This is probably going to be the most difficult (and longest) thing i choose to write about, but nevertheless here it is. I won’t make it too personal, as I think this is a personal topic, but I am completely open to talking about this to a certain extent. I find it really difficult to speak about in person, but a bit easier to write about. So here goes.
What is it actually like to have OCD? I can tell you that even though it’s seen as one of the smallest things to majority, it is one of the largest things in the mind of a person who suffers with OCD.
As someone who struggles with OCD, it is really irritating and degrading when people throw the term about willy-nilly.. just to point out, OCD is actually a disorder, not just a word to throw about because you “hate mess” or “love cleaning”, there is surprisingly a LOT more to it than people think. So next time you throw the term about because of your undesired love for making your bed or being organised, research the term and take into consideration people who suffer with it to the extent that everyday is a struggle for them (i luckily don’t have it as severe as that).
So just to clarify..obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).
I think my struggle with OCD started when I was young, I at the time didn’t think it was OCD. I remember the first insight, it was when i purposely used to make people repeat themselves, even though i could hear them the first 3 times, but for some reason it was just satisfying to hear it said for like the seventh time, but being completely oblivious to OCD at a young age, I assumed i was just an irritating child with a habit. This was just a minor thing, but then it progressed when I was older to time consuming things. As soon I would be left home alone, I used to do 3 laps around the house checking every single door was locked at least 8 times, although my “lucky” number eventually turned to 12 and I would be pulling the handle up and down 12 times before i was completely reassured it was locked. Although having OCD and having intrusive thoughts i would still constantly have a bad feeling like someone would break in and take me or something bad would happen. It was the same with lighting candles, I couldn’t light them if i was home alone and upstairs because it was engraved into my head that my house would burn down and i would die in it. These again are just little things, but they all contribute to OCD.
There’s also the problem with touching things, compulsions. I’m not sure why but every morning and night and throughout the day there are certain objects i have to touch a certain amount of times, usually I would have to touch it in multiples of five because multiples of 5 satisfied me, and if i didn’t touch these objects i had it in my mind that my day wouldn’t go right, and that whatever i was doing i would always have it in the back of my head that i didn’t touch it. Now as you can imagine that is pretty fucking annoying. And then on top of that the usual annoyances, TV numbers on rounded numbers (25, 30, 35…), flicking lightswitches all the time, slamming doors, you name it. It’s a complete pain in the ass! But i’ll get there.
I won’t name them all OR go in to detail about all of them because…
- I’d be here for days, and would probably unintentionally end up writing a novel.
- a lot of them are personal and hard to come to terms with.
I also can’t sleep under my duvet, which is probably extremely weird! And i have no idea where that one came from, it’s only been for the last couple of years- but i always sleep on top of my made duvet with a fleece on top of me, I’m not sure why but It’s really weird sleeping under a duvet for me, it’s not my “routine”. The most difficult thing about OCD is breaking out of “routine”.
Most time consuming of all is getting ready to go to bed. I do everything as normal, wash my face, brush my teeth… just like a “normal” persons routine, and then before i set my alarm i have to clear absolutely everything off my phone..
Delete all texts, unnecessary pictures, phone log, ALL social media search histories, browsing histories, social media messages, everything. And then i repeat that probably at least 3 times, It’s really annoying how time consuming this is, but it’s one of my hardest “habits”- which by the way aren’t habits, but are “compulsions” yet to break. But everything gets easier with time and support.
Luckily my friends and family are there to support me, and a lot of them are understanding. But you do still get the odd few idiots who don’t know anything about OCD, and just slate you for being repetitive and weird.
I could go on for ages, but at least now you’ll have gotten the just about what it’s like. If you have any questions I’d love to answer! 🙂
P.s. Sorry for the length, it seemed more of a rant than informative piece but it’s nice to share something a bit more personal!