An Anxiety Disorder. OCD is thrown around all the time ‘oh I have to have the TV on an even number’, ‘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 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 person who could not leave his room in hospital for 2 months because of all of the rituals they needed to follow.  Ensuring everything was measured exactly the right distance apart from the next thing (with a ruler).  They put everything in a specific order and it could not be interrupted. This young person was highly intelligent and could absolutely justify every word, action and reason for acting in the way they did. What was the most sad, was that their sole focus was making sure everything was in place to feel ‘safe’ and in control of the environment.  Interestingly, the young person had a diagnosis of Asperger’s and therefore struggled with and could not control social situations, other people’s actions and thoughts.

Why is OCD an anxiety disorder –

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.  In the case above, the fear was not being able to control other people and things.

Do you need help?

www.mind.org, www.nhs.co.uk, www.youngminds.co.uk

There are lots of places to google ‘help’.  However, even if you see your GP for an initial discussion, you will have to be VERY specific about why you think you have OCD.  If you tell a GP that you think you have OCD because you can’t walk across 3 drains in a row and that’s it, the GP will not refer you to see anyone.

Talking to your GP and understanding what is significantly debilitating and what is anxiety can be helpful.

Fitness anxiety/OCD –

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 germ-phobic), 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, they can tip into unhealthy habits.

When you cancel your friends because you need to go to the gym. Your routine is completely stuck and you feel like something bad will happen if you change things.  You may need to think about why you need the gym so much?!

Have a think about it – OCD is a serious disorder and believe me, not to be seen as a condition that is just a minor problem.  You should seek some help if you are teetering on the ‘is this me’ side