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Sharing the World of OCD

Updated on May 22, 2020
Some people with OCD. bite their nails off on a continual basis.
Some people with OCD. bite their nails off on a continual basis.

Imagine that right now, you are peeking through a magic curtain that allows you see people in the passage of time. You, like me, would go nuts looking at historical events, famous births, and many milestones that have helped to build this arena of life in which we compete with someone or something or each day of our lives.

Suddenly you see this guy, 22 years of age, clean cut, respectful to his parents and others in his life, but you notice that there is something unusual (not exactly wrong) about him. You wait and watch--nothing happens. You are almost ready to shut this magical curtain to look somewhere else when this clean-cut guy opens and closes the door to his living room roughly 12 consecutive times. The number 12 mystifies you. You cannot speak to this guy. You assume that maybe12 is his favorite number, his perfect number to align with the universe.

This guy then trods to his kitchen and, when reaching for a glass to get a cool drink, he opens and shuts his cabinet door 12 times, much like a rehearsed ballet.

Howard Hughes was probably the best known for his OCD practices, as well as other strange behaviors.
Howard Hughes was probably the best known for his OCD practices, as well as other strange behaviors.

My Behavior and the Theory Behind OCD

Now you are in a quandary, for the 22-year-old is going through his day doing strange counting rituals on his car door, shoelaces, and even the arrangement of his fork, knife, plate and drink at lunch. His coworkers do not understand this addiction of discipline and softly voice their sympathy among themselves. This neat-looking guy is strange in his ways, but good at his job. He is not like others, but he is never without a smile for anyone he meets.

This 22-year-old guy is me. Since the age of 12, I have battled, endured, and stood against OCD, which some noted neurologists state is an affliction to the nervous system. When a person does their own set of rituals, they are allegedly bolstering their self-esteem to avoid a dark evil tendency attack himself or someone he loves.

Other Self-Regulated Rituals Before Bed

  • Articles straight and parallel with the edge of the table or shelf
  • No newspapers or magazines laying around on the floor or couches
  • All dirty dishes, silverware washed, dried, and put away
  • All dirty clothes, mine or others’ clothes had to be put into the laundry hamper

This list is just a sample of what I had to get done every night of my life. Many other people in our United States have longer and more tedious lists. With 3.3 million (1:40) people having OCD in 2012, it is fair to say there are more now.

OCD is curable, but one must start with “self” first and face whatever fear, source of distrust or low self-esteem is causing this “beast” to rule your life. Similar to going cold-turkey on whiskey, one has to just bear down, grit their teeth, and do lots of self-convincing and re-building new and easier patterns than counting, washing hands, keeping objects straight. There is the realization, too, that stopping these rituals could lead to one nearing a mental breakdown or growing into a hermit lifestyle. One doctor told me that when OCD is nearing its defeat, cases have shown that OCD can somehow create a backup plan to keep engineering a person’s life.


When the sweating and facing the OCD honestly is over, and you, like I, are living in a more peaceful life with new building blocks, then a more trusting, confident self-image and esteem will birth in you and you can lead a normal life just like the rest of mankind.

Continually washing the hands is one sign of O.C.D., feeling that hands are not clean
Continually washing the hands is one sign of O.C.D., feeling that hands are not clean
Checking one's complexion continually
Checking one's complexion continually
Howie Mandell suffers from O.C.D.
Howie Mandell suffers from O.C.D.

OCD Defined

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning, repeated checking, extreme hoarding, preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts, relationship-related obsessions, aversion to particular numbers and nervous rituals such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. These symptoms are time-consuming, might result in loss of relationships with others, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, people with OCD generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational and may become further distressed by this realization. Despite the irrational behavior, OCD is associated with high verbal IQ.
  • A number of psychological and biological factors may be involved in causing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Standardized rating scales such as Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale can be used to assess the severity of symptoms. Other disorders with similar symptoms include: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), an autism spectrum disorder, or disorders where extreme perseverance is a feature in ADHD, PTSD, bodily disorders, or just a habit problem.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects children and adolescents, as well as adults. Roughly one-third to one-half of adults with OCD report a childhood onset of the disorder, suggesting the continuum of anxiety disorders across the lifespan. The phrase "obsessive-compulsive" has become part of the English lexicon and is often used in an informal or caricatured manner to describe someone who is excessively meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed, or otherwise fixated.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Ibidii,

      It was a heavy burden for I did not know until later that your family suffers with you in these ritualistic games, for lack of a better word.

      I am still in the fight with a few areas of this disease, but thank God, I am not what I used to be.

      Dear gracenotes,

      Doing this hub helped me release a big part of the O.C.D. It is a tiring, demanding set of regimented rules that we feel we must do. It is like we are controlling fate, if there is any.

      But the support of family and friends, such as YOU and Ibiddi, are such a geat help.

      Thanks so much.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This must have been a heavy burden on you and your family. I am glad to hear that you have overcome it and are brave to share this with the public. You have a lot of support here at Hubs and I am sure other places. May the Lord continue to bless you with overcoming this issue. Merry Christmas to you! ~Sherry

    • gracenotes profile image


      6 years ago from North Texas


      You have made a significant contribution to understanding of OCD with this hub. Thank you for writing it.

      The disorder has shown up in my family, not in a big way, though. One family member seems to have problems mainly in the area of scrupulosity. And the OCD is not even the worst problem that he has!

      If the obsession happens to be in that area, and if the person belongs to the family of Christ, then I believe it is especially important that they find the right church. A sufferer like this will make a moral dilemma out of something that the Lord never intended to be an ethical or moral dilemma. Stay away from legalistic thinking, I say.

      But absolutely, I butt out. I may have strong opinions, but that doesn't mean I have to prescribe what is good for that individual. I must have confidence (and especially so, for this is a young person) that God will lead them in the correct path, however long that may take.

      I must say, though, that it is disheartening when some in our society downplay the role of certain mental disorders in our society, or even pretend that they don't exist. Evidently, they have not walked a mile in the shoes of those with panic attacks, clinical depression, OCD, or a host of other disorders we could name.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ Everyone to commented on THIS piece:

      "I sincerely thank you all for your warm and understanding."

      "I appreciate and love you all."


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for joiing this conversation. I got help from your comments.

      When I w

      as in my late teen's, I had a ritual that was one hour--to the second or I went back until it was EXACTLY an hour, or I felt worthless.

      True story.

      And thank you for your sweet compliments on this hub.

      I hope that we all can band-together and help fight this stuff and live a more-useful life.

      Merry CHRISTmas to you.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for chiming in on O.C.D.

      But about your daughter, do not panic. You noticed this at just the right time, so when you can form a written outline, sit her down, and in the most-simple terms, explain to her, and have it just you and her, that she is not sick and being neat is not wrong then gently lead her into that area where not using moderation can lead to where O.C.D. can rule her life.

      You will be okay.

      Merry CHRISTmas.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you, friend, for your comments. Knowing is a great start in standing against O.C.D..

      And no matter how many specialists of the psyche write papers on this condition, I do not believe there will ever be a complete-cure.

      Just keep in touch with me and

      Merry CHRISTmas.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Catgypsy,

      My thanks to you for your sweet comments. Brave? Think you, but as I wrote this, I sweated at times. O.C.D. is rough to talk about. And one can say with clarity and correctness, "O.C.D. is the thief of confidence."

      And that is how it operates.

      Thanks again and Merry CHRISTmas. My Love to Your Little Ones and You too.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ catherine,

      I am sorry that I disappointed you in this hub not being a "List Hub," but believe you me, there are more of those in the works.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are welcome.

      It was tough writing about this. I admit that, but when I kept in mind that someone might get one nugget of information to help them, then it became easier.

      But it takes patience, prayer, and persistent behavior. And there is failure even in the most-disciplined.

      Thanks again.

      Merry CHRISTmas.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for your kind comments. I was secretly-hoping that this might help ONE person get free from such a "beast," and a "beast," O.C.D. can be at any given time. Even on vacations.

      Keep in touch with me and do not let O.C.D. near you or your family.

      Merry CHRISTmas.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Ann,

      I agree with your comment. I also do the pulling of the pattern thing--especially the bedspread on my bed. It worries me but not like in days past.

      This one should make you think. I would be having a conversation and if I made an unnoticeble error in pronouncing a word, I would stop, go back and say the entire sentence again---for I thought that an incomplete image being emitted from me meant I was not complete.

      Talk about a bondage.

      And thank you for understanding.

      Merry CHRISTmas.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      I've known about this for a long time but it's interesting to find out more of the background information and the details of such a thing.

      Many people (including me and my granddaughter!) have a thing about putting a pattern straight, say, on a plate on the table, or superstitions about doing certain things. My theory is that we all have a certain amount of that in our make-up but in some people it's heightened and becomes obsessive.

      Thanks for sharing this important information; it's always better when others understand properly.

      All the best.


    • Amanda108 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan, United States

      Thank you for sharing your experience with OCD, Kenneth, and as always your writing is superb, finding just the right words to describe something that - in this case - is not always easily explained. As a fellow sufferer it means a lot to me when people are brave enough to voice their health problems.

      I've struggled with OCD symptoms my entire life. They started as "quirky behaviors" and turned into actions that caused distress in my life sometime in my teens. I once had a bedtime ritual so involved that it took me almost two hours! I know how demanding this illness is of one's time and sanity.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for sharing this insight in a condition. I do have some hints of OCD, though not as serious as I'm sure some people have. I hop to overcome it eventually. I wish you the best.

    • sassypiehole profile image

      Lisa René LeClair 

      6 years ago from the ATL

      And sadly, I have passed my OCD gene on to my seven-year-old daughter. I hate that about myself, but I get it honestly. My father is the king.

    • maggs224 profile image


      6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What a fascinating Hub Kenneth giving a real insight into a condition which I knew almost nothing about. Your final video has ended up with me having to go over to YouTube to see the outcome. I think that I might end up watching the series lol..

    • catgypsy profile image


      6 years ago from the South

      Very brave hub Kenneth. I'm proud of you for sharing this because it will help others who have that condition. I'm also glad to hear you overcame it. Great work, my friend.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      6 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you Kenneth for talking about this. I clicked on it expecting your usual funny lists of "You know you have OCD when..." Reading your funny hubs I would never have guessed your secret. You have my admiration for all you have accomplished and overcome.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      6 years ago from Norfolk

      A very interesting and brave piece of writing. It is always good to read articles like this which help people to better understand the complex workings of the human condition. Thanks for sharing.


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