“Did I lock my door? Did I put on the alarm? Did I turn off the iron? Did I check the stove? Shit! I must make sure I turn off my Christmas lights. Up the stairs I go again…check, check, check, and check! Okay I am ready to leave now. Down the stair I go again. Shit, I forgot to check my curling iron. I must go check that. Up the stairs I go again. This can go on for a minute till I finally get the courage to leave. As I am leaving I started wondering, where did this obsession come from? I ask myself. Maybe I should see a therapist I say quietly to myself. Well, it’s not like I am hurting anyone. I will be fine.” I can tell you it started around the age of fifteen or sixteen. I remember as a teenager my brother always complaining about me constantly checking the doors in the house to make sure that they were locked. Does this have anything to do with what happened to me in my childhood? I might never know the answer to this! I have listened time and time again when friends will say, I am not going back to do any checking. If its not done, O well!!! I wish I was like that.
Here’s a page out of the life of a silent sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly known as OCD. Chronic and often long-lasting, OCD is a disorder where the person gets recurring thoughts (obsessions) and shows recurring behaviors (compulsions) with little self-control over their intensity and frequency. The person feels the urge to repeat these thoughts and actions over and over.
More than 2% of the US population is likely to be diagnosed with OCD during their lifetime. The symptoms often appear in childhood or adolescence, usually before the age of 25.
Not all repeating thoughts and actions can be classified as OCD. But you know this is indeed the problem when:
You have little to no control over bringing these thoughts and behaviors under control despite recognizing that they are turning excessive and futile.
The thoughts and behaviors don’t make you happy, but you do them anyway since the prospect of not doing them leaves you anxious.
The repetitive obsessions and compulsions often pervade your work life, personal life, social life, etc. You end up spending at least 1 hour of your day on them.
The symptoms of OCD can go from mild to severe to mild again. It’s important to understand that OCD can’t be magically cured or be done with. You do need consultation from a healthcare professional. Because the best you can do is avoid the triggers for your obsessions and compulsions, but hey, that’s still avoiding and not solving the problem. Know that OCD patients are highly vulnerable to having co-existing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorders. Let’s not forget how the disorder impairs the daily life. If you suspect you have OCD, reach out to your doctor promptly.
I am still working on mines. Yes, I have seen a therapist and I believe it is getting better. I don’t know if I can completely get rid of it, but I will continue to try.