The simplest things can become huge obstacles for those living with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). It’s like living with an abusing mind, one that forces you to do things a certain way. Rituals and fears are part of routine and can sometimes lead to developing anxiety or depression.
A popular misconception is that people with this mental illness just wash their hands a lot. That is what most of us think of when we hear about someone struggling with this. But it’s much more than this as there are many forms.
Here are 13 things you should know about if your loved one has OCD:
1. They check and re-check
Again and again. The door, the stove, the iron, the keys. And that is all because they don’t trust their last check-up.
2. They catastrophize
People suffering from OCD make up in their mind scenes that seem from a horror movie. They can’t help it, no matter how hard they try. So don’t hold it against them.
3. They worry about worrying
They know worrying is making them more stressed and therefore more prone to illness – and that worries them.
4. They have repetitive cycles in their head which they can’t control
An OCD brain is locked. To unlock it, they feel they have to perform a certain action or ritual.
5. They live with constant doubt and insecurity
The world of a person with OCD is very uncertain and oftentimes feels chaotic. That’s why they need order so acutely.
6. They avoid certain objects, environments or situations
This is to keep them out of (perceived) trouble. They know that anything could set off obsessive thinking or even a panic attack.
7. They need reassurance
People with OCD need to feel that their loved ones understand and accept them. Don’t make it harder than it already is.
8. They may be superstitious
This comes along with the illness: they believe that certain items have power and they need to pay attention in order to relieve the anxiety. However, they do acknowledge the fact that it is their mind who has the power.
9. They often strive for perfection
There’s a thin line between a perfectionist and someone with OCD. People with OCD usually take it to the extremes and this often affects their personal and professional lines.
10. They place objects so they are perfectly aligned
They are excessively organized and need perfect order so they can go on with their activities.
11. They dread illness
Some of them also develop the fear of getting sick and become hypochondriac.
12. They have no concept of time when performing a ritual
Everything lasts longer for them. So don’t judge them if they’re taking an extra long shower or brush their teeth for too long. They won’t rest until they do these things meticulously.
13. They feel that nothing is clean enough
Their brain tricks them into thinking that everything is contaminated. So they scrub and clean again, clothes, dishes, polish furniture. Anything that will ease their panic.
OCD people are often our mathematicians, analysts, astronauts, editors, athletes or musicians. Or any other profession that requires striving for perfection and repetitive practice.
It’s very difficult living with this illness so make sure they know you understand and care for them! Please share this!