A girl with too many thoughts...

Friday, 1 July 2016

Misconceptions Surrounding OCD

Since suffering from OCD, something that has become really apparent to me is the misconceptions and misunderstanding surrounding the condition. People generally don't really know much about it, and why would they? Unless you have reason to, it's not something most people read up on in their spare time. Some of my personal favourite stereotypes include:

"everyone with OCD washes their hands loads"

"everyone with OCD likes things being really organised"

"everyone with OCD is afraid of germs"

Whilst, for many, these are in fact extremely debilitating aspects of their OCD, not everyone will experience them, but this doesn't make their struggle any less real or worthy of treatment. Personally, hand washing did become a major part of my OCD, and my hands became extremely sore, cracked and bled a lot. Before that though, my OCD was completely focused on something entirely different, the idea of contamination or germs didn't ever enter my head!

That's the thing about OCD, it really has no rhyme or reason to it. It is irrational, confusing and complex. Even the person experiencing the condition doesn't always understand it! This makes it extremely individual and unique to you. Some of your obsessions and compulsions, or even all of them, are bound to differ from those of others.

This is something I particularly used to struggle with. The idea that I couldn't possibly have a 'real problem' that needed treatment if I didn't comply to the endless stereotypes that this condition is victim to. 'Surely I can't have OCD if I don't worry about germs or care if my room is tidy or like to organise my folders or want the tins of baked beans to be lined up in the cupboard?'

(Also, I cannot stress enough that nobody with OCD 'likes' to do whatever they're doing. Having to constantly carry out compulsions causes extreme anxiety and distress - nobody with OCD wants to do it, rather they feel compelled to by the intense dread of something terrible happening if they do not.)

However, I have come to realise more and more that everyone's experience is different, and comparing yourself to everyone else really isn't helpful. Instead, it is important to focus on your own experience and finding the best treatment for you, not someone else.

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