“I’m a bit OCD”
We often hear people say “I’m a bit OCD” when they are describing their excessive cleaning habits or their desire for tidiness and order on their work desk. It’s not possible to be “a bit OCD” – and some would say that the flippant use of this phrase trivialises what is an extremely debilitating condition. Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects roughly 1 in 50 of us – and we either have it or we don’t.
Is this OCD?
We all, from time to time, find that particular thoughts take up space in our brains for several days or weeks and try as we might, we can’t turn them off. We all, apparently, can get those sudden flashes where we think “what if I just jumped out in front of this train?” or “what if I told my boss in front of everyone exactly what I think of him?” It’s also common to want to organise our immediate environments so that things are neatly lined up. Or to go back into the house just to double check we turned off the cooker or iron. Virtually everyone has experienced worries, doubts or fears at one time or another. It’s natural to worry about life issues such as your health or the well-being of someone you love, paying bills or what the future will bring.
But with OCD, we simply can’t get these types of thoughts and feelings to stop – ever. To the point where our lives become unmanageable. OCD is a debilitating condition characterised by unwanted intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours or mental acts. It IS often associated with cleanliness and orderliness, but it can manifest in a whole variety of ways. For example, some people spend hours each day worrying about whether they have done something absolutely terrible on a night out but have totally obliterated it from their memory. Others are plagued by the thought that they have a yet to be diagnosed serious illness or that something terrible is going to happen to the people they love.
The symptoms of OCD
OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions:
- Consume excessive amounts of time (perhaps an hour or more each day)
- Cause significant distress to the individual
- Interfere with daily functioning at work or school, or with social activities, family relationships and/or normal routines.
They tend not to just go away on their own and it is important to seek help from a qualified professional.
Need some advice and support?
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, or indeed any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
See also: Intrusive Thoughts, Intrusive Thoughts Part 2, Obsessive Thoughts, Beating Obsessive Thoughts