Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Obsessive and Compulsive

People who know me, acquaintances, casual friends or even family would never connect these two words to me. I don't appear to be the least bit obsessive or compulsive to the naked eye. However, I have had OCD tendencies since I was 13.

As this is a week of personal posts (without meaning to be), I decided that it was time to write a post about OCD. I've been planning on it for awhile but never quite sure how to put this aspect of my life into words. Here goes.

I would say that my first conscious memories of having OCD were the summer before 9th grade. There were nights when I would literally check my closet for intruders over and over and over again. It was this constant prod inside of me that I couldn't fight. I finally got a handle on that but started counting words (I think this is something I may have done when I was younger though I can't remember a specific age), counting became such a habit that I did it with steps or doors or streetlights. I actually liked it for awhile it was like a game. The counting went away but then in 10th grade we learned about schizophrenia in health class and I became TERRIFIED of getting it. I would obsess over it and developed a sort of aversion to my bedroom and slept on the couch for three months. I later learned that this fear is actually common of people suffering from OCD.

In 11th grade the hand sanitizing started. I was terrified of getting sick (specifically the stomach flu) though I think it was innocent at first but after awhile I was spraying purell on my face if anything touched it. After I learned that purell was actually ineffective, the handwashing started. I didn't wash my hands after I touched things but before I ate and if I touched anything between the time of washing and eating, I had to wash again (still do). Last year, the counting started up again and it was beginning to interfere with things like watching TV or conversing with someone. I was able to stop that though-hopefully for good.

So currently, I still deal with the hand washing though I don't know if I'll ever completely be able to overcome that. I still check door locks or under my bed a few times too many but not in a way that is debilitating to daily life. I also find myself sometimes feeling the need to reread lines in books or online to make sure I really get the information. There are things I just know I have to do or I'll obsess over them so I just go ahead and get them over with.

When I hear people say, "I'm so OCD!" or "She's OCD about keeping her house clean." I have to shake my head. OCD isn't just liking order or being anal about doing things on time. It's different in a way that I can't really explain. I'm thankful that I have mild OCD that really doesn't get in the way of daily life. It's more of an annoyance than anything. It's always changing with me and I think it has a lot to do with stress.

With God's help, maybe someday I won't be obsessive or compulsive at all. :)

To read any of my other OCD-related posts click on the tag below.

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