OCD Awareness Week-How Do You Know? (Types)

Hi friends!

This week I wanted to dive into all things OCD.  Today, let’s start with the basics.  By the way, in case you didn’t know, OCD is short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  This is NOT what you see on TV, this is NOT what you see on cute shirts at Target, this is NOT just a clean room cleaned in a particular, controlled wayOCD is REAL.  It’s debilitating, it’s life altering, it’s scary, it’s frustrating and something NO ONE wishes they had.  Trust me.  First, let’s talk about what OCD is…..

Typically, there are 4 types of OCD that most sufferers fall into:

***Doubt and Harm: Examples would be checking to make sure things are safe, ie: Obsession--“The house will burn down because I left the stove on”, “I made a mistake”, “I will get robbed because I left the doors unlocked.”, “What if I said something that offended someone?” “What if I hit someone or an animal while driving and caused harm or death?”

Compulsion--Repeated checking of doors, locks, appliances, belongings, data entry, quality of work, etc, seeking ongoing reassurance from others that everything is “OK”, mentally replaying conversations over and over. Driving back to “check” no one was harmed.

***Contamination: (The category I unfortunately fall into)  Examples would be fear of germs, fear of contamination from the environment, another person, or fear of giving someone something you have and therefore contaminating them.   Obsession–“I will get sick, experience bodily harm or be in perpetual pain” which may lead to the spread of horrible germs throughout my household, (some even worry about death), obsessive house cleaning, office cleaning etc., “I will harm/make someone else sick”, (which is not as common), contaminated living/working space.

Compulsion: Excessive hand-washing, bathing, grooming, washing items/surfaces (ME!), avoidance, wearing gloves/masks, controlling bodily movements to avoid touching.  Avoiding people who are sick or are around sick people (ME!), avoiding crowded places and/or avoiding going out as much during times of the year when most people may be sick (ME!).

***Symmetry/Exactness: Disorganization and/or cluttering of objects. Non-symmetry. Odd angle placement of objects. Untidiness.  WHAT IT IS NOT: liking things a certain way, or in a certain place.  This is SERIOUS.  Some people will go into a complete panic attack and end up at the hospital over someone moving things around on their desk as a joke.  I cannot stress this enough….this is NOT about liking your belongings organized a certain way.  This is much more serious!   Obsessions: A sense of complete loss of control.  Non-specific.  Needing things to feel or be a certain way – to feel “right”.

Compulsion: Reorganizing objects to extreme levels. Placing objects at perfects angles to achieve symmetry.  Putting items out and knowing their exact angles and measurements and knowing when items are “off”, even the most organized people wouldn’t notice.

***Unacceptable Taboo Thoughts & Mental Rituals: Where an individual has unwanted obsessions that are often of a religious, violent, or sexual nature. This group has often been referred to as “pure obsessional” because of their lack of overt rituals.  Obsessions: Extreme thoughts about religious figures, and impulses to do violent things, such as to push pedestrians into oncoming traffic. People who have these thoughts typically have no history of violence, nor do they ever act on their urges or impulses; however, because OCD patients often believe their thoughts are dangerous and overly important, they devote a large amount of their mental effort in attempts to suppress them.

Compulsions: No actual physical compulsions. People in this category of OCD have purely mental compulsions.  People with mental compulsions are usually coping with thoughts that are unacceptable in nature (like sexual, harming or religious thoughts), or worries about illness and health.  Rather than perform an actual physical ritual, people will engage in these covert rituals and mental neutralizing.

***Other Forms of OCD you may not even be aware of:

Hoarding

Scrupulosity –ie, fear of doing something morally wrong, questions personal values, reciting prayers over and over, saying the same silent prayer multiple times, seeking forgiveness, counting prayer beads etc.

Causing Harm to People on Purpose –ie, random thoughts of harming someone or oneself (NOT to be confused with suicide).  Seeking reassurance they are not bad or immoral, having a general sense of responsibility to prevent harm from coming to someone.

OCD is not an adjective

Though the types I have listed are the most common types of OCD, there are probably always going to be other forms that are not talked about as much.  If you have any of these symptoms, please see a doctor and explain to them what is going on.  Also, keep in mind,when dealing with anxiety disorders, explain to your doctor that you want to really know and understand how to tackle the intrusive thoughts of OCD, for LIFE, not just be given a “band aid” so to speak.  More on this later.

Alright!  That’s all for today!  Happy Tuesday, all!

xoxo

Mary

 

 

International OCD Awareness Week

OCD week

I’ve recently been made aware that October 13-19th is International OCD Awareness Week.

I’m pretty excited about this, because if nothing else, people need to understand what REAL OCD is, and how debilitating it is.  Therefore, I’m going to be posting this week, with tips and coping skills I have learned (from professionals for the most part) over the 6 years I’ve had Contamination OCD.

–Tips that are tangible for anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder.

–Quick effective ways to feel some relief.

–Practices to master that help in panic situations.

–Ways to explain to those around you what OCD is, and how they can help.

 

Join me this week, friends, in educating yourself about TRUE OCD, and what it really is, and how you can help your friends/family/coworkers that have this debilitating anxiety disorder.

 

xoxox

Mary

 

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