OCD Isn’t Some Quirk
I hear it all the time from friends, family, and work colleagues. “Why don’t you focus on something else and the thoughts will go away”. If it were only that easy, OCD wouldn’t exist! I think this mindset comes from the fact that many people think of OCD as a quirk. An example is someone who likes their pens set on their desk a certain way, or someone who likes to put their thermostat on even numbers only. This, by itself, is not OCD.
OCD actually consumes a person’s time. My obsession revolved around harming my daughter. I was so scared that I would hurt her. I thought about it all day. My compulsion was rumination. I always thought to myself that I was going crazy, or could I actually do that, to even think that I could want to do something like that? It was a vicious cycle consumed me from the time I woke up in the morning until I went to bed.
This is the same as other OCD fears. Some people think everything is contaminated and they have to take showers for 8 hours a day. This stuff is horrible and to be honest, I’m sick of people thinking it’s because you like things tidy, or done in a specific way.
When I told some coworkers about my diagnosis of OCD, they said that they were OCD too. I got kind of excited because I could talk to this person to help me through some of my struggles. The problem was, she didn’t have OCD. She was just a neat freak. It didn’t consume her like my thoughts did.
OCD sufferers are some of the strongest people I know. I couldn’t eat dinner next to my daughter if there was a knife present. I wanted to protect her so badly that I tried to eliminate everything that could’ve been used for evil reasons. Avoiding my fear was actually like pouring gas on a fire. All it did was make everything worse.
With OCD, you don’t run away, or avoid. You confront it. One of my first therapy sessions was to eat dinner next to my kid with a knife in my hand. My anxiety shot through the roof, but with practice and consistency, all these fears began to fade away.
OCD may seem quirky, but I assure you, it is not. It is a life altering condition that needs treatment. Just because someone likes their thermostat set at 72 doesn’t mean they have OCD. If they have to set it at 72 and then check it over and over for hours because they can’t get that feeling of perfection, then that is OCD.