This week is International OCD Awareness Week, October 8-14th, 2017. I feel awareness should be every day, not just one time, as this is an ongoing issue for many people.
Most people relate OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, to excessive hand washing or constant flipping of the light switch. I have come to realize there is a lot more to OCD than this. There are many forms of OCD such as:
Common Obsessions – contamination, unwanted sexual thoughts, losing control, harm, religious obsessions, superstitious ideas, rumination and obsessions related to perfection.
Common Compulsions – washing & cleaning, mental compulsions, checking, putting things in order or arranging, repeating, avoidance
I’ve had first-hand experience with checking, rumination, and relationship intrusive thoughts. When my boyfriend was not on medication, this is when his OCD was very real to me. There was a routine I became used to. Everything he did was always at the same time; waking up, taking his dog outside, feeding his dog, eating, watching the same TV shows; same days and times, going to bed. There was even a certain day to go get groceries. If one thing was off by a minute, he would have an anxiety attack. Because of his depression he slept a lot, up at 12:30 pm, take his dog outside, feed her, say hi to me, back to bed from 2 or 3 til dinner, up at 5 to take his dog out and feed her, back to bed from 7 or 8 until 10 pm and in bed for the night at midnight.
Rumination pretty much took over his life. He always wondered what people thought of him, if he didn’t do something right away he would wonder what would happen if he heard someone say something in the distance, he thought they were talking about them and start figuring out what they’re talking about. If something happened and bothered him, he would think about it for days..more than most people would.
Checking was also a big part of his OCD; constantly checking for dripping faucets, checking that doors on the car and house were locked. Sometimes he would be checking things and would last for an hour.
Another aspect of his OCD is called Relationship Intrusive Thoughts; where he constantly had doubts of our relationship. He would ask me if I loved him, if I thought he was good enough for me, if I wanted to be with someone else; specifically someone with a healthier mind. A lot of questions and a lot of reassurance.
It’s been 2 years since back on medication and life is better for him; still needs some reassurance, still checks, but not as much. He sees now that I’m not going anywhere and we’re happy.
Everyone who lives with OCD experiences it differently; some are more severe than others. As long as you have a great support system and people who understand you, OCD will be easier to live with.