Melissa Powex • 13th January 2018
An Anxiety Disorder. OCD is thrown around all the time ‘oh I have to have the TV on an even number’, ‘oh I must make sure I check my straighteners 3 times before I leave the house’. These thoughts can get in the way of you getting on with your daily functioning, especially if you have to return home to check your straighteners and makes you late for work. Absolutely, not a great start to the day. Your worries/anxieties are rooted in a fear that something bad will happen if you do not perform your actions. But there is little evidence to prove this in reality?!
OCD however, is more than a disruption in your day that can be rectified. OCD interferes with life significantly.
I see young people in my job who can’t get to school because they have a 3 hour ritual of cleaning in the bathroom before they can leave the house.
The most extreme OCD I have personally ever worked with was in an inpatient hospital. A young man who could not leave his room in the hospital for 2 months because of all of the rituals he needed to follow, ensuring everything was measured exactly the right distance apart from the next thing (with a ruler), he put everything in order in a specific order and it could not be interupted. This young man was highly intelligent and could absolutely justify his every word, action and reason for acting in the way he did. What was the most sad, was that his sole focus was making sure everything was in place so he felt ‘safe’ and in control of his environment as he could not control social situations, other people’s actions and thoughts.
Why is OCD an anxiety disorder – because anxiety is about ‘worries’ and ‘thoughts’ that pop in to your mind (sometimes for good reason – like – RUN! There’s a dangerous animal chasing us in the woods!) Realistic anxiety. When those thoughts are not really a threat – we have a problem. These thoughts become obsessive and where other people can push the thoughts away and rationalise – with OCD you will become more anxious about these thoughts. This will then drive a compulsion to behave or act in a particular way to reduce the anxiety about the thought.
Mind.org.uk talks more about OCD as well as many other websites.
I am writing my own understanding of what different mental health diagnosis’ are because I believe that some of you fitness fanatics, (just like all other people in the world with other jobs and hobbies!) will have elements of any of these mental health conditions and could do with a little extra help in understanding them.
I see lots of people in the gym that have their routine, some who bring extra tissue/towels to use the weights (I imagined because they are germphobic), however the fitness world and OCD in my mind go hand in hand. If you think you are ‘fat’, ‘overweight’, ‘eaten too much’, ‘having a bad day’ – what better way than to go to the gym and slip in to habits that are absolutely good habits for most – but can tip into unhealthy habits – when you cancel your friends because you can’t not go to the gym. Your routine is completely stuck and you feel like something bad will happen if you change things.
Have a think about it – OCD is a serious disorder and believe you me, not to be used as a condition that you have light heartedly. You should seek some help if you are teetering on the ‘is this me’ side.