I've had OCD as long as I can remember. I'm what they call a 'checker', I check to make sure things are just so (the oven is off, the door is locked, there's nothing flamable near a socket, etc, etc, etc… and the list goes on). Most of the things I check have to do with safety, of myself and my family, but over the years I have noticed that the checking behaviour has grown to encompass anything I may deem important (i.e. my wallet, my phone, train pass, etc.) so that I am constantly checking to ensure these things are still in my possession. I am only 23 and this has consumed my life. My family just doesn't understand. Everytime they catch me checking something (and I say 'catch' because I try to hide it from them) they say something along the lines of 'didn't you just check that?' or 'I already did that' or simply a derisive'really?'. This reaction to my OCD has become socommonplace I'd like to say it doesn't bother me anymore, but that is a lie. Everytime I see the disappointment in their eyes when I give into another compulsion it still hurts, because even after all these years they still don't understand.

The worst part for me are what I call the two sides of myself; my OCD self and my 'sane' self. The 'sane' part of myself knows that the obsessions and compulsions are rediculous, that they have no bearing on the safety of my family. BUT the OCD part of myself just doesn't see it that way and is consumed with 'what ifs' that drive me insane; what if the stove was left on? so i check the stove. what if the stove was left on? at this point I begin arguing with myself that I just checked that, but to no avail…what if the stove is still on even though you checked it? what if you didn't see that it was turned off? what if you just thought you saw it set at off? then what? what if the element is still on? what if it catches fire? what if the fire spreads? what if the fire alarm doesn't work? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? until I just can't take it any more and my sane self gives in in order to keep a grasp onthelittlebit of sanity I have left. And of course this just doesn't happen once…oh no…it repeats, a vicious cycle from which I am free only when I completely surrender to the compulsion and focus only on relieving the obsession and the anxiety it causes.

I suppose what I trying to say is that I don't know how to keep on doing this. I don't know where to go from here. I have yet to find anything that works for me and I don't know what to do anymore. I can't go on like this or I WILL go insane, but what is the alternative? I've finally gotten my life together in almost every aspect except for this and I am afraid that it's progressing to the point where it might takeawayeverything I have worked so hard at achieving.

Can anybody help me? I don't normally ask for help, honestly I'm the one normally helping others, but I'm running out of options.

  1. ancientgeekcrone 10 years ago

    If you tell them, then maybe you will seek therapy services too.

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  2. raider916 10 years ago

     Sorry to hear about your struggle. Many of us here are very familiar with the viscious cycle that is OCD. I think having the added pressure of your family not understanding can be more stressful too. Maybe they should read a book or two (Brain Lock or OCD Workbook would be good) to understand it more and maybe then they can be supportive in a more efficient way. They dont understand why you aren't able to just check something once and be done. Logic takes a back seat with us. We know in our minds, deep down, that we just did this or that, but OCD makes us doubt and feel like we didn't. It has the uncanny ability to focus on the .00000001% or even 0% possiblilty, and doubt to the point where we feel like its a .99999999% probability. One horrible "what if" thought leads to another, to another to another on why we should check or do a compulsion. Its like we don't even think about all the things that could go wrong, they automatically enter our mind, while the "What IF I did do it right" thought sits quietly like it expects you to already know that you did it right. When you are sitting with anxiety, logic and reality seems less believable because OCD generates emotions that cause us to doubt. We react to the intrusive thoughts and it gives OCD more fuel. Reality and logic is being drowned out by the constant intrusive thoughts and triggered emotions, but they still never truly have the power to change reality. Deep down you know you checked things right, and the possibility of all the terrible things happening are very very unlikely, but its hard to see that when OCD using smoke and mirrors to block your logical vision. It is important to be able to identify the OCD thoughts as what they are, just thoughts, in order to better deal with OCD. Knowing that an emotion will be attached to the thoughts that will make you want to react is just as important. The hardest part is being strong enough to not react to them.

      Some people find help battling OCD by taking medication, therapy or both. Some deal with it without either. I found that educating myself about it to see how it works helpful. I have also found a medication that helps to dismiss some of the thoughts a little easier. It is always a challenge, but finding something that works for you can make your life and OCD more manageable. I hope you find comfort and help here and anywhere else, that will help you feel better and live a happier life. Welcome to the tribe!

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  3. Donnie_Brasco_9 10 years ago

    I am sorry to hear that you are deep in the OCD cycle. It can be very difficult to get out. I have never really been a checker, but my rituals can still greatly interfere with my daily functioning. I can't leave the house unless I have kissed my daughter and wife 9 times. I recently spoke to my psychiatrist and he suggested to just try to reduce the number a little bit. Instead of kissing 9 times, kiss 5. In your case, look to see if the stove is off, and then go. And even when you get all those other what if thoughts, live with the anxiety, and it will eventually subside. The more you give your obsessional thoughts validation by performing the compulsion, the more you are telling your OCD that it is right.

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