I thought I would revisit this topic of, “What it feels like to me”. Previously I wrote about what being Lonely feels like and What Being Anxious Feels Like. In this post I’ll be talking a bit about what being a survivor with OCD and what that feels like. At least what it feels like to me.
As always, this is how I feel on a daily basis, and while it’s not likely to be the same as what you feel exactly, you might be able to relate to the overall feeling of obsessions and compulsions.
According to the NIMH, National Institute of Mental Health – OCD is described in the following way: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
The Obsessive side –
I obsess about my recovery from childhood sexual abuse. It’s a driving force in me to educate myself, understand flashbacks, and to validate and be validated. I’m one of those people that’s either all the way over there or all the way over here, one extreme or the other. I jump in with both feet and hit the ground running once I set my mind to something. There is no middle ground or doing something half-assed.
Having that type of personality means that I am driven and laser focused on what I’m doing. That is both a positive and a negative. The positives are obvious: I know I need to heal so I am putting in the hard work to have the life I want and to not let my past rule my future any longer.
The negative is that I can become so focused and driven to heal that I don’t take much time for self-care and down time. I know it’s important, very important, but I’m just not great at it. Yet! I’ll get there though. Otherwise I will risk burn out, and that is not an option I can afford to have happen.
Hence most everything else has taken a back seat, in favor of my recovery. So am I obsessive about it? Yep! For better or worse.
The Compulsive side –
- Locking the door twice and checking it several times before I leave the house.
- Checking the back door and windows more than once just before leaving to make sure they are locked. Even though I know they are already locked.
- Checking that my keys are attached to my belt loop probably a few dozen times a day.
- Making sure I have my work badge constantly during the work day, even though I know it’s always on me.
- Checking the thermostat regularly even though I already know what it’s set at.
- Cleaning the counter several times after cooking dinner.
- Looking at myself in the mirror multiple times to see if what I’m wearing looks OK. No, I’m not vain, just self-conscious and compulsive to wear slimming type of clothes.
- At work I double and triple check an email before I send it. I will tweak a spreadsheet endlessly to make sure it’s perfect before sending it out. While that is partly just being conscious of my work being done properly, it’s also compulsive because I will check and recheck every single thing repeatedly.
- When I’m writing a blog post, I will spell/grammar check it multiple times and there are usually a dozen revisions before I post something up. I read and reread it many, many times.
- Just generally not being able to let something go. I have to repeat it over and over in my head and make sure I’m getting my point across clearly. Talk about compulsively Over Thinking!
So is all of this really obsessive/compulsive or more normal than I realize? I suppose you can make a case either way but it seems pretty OCD to me. One thing I know for sure, I can relate to the struggles that countless others deal with in their daily lives. Even if mine are different than yours, that’s ok because the while the acts and thoughts may be different, the feelings and stress is the same.