What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Worries, doubts, superstitious beliefs all are common in everyday life. However, when they become so excessive such as hours of hand washing or make no sense at all such as driving around and around the block to check that an accident didn’t occur then a diagnosis of OCD is made. In OCD, it is as though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just can’t let go. People with OCD often say the symptoms feel like a case of mental hiccups that won’t go away. OCD is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in information processing. It is not your fault or the result of a “weak” or unstable personality.
Okay, so by all accounts, I have not consulted a physician about this (probably should, eh?) and I’ve not really looked into it, but I thought it was interesting to at least write down. Are you ready? I am.
I have OCD. Or at least, I have a mild case of it. Case and point, my comforter on my bed is messed up and it’s bugging the shit out of me. However, I’m now writing about it, and ignoring it. Mental hiccups my ass! This is like watching someone die and not doing anything about it, only less violent. Whoops, I just made the bed. Too bad I am going to unmake it in about 10 minutes.
Two people today have told me that I have this condition and I didn’t really paid attention to them. Now, as I reorganize my music collection, again, I think back to what they were saying. How many people clean the battery bay on their calculator for 51 minutes? Okay, now how many clean the part that you will never see? Yup, that was me today. Okay, now how many people reorganize music three times in one day. *chirp* Yup, me again.
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of your control. The person does not want to have these ideas, finds them disturbing and intrusive, and usually recognizes that they don’t really make sense. People with OCD may worry excessively about dirt and germs and be obsessed with the idea that they are contaminated or may contaminate others. Or they may have obsessive fears of having inadvertently harmed someone else (perhaps while pulling the car out of the driveway), even though they usually know this is not realistic. Obsessions are accompanied by uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a sensation that things have to be done in a way that is “just so.”
People with OCD typically try to make their obsessions go away by performing compulsions. Compulsions are acts the person performs over and over again, often according to certain “rules.” People with an obsession about contamination may wash constantly to the point that their hands become raw and inflamed. A person may repeatedly check that she has turned off the stove or iron because of an obsessive fear of burning the house down. She may have to count certain objects over and over because of an obsession about losing them. Unlike compulsive drinking or gambling, OCD compulsions do not give the person pleasure. Rather, the rituals are performed to obtain relief from the discomfort caused by the obsessions.
3. Other features of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD symptoms cause distress, take up a lot of time (more than an hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s work, social life, or relationships.
Most individuals with OCD recognize at some point that their obsessions are coming from within their own minds and are not just excessive worries about real problems, and that the compulsions they perform are excessive or unreasonable. When someone with OCD does not recognize that their beliefs and actions are unreasonable, this is called OCD with poor insight.
OCD symptoms tend to wax and wane over time. Some may be little more than background noise; others may produce extremely severe distress.
Maybe this is why little things that people do and say bug me so much. For example, if someone doesn’t sit next to me at lunch, I’ll think about it all day, no matter what else is happening!
Guess what, I don’t give a fuck. I like being OCD; it keeps me clean. Oh wait, I found a wrinkle in the sheets!