Washing my hands. Cleaning the space around me. Numerous rituals that need to be done in a certain way in order for me to feel at peace with my day. These are some of the most common symptoms of someone with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD. But what most people do not know is that the disorder goes beyond the physical world.
Having OCD has been an intense struggle. Yes, there are many times where I need to wash my hands for no specific reason, or organize my items, or retie my shoelaces nine times because I just cannot seem to get them to be the perfect balance of tight and loose. However, the worst battle to overcome has been the one inside my head.
I may not seem to be an intense case of OCD because I am not like what you see on TV or in movies, where I simply cannot get out of bed unless I step three times to the left and then three times to the right with each foot before I slide them into my slippers. What many do not realize is that OCD is just as much mental as it is physical.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder simply means that your mind obsesses over little details and causes a reaction, also known as a compulsion. You can see this through the physical aspects. Having OCD, I find it very hard to get over small pieces of my everyday life. For example, my professor asks me a question in class, and I sit there thinking about the question....1 second..... 2 seconds.... 3 seconds.... "I've been thinking way too long, wait..... but maybe she meant something else in that question, maybe a deeper meaning?" I finally say something.. "whoa, what kind of look did she just give me? Did I say something wrong? Do I have something on my face? Is anyone else looking at me? Oh my goodness, that was definitely the wrong answer, she meant something else. I'm going to fail..." AND IT DOES NOT STOP.
The intense thoughts of overthinking can lead people with OCD to experience self-doubt, lack of confidence, and mean thoughts about themselves, which can result in depression. Comorbidity of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders is often seen in people with OCD.
The mental part of OCD is extremely important to understanding the disorder because, along with physical actions, the thoughts are just as important. You could follow me around all day, and you may notice me washing my hands twelve times for no specific reason, but probably would not have ever guessed that I have OCD.
I believe that it is so important for everyone to realize that OCD is not JUST having compulsions that you physically have to do. Feeling overwhelmed by plans being altered last minute and freaking out, having to mentally prepare myself 24 hours in advance to go on roller coasters or even to go to a party, and getting extremely stressed out when my food starts to touch each other on my plate, it is all included in this disorder.
In all, it is pertinent to understand an entirety of a mental illness or a mental disorder. There are many judgements of psychological conditions that people make because of the media. It is time to get educated and truly comprehend the intense ways of the mind.
Now.... I need to go wash my hands.