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Friday, October 16, 2015

Real OCD is when...

     Wow!  It has been almost 3 months since I have blogged.  I've been trying to sort out some physical health issues in my life the past couple of months, so my OCD treatment has kind of taken a backseat for the time being.  No worries, I'm doing pretty well in the OCD department right now.  Tackling some smaller things, but as soon as I get these physical issues sorted out I plan to get back on track and start taking out big chunks of this thing again.
    My main reason for posting today is because it is OCD awareness week.  And OCD does need awareness, doesn't it?  I think I've read somewhere on about every OCD blog I've read about people's frustrations with how casually the words "I'm so OCD", can be thrown around.  So, I thought it would be interesting, because of OCD awareness week, to just point out what real OCD is.  These are just a few of the many examples I could give, things that I have done because of OCD.  Thankfully some of these items are from a long time ago, but there always contamination issues that present themselves for me every day.  So here is what real OCD is:

--When you haven't seen your niece in almost 2 years because you don't want her to hug you.
--When you don't eat at restaurants because you don't want to use the silverware/glasses that other people use
--When you haven't had any type of physical relationship with your husband for over 3 years due to fears of becoming "contaminated" by him
--When you wash your hands before AND after using the restroom
--When you, in a sense, make your own child fearful of touching her dad because you are always talking about how dirty he is.  You won't let your child hug her dad.  
--When you avoided getting your hair cut for 8 months straight because you didn't want to sit in the stylists chair and contaminate your clothes with hair dye/color from the chair.
--When you don't take your car to the mechanic because you're not sure how you'd deal with the contamination of the car seat after the mechanic sits in it--what to do with the seat, seat belt, etc.
--When you have one special outfit that you wear to very contaminated places (doctors offices).  It gets washed and put back in the closet until the next time.  It is to be worn nowhere else.
--When you lock in your keys in your car and you dread calling someone to pick you up to take you to pick your child up from school, because you don't want to sit in their car and have your clothes contaminated.  So you rely on the above mentioned "contaminated outfit" above.
--When you try to buy a purse from a store and end up returning and repurchasing another one three times in the same day (even going to different franchise of the store) because the cashiers have done various things during the process (touching drink straw to the purse handle, or the cashier possibly had a draining sore on their lip).
--When you take back clothes to the store because the cashier licked their finger before they touched your clothes and put them in the bag to take home 
--When your clothes are designated for outside or inside use
--When you will absolutely not go barefoot in your house because you're afraid of contaminating your feet and spreading it all over the house
--When you stop using cleaners to clean  your bathroom for a period of time, because you're afraid of chemicals
--When you have to wash a load of laundry through two to three cycles to feel like it is clean.
--When you go to a sandwich shop and the person assembling the sandwiches (with gloves on) pushes something on the cash register screen, and goes back to making the food, and you end up leaving and making an excuse that you forgot your money in the car
--When  you go to a work meeting and pretend you hurt your knee so you can stand up in the back, and kind of not look stupid (so you don't have to contaminate yourself by sitting in a public chair)
--When someone possibly brushes up against you at the store and you have to wash those items separately from the rest of your clothes, so you don't "mix" the contaminated stuff with the clean stuff
--When you have your daughter wear different socks to school on the days she has gym class, and wash those socks separately from everything else because the school floor is contaminated
--When you wash your couch off everyday "just in case" your husband might have came out during the night and sat on the couch
--When you wash your carseat off everytime after you sit in a "public seat"
--When you line dry your clothes instead of using the clothes dryer, because the dryer is "contaminated" after having your husbands clothes in it (even after they've been washed)
--When you run an empty cycle in the morning before you start your laundry (to clean out the washing machine after the last use)
--When you basically depleted your entire closet of clothes over a 6 month period because everything felt too dirty to even be washed at one point
--When you develop warts all over your hands because of such frequent handwashing
--When you didn't go to family events for a year straight because of fear of contamination
--When you start to avoid everything around you.  Everything and everyone.  When you start to avoid these things in life, that is the beginning of your spiral deep down into OCD.  I really believe that.

     Well, the truth is that I could go on and on.  Real OCD is life affecting, certainly.  It affects the sufferer and everyone around them.  I thank God that I have come as far as I have in my treatment over the last year.  Self guided treatment that has changed my life significantly.  I have gone from rock bottom extreme OCD to probably moderate levels at this point.  And that is something to celebrate.  I still have a long way to go, but every day I get closer.
     The struggle with OCD is real.  Through this struggle, I have developed a true passion for learning about the disorder.  It is evident how much awareness this disorder truly needs.  1 in 40 Americans have OCD.  That is very significant.  If you are struggling with OCD, I urge you to find help.  For many people, it truly does take them hitting rock bottom to realize that they can't live this way any longer.  And you don't have to live like this any longer.  When you make the decision to not let OCD control you, it is going to be a process.  But as you grow healthier fighting against this, you are taking your life back from this disorder.  Each and every day it gets better.  I genuinely feel for every one of you that has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  A brain based, neuropsychological disorder.  Real OCD.  Not quirks, not a personality character.  You are brave, courageous people.  One of the really cool things about blogger is that you can see what keywords people are searching to bring you to your page or post.  My heart breaks at most of the phrases that are used to bring people here.  There is a lot of suffering with this disorder, I am certain of that.  I know that first hand too.
     I love to hear from my readers, so if you're reading this please leave a comment for me and let me know what real OCD is for you.  Let's keep drawing awareness to this disease.