Iím a 23 year old female who lives in the UK. I have suffered with obsessive compulsive disorder for a great number of years (but I was diagnosed with OCD a year ago after having a history of mental health problems). Since being diagnosed things have been just as tough for me, perhaps tougher in places because I know what my problem is but donít know how to overcome it. However, I finally feel ready to overcome my problems. I have decided to create this blog so that the general public can follow my journey, I can connect with others who have OCD or similar mental health problems and so that I can raise awareness and destigmatise OCD and mental illness at the same time.
First of all I feel the need to explain what obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is as many people have inaccurate knowledge of OCD. OCD is actually an anxiety disorder which consists of obsessive thoughts and urges which lead to the performance of irrational compulsions and a life of worrying about disturbing thoughts and urges that you have. OCD does not mean that a person is obsessed with cleaning (lets face it, if this were true OCD would stand for obsessive cleaning disorder). OCD can consist of thoughts such as ďIím going to run someone over when Iím drivingĒ and this would result in a compulsion such as being over-observant when driving or avoiding driving and excessive worry that you will run someone over. In fact obsessions and compulsions of those who suffer with OCD cover a wide range of worries and fears. Just remember that if the anxiety element isnít there it is not OCD.
I have a number of OCD behaviours which I am going to discuss with you now. I apologise if my explanations are a little bit too long but I think it will help people to understand what suffering with OCD consists of, raise awareness and give an overview with what problems I plan to tackle in the near future.
My OCD consists of a number of intrusive thoughts: 1) thoughts about others being dead, sad or ill, 2) thoughts about myself being severely ill, poisoned or unhygienic. I often get the urge to check that others are ok, check myself for signs of illness, run the taps until I believe that the water is not contaminated and take time when getting ready to go out. I genuinely believe that if others were dead, sad or ill I would hold a certain amount of responsibility for not checking that they are ok and I could become ill, unhygienic or lonely if I donít check that I am in good health and clean.
I respond to my thoughts by:
Using many communication methods to check that people are ok
Visiting my doctor every time I think Iím ill
Leaving water to run for a while before using it
Only drinking from my own mugs/glasses
Taking time to make sure that Iím clean
Making sure that I feel comfortable before doing anything else
I believe that my OCD handicaps me because as a result I do not have a set daily routine as some days it takes pretty much all day for me to feel comfortable enough to do anything. I often care too much for people and seem too attached to them which ruins relationships and I canít visit other people and enjoy it due my worries of water contamination and being poisoned.