Many people are unsure of how OCD works. I thought I would dedicate this post to explain how OCD controls a persons life. It is after all a beast that lives inside your mind. It sounds crazy, but for me OCD is like a separate entity that lives inside my head. It has no moral values, it tells me and shows me things I find disturbing and is totally against my personality.
Many people with OCD are aware that there is a spectrum of severity. Some people only have obsessions. That would be the dwelling of issues or intrusive thoughts and images. Many only have compulsions That is the physical things we do to prevent or lessen the anxiety that comes with being obsessive compulsive. And then many of us have both the obsessions and compulsions. Much like bipolar disorder where some are only manic, some are only depressive, and some have both symptoms.
There are things we just don't talk about. They sound crazy and in most cases it is the taboo subject that we sweep under the rug. If we don't admit it than no one has to know just how "crazy" we are.
The real reason we compulse is to keep the anxiety at bay. No one thinks to ask what the anxiety comes from, but if they did most of us would not tell you anyway. I believe in total honesty, so I am going to explain it to you. The anxiety comes from the intrusive thoughts. It tell us such things as if you don't touch the doorknob twelve times you are going to die in an explosion...ect. The real problem with this is, although you know it is not true, doubt creeps up in your mind. If I only have to do this I can be safe or my loved ones will be safe. Then you do it. Now, OCD says wait you didn't touch it right, do it again. You can do it over and over again, never finding relief.
If you do find relief it is fleeting and you will have to touch something else, or wash something else, or count something else. Whatever your compulsions are you will do them. Therapists and Psychiatrists tend to call these compulsions, rituals.To a great affect they are rituals. We do them almost lovingly to get them right the first time, that way we do not have to keep repeating them over and over. It seems silly to be so careful with them because we will have to do them again anyway.
Compulsions are like drugs. A drug addict will do the first set of drugs to forget whatever causes them to use. To find relief. Compulsions work much the same way. As the drug wears of the addict is consumed with ways to feel the relief again. They will find ways to get more drugs to forget. They eventually, end up as full blown addicts that only think about their next fix and will do anything to get it. Compulsions like the drugs are fleeting. The feeling of safety will wear off and we must compulse again and again. It is a never ending cycle. Soon your life revolves around your compulsions. Leaving the house becomes impossible. Your days consist of letting your OCD control your every move.
It is very painful and humiliating. When your OCD is in control of your life, you cease to exist in the way you want to. You are no longer able to make appointments on time, you are no longer able to do what you want to do. It is all to feed the beast in your mind. It preys on your fear. Every time we compulse it is feeding the OCD.
At some point in my childhood my compulsions stopped. I became more obsessional rather than compulsive. I am not sure why. I don't really remember my obsessions back then, but my mother has stated I was morbid and was constantly talking about death. Then I was compulsive again at the age of fourteen. Again, I am not sure what made my OCD change symptoms, but it did and now I was faced with how to hide the compulsions from friends so I didn't look crazy or weird.
Unfortunately at this time there was not a lot of CBT programs around and certainly not anywhere near where I lived. I ended up getting the workbook and learning to do CBT on my own. With hard work I have stopped the compulsions. I am now back to the obsessions and I mostly ignore them. I have my own personal way of talking back to them in my head. I do occasionally slip up. I am doing my best not to give in. It is my personal belief that anytime you give in to the compulsions or obsessions you are feeding the beast, and I am not willing to give OCD anymore of my life. [tweet this]. It has taken too much already. There is hope for people like us. Take the anger of having OCD and turn it into fighting the disorder. There are therapies and programs that can help us deal with our issues.
It is the nature of the beast to take and take and take. It is our mission not to give anymore to it. I can do it. You can do it. We can do it.