“I am so OCD about chipped nail polish.” “I like things to be a certain way. I guess that must be my OCD.” “They are a neat freak. They are so OCD.” “People who wash their hands a lot are OCD.” These statements all pertain to obsessive compulsive disorder. While I do not like to judge, probably none of t hose people have OCD. Some of the statements also use the term OCD incorrectly.
For a while, I had suspected that I was exhibiting signs of OCD. However, since so many people like to throw the term around, I was in denial. Plus, when I thought of OCD, I always thought of people who washed their hands frequently or kept their house extremely neat. For me, it started off as just having a pen in a certain spot on my desk because otherwise I would fail a test. Slowly, it just progressed from there. Soon, there were more things that needed to face a certain direction or be in a certain spot. If things were not just ‘right’ then I believed that bad things would happen like I would get fired from my job.
Even with a lot of research, I was still in denial about having OCD because I was expecting to fit a cookie cutter mold and from what I read on the Internet, I was not like other people suffering from the disorder. However, after awhile, I began to be extremely controlled by the placement of objects. There were so many rules associated with them too. For example, there was a certain order involved with showering and if I did not do it right, than I would have to reshower. That is when I talked to my doctor about having OCD.
So many people are quick to throw around the idea of OCD. Everyone has little quirks about him or her but that does not classify them as having OCD. OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. In order to have OCD, a person must have obsessions and compulsions. Most people think that they have the disorder even though they only have a compulsion.
I often wish that people could take a walk through my mind in order to get a sense of what it is like to have OCD for a day. I begin and end my day with objects being placed a certain way and having a very strict routine to follow. There are so many rules to life. The whole time I am following the rules and routines, there are thoughts going about in my head that tell me that if I do something out of order or have an object facing the wrong direction then I will be fired from my job. A large part of my day is spent following these rules in order to relieve the crazy thoughts going on in my mind. Then, I get to repeat it all again the next day, the day after that, and every day following that. Even though I know that these ideas are irrational, I cannot stop myself from following the rules.
Many people say they are OCD and that is of course, incorrect. A person cannot be OCD. A person cannot be a disorder. However, a person can have OCD. For me though, OCD is not an adjective. It does not describe me. There are many other terms that define me but not a disorder. Plus, for all those people I quoted above, their problems are easily fixed by taking off the chipped nail polish or washing their hands or straightening a room.
There are so many misconceptions about OCD and it really bothers me. First of all, not everybody is extremely organized. I may have to have objects face a certain direction or be in a certain place, but I am not actually extremely organized. My room can get messy and I really do not care. I also do not feel compelled to wash my hands a bunch of times a day. While I do wash frequently, germs are not something that I obsess about all day long. I have a different form of OCD related to the order and arrangement of things.
My OCD reached a point where I needed to be put on medication because it was reaching the point where the thoughts were consuming me. I would be running late for work because there were certain things that had to be done before I could leave. That is something that many people do not understand when they classify themselves as having the disorder. The medication is not fun either. I find it extremely difficult to sleep after taking it. But it is a fate that I have accepted because it is better than dealing with the obsessive thoughts that control my mind.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is not about hand washing or cleaning. It is not a few odd quirks that make a person unique. It is a disorder that controls a person’s life and makes it difficult to actually live when there are too many compulsions to carry out. If a person could take a walk in my mind for a day and see what OCD is really like, I am sure that they would be quick to stop calling themselves OCD.