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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). OCD can disturb your life but the good news is that you can overcome it. Here’s a personal OCD story and advice on how to deal with and overcome OCD to make your life better. ~ Ed.
Have you ever seen someone repeat a certain movement or say the same thing over and over again for no reason at all? Did that seem strange to you or even irritating at some point?
Well, if you answered yes then you probably have met a person who was suffering from a well known mental disorder called OCD. OCD is the short form for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
But believe it or not, I happen to be one of them, and I would like to tell you my story and give you some advice, to both individuals with OCD or other mental disorders and everyone in general, on how to cope with it.
My OCD Story
It was sometime around four years ago, I was sixteen and in my second year of high school at the time, when I started to experience something strange. Every night before I went to sleep, for some unknown to me then, reason I had a strong urge to position my glasses a certain way on my bedside table.
At first, as it was natural, I thought that this wasn’t something strange because I was always kind of a perfectionist. But soon the things that bothered me were increasing at an annoyingly fast rate.
Out of the blue, I wanted to put the television controller a little to the left, turn the light switch on and off, having the same thought and repeating it in my head for a minute or so. But everything was okay, or this is what I subconsciously had the need to believe at that time.
Not many weeks have passed, and the urges became more and more irresistible. I started having problems studying and speaking out loud as I had “no other option” than to repeat myself numerous times.
I remember people getting annoyed or laugh with me as they were thinking I was joking around.
Also, I recall laughing with them so they wouldn’t suspect something was off with me.
Slowly I was turning to a private person and would only socialize with my closest friends and family, something that was screaming “This isn’t me” for the reason that I was an open and approachable person.
The Lessons I Learned
Looking back at this period of my life knowing it was the hardest ever for me, my biggest mistake was that I didn’t tell anybody what was going on with me. I thought they would criticize me. I was so wrong.
The first person I’ve ever talked with about this, apart from my psychologist, was a good friend of mine. It was about a year and a half or so after the first incidents started taking place.
I felt so relieved to know that conversation and talking about my problem would be so helpful on the journey to overcome my difficulties.
Long story short, I gave up on studying four months before my final exams as I was unable to read anything, let alone math or physics. I failed at the finals, and after summer I enrolled in a community college.
After that summer I gradually got better and better as time went by. Today, having finally reduced my OCD at a somewhat minimum level, meaning it doesn’t affect any aspect of my life at a considerable level, I am here to tell you how I overcame this “monster” called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
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6 Ways to Overcome OCD by Yourself without Drugs
So if you are ready to take a step onto moving on and overcoming your OCD, here’s my advice:
This is probably the first and most difficult thing you can do. But believe me when I say that it is so much worth it. Think of OCD as a second “you” living in your subconscious mind.
It will tell you “Do this again” or “Did you remember to switch off the lights and the oven before leaving”. Let it happen and don’t fight it, at this stage it is better to go along with it and get used to.
As time passes, you will see that the “pressure” on your chest and the urge to repeat things will start becoming less and less powerful. Don’t stress over it; this makes it worse dealing with OCD.
Talk and Talk about Your OCD
As I have already previously mentioned, not talking about your OCD can be devastating to your condition. Want it or not, conversing about what bothers you can have a significant impact when it comes to improving your mood, and thereupon your OCD.
It doesn’t have to be an expert psychologist; you can chat with your friends, family and/or spouse. It will surprise you how much it affects you chatting about your OCD.
If you don’t want to talk to your friend and don’t have any money to visit a professional, there is nothing to worry about. There are plenty of free of charge therapists, who are volunteers or paid by the community in order to help people just like you and me.
In the case you don’t want to talk directly to someone face to face, which is perfectly understandable, you can go to an online website or forum like Quora (where you can post anonymously) or join any OCD support groups.
Don’t be Ashamed of Your OCD
Do you feel bad for having OCD? Well, if your answer was yes then good news for you, you don’t have to be.
You may not know it, but many famous celebrities suffer from OCD and some on a pretty intense level too. But they don’t let that keep them from going on with their lives and neither should you.
Take Cameron Diaz for example; the disorder is to blame for her fear of germs. David Beckham is so compulsive on some aspects of his life that, according to his wife, Victoria, he has three different refrigerators in their house, each one for different food and drink categories.
Pick a Small Number
Probably the thing that helped me more than any other was that I would choose a small insignificant number such as 3, for example, and I wouldn’t repeat things more times than that.
Doing so, I wouldn’t feel the need to do the same thing multiple times, as it would disrupt the balance in my actions making it easy for me not to go out of my way.
But beware of overdoing it, don’t pick a number like 10 or repeat that number the same time again. Only do the “ritual” once.
Use OCD Medication Natural Alternatives
In cases like OCD and many other disorders, the pills that doctors or psychiatrists prescribe are mostly antidepressants. But did you know the reason?
They often contain serotonin, a substance which is naturally produced by our metabolism and its job, to put it simply, is to “keep us happy” working on our nervous system. These pills can help but remember that they won’t do the job for you if you don’t try enough to overcome your OCD yourself.
A natural way to increase your serotonin level is to consume food which contains specific substances like vitamin C/D, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 and many others. Here’s a list of food you should eat to help yourself deal with OCD.
Try to Control OCD (But Don’t Push It)
Last but not least, I don’t really recommend controlling your OCD if you are in a bad state but only if you are doing well and want to improve even more. Do what you want to do but then instead of actually repeating the actions, just think of repeating it.
I know it sounds silly, but it worked for me.
Summing It Up
Now before I sum up, I would like to clear some popular misconceptions to those who don’t suffer from a disorder of some kind, especially OCD.
You may have seen videos or images with a title of “Tag people with OCD to make them crazy” or something like that. These only show the “perfectionism” side of OCD, that many people with the disorder don’t have, and I am one of them.
It is nothing to laugh or make jokes about because, for some, this can be devastating. This specific disorder is so much more that the majority of the population doesn’t know about.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” And believe when I say that when it comes to rumors about people with OCD, this is all you have to remember.
Don’t be ignorant or make fun of people with disorders because they are different. Respect them because they are just like you and each one of us, special human beings, that is.
This goes to all the people reading this:
If you have experienced symptoms or observed any signs of OCD or any other disorder, be sure to get tested. Don’t let it get worse or think it will get better by itself because most probably it will not.
Dealing with OCD can become easy if you follow the advice in this post and remember, you can even overcome it.
Over to you –
Do you or anyone you know have OCD? Do you have any suggestions to deal with or overcome OCD? Be sure to let me know by commenting below as I would love to answer any questions you may have for me and try my best to help you out.