“It’s like being controlled by a puppeteer.”– Toni Neville
The simplest way to understand OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is understanding the term itself. It is being obsessed (uncontrollable thoughts) over something so much that it becomes a compulsion (behavior) you just cannot ignore it. It’s easy to say distract yourself, keep yourself busy. But it doesn’t work like that for a person suffering from this disorder. The thoughts completely take over and you become this helpless person who knows how irrational the obsession is but he can’t help it. It’s kind of like being possessed; at times it scares you where these thoughts are coming from (Especially, for disturbing intrusive images including thoughts of raping someone or wanting to commit some other immoral act).
There is a general perception that OCD people are neat freaks. This disorder is much more dynamic than that. There are several kinds of OCD. It can be regarding anything. A few examples are given below:
• Needing for things to be perfectly symmetrical
• Obsession with numbers
• Things should be in a particular order or in pairs
• Superstitious (Ex: Feeling like if you don’t eat before 10 am. Someone will die.)
• Fear of germs or contamination (Germ phobia or Mysophobia), etc.
Sometimes obsessions are present without the compulsions. For example, the person might not be able to shake off the thoughts of hurting themselves or others. Their mind might be working in overdrive thinking of ways to hurt someone. Seeing someone’s neck might make them want to strangle the person. The obsession is present. But the person might not- will not- act on it. He knows its irrational and morally incorrect. He doesn’t even want those thoughts but he doesn’t know how to make them stop. Whereas some obsessions are harder to fight, when you keep thinking, you left the stove on. You keep checking it. You know you closed it. But the thought keeps coming back to you. The house is gonna burst into flames because you left your stove on. So you keep checking again and again. So much so that you cannot sleep.
OCD comes under an anxiety disorder meaning if you do not act on the compulsion your anxiety will increase. There will be discomfort, worrying and irrational fears. The more the anxiety the more the suffering. You feel the need to act on it. It’s like being in a war inside your mind. You might get tired but the disorder does not.
This is one of those disorders that I want people to take medication for. I have found medication to be helpful in cases of OCD. It might take you time to find the correct medicines but they can help you. Sometimes medication can save your life. I am not exaggerating. They can take away your compulsions completely and with time you can stop using the medicines as well. You can opt for alternative medicine or even no medication and only therapy. That might work too. I am anti-med kind of person but when it comes to OCD and some other disorders, I am in. These obsessions and compulsion have no right to take our life away from us. We are more than these labels.