OCD: How to Deal
By Emily, age 19, Newfoundland
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
OCD. It's a term teenagers throw around a lot these days, myself included. But what does it really mean?
OCD, if you didn't know, is the acronym for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an anxiety disorder that, if serious enough, could put the sufferer's life on hold.
What happens is someone has recurring thoughts or obsessions about things. They can't control the thoughts, and the only way they can make the thoughts go away is to perform certain rituals or compulsions. Usually, though, the rituals only satisfy the obsessions temporarily and the thoughts come back.
I have obsessive compulsive disorder, and though it isn't a very serious case, in my opinion, it's bad enough to get on my nerves. My rituals usually start in the morning when I'm leaving the house. First, I'll check my straightening iron before I leave the bathroom to make sure it's off. Then I'll go about my business and continue getting my things ready for school. After that I'll go back to the bathroom and check the straightening iron again. Then I'll go downstairs to get my shoes on, but before I can do that, I have to go back upstairs just to make sure that the straightening iron is off. That's about 10 minutes of my morning.
Then, before I can get my shoes on, I have to check the oven, which is unnecessary, as I don't even use the oven in the morning. Then I have to check my purse and make sure I have my keys and cell phone, just in case. Then I have to check the stove and then I have to check my purse again. That's about 5 minutes of my morning.
Finally, only when I feel that I've checked everything and have everything I need to get through the day can I get my shoes on and lock the door. But then I have to check the door to make sure it's locked. Then I start walking down the street and wonder if I've locked the door. So I have to go back to the house and check to see if I've locked the door. Then I have to check it one more time before I leave my porch, just to make sure it's locked. Sometimes I've marked 'locked' on my hand just so I can look at it and know that I've locked the door. That takes up about 5-10 minutes of my morning.
So in total, I have to allot myself about 20-25 minutes in the morning to make sure that I have turned everything off, have everything I need, and that everything is locked.
It wasn't until this year that I realized that my rituals were obsessive-compulsive in nature. I always thought that everyone did the same things that I did, but it turns out that they don't.
Some other common obsessions include (but are not limited to):♥ Fear of dirt or germs
♥ Fear of causing harm to others
♥ Fear of making mistakes
♥ Fear of public embarrassment or behaving in a socially unacceptable way
♥ Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
♥ Need for order and symmetry
♥ An overabundance of doubt and a constant need for reassurance from others
Some common compulsions include (but are not limited to):♥ Showering and hand washing repeatedly
♥ Refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs
♥ Constant counting, mentally or aloud, while doing routine things
♥ Constant rearranging of things
♥ Needing to perform things a certain number of times
If any of this sounds familiar to you, you should talk to your doctor.
For more information on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, visit: