–has shared her views on the topic which I am sharing here.

Sanch @ Sanch Writes:

OCD is one of those illnesses portrayed as being quite funny in the media and sometimes, the irrationality of it can be amusing. However, having worked with clients who have OCD, I can say this – it is hard!!!
It’s not just about obsessions and having quirky compulsions but rather, behaviours that significantly impact on day-to-day functioning. For instance, I have had clients with fear of contamination/germs who wash their hands so much and so often that it bleeds or those who take 90 minutes to 2 hours in the shower, or those whose families get sucked by OCD and have to wash their hands before preparing meals or touching something related to them.
Or those who fear germs so much, they will not use public toilets and end up having infections by holding things in. Or being dehydrated because they will choose to not drink water in case they have to pee.
And that’s just the obvious ones. I have had clients where they have intrusive thoughts about something bad happening to someone or themselves and they have to engage in some repetitive behaviour or thought process regardless of where they are because of the distress it causes.
The important thing to remember about OCD is that it has to interfere with your and your family’s functioning on a daily basis.
Our quirks or routines or preference for things to be a certain way are probably more obsessive-compulsive traits as opposed to OCD. The movie ‘As good as it gets’ probably came closest to portraying just how debilitating OCD can be.
Monica in FRIENDS would probably be diagnosed more with OCPD {Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder}.
A lot of the obsessions/intrusive thoughts you talk about for yourself could be the generalised anxiety anyway.
Also, finally, hope you don’t mind this but it’s preferable to ask if ‘do you have obsessive-compulsive traits’ as opposed to ‘are you obsessive-compulsive’. Language matters when we talk about mental health disorders. We are not them. We have them.
******************
Obsessive Compulsive Traits

 

 

 

35 thoughts on “Do you have OCD?

  1. Very informative post 👍 👍 👍 Shilpa. The obsessive thoughts and compulsive habits mentioned by you are common ones. I don’t know how many of these can be classified under OCD. But it seems nothing to worry about. Just relax, keep yourself busy in your hobbies and keep writing ☺ Thanks for sharing 👍 👍 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I came to read this topic to see if there is something I need to worry about. But, it appears normal about your fears and cleanliness attitudes. If possible, see the Malayalam movie North 24 Kaatham with subtitles (free on Hotstar), of course, to understand the life of a person struggling with OCD. And you will realise how obsessive obsession can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lata I have seen this Movie.. Shilpa you must watch it, for you realise theres more to OCD, beyond all that humor associated with it often. I have an OCD with reagrds to orderliness and sometimes a messy home can create havoc to my mood. I snap back at people at such time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think keeping things in order is OCD. I also don’t think not sharing a comb is OCD. I think you are quite normal. OCD is what my Hubby Dear is. He refuses to change things. He does the same action again and again. He has an algorithm for doing things….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have OCD, I’m not even going to deny that. Almost Monica’ish. But, over the years I’ve tried my best to calm down and not try to be such a control freak. While some things out of order do irritate me, I don’t react to it these days. It is a huge improvement for me.

    Some of my OCD eccentricities are:

    ~ Folder names on my laptop. They should start with a capital and be an actual name. Not just “stuff”.
    ~ The order in which browser tabs are open.
    ~ Hangers in the wardrobe should all be facing the same direction and should be arranged according to color.
    ~ Same with shoes.
    ~ The order in which I stock my kitchen dabbas CANNOT be altered. I have a system and would kill if anyone messes it up.
    ~ I suffer from the imaginative gas-bursting and iron-box bursting fear as well.
    ~ I am a cleanliness freak as well, but I’m trying to not be so obsessed about it these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa, Soumya!! I am glad I have company!
      I am totally with you on the hangar obsession. Direction, colours and all. In fact, I might add one more obsession to it–particular clothes should hang on particular hangars. Jeans should hang only on metal hangars and my track pants only on the plastic ones…
      True, there are many more Monicas in the world than we know! 🙂

      I too want to change re…maybe now that I have shared my obsessions and fears, I will be alert about how I react to things that are not in my control.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      Like

  5. I am there with you on some of the points but I have never thought about them as problem areas or on the lines of OCD. I like a clean house but on days when I cannot or do not feel like setting it right, I steer my mind away from the dirt and mess. I have my own set of fears too and one of them used to be the fear of getting raped since my childhood. It got addressed in a session of past life regression where I was not even sure if the scene I was watching really happened in the past life or was it my mind was just making it up playing on my fear. It is another matter I consider that session which costed me a good 60 pounds (princely for me) a total failure.
    I think now that you have written down your compulsive habits and fears, they must cease to exist. Itna exposore jhel nahin payenge wo sab.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha…trust you to say the right words, Anu!
      Past life regression is something I too feel like experiencing, especially for my fears. You know, I feel that maybe in one of my past lives, I must have gotten burnt or something and that’s the reason behind my fear of fire, gas, electricity.

      Also, the anxiety about life, especially when MIL was around, and the stress related to her illness, must have made me so anxious about every little thing; must have made me yearn for a perfect world about which I keep thinking.

      But, now that I have written it all here, I am sure I will look at it all from a new POV. Maybe my anxieties will reduce, too.

      Thanks dear! ❤

      Like

  6. You are right, Shilpa, in our ignorance we call normal habits as obsession. But I am sure we all have one or two habits that border on obsession.

    Like you, I can’t share my comb and towel with anyone even my daughter. I need to wash my hands and feet as soon as I come back. I fret over my house help coming even 2 mins late and it actually causes me anxiety. I shout at others for their tardiness.

    If I sit down with a notepad and pen, I am sure I will come up with many odd habits that must be irritating to my family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anshu, I feel it’s all a result of the anxiety we carry within us. Anxiety about every little thing that makes us obsess about it all.
      We really need to calm down and breathe, isn’t it? 🙂
      Hugs, my dear!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True that, Shilpa! My hubby says if you continue like that, you will end up in a depression – so try to calm down – the world won’t come to an end if the maid comes 5 mins late or if the tiffin gets ready later. As such I have a head full of grey hair – prematuredly too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. As dealing with psychological issues(many of my research articles have been published in many National and International journals of psychology) i can relate with these very deeply and let me inform you that yes i am also aware of the germs on the handle of the public toilet door but not so much obsessive about holding it though sometime i avoid using that.
    I used to be obsessed about a life where love will be cent percent pure and dedicated but gradually i have get rid of it rather it better to say that the life has made me practical with time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Jyotirmoy. Yes, Life does teach us a lot, and I too have learned about not expecting perfectness from Life. Also, I have realised through this post that so many people feel similarly about so many things, but we need to accept it all and not worry about it too much. If things were so serious, I wouldn’t have been able to live normally. I would definitely have needed help. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. OCD or no OCD, you are great, just the way you are. Just know that. All these labels are man-made. Though the word OCD has been used frivolously by most of us, to call ourselves so, but I guess it can get a bit more than out of hand for some people.

    I don’t see myself fitting the bill with most of the above, except of course, the cushions (or that slightly crooked painting), jars and toys being kept a certain way. I’m anal about those.
    But I guess that has more to do with being tidy and organised, then being an OCD victim.

    With two dogs, an aquarium, two fighter fish in separate bowls, and a tween; I guess I’m pretty much above the OCD scanner.
    But anyways a clean tidy home and place to stay is important. I don’t like traveling by trains anymore because of the toilets. Though train journeys are so much fun. Now is that OCD?

    https://natashamusing.com/2019/06/five-things-that-sparked-joy-recently-wordlesswednesday/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha…No, that’s not OCD, Natasha. That is your anxiety, as it is mine.
      And with two dogs, one can’t imagine being a control freak coz we are under their control and whatever they do (mess), it’s all accepted!
      Thanks for your warm words! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OCD is one of those illnesses portrayed as being quite funny in the media and sometimes, the irrationality of it can be amusing. However, having worked with clients who have OCD, I can say this – it is hard!!! It’s not just about obsessions and having quirky compulsions but rather, behaviours that significantly impact on day-to-day functioning. For instance, I have had clients with fear of contamination/germs who wash their hands so much and so often that it bleeds or those who take 90 minutes to 2 hours in the shower, or those whose families get sucked by OCD and have to wash their hands before preparing meals or touching something related to them. Or those who fear germs so much, they will not use public toilets and end up having infections by holding things in. Or being dehydrated because they will choose to not drink water in case they have to pee. And that’s just the obvious ones. I have had clients where they have intrusive thoughts about something bad happening to someone or themselves and they have to engage in some repetitive behaviour or thought process regardless of where they are because of the distress it causes.

    The important thing to remember about OCD is that it has to interfere with your and your family’s functioning on a daily basis.

    Our quirks or routines or preference for things to be a certain way are probably more obsessive-compulsive traits as opposed to OCD. The movie ‘As good as it gets’ probably came closest to portraying just how debilitating OCD can be.

    Monica in FRIENDS would probably be diagnosed more with OCPD {Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder}.

    A lot of the obsessions/intrusive thoughts you talk about for yourself could be the generalised anxiety anyway.

    Also, finally, hope you don’t mind this but it’s preferable to ask if ‘do you have obsessive-compulsive traits’ as opposed to ‘are you obsessive-compulsive’. Language matters when we talk about mental health disorders. We are not them. We have them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are so right, Sanch, about using the right words. I changed the title, and am copy-pasting this comment at the end of my post for all to read. We so need to know if ours are just traits or obsessions that interfere with our and our family’s everyday life.

      Thank you so very much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. One of the therapists that I had visited had mentioned to me that OCD is not a joke as most people take it to be. It is a very serious condition and it would be good if you run your symptoms by the therapist. I may have some stray fears or anxieties but I can’t really think of anything like so many of you have mentioned. Good to read Sanch’s views too on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Rachna. It’s really a serious thing, something that can disrupt your life altogether!
      Will first try to work on myself as per Sanch ‘s advice and if even then I am not able to find peace, I will speak with my doctor.

      Like

  11. I believe these are the traits that make you You. As long as it doesn’t harm you or disrupt your relationship, I think it’s fine.
    I must be the only one who got nothing! I don’t think I have any compulsive trait that I will lose sleep over. 😛 I lived in a govt hostel for 4 years, dirt or disorder was the least of my worries. 😛 I will have to seriously clean my home if I ever invite you in 😀
    Loved what Sanch said about OCD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, Raj, my obsessions are what give me my identity. I just hope they don’t take away my peace of mind from me!

      Hahaha….i won’t even bother looking at your home, Raj! I would only be interested in chatting with you and playing with your little bubba, if I were to visit you! DOn’t worry 😛
      Love!

      Like

  12. “We are not them. We have them.” Thank you for that, Sanch! And Shilpa, lots of people are worried about germs, etc. and exhibit some other symptoms as well. For instance, it drives me crazy, too when a picture is not hanging straight, or something on a shelf is not perfectly centred. I stop whatever I’m doing to fix it. As Sanch said if it’s interfering with your daily life, then maybe you should seek help, but otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much. Some of your habits, like to-do lists, would certainly help those of us who are less focused.

    Liked by 1 person

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