This week is OCD awareness week. I have written about my OCD before during Mental Health Week and received a great amount of support for sharing my story. The focus words for OCD awareness week are Take Action. Which is what I want to do. I want to take action by sharing more about my OCD.
OCD suffers can be terribly stereotyped, which can not only cause frustration, it can also prevent people who may be suffering from OCD from seeking help. I have lost count of how many times I have heard people say “I have to check the door is locked, I’m a bit OCD” or “I wash my hands after touching something dirty, it’s my OCD quirk”. These quotes can be incredibly detrimental to people who genuinely suffer from OCD.
OCD when not controlled can be incredibly time consuming. When my OCD is at it’s worse, I can spend so much time making sure everything feels just right. Whether this be checking a door is closed whilst counting to a specific number, or washing my hands until they feel the right kind of clean. Many of my compulsions are not seen by others, which is why I refer to my OCD as my invisible illness. People are shocked when they discover I suffer with OCD, I have even had people tell me “If you think you have OCD, doesn’t that mean you don’t have it? as people who have it don’t know”.
I am not a neat person, I don’t need to line everything up the right way and am not too fussed if I wear an un-ironed shirt. But I do have to check things are locked a certain amount of times, I wash my hands until they are sore sometimes and I suffer with swallowing anxiety. My OCD list can seem endless at times, but I am confident I am managing it very well at the moment.
A diagnosis of OCD does not mean you suddenly don’t need to perform your compulsions anymore. I suffered with OCD for many years before I was diagnosed, in this time my OCD escalated to severe levels. But I received very good treatment from a psychologist who taught me how to control it. It will never leave me and can change just like the weather. But for me it isn’t a taboo. I am happy to talk about my OCD and answer questions in the hope that it may inspire someone who feels they have OCD to seek help.
OCD Action has a great site with information on actions to take if you think you have OCD, they also provide some great resources to help once you are diagnosed. It’s also important to talk to those around you if you feel you are suffering. C is incredibly supportive, but just like me, she had to learn about my diagnosis too.
If you wish to discover more posts and tweets during OCD Awareness week, check the hashtag #OCDWOA on twitter.