Different Types OF OCD.
About the Author
I want to start by saying I have suffered with OCD for the best part of 30 years.
I first noticed I had issues whilst I was encountering a very traumatic relationship breakdown. The feeling of grief was just as debilitating as having someone pass away. You no longer can be with that person, see them, or hear them.
However, I would also like to say that my mother had OCD although it was undiagnosed and she refused to admit there was anything wrong with her.
Throughout my childhood for as long as I remember my mother would wash her hands to the extent she could empty a whole tank of hot water. She also would check the soles of the family shoes and any visitor’s shoes insisting the shoes had to be taken off before coming into the house. Our school uniforms had to be taken off in designated areas and all food packaging had to be cleaned before it could be safely put away.
I was never allowed to invite friends over and if they called around we would just chat on the porch.
My mother was in denial and not knowing what OCD was at the time, I could not help her.
I could not relate until I was in my early 20’s and by that time my mother simply said I was talking nonsense and that she did not have a problem yet I clearly could see she did and so did I.
From talking to my extended family, I also found out my grandmother had OCD and so did my Uncle who would not sit down unless he put his handkerchief on a chair.
My OCD is related to germ contamination, mental contamination, rumination, intrusive thoughts, and avoiding physical contact with anyone.
This has fluctuated over the years and how trusting I was towards a person would determine my OCD levels.
If I do not trust someone now, I cannot physically touch them or touch anything that they have touched. I feel if I do, bad things will happen to me of and I have had my fair share of traumatic events.
I rather avoid contact than risk something bad happening to me again.
I have been known to make several clothing changes in a day and had to wash myself with ‘Dettol Antiseptic Disinfectant’ before my intrusive thoughts subsided.
I find it hard to communicate with the outside world, I am far happier sitting behind a computer screen than actually dealing with people face to face.
If things go well for me and I am less stressed I can venture out, but mostly I avoid people and social distancing is a God send to me as before I would get extremely frustrated when people were careless and walked into me or brushed past me and simply said “Sorry”. If I were a car and you bumped into me you would not be saying “Sorry”, instead you would be giving me your insurance details.
Since the Pandemic outbreak, I have not left the house. I have everything delivered and can run my business remotely. I also have no visitors other than my daughter’s boyfriend who knows what he can and can’t do.
It is amazing how many people suffer from OCD but do not talk about it and try to hide it. Even my daughter’s boyfriend has OCD and does not like touching things without having to wash his fingertips. He also tends to check to see if his car is locked several times before he is happy. I am not a therapist so I am not going to ask questions. It is up to him to seek medical help and not for me to interfere. If he wants my help I can simply advise.
There are Nineteen Characteristics of OCD.
- Checking (I have witnessed a chap a couple of doors away from me going around his car several times checking to see if his doors are locked).
- Germ Contamination (This can be cleaning or disinfecting).
- Mental Contamination (The feeling of self-worth when a person has been treated badly)
- Hoarding (My mother’s friend is a hoarder and has suffered several traumatic events in her life). People who hoard find comfort surrounded by materialistic things that may be of no value to the outside world but are an asset to them.
- Ruminations (Rumination is the focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and its possible causes and consequences) This includes avoidance which goes hand in hand.
- Intrusive Thoughts Intrusive Thoughts (Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that seem to become stuck in your mind) and everyone experiences them).
- Symmetry & Orderliness (having all the tins in the cupboard the right way round and in order and not having odd numbers or having everything lined up and in order).
- Self Harming (A compulsion to physically hurt oneself to stop the mental pain)
- Pulling Out Hair (Trichotillomania) My ex-sister-in-law had a compulsion to pull her hair out when she was going through a divorce with my brother.
- Repetitive Questioning & Reassurance. (The need to make sure something or someone will be ok).
- Trigger (An obsessional intrusive thought triggered by seeing an object such as a knife that may harm someone).
- Avoidance (When I experienced my first traumatic event I avoided mentioning my ex-boyfriend’s name).
- Ritual (compulsive behavior (physical or mental)
- Homosexual OCD (A straight person who fears being gay)
- Paedophile OCD (Unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts about children).
- Religious OCD (Engaging in excessive prayer).
- Pure ‘O’ OCD (Hidden Mental Rituals, such as counting or saying or thinking a repeating the word over and over)
- Counting money, counting how many times you switched the light off or closed the door handle, turning the door handle.
- Numbers (A fixation of certain numbers)
OCD Is Not Only About Cleaning.
On the contrary, OCD is not just about cleaning it could be opposites. I cannot manage to keep a whole flat super germ-free but can quarantine my bubble, my space so to speak, and make sure it is not contaminated.
Over the years my OCD has been a combination of germ contamination, mental contamination, ruminations, rituals, reassurance, triggers, avoidance, intrusive thoughts, numbers, and counting. I would either avoid saying the number 13 or count something 21 times, (I was born on the 13th ironically and once on my 21st birthday I placed a £1.00 bet on the roulette table and won £21.00).
I occasionally have had irrational thoughts and try to rationalize with myself that my thoughts are just that, stupid thoughts and absurd.
I have managed to cope with my OCD and have everything under control in my home. It is not ideal but life is not perfect. “If you are dealt lemons, make lemonade”
I have tried therapy in the past and find it difficult to go over the same old things over and over again I would much rather forget.
Funnily enough, I spoke to my mother’s friend the other day and where I tried to be support for her as she had breast cancer and had her breast removed, I found it more and more difficult to phone her every week because without fail she would mention my ex which I want to forget but she won’t let me. She is old she is in her 80s so she forgets things as I have noticed each time I give her my telephone numbers so for me to say please do not mention my ex again would simply go over her head.
I have also tried cognitive therapy forcing you to touch something and resisting you from washing your hands. This did not work for me as I have to be in the right state of mind for it to work.
Give me £1M to start my life over again and I will see if my OCD gets better 🤔. This could be a social experiment which I could write if changing one’s life for the better helps to change one’s mental state.
Like I said I am no expert but I have lived with this disability for several years and have witnessed people’s behavior in terms of their own OCD, as well as reactions when you say you have OCD.
People still think mental illness is taboo and look at you as if you are ‘CRAZY’.
I most certainly do not belong in an asylum but just have a defense mechanism to protect myself from harm when I am threatened or feel insecure.
The way I see it I can mock myself but no one has the right to mock me.
I wish I could live a normal life without worry or stress and brainwashed all the bad things that have ever happened to me. But the chance of that happening is slim as I will always be reminded about my parents and brother passing away as well as the abusive relationship and other bad incidents that happened to me over the years.
I still have episodes where I look at something and it brings back bad memories. Looking at photographs of people who have passed away and the feeling of sadness and emptiness or seeing something that was used to harm me. My home is full of very expensive memories that I cannot simply get rid of because of their materialistic value and have been damaged in some way. As an example looking at the bristles of a kitchen broom today brought memories flooding back.
I try my best to block out things and put them away where I cannot see them.
My home is full of bad memories which I would rather forget.
One day I hope to put the past behind me and start a new life somewhere else in a happier environment and I know what is holding me back, hence my plan will not happen overnight.
All I can do is try my hardest to move on and turn a negative into a positive.
What Causes OCD?
Many theories cause OCD.
Scientists however have not been able to identify a definitive cause for why a person develops Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
The potential causes of OCD can involve one or a combination of; neurobiological, genetic (my mother and my grandmother), learned behaviors (seeing my mother perform her rituals although I do not copy any), pregnancy, environmental factors or specific events that trigger the disorder in a specific individual at a particular point in time.
For me, it has been a catalyst of a series of traumatic events that have caused me to cocoon myself, although cerebellar atrophy is also linked to OCD which I was diagnosed with about 11 years ago, which makes no sense as I have had OCD for about 30 years now.
The way I see it although there may be other factors that have caused me to have OCD including it being hereditary, I strongly believe PTSD is a leading source of why I have OCD and how people have treated me in the past that has made me the person I am today. Some of the trauma is the loss of my parents and my brother but I also was subjected to physical and mental abuse. So my story is colorful, to say the least.
I am passionate about the cause because I have been a lifelong sufferer and always keep up to date with ways to alleviate the symptoms as well as helping others with motivation and inspiration, at the same time as helping myself.
OCD Is An Invisible Disability.
OCD Is An Invisible Disability and if you ask anyone who has got OCD would they want to trade for a normal life you will find everyone would agree including myself that OCD can be a living hell and would want the nightmare to end.
People who do not understand OCD may be judgemental or may even mock a person. That is why it is so important to not let people’s opinions influence your way of thinking. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and at the end of the day it is their opinion, not yours. It is your opinion that matters the most not someone else’s.
One needs to be in the right frame of mind to make changes to one’s life and also to conquer OCD.
You have to retrain your brain that what happened, happened and that there is nothing you can do about it apart from move on.
You need to set goals and take each day as it comes.
Take each day day by day and make small steps, behavioural therapy teaches you that anyway.
OCD changes our lives.
Once we find we are happy within ourselves, confident and secure our OCD will eventually subside. In the meantime talk with your GP about what types of medication they can prescribe to make the journey a bit easier.
For me one thing I have noticed is by expressing my thoughts in my online journal, I somehow can get whatever is ailing me at the time off my chest, so although I am not physically speaking with anyone, my readers who find value in the content I write will appreciate my comments.
You too can have your journal it does not have to be online but a diary where you can monitor your good days and your bad and even compare your days with your GP or consultant.
For me my therapy is writing, it is like letting go of a demon. I have brainwashed myself that I have to perform things in a certain way otherwise it will play on my mind but can honestly say I do try to resist my compulsive urges as much as I can. It does not work all the time as I find I do cave in, but I cannot be criticised for not trying.
I know once I am in my happier place my OCD will be a thing of the past but it’s only been 30 years later that I have started to do something about it, I was not in a position to but now I have an opportunity to learn, teach and heal.
Once you can admit to yourself what your insecurities are you are one step closer to battling your illness.
For me, it is a constant battle but I know where I am going with this I may never be completely cured but once I am in a happier place I know I will be on the road to recovery.
At the moment I prefer to be a recluse and not allow anyone to enter my world. I am not ready to make that step, especially with the FEAR Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic and I do not want to contract the virus as it could potentially kill my daughter who has a very low immune system, secondly, she will not be able to even take the vaccine as it is a live virus including myself.