Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
In certain cases of OCD compulsions are totally absent and only obsessions are present. This has been called "Pure O" by some. Pure O is often called "intrusive thoughts" and involves having frightening, shameful, or strange thoughts that we don't want to have and fear might come true.
Signs of OCD
Ritualised patterns of behaviour.
Complex routines, done, for example, before leaving the house or going to bed.
Putting things is specific orders.
"Something terrible is going to happen."
"If I don't do X, something bad might happen."
"I'm going to do something terrible."
"My bad thoughts are going to come true."
"If something bad happens, it will be my fault."
Types of OCD
- Washing and Cleaning: This can include avoiding touching things for fear of contamination or germs. It can also include hand washing, taking long showers, or repeatedly cleaning household items.
- Checking and Repeating: This involves worrying that something bad will happen if certain checks are not done. Checks are often repeated so much that other daily tasks don't get done. Such checks can include repeatedly checking to see if electrical appliances are turned off or returning home to check the house door is locked. Other checks can include such things as needing to drive back to a certain place in order to make sure you have not knocked someone over.
- Ordering: This can include making sure things are in a specific order or in the right place. This can include making sure the bed is made in a specific way, or that items are put into specific patterns. When these orders are changed by someone else, this can cause a lot of anxiety or even a panic attack.
- Hoarding can mean being unable to throw things away without experiencing high degrees of anxiety. Anxiety can also result from people touching these possessions. Behaviours may include bringing home seemingly useless things and then being unable to throw them away.
- Thinking Rituals: These rituals of thought can include things like repeating certain numbers or words over and over. It can also include repeating prayers for non-religious reasons. This can involve saying the same thing over and over in order to feel safe. Here, there is a fear of "bad" thoughts, and an attempt to only think "good" thoughts or to block that bad thoughts out.
- Obsessions: Obsessions involve feeling anxious about negative thoughts that uncontrollably arise in the mind. There is usually the belief that these thoughts are uncontrollable. The fear is that such bad thoughts might come true. Such thoughts can be frightening, shameful, violent, or weird.
Causes of OCD
It is not your fault that you have OCD.
Recovering from OCD
In my personal experience it is important to state that recovery from OCD is possible. For many, recovery from OCD can feel impossible, but as a practising therapist I have witnessed many people fully recover. This can be a difficult, and sometimes scary process, but it can be achieved in a safe and therapeutic way when explored with a qualified counsellor / psychotherapist.
Again, please remember that recovery from OCD is possible, and research shows that counselling and psychotherapy can help.
OCD is not a life-sentence, but a form of anxiety that can be managed and healed.