If a group of people were asked to raise their hands if they had an obsessive-compulsive disorder, the amount hands up would be outrageous. And for some, they may feel they need a doctor to diagnose them with the condition to feel that it does exist. As for me, I diagnosed myself when I was a preteen.
What makes a person obsessive-compulsive? According to HelpGuide.org, an obsessive-compulsive disorder is basically an anxiety disorder. Often, the person will have uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors related to to the problem, such as washing your hands more than fifty times a day. Remember the movie As Good As It Gets? The main character in the movie is a prime example of being OCD. Once he locks his front door, he goes through tons of soap bars to wash his hands. As of today, millions of people are OCD.
How I Became OCD
My OCD habits started when I was in middle school. After using the restroom at a movie theater, I noticed a lady leave before me. This triggered an alarm to go off in my head and to either use my shirt (paper towels were out) to escape or wait for someone to open the door. Following that incident, my parents became divorced, and I have trouble with dealing with loss and holding things together. After that, I became my own train wreck.
I slowly became worse as the years progressed. I would more than triple check my homework. I couldn’t leave our apartment without checking the door was locked more than twenty times. I would push my hand on the refrigerator door for a few minutes, insuring myself that it was closed. Sometimes I would think our dog was trying to get out and would have to check on her. The worse problem I had was making sure my car was locked. And as for washing my hands, it was a nightmare for me. I understand trying to stay clean, but after a while it became crazy with taking me along to a movie theater or a restaurant.
Fixing the Issue
Clearly I couldn’t continue this way. Everything I did was starting to become disruptive to others. The first thing I did to help lessen my problems was have my best friend watch what I did. She would reassure me that a door was firmly locked and check it once for me. That helped a bit. I eventually took anxiety medicine for awhile to help control the issue some. Finally, after hearing horror stories of other OCD people made me realize I didn’t want to end up like them.
I’m not perfect when it comes to OCD habits. I don’t wash my hands like a crazy person and wait inside a restroom hoping someone to open the door for. I sometimes carry sanitizer around with me, which can help a person greatly. Every now and then if I have too much going on or hear a story about a robbery, I may go a little overboard with checking doors to make sure that they’re locked. A minor incident a while back triggered my OCD habits of checking doors until my husband was able to calm me down some. Sometimes I will be close to being late for work or will trip on the stairs in a hurry to check that the dog is all right and a fridge door is closed.
To help battle OCD, concentrate on picking up extra hobbies. I’ve learned doing something I like can help refocus my attention away from the problem. I have others sometimes reassure me that something -such as a door – is already closed. I also ask myself: Am I going to be late? How many times have I checked this? or anything similar to help myself deal with my issues.
I know that I won’t be completed cured of obsessive-compulsive disorder habits. But learning to focus on the better aspects of life and getting my life in order has helped my conquer my worst OCD habits. We have to just keep reminding ourselves that we can’t have anything perfect no matter what.