It’s tough having OCD. But guess what? With the right knowledge and help, you can figure out how to stop OCD (or at least stop it ruling your life).
By Ava Wilde
How many times have you heard someone casually say, “I’m so OCD!” when they straighten a crooked picture frame or align their pencils?
But unlike the occasional urge to organise your spice rack alphabetically, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or OCD) can actually really disrupt daily life and cause a huge amount of distress.
“THAT RELENTLESS CHATTERBOX IN YOUR MIND DISHING OUT INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS CAN LEAVE YOU EMOTIONALLY DRAINED.”
What is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions).
The obsessions cause anxiety or distress, and drive you to perform the compulsions to reduce the anxiety or prevent a feared situation. However, these compulsions usually only offer temporary relief, and the cycle of obsessions and compulsions continues.
How OCD Affects Daily Life
The Feels Rollercoaster
That relentless chatterbox in your mind dishing out intrusive thoughts can leave you emotionally drained. These thoughts often focus on fears that are irrational, yet cause tremendous anxiety. Simple things like going to work, maintaining relationships, or even eating can become complex rituals filled with stress and worry.
The Time-Sucking Vortex
Then there’s the rituals, babe. We’re talking about those ‘gotta-do-it-right’ moments, like washing your hands a zillion times or triple-checking everything. These can gobble up so much of your day that even the basics become a marathon.
Having OCD can sometimes mean you avoid going out, just in an attempt to dodge those pesky triggers. And as much as we love our tribe, sometimes they just don’t get the depth of the storm in our minds, making the journey feel a tad lonelier.
The “It’s Just A Quirk” Myth
The cherry on top? The societal misunderstanding of OCD further perpetuates feelings of isolation and embarrassment, leading many to suffer in silence or not seek help at all.
Managing OCD: Steps You Can Take
Living with OCD is undoubtedly a struggle, but it’s important to know that it is manageable and that help is available.
- Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most effective treatments for OCD. It involves exposing individuals to their fears in a controlled, therapeutic environment and teaching them new ways to approach and react to their triggers.
- Medication: Antidepressants like SSRIs are often prescribed to help manage the symptoms of OCD.
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Methods like mindfulness meditation or progressive muscle relaxation can help you become aware of your thoughts and feelings and make it easier to control your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
- Regular exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, which naturally elevates your mood and can reduce anxiety.
- Educate loved ones: The more your friends and family understand about OCD, the better they can support you.
- Join a support group: Sharing your experiences and hearing from others who are going through the same thing can offer immense relief and practical advice.
OCD is far more complex than wanting a clean kitchen or enjoying a symmetrical layout. It’s a serious mental health condition that affects every facet of life. However, a combination of professional help, lifestyle changes, and a strong support network can significantly improve the quality of life for those living with OCD.
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, take the first step towards management and seek professional guidance. Life with OCD may be challenging, but it is also very much liveable.
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