06 Mar 2018 #Mental health

23 Things People Don't Realize You're Doi 3k Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can manifest in different ways, and many compulsions and obsessions are different than the stereotypes people typically believe about OCD. Some compulsions are obvious (hand-washing, organizing), while others are more subtle (counting, avoiding), and, despite the popularized narrative of OCD, it’s very possible to do compulsions without anyone noticing at all. To find out some less known manifestations of OCD, we asked people in our mental health community to share one thing people don’t realize they’re doing because of their OCD. Here’s what they shared with us: 1. “It may seem like I’m not listening when people talk to me, but I’m constantly going over every part of my day so far and everything that’s going to come to make sure it happened or happens the ‘right’ way.” — Kelly L. 2. “Skipping certain songs on my playlists or CDs. People think I dislike the songs, but I really just have a compulsion to skip certain numbered tracks on certain albums. It’s usually the third song. I’ve gotten better with that compulsion, it was very ‘strange’ in high school though.” — Michelle G. RELATED STORIES 26 Pictures That Show What OCD Really 'Looks' Like 17 Quotes That Prove OCD Is So Much 3. “I have to make sure the toilet paper roll and the paper towel roll is hanging so it comes over the top. Not only do the ones in my home have to be that way, but I change them in other people’s homes and in public bathrooms as well. It absolutely has to hang over the top no matter what.” — Stormy S. 4. “I pop my fingers constantly. My thumb knuckles more than the others. I’ve been told that it’s ‘cool’ that they pop there because apparently not everyone can pop that knuckle, but it’s not cool when it’s something I have to do or my fingers hurt. I just look like a regular person popping their fingers, not someone who is doing it compulsively.” — Ashley H. 5. “I have trichotillomania, which is on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. That’s the reason I always keep my hair plaited — so I’m not so tempted to pull it out. I’m lucky to have thick hair, so you can’t see most of the thin or bald patches I have but I still feel like everyone can tell. I wish I could stop doing it but it’s not that easy.” — Abi T. 6. “My mind can be playing the same song over and over again for thousands of times a day, and sometimes I may hum the lyrics over and over again… I have no control over it and people thing I do love the song so much, but in reality, it greatly depressed me.” — Lee W. 7. “I obsess to the point of panic attacks over my son dying. Also, my compulsiveness is I am a compulsive over-eater. I can eat until I throw up. People see me and just think I’m lazy, fat and have no determination. But they don’t realize food addiction is the hardest addiction to break. Also, between my depression and OCD, I having hoarding-like tendencies. I really wish people understood OCD is a spectrum and isn’t all about needing things perfect. Either side you’re on, it can be hell.” — Tiff K. 8. “Overthinking and rumination of every conversation and interaction can keep me up at night for fear of doing or saying something wrong.” — Nara D. 9. “There are so many things, but one big problem people don’t notice is the counting to four constantly and doing everything in sets of four — all the time, which includes having to tap the door four times as I enter or leave a room as well as many other things (all while also avoiding the number before four). It gets really frustrating.” — Sam B. RELATED STORIES I Have OCD. This Is What It’s Like to Be in My Mind for 3 Minutes. When I Realized I Was Not the 'Cure' for My Daughter’s OCD 10. “Pick the skin off my scalp. To most people it looks like I’m scratching my head. Back in school there were rumors that I was dirty and had lice because of this.” — Meika M. 11. “I try not to leave the last word of a sentence or a last photo on a line of its own. Also, if I listen to a song on YouTube, I have to play another one similar to it afterwards.” — Jess L. 12. “Repeatedly checking that the volume of music or the TV is at a certain number.” — Clare M. 13. “When I comment on posts or create posts, they are almost always edited. Yet, if you look at the edit history or notice the edits, the changes are minor. I will reword something, add words, remove words, whatever I have to do to keep the comment or post from having the last line too short. The last line of the paragraph can’t be just one or two words. I need the last line to be at least five or six words, so it comes to about one third of the way into the block of text. I do this for all posts, all comments, and even all of my work (I’m a writer and editor of web content and other publications). Then, I will look at the same comment or post from another device (phone, computer, laptop), and make sure that the block of text still ‘looks right’ with the last line being an acceptable length. It bothers me that everyone’s devices are different and I can’t control what the text may look like from someone else’s phone or computer. It also bothers me that although I can control what my work looks like on my own computer, I can’t control what it looks like once it’s published. I often spend a ridiculous amount of time on a single post or comment.” — Johnna R. 14. “Most people don’t understand why I can’t eat the last bite of food, or why I can only eat this bite and not that bite. They don’t understand why I have to mark the days off of our calendar when it’s still that day. They don’t realize that if I don’t do these things, they may die, or I may die or my family may die.” — Jenny M. 15. “Counting the number of people in a room to be sure if anything happens like a fire, then I’ll know how many people need to get out safely.” — Alyse P. 16. “I’m putting my left then right foot onto the same stair, instead of left on one, right on the next one, to make sure I take an even number of steps. Or that I’m alternating large and small steps to fit an even number in each sidewalk square.” — Rebekah B. 17. “I am obsessed with the left hand side. If I decorate, ornaments are on the left, or facing the left. I clean from left to right. I sleep on the left of the bed. Everything in my life revolves around the left hand side.” — Phineen C. 18. “With my OCD, I tend to reassurance-seek. I have thoughts that go around my head constantly and cause my great anxiety, the only way to relieve this for a short amount of time is by seeking reassurance (that’s the compulsion) by asking questions or reassurance that the thoughts aren’t true. One thing a lot of people don’t understand is when I tell them the thoughts are bothering me I get told to ‘just stop thinking about it,’ they don’t realize I physically can’t, they also don’t understand why specific situations terrify me for no rational reason… Or why I’m constantly asking the same questions over and over again.” — Bethany N. 19. “Having a messy home because I get so overwhelmed trying to micro-organize each area of my home, I never get anything truly organized. Having to overanalyze everything. Having to research every decision — every decision, even the sizing of clothing, and then being so overwhelmed with data that I can’t make a decision. And, much, much more.” — Tip N. 20. “I organize my Netflix list in alphabetical order. It also needs TV shows, movies, stand up, documentaries, etc organized separately, but again alphabetically.” — Audrey H. 21. “When I have to say the same thing over and over, people think I’m hard of hearing or forgot I already said it, but for whatever reason repeating things over and over helps me make sure they understand and that I remember. Usually twice, sometimes four or six times.” — Makayla B. 22. “Ignoring them, avoiding conversation. I always have my cell phone or a book with me. It’s a crutch, I know that, but it’s helpful for times I can’t communicate because 5,000 weird thoughts are pouring through my head. Obsessive thoughts make it hard for me to have a normal conversation on the phone or face-to-face, so I’ll pull out my phone to play a game or stick my nose in a book to avoid an awkward conversation where I’m not really paying attention or responding appropriately. I avoid personal telephone calls unless I’m speaking to my mother. I have to write out my questions and possible comments on paper, a script, before making business calls.” — Lori H. 23. “Asking someone if they’re mad at me or hate me.” — Alaina M. 24. “They see me as a controlling person, but I really am not. It’s simply my OCD that makes me afraid to be out of control.” — Maggie C. MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES Finding help Our programs Research via International OCD Foundation 427 5 RELATED VIDEOS Inside the Mind of Someone With OCD Sarah Schuster 3k Follow Me Follow: RELATED STORIES How I Felt When My Son Got Sick as Someone With OCD Kat Jayne Going to the Movies With OCD Richard Taylor What Living With OCD Is Like, in the Words of My 9-Year-Old Son Sarah Newman The Changing Colors of Anxiety Caz TOPICS My Condition, Listicle JOIN THE CONVERSATION What Living With OCD Is Like, in the Words of My 9-Year-Old Son By Sarah Newman I write about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Follow Me 395 36 April 11, 2017 “I am 9 years old and I have OCD. It’s really hard for me to go to school because I’m afraid I will do something weird, like swear or spit my food on the ground and then put it back in my mouth. I don’t want to do that, but the OCD in my brain tries to make me do it, so I am always stressed out. When I get home, the same things happen. At night, I want to swear or do something that will get me scared — like look under my bed for monsters. If I have a cut or bruise, I want to hurt it worse. So, every day, all the time, I’m stressed out or in a bad mood.” Those are the words of my son. He is an amazing kid: creative, energetic, friendly, kind and so many good things. But he is lonely. He is stressed. He feels like no one understands him. Last night, he told me he just wants a regular life, not ruled by OCD. My heart breaks for him because he feels helpless and that fighting OCD is too hard. RELATED STORIES 26 Pictures That Show What OCD Really 'Looks' Like 17 Quotes That Prove OCD Is So Much More Than Being Neat My son describes his school day like this: 9:00 a.m. — “Morning meeting: It’s fun but stressful because I’m afraid I will swear out loud or do something embarrassing in front of the class.” 9:30 a.m. — “Math: Stressful. I worry that I will make loud noises or write something inappropriate on the Smart Board or swear.” 10:30 a.m. — “Reading: More stress about swearing or making loud noises in the quiet classroom.” 11:10 a.m. — “Recess and lunch: I usually like recess, but sometimes I have urges to hurt myself. It’s good that it has been warm because my tongue won’t stick anymore if I put it on the metal poles. At the beginning of the school year, I couldn’t stop myself from looking directly at the sun. At lunch, I eat everything in bites of three and sometimes I ‘on purpose’ drop food on the floor and then feel the urge to eat it.” Continue reading this story... 395 36 The Changing Colors of Anxiety By Caz I write about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 53 Follow Me 29 1 April 6, 2017 I want to tell you a short story. It’s rather condensed and doesn’t cover the development of my anxiety or what it’s like to live with it now, but it’ll give you an idea. It’s quite scary to open up and share something like this, which I’ve not done before. It’s about not feeling embarrassed or ashamed, it’s about knowing you’re not alone. When I was a little girl, I was “quirky” in a way that was seen to be more bizarre than cute. Not everyone noticed it, and some things I would do would be classified as “just a phase” and something I “would grow out of.” Back then, things like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety weren’t really even recognized, let alone understood. For a child to experience OCD-type behaviors was unheard of. My mother hadn’t come across it before. It wasn’t until I was much older that I drew parallels between my behavior as an adult, and my behavior as a teen and as a child. One of my earlier memories is the before-school shoe debacle. Before I was old enough to get ready by myself, my mum would spend a considerable amount of time and patience attempting to get my socks and shoes on. The process would be repeated a few times until everything was just right. The problem was, the socks had to fit the same on each foot, and the shoes has to be the same tightness. When the other shoe was adjusted to match, it was adjusted just a little too much and the other one had to come off. Then the socks were messed up because they had skewed so those had to be started again too. It would go on like this for a while. RELATED STORIES 26 Pictures That Show What OCD Really 'Looks' Like 17 Quotes That Prove OCD Is So Much More Than Being Neat Then there were things like childhood face pulling, a repetitive and constant thing which just made me seem odd and peculiar. It was an obsessive habit, something I wasn’t even aware I was doing. But tell me not to do it, and I would itch to need to do it. Then there was the double tap; not with everything I touched, but when the need arose, it would be incessant and get under my skin. Touch something once on one side and I’d need to touch it on the other, to “even it up.” Tapped too hard on that side? Start again and tap the other side, just the right place and just the right pressure. Whether it was a book or a table, it didn’t matter. Continue reading this story... 29 1 The First Time I Felt Hope After Silently Struggling With Intrusive Thoughts By Alison Dotson I write about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Follow Me 62 0 April 4, 2017 Eleven years ago I went to New York City to celebrate a long St. Patrick’s Day weekend with friends, and I was miserable the entire time. From the outside looking in, nothing was out of place: My boyfriend had booked a unique hotel for us, and my friend was the perfect guide to her city. We went to Irish pubs, shopped, hung out on a rooftop and had delicious dinners out. I should have been having the time of my life, wishing the weekend would never end. But all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I’d been struggling with ugly, immoral intrusive thoughts for months, and by the time we left for our much-anticipated trip, I’d lost almost all hope that I’d ever feel like myself again. By the end of our long weekend, I’d been brought to my knees, desperate for help. The day my boyfriend and I got back to Minneapolis, I called a psychology clinic to make an appointment with someone who could prescribe antidepressants. It took an unbelievable amount of courage to dial the number and tell a stranger a small piece of my story – and I was met with an emotionless, “We’re booked for the next three months.” Click. RELATED STORIES 26 Pictures That Show What OCD Really 'Looks' Like 17 Quotes That Prove OCD Is So Much More Than Being Neat I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I knew it. I knew no one could help me. I pulled myself together. I couldn’t live like this any longer. I had to at least try. So I called my gynecologist’s office of all places, and told that small piece of my story again: I need help, I’m feeling really depressed. I think I need to go on an antidepressant. This time the voice on the other end of the line was understanding, and when we hung up I had an appointment for that very afternoon. Continue reading this story... 62 0 The One Aspect of My OCD I Am Certain About By Claire Cannon I write about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 68 Follow Me 82 1 April 3, 2017 Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’swebsite. The “doubting disease.” This is what obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is sometimes called. I have found it to be completely true that having OCD makes me doubt absolutely everything. In fact, one aspect of my OCD I can be certain about — ironically — is when I am doubting, I know it must be OCD. Just imagine this for a minute. You are in treatment for your OCD and the night before your weekly session, a wave of anxiety comes washing over you. You think to yourself, I can’t go. I just can’t. Why can’t you go? OCD might tell you if you go, you could be taking advantage of a service you don’t really need. Maybe it says if you go, it must mean you are a terrible liar who is manipulating everyone around you into thinking you have OCD, but you really do not. OCD might say if you go, you are heading into a session that costs more than it’s worth and more than what you deserve. It might say if you go, you are pretending your OCD is really bad enough to even be there (if you even have it at all). You crawl into the fetal position and let the tears roll down your cheeks. How can you believe what anyone is telling you? You can’t trust anyone. They are either lying to you or you are deceiving them into thinking you have something maybe you do not really have! How do they know if you have OCD or not? There is no brain scan to identify your obsessive-compulsive disorder. They can’t see inside your head, so how can they possibly know? And how can you even know for that matter? Because at this point you are too confused to sort through anything. Continue reading this story... 82 1 Watching My 12-Year-Old Son Grow Up With OCD By Deborah Kendall I write about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Follow Me 70 1 March 31, 2017 Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’swebsite. I watched my son from across the room, waiting for an answer to my question about his day at school. It’s our routine; he walks in and grabs a snack and I ask him to share the favorite part of his day. This time, I only heard crickets. I could tell my son wasn’t ignoring me; he was deep in thought, mumbling something to himself, over and over. This went on for over a minute. “Another one. Another one. Another one. Another one. Another one,” he would say in almost a whisper. Finally, as if no time had passed at all, he turned to me and apologized. “Sorry Mom, it’s my OCD. I have to say that phrase so many times.” This is only one of many compulsions my son struggles with, his brain telling him to do something he desperately wants to stop. His arms and legs bear scars from picking his skin to the point of bleeding. When I ask him if it hurts, he says yes, but he needs to pick anyway. RELATED STORIES 26 Pictures That Show What OCD Really 'Looks' Like 17 Quotes That Prove OCD Is So Much More Than Being Neat He has tried sitting on his hands, wearing gloves and trimming his nails very short. He often rubs his hair between two fingers, feeling the texture of the hair gel on his strawberry blonde locks. He tries to stop, but the compulsion is bigger. He can’t stop shooting basketball when it is time to eat dinner because he can’t end on a miss, even if that means he will be there 10 more minutes and miss 23 free throws. Dinner often goes cold. He has to have that just-right feeling or the world as he knows it stops turning. Continue reading this story... 70 1 Show more stories RELATED STORIES How I Felt When My Son Got Sick as Someone With OCD Kat Jayne Going to the Movies With OCD Richard Taylor What Living With OCD Is Like, in the Words of My 9-Year-Old Son Sarah Newman The Changing Colors of Anxiety Caz Show more stories 7,000 CONTRIBUTORS Submit Your Story 150 Million READERS Like Us on Facebook © 2017 Mighty Proud Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms

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