As a person having OCD, I can contribute a lot of information regarding the disease.
1. OCD Makes Rational Thinking Struggle
For those who suffer from OCD, thinking rationally can sometimes be extremely hard. The obnoxious intrusive thoughts can occupy the mind for a long period of time and make the person feel very unsecured and in doubt. It can manifest in constantly trying to ensure that nothing bad has happened to either the person or his surrounding. This can, unfortunately, lead to obsessions and compulsions of many kinds, depending upon which doubting thoughts the person currently struggles with and experiences.
A typical OCD thing would be to ensure yourself that you have not written any bad or inappropriate stuff to someone or somewhere, have locked the door properly, have checked so that you have not hurt someone when passing by, etcetera. It needs to be said that no matter how irrational or unlikely to happen the thought itself seems to be or how many times one has tried to ensure that nothing wrong has happened, the thought still sits in the brain and creates a lot of anxiety.
It can be said that for a person with OCD, irrational and rational thoughts are very hard to distinguish from each other. A person who does not have OCD will probably not even reflect over some things that can be, for an individual having OCD, very difficult to overcome and pass through.
2. Obsessions Go Against One's Belief and Personality
What would you never want to do at any cost? Whatever that may be, there is a high risk that OCD will attach to exactly that thing and try to make you feel insecure within yourself. This is very tuff to deal with, especially in long periods of time. For instance, if one of your fears is to hurt someone, OCD will most likely display negative images and thoughts in the brain which then will create a lot of stress and anxiety as a result of that fear.
This happens because a person having OCD sees and experiences those intrusive thoughts and images as a real threat that need to be under control. This leads to a bad chain of being obsessed over those thoughts and, in order to decrease these, the sufferer will most likely create some compulsions to reduce the possibility of something bad happening. Easily put, an OCD sufferer always strives to be in control. Unfortunately, as we all know very well, there are a lot of things we simply cannot control.
However, it needs to be said that people with OCD, according to professionals, actually are less capable of doing those horrible things they may obsess over. Therefore all those fears are irrational and not relevant to the sufferer's personality.
3. It Is Difficult to Ignore the Compulsions
Ignoring the compulsions is probably a piece of advice that every OCD sufferer has heard from many professionals. It is important to do that, but in reality, it is extremely hard to achieve because it is the compulsions a person having OCD does in order to minimize the amount of anxiety that the given situation creates. So basically, taken away these compulsions means that the individual cannot ensure himself.
A common phrase an OCD sufferer hears a lot is: Just let it go, do not think about it. While this may work for the person who is not affected by OCD, for a person that is affected, this is total nonsense and a worthless piece of advice. Remember what I mentioned earlier about rationalizing the thoughts and how it is very hard to achieve that for someone struggling with OCD.
The most important thing here is to understand that it takes a huge amount of time and a lot of consciousness about one's concrete problems, to really be able to dig deep and find the reason behind one's OCD problems and why and also how these manifests.
It Is Hard to Track Down a Pattern
It is hard for someone with OCD to try to track down a clear pattern on exactly where and when the intrusive thought occurs to one and what it is based upon. The theme can vary from time to time. A thing or a situation you went by just a couple of months ago may suddenly start to be a worrying factor creating anxiety. While there are themes and situations that can be identified as the key factors behind all that suffering, it needs to be understood that these can change dramatically over time depending on what your current life situation is.
From my own experience, this is one of the hardest aspects of the disorder itself. While its definitions and symptoms are clear, it still varies a lot from person to person and from situation to situation. Therefore it is almost impossible to be able to give certain advice or direction to those who struggle with OCD, as every one of them will probably have totally different experiences.
OCD Is a Terrible Disorder
No matter what anyone says, OCD is a real terrific disorder and a very difficult one to deal with in your everyday life. Therefore, always make sure that you treat those having OCD with a lot of respect and compassion, as you have no idea how hard things can be for them.
If you are one of those who suffer from OCD, there is help to get. For instance, there are groups on Facebook where you can communicate and get help from people who may experience similar problems in their life. There is the International OCD foundation out there helping those who suffer and also some other professional organizations and sites on the internet. These may at least give you important information about OCD and give you some hope on your journey to recovery.
- What is OCD? | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems
Here you can find out what OCD is all about.
- International OCD Foundation | About the IOCDF
An important and helpful organization for those living with OCD.
© 2021 Jan Stepan