What does it feel like to have OCD?
Last Updated: 03/25/2020 at 7:05pm
Jamie Rautenberg, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I'm passionate about helping clients understand emotional experiences & mental chatter do not define who they are. I'm here to guide them through the fog back to themselves.
Top Rated Answers
I’m walking down the stairs. *touch that. Touch it again. Tap the wall.* I lose count *DO IT AGAIN DO IT AGAIN DO IT AGAIN YOUVE MADE SOMETHING BAD HAPPEN* It’s constant images, thoughts, urges to tap, to count, to wash my hands. It’s every day, no stop, no break. It’s exhausting.
It feels like you are trapped in your own head and you have no control over your thoughts, they control you. They are taking full control over your life then they force you to do things you don’t want to do but you just have to do them anyway or else something bad will happen. Or at least they make you believe that something really awful will happen. It is really hard to escape because when you’re suffering mentally, it is only you who can fix it as no one else has access to your thoughts or inside your brain.
It is like I am controlled by a puppeteer. One part of me tells me everything is fine just the way it is, but the other part of my brain convinces me that I have to count money over and over again or that my hands aren't clean enough after washing it ten times or that something bad will happen if I don't check my pockets again. It takes away at least two hours from my days and compulsions happen everywhere and everytime, It is a real struggle to go out with friends because they don't know about my issue and they sometimes make fun of my 'stupidity'. It is a real struggle to go out with my friends because compulsions happen
OCD feels like compulsions. OCD feels like certain things must be done in certain ways, exactly so. OCD is a compelling and powerful disorder, going far beyond the occasional extra washing of one's hands. OCD feels like it is in control of you and your actions, not the other way around.
OCD can be compared to overeating. When you overeat, you feel a constant and unbearable craving for food. Not because you actually need it, but because it feels like it does. It comforts you, it makes you feel satisfied, it keeps anxiety at bay. OCD works almost exactly the same way. People suffering from this disorder feel an obsessive and compulsive wish to perform certain "rituals" - repetitive actions that grant them a sense of security and comfort. Being unable to perform those rituals can make someone experiencing OCD extremely anxious and unhappy. It's a very challenging disorder and it never truly goes away: it's only learnt to deal with.
To put it in basic terms, OCD can feel like mental torture. I've struggled with it for the better part of 6, 7 years (diagnosed for only a month and a day though), and my gosh, does it feel great to put a name, a condition, to my thoughts and impulses. But it also feels horrible to have it, because after a while it sort of sinks in... OCD isn't curable and it's something a person lives with forever. But, there are certain things that can help it, such as medications and therapies. My own personal experience with OCD? It's something that can be managed, but it takes time. It's thought after thought, urge after urge, do this or something will go wrong... it's never-ending. But, it's manageable. It's a spectrum, which means it's different for everyone who has it - but having OCD doesn't always make a person extra-clean or tidy! It acts like an emotional barrier for some.
It feels horrible!!
Having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a different experience for everyone who has it, to be honest. There are not only many different symptoms, but there are different types as well. Personally, I struggle with intrusive thoughts the most. Intrusive thoughts are basically thoughts that aren't your own. They can typically be about scary and/or taboo subjects, like sex and disease. I also struggle with worries about contamination and germs, friendships and other relationships in my life, etc. Overall, OCD is a pretty tough to deal with, like many other mental illnesses. It can take over some aspects of your life, but with the correct support and/or medication, a person with OCD's quality of life can greatly improve.
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