Living life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is exhausting. It is a constant battle and it can be very scary. Many people might suffer for many years and not be sure that they are experiencing OCD. It is accompanied with panic and anxiety. In fact, it is an extreme form of anxiety. You might experience elevated heart rates, stomach aches, and racing thoughts. You find it hard to sit still. Maybe the obsessive thoughts occupy so much of your mind that you cannot sleep at night or focus on your work. Many people with OCD worry that they are physically ill due to the symptoms. Sometimes they even end up in the emergency room due to fear of heart attacks or other health issues.
Your mind works in overdrive in regards to different uncertainties – “did I turn off the curling iron” can turn into a never ending fear cycle that the house WILL burn down. You might leave work to go check your home multiple times. And while part of your brain knows that you turned it off the anxious part cannot stop worrying. It is truly a horrible feeling.
You might feel very alone in these feelings. Even when you share your thoughts with others, they may laugh and make it into a joke, not understanding the level of discomfort you are feeling.
There are many types of obsessions that a person might struggle with. In fact, if you can think something it is possible to create an obsession over it. A few examples are:
- obsessions of contamination
- obsessions of harm to self and others
- obsessions of perfection
- sexual obsessions
- religious obsessions
- medical obsessions
- obsessions about numbers, luck, etc.
There are also compulsions. Examples of compulsions are:
- Attempting to create perfectionism
- Checking and rechecking
- Undoing compulsions (rethinking things, doing things in reverse)
- Counting compulsions
- Touching compulsions
- Warning others of harm or danger
- Body focused compulsions
- Hoarding compulsions
These lists are not exhaustive so it is imperative that you speak with a mental health professional to better understand what you are experiencing and if it is, in fact, obsessive compulsive disorder.
The good news is that there are treatments available to support you with your OCD so that you can live a life free of OCD symptoms.
Who can help?
Virginia has extensive training in trauma and anxiety therapy treatments, with a special interest in obsessive compulsive disorder. Virginia supports her clients in gaining the skills they need to feel more relaxed and more in control of their lives.