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To want to challenge the myths about OCD?

(88 Posts)
LittleMissIntrovert Wed 17-Jun-15 16:04:03

As someone who has been suffering with OCD for over 25 years, I would just like to speak up about some of the common misconceptions.

There are different kinds of OCD, it's not just having an imaculate clean house. Some people are hoarders, and some can have a mixture.

I am a hoarder, I struggle to throw things away. I have some piles of clutter in my house, but nowhere near as bad as TV programs would have you believe grin but I also wash my hands a lot, and am paranoid about germs from raw meat etc.

It's with me every day, and it's very overwhelming. It takes over.

I find it frustrating when people say they are a bit OCD because they have to have all their pegs the same colour for example. I know they don't mean it badly but it really minimizes a serious condition.

If anyone has any questions, or wants to share their experiences, please do.

owlborn Wed 17-Jun-15 16:07:54

I am bipolar but have OCD tendencies. In my case, it becomes about rituals. I get ideas on my head - I have to make sure I take so many steps between the bedroom and the staircase or something awful will happen. I can't just clean. I have to clean in the right order.

I don't hoard.

I also have intrusive thoughts. I can't get an idea out of my head and that can sometimes be quite distressing.

Not proper OCD, but these traits manifest when I'm manic a lot.

ImSoCoolNow Wed 17-Jun-15 16:11:43

i know of an OCD sufferer who stopped washing completely. This was due to his fear of germs coming through the water system. Shower heads, taps etc.

I think the 'I'm a bit OCD' is overused as so many of the traits are apparent in every day behaviours. I think it's just a misunderstanding of a very debilitating illness. I've also heard 'I'm a bit bipolar' when an individual has mood swings or 'a bit schizophrenic'

TattyDevine Wed 17-Jun-15 16:12:18

My ex boyfriend from when I was in High School had OCD and it was debilitating.

So I do go a bit hmm when people proudly state that they are "a bit OCD" which is a stealth boast for being a good housekeeper or well organised.

But they don't really mean anything by it in fairness.


LashesandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-15 16:13:09

I have ADHD and anxiety with OCD tendencies and completely agree. It's not about hand washing like people think! For me it's intrusive thoughts sad

LashesandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-15 16:14:11

Owlborn that's how mine works too - very upsetting. Sorry you also deal with this

ImSoCoolNow Wed 17-Jun-15 16:17:18

I think it's a shame though that people can say 'I'm a bit... Whatever' when it comes to mental health issues. It is probably always innocent enough, however it just shows how ignorant we are in society regarding mental health illness.

People would never say: 'I'm a bit diabetic' or: 'I'm a bit MS', for example. It kind of belittles the mental health issues IMO. But again, I don't think anyone means to be nasty about it. It's a shame how poor mental health is perceived

ChuffinAda Wed 17-Jun-15 16:25:38

Well said.

I have ocd and my mum always says 'but your house is a mess' i struggle to explain it's about obsessive irrational thoughts and compulsive thought patterns not being a bit fussy.

duplodon Wed 17-Jun-15 16:27:00

I think OCD is particularly misused as a stealth boast.

I have OCD mind, as I call it. OCD mind for me is when I have this very particularly edgy sort of anxiety that I have to DO something about. Some of my compulsions these days are quite inane - like repetitively researching a particular type of toy (which is all to do with an obsession around my children having attachment disorder). But I don't really meet the criteria as such these days, though on a bad day every few months I could spend four or five hours just researching the same thing over and over on a loop. It's just not as debilitating as it was and the high pitch of the compulsion is gone, sometimes I just do it because I'm knackered rather than because of the anxiety now.

Someone told me once you can turn down the volume on the OCD jingle, but you can't turn the radio off. At its worst it was just excruciating. I have really always had it as a stress reaction, but it was only in the perinatal period I really fully LIVED OCD mind when I was really very severe. Sometimes people with OCD show up in severe OCD mind on the boards and people often become very frustrated with the intransigence of this style of thinking. Just relax! Take some time out! You're just being irrational of course x didn't happen.. but it doesn't work like that.

GirlInterupted Wed 17-Jun-15 16:29:50

I have anxiety and ocd. I pull out body hair, I also obsess about suicide.

ChuffinAda Wed 17-Jun-15 16:31:36

That's true about turning it down but not off.

Mines kind of at 1 at the moment but at its worst is cranked all the way up to 11

badtime Wed 17-Jun-15 16:31:36

...and as I have just posted on another thread, OCD is something you have, not something you are.

Nobody ever says 'I'm soooooo chicken pox' or 'he is a bit rabies'.

This is a good article, written by someone with OCD:

Imagine the feeling of having a song stuck in your head. Now imagine that instead of "It's Raining Men," it's the thought of murdering your best friend. In graphic detail. Over and over again.

bluejeanswhiteshirt Wed 17-Jun-15 16:34:40


I wish to god OCD was as simple as washing your hands more than usual or checking that you locked the car door a couple of times. As well as OCD I have GAD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).This is what OCD looks like for me -

Not being able to touch laundry detergent (the bottle) with my bare hands in case it contaminates whatever I go on to touch next. Washing my hands until they crack, bleed and blister if I do accidentally touch it.

Not being able to go to the petrol station because I'm terrified that petrol will get onto my hands, not to mention the worry of fumes being breathed in by DD.

Paying ridiculous amounts of money to replace things, especially baby equipment, if I feel like it's been contaminated I will throw it straight out and buy brand new.

Being paranoid that something happened to DD if we're in public and I turn my back for a second. I find it hard to trust people and obsessively check her over to make sure she hasn't been harmed.

I have so many more examples but these are ones that have been an issue recently. My ex left me because of it.

It really is exhausting sad

GobblersKnob Wed 17-Jun-15 16:36:02

I used to have very severe OCD along with several strands of anxiety and depression, I am now much better.

The 'bit OCD' 'I'm so depressed today' type comments have never bothered me then or now though, it is just a lack of understanding which if you haven't really suffered is not surprising really.

I also kind of disagree ImSoCoolNow, it's true people don't really use those examples, but it is common to say you have a migraine which is really a headache, the flu which is really a cold etc etc.

LashesandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-15 16:36:41

^Sometimes there's no real logic behind them, like when you have to jump over a line on the floor because otherwise everybody you know will die horribly and it will be all your fault.


this is a brilliant article.

bluejeanswhiteshirt Wed 17-Jun-15 16:37:18

I'm currently obsessing over the state of my teeth and must have checked the mirror at least 20 times today, as well as calling a cosmetic dentist. It's embarrassing to admit all of this but nobody else understands and they judge me.

GobblersKnob Wed 17-Jun-15 16:38:30

bluejeanswhiteshirt, that is exactly where I have been, I am better now but it hasn't gone, this morning I threw my porridge away and made a new bowl as I had left the kitchen and the back door was open hence a fly could possibly have landed on it. I was cross with myself afterwards though. Have you had any help?

GobblersKnob Wed 17-Jun-15 16:42:08

Yes, magical thinking can be particularly insidious and nasty and looks so innocent. In therapy we had to spend an every day wishing and willing our therapist to die in every horrible way imaginable to try and dispel some of the thinking around it.

ollieplimsoles Wed 17-Jun-15 16:42:20

My MIL says she is 'a bit OCD' all the time. It annoys the hell out of me. She has her own problems because she in convinced she has just about every illness/ disorder known to man kind, and she insists on extremely high standards of cleanliness in the house. She also describes my DH as 'a bit OCD' because he doesn't like to touch dirty door knobs- this annoys the hell out of both of us.

When I was six years old I developed debilitating OCD that took over my life and education for year. My parents were going through a divorce and I was extremely sensitive as a child. However it was triggered by a particularly graphic fire 'safety' video we were show at school. Sad music, kids bodies being brought out of the burning house, and a fireman explaining the little kids had started it by playing with matches.

From then on I was convinced my family and me would die in a house fire. I woke up sweating about it and couldn't sleep. I was acting up at school and I began acting strangely at home. I started bed time rituals centered on the oven, gas hob, light switches and mains switches. They consumed my mum and nanna nightly, I couldn't go to bed without making sure this 'safety' ritual was carried out.

In the end it got so bad I was taken to a child psychologist and given hypnotherapy, which I responded well to. I was young and they caught the under-lying problems early so I was able to be cured to an extent of this illness. Since then I was not allowed to view fire safety lectures aimed at kids in school, in case it came back. It thank fully never did.

OCD sufferers live day to day consumed by panic and anxiety over their rituals. Its not something I ever take lightly. There are people trapped in their homes carrying out rituals over and over fgs!

Wow this was a really long post- hopefully you can see that this subject is one I feel strongly about!

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Wed 17-Jun-15 16:42:42

DH has OCD, and it's to do with checking the security of the house before he comes to bed at night (he always had a routine, but it got worse after we had an outbuilding broken into 5 years ago).

No hoarding/cleaning/hand washing, just checking and rechecking doors/windows/car/shed/gate etc before he comes to bed. We live in a small terraced house and it will, on a bad day, take him 30 mins or so of checking before he comes to bed.

Touch wood, he's not as bad at the moment.

kinkyfuckery Wed 17-Jun-15 16:43:25

I have some OCD tendencies. I am a counter - steps, bites, syllables, lots of random things. It doesn't affect my life greatly though, so I've never had it diagnosed. I have certain things that need to be right - picture straightened etc and can't settle if not, but do not keep an immaculate house.

bluejeanswhiteshirt Wed 17-Jun-15 16:43:39

I had CBT when I was pregnant about a year ago and I'm currently on the waiting list for more. It didn't seem to help though. I do that but with DD's food. I waste so much and it really upsets me.

LashesandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-15 16:43:48

Gobblers have you tried meds? I usually take citalopram and it really helped with that, one of my obsessions is getting ill and I used to freak out about touching stuff. Citalopram really helped, I'd still get the thoughts but I could ignore them instead of getting upset and acting in it

AuntyMag10 Wed 17-Jun-15 16:44:50

Yanbu but it's pointless being frustrated over it. These terms will always be used, you won't change that so no point in letting it bother you. You hear it all the time, a lot on here even so it's just one of those things I would just ignore.

LashesandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-15 16:45:18

Gobblers that's actually a really good technique! Mine first started when I was a teenager and I remember crying thinking I was a bad person and that I wanted these horrible things to happen or that I was gonna cause them...was one of the most upsetting things I've ever done!

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