Today marks the last day of OCD Awareness week. Obsessive compulsive disorders. I call Emanuel, my sister and myself OCD all the time, but our OCD doesn’t control our lives. As I’ve grown older I’ve realised my tendencies to be OCD have increased, but that is what living with a perfectionist (sister) and artist (boyfriend) does to you I guess. I always wondered though, when will it be a problem? When do you diagnose OCD?
OCD is based on two principles: the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive action that aims to regulate these thoughts. One thinks of Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets.
Thoughts and images tend to be related to hygiene, or harm to oneself or others. Most sufferers find the images that plague them disturbing and to a degree know that they are unreasonable. However, they develop routines, and other compulsive behaviour to control the images. Hence the incessant washing of hands. In the case of the turning on and off the lights etc, sufferers believe these rituals are protective. The moment it becomes an issue is when the anxiety, and therefore the matching routine begins to interfere with one’s life. Some people have lost jobs, families and even their own sanity to the condition.
I have become a bit more sensitive to using the word. Using the word ‘obsessed’ to describe a love for One Direction, Juventus or Rugby, as well as using OCD to explain a habit may often trivialize it for many real sufferers around the world.
If you are interested in reading more about OCD or the research involved, click here.