Do You Have Problem Checking and Repetitive Behaviours? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder AKA OCD
Do you have experience of obsessive compulsive disorder? Perhaps you are a sufferer yourself, or perhaps you have a friend or family relative who is. Either way, what a strange – and annoying – ailment it is! If you don't have much knowledge of the condition, then according to Hyman and Pedrick it is an anxiety related condition marked out by disagreeable, insistent thoughts and the desire to pointlessly repeat certain activities.1 Sound familiar? If so, then you're far from being alone!
Time-wasting Aspects of OCD
As an OCD sufferer (along with anxiety), I would describe it as the mental requirement to complete tasks more than once – despite knowing full well that they were correctly completed the first time! And then, perhaps, the need to check that they have actually been done – again despite being fully aware that they have been. It's annoying and frustrating for the sufferer – I can only imagine what it must be like for the bemused observer.
Medication and Counselling for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
How do you cope with OCD as a sufferer? If you're experiencing this problem, then you've probably spent a lot of time devising ways and means to get to grips with it and keep it under control. I'm assuming that you've already sought proper medical advice: as with any medical or psychological condition, if you have any concerns then it's usually a good idea to call in the professionals. Assuming you're already following your doctor's advice regarding medication, counselling, etc., then what other means have you devised in order to keep the lid on your obsessive rituals and routines?
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Links
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Personal Experience of OCD
Personally my big bugbears are a routine of checking the lights, switches and windows and doors when I leave the house, and the exercise of extreme caution on secure websites. I find that a practice of counting helps to some degree with these kind of obsessions. For example I can check a certain number of times that the cooker is off or the door locked – and then that's it, I'm cut off from being able to (officially) 'check'. (I'm not saying that this works for me every time!) I don't know whether, as a condition, it's related to anxiety or stress, but certainly I've always been an 'over-anxious' type.
Of course it's much easier to get through a checking routine and actually be in a position to leave the house if you have company with you at the time. The presence of my other half means I don't feel the need to check every light and plug nearly as many times, since his presence provides the kind of validation of my judgement that I apparently can't provide for myself.
I do feel the need to rein in the old OCD tendencies wherever possible: it's only too easy for something like this to get out of control and then take over your life, and for some poor sufferers it does.
For the use of secure websites I find it most helpful to always use a reliable saved link or favourite, and again to exercise a strict limit on the amount of checking done on something I know full well to be legit! If using the old credit card on a site I haven't patronised before, I will do extreme due diligence, checking it out with every possible reliable source and being careful to type the web address into the address bar rather than following any old link. It all helps: it doesn't fix the problem, but it helps.
Is obsessive compulsive disorder something you have experienced throughout life? Certainly personally, I can remember having to run downstairs after going upstairs, because I hadn't turned on and turned off the lights the correct number of times... All the signs were there!
At least if you have OCD it's something you have in common with celebrities: famous people such as Roseanne Arnold have discussed counting and blinking compulsions. You're not alone – far from it!2
Really, when you think about it, is a compulsion to check lots of things all the time really so bad? Well, when taken to excess, obviously it is – but then so is almost anything when taken to excess. At least with OCD, your odds of, say, burning the house down due to leaving the gas on are vastly (vastly, vastly!) reduced. It's not all bad! Anyway, what choice do we have other than to get on with it? Let me just say to you, if you're about to check your door is locked for the fourteenth time: 'STEP AWAY FROM THE DOOR! THE DOOR IS LOCKED! I said it's locked!'
1. Hyman, B.M., Pedrick, C. 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.' Minneapolis: 21st Century Books, 2009.
2. Arnold, Roseanne. 'Roseanne: My Lives.' Idaho: Century, 1994.