A Little Bit Of OCD

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I check doors. And then go back. I sometimes check them many times before leaving the house or going to bed. And I have been known to drive around the block before pulling back up outside and checking them again. At my worst I’ve even rung my mum asking her to make sure my house is locked when I am at work. But this is just the tip of how compulsive I have been. “So what?”, I hear you say. “I check my door sometimes.” You might add, “We all have a little bit of OCD.” Actually, I think I disagree.

A Little Bit Of OCD

A Little Bit Of OCD - My struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. What is is. How it affects people. Affected by anxiety. Intrusive obsessive thought patterns. Ways of coping and possible cures. Mental health issues. #MentalHealth #OCD #Obsessivecompulsivedisorder #rituals #obsessivethoughts #compulsions #intrusive thoughts #anxiety #anxiousthoughts

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is not just about the act of checking just in case you’ve forgotten occasionally.

It’s about the constant nagging intrusive thought that you have done something catastrophic. Or by you not doing something then something terrible could happen.

It is all about the what if’s…

What If

  • I left the front door unlocked and I was burgled?
  • I didn’t wash my hands and caught a dreadful disease?
  • The iron/straighteners/tumble dryer was left on and burnt the house down
  • I left the handbrake off and the car rolled and knocked someone down?

All these (and many many more) are real intrusive thoughts that people with OCD have. So the compulsion begins of checking and repeating actions. Making sure. And then making sure again.

My OCD

My OCD started with checking doors. It may even have begun when I was given my first house door key at the age of 13. But I do know it was first cemented at Uni. Several major life events happened to me happened whilst I was away from home, and it really affected my mental health.

Here is just one story.

I guess that the extra responsibility and being away from home, the anxiety of a new environment didn’t help. One day I forgot to lock my room door in halls. Nothing happened, but it made me worry. What if something had happened?

The door checking had begun.

And as I got older other things made it worse. One day, a friend left her grill on. We went out for the evening, but came back to find the flat was incredibly hot and were lucky that the fat in there grill hadn’t ignited! After that I started checking the hob and oven.

A few years later a friend’s neighbour had a massive house fire when they left the tumble dryer on whilst they were out. You guessed it, now I had to check the dryer was off before I left the house.

It added minutes to my morning routine.

Ashamed

And I have been ashamed of being this way for a long time too. I’ve hidden it, made light of it. Tried to not let people see it. Felt guilty about it.

This hasn’t been helped by how others have treated my having OCD. I went out with a guy for 7 years who made fun of me checking doors, and always commented about it. It just made me worse. By the end of our relationship I was checking ALL the appliances were off in the house. Lights, washing machine, straighteners, iron – you name it, I checked it. So when we broke up, the next few people I dated I didn’t show that I checked doors. Until one guy then found out and accused me of being ‘sneaky and secretive’ (He was a major gas lighting narc, he was always trying to undermine my self worth constantly in any case, but it didn’t help).

My OCD hasn’t helped with my self esteem. The obsession with checking has made me believe that I am a bad person. That I was leading a bit of a double life. Maintaining a facade of a successful organised and together person, whilst all the while these thoughts were controlling me.

My gorgeous OH now accepts that it is just a part of who I am. He doesn’t berate it, or joke about it. And that has actually made me much better. Though I am sure he wishes that I would stop completely. And I am concerned that my little girl watches and wonders why mummy keeps going back to check the door!

Counselling

Even though I have had counselling for depression and pills for anxiety, my GP has never really been able to do anything about my OCD. I have mentioned it. But it has always been a case of “We can’t do anything about that”.

Is that because there is nothing to suggest? Or that there is no NHS funding? Or just because they presume that ‘everyone is a little bit OCD’, so what is the point?

Actually I do think that there is a link between my anxiety and my OCD. The more anxious I am, the worse my checking becomes. The intrusive obsessive thoughts take over.

Conversely, the more relaxed I am, the less I feel the need to check. The fact that my OH accepts that this is a part of me makes such a difference. Yes, I may still check the doors, but a lot of the other checks have gone, or have become much less frequent. It doesn’t take me half an hour to leave the house anymore!

See my post on other aspects of my Maternal Mental Health

A Little Bit Of OCD - My struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. What is is. How it affects people. Affected by anxiety. Intrusive obsessive thought patterns. Ways of coping and possible cures. Mental health issues. #MentalHealth #OCD #Obsessivecompulsivedisorder #rituals #obsessivethoughts #compulsions #intrusive thoughts #anxiety #anxiousthoughts

Does Everyone Have A Little Bit Of OCD?

Lots of people use the term like it is just one of those things. “I’m so OCD over cleaning!”, they’ll say. I’m not sure that counts. Just because you are organised and like things neat and tidy. Yes, the act (compulsion) of being neat is there, but not the obsessive intrusive thoughts that go with it. Not the awful feeling that something horrible is going to happen if the house is untidy.

Can you be “A Little Bit Diabetic” or a “Little Bit Heart Attack-y”? No. People with OCD cannot just ignore their obsessions.

Is There a Cure?

Most of the guides to breaking free from OCD concentrate on exposure and response therapy. In other words, you are advised to face your fear. For me, that would be to actively NOT check a door when I walk away.

This book is really useful

Of course, depending on the strength and magnitude of obsessiveness, you have to approach breaking free in baby steps, and work though it carefully. Progress can be slow. But I know that mine has improved so much just by my being happier and more relaxed.

Do talk to your GP. Or seek active counselling from a counsellor who specialises in Exposure Therapy.

Why not pin this post for later?

A Little Bit Of OCD - My struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. What is is. How it affects people. Affected by anxiety. Intrusive obsessive thought patterns. Ways of coping and possible cures. Mental health issues. #MentalHealth #OCD #Obsessivecompulsivedisorder #rituals #obsessivethoughts #compulsions #intrusive thoughts #anxiety #anxiousthoughts

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

20 Replies to “A Little Bit Of OCD”

  1. Carol says:

    I can sometimes get a little of what you have – not a constant thank goodness. I wash my clothes to death. No plastic wrap in the microwave. Things have to be a certain way or I feel out of control. I know it’s nothing like your life and I feel for you. It stinks that your doctor has a “nothing we can do about it” attitude. If you are seeing a counselor, I would discuss it. Sending you warm and sunny thoughts! #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Carol. No I am not seeing a counsellor right now. But certainly if I felt it was becoming an issue again that would be my first stop!

      Reply
    2. Catherine Lanser says:

      Thank you for sharing. I think it’s important for people to be more empathetic and to learn not to diminish OCD by saying the phrase you mentioned. #MMBC

      Reply
  2. Ali Duke says:

    I am not OCD, but I am being treated for anxiety and depression and know how intrusive those anxious thoughts can be, they literally take over your life. I am currently waiting for group therapy, I am not sure if it will help, but at this point I will try anything.
    #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do hope that the group therapy is of some use. Anxiety is so dreadful.

      Reply
  3. Christy says:

    I’m sorry that your previous partners didn’t support you and so glad you’ve found someone now who does. My anxiety has improved so much since I met my husband who has supported me rather than exasperating it. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It really does help having someone who accepts me for who I am.

      Reply
  4. GAIL says:

    This is such a lovely blog (not meaning OCD is lovely- far from It!) but your description of it and that of anxiety going with it.
    I suffer from terrible generalised and social anxiety along with panic disorder. You would never think it though looking back on all them times years ago travelling the length of the UK on my own sometimes. That would send me into sheer panic meltdown now doing things like that!
    Them intrusive thoughts aren’t at all nice as you say…i have the check straighteners are off 10 times before work….check patio is locked 10 times before bed…check medication in bag before work 10 times.
    It’s nice to read an honest account from someone else about how we aren’t alone in these things
    Wish you all the best No
    Gail
    X

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It is amazing what we do to just keep going sometimes. And how much that we put up with. No, you’re not alone. x

      Reply
  5. Enda Sheppard says:

    I do think, at the very least, you have to be with a partner who can accept you as you are … since it does seem so wrapped up in anxiety and feeling comfortable in a situation. So if you are more comfortable, then I guess your anxiety levels go down, and you are less driven to entertain these compulsions? #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, that is entirely it. When I am more relaxed the compulsions diminish. And when I am more stressed they return.

      Reply
  6. Lydia C. Lee says:

    I’m sure in a few talks I’ve been to on Anxiety they have mentioned OCD and they have mentioned that it needs treatment (but I will be honest, I wasn’t paying attention so much to that part so I could be wrong). I would think it can be treated – not cured but to manage and I think exposure therapy would be part of it (but not a Dr so what do I know?). It sounds to me like your GP was a little cavillier – interesting post #KCACOLS

    Reply
  7. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs says:

    Can totally relate to this Jo with having OCD too. It’s nice to hear that you have a supportive other half now. It makes all the difference doesn’t it?! I’m lucky really that mine isn’t half as bad as some and I can control it to an extent, but like you, I have to check locks, electricals etc several times! x #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, the support of your partner is so important. He even says he loves me more for my quirks.

      Reply
  8. Peachy and Clementine says:

    It makes perfect sense that OCD be linked to anxiety. It actually kind of sounds like a type of anxiety in itself. I don’t know if this would make it better or worse but what if you focused on dealing with your worst case scenarios rather than trying to prevent them? For example, being robbed would be bad and nobody wants that to happen but it’s not the end of the world and people have survived worse. It will probably never happen but if it did, you would be ok. Items can be replaced. And those irreplaceable items that you feel you couldn’t live without could be kept in a secure location such as a safety deposit box. The truth is that if someone wanted to rob you, a locked door isn’t going to stop them so preparing for those scenarios is not a bad idea. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Reply

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