The words get thrown around in casual day to day conversations, often attributed to somebody who likes cleanliness, order or plans. “Oh I get really mad at clothes lying here and there, I have an OCD.”, “Oh god, you’re always making lists, such an OCD.” We’ve heard this phrase so many times, this article sheds light on how OCD is not as simple as we think.
OCD looks different in different people. A couple of words that come up while explaining how one suffering from OCD feels are ‘exhausting’ and ‘anxious’. The obsessive compulsive disorder, in simpler words, according to Dr. Michelle Blanchard is a complex mental illness, where people may find that they are troubled by recurrent unwanted thoughts, images or impulses as well as obsessive actions and repetitive rituals. Unlike the thoughts about, if we turn off the geyser, or if the front door is locked, the thoughts occurring in OCD are much more persistent and disrupt a person’s lifestyle.
Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a person suffering from OCD. You come back home from work and you need to wipe your entire house, the thought is that if you fail, you might contract a very serious illness. So as soon as you are back from a tiring day at work. You spend all your time cleaning the house first. You do so without thinking about anything else like cooking a meal, working out or even relaxing after a long day. In another case, you might feel like you need to hoard onto all the clothes as if you discard or give away any piece, you will need to wear it the very next day.
Mental health professionals often use psychotherapy and various relaxation techniques to help those suffering from OCD. In some cases medicines are put to use.
OCD is much larger than the common notion of cleanliness.
It interferes with one’s daily functioning. Making fun of someone, asking them to simply stop and not think about something etc. does more harm than good. People with OCD, contrary to popular belief do not strive for control, they merely need control as their mind tells them that things are not going well and that not having the steering wheel causes them great discomfort and distress. The severity, symptoms and reason of OCD highly depends on the person and their environment. Genetic and environmental factors are said to lead to OCD. And no matter how severe, OCD is curable.
If you or anyone you know feels like they might have OCD like symptoms, feel free to reach out to a mental health professional.
Devyani Singh is a certified Art Therapy Practitioner and has been working in the field of mental health with an intersectional approach.
Currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology, she aims to work with children and adolescents as she believes that emotionally healthy children make well rounded adults.
Devyani has been actively creating both long form and short form content around emotional wellbeing and has worked in various NGO settings for the upliftment of children and the marginalized communities.