People often have the preconception that those who are suffering OCD are simply afraid of touching kitchen countertops, need to do certain rituals, etc..
Not that those symptoms aren’t debilitating, but there are so much more serious OCD symptoms and aspects people don’t know about.
These are the lesser known serious aspects of OCD, and how I’ve been called mentally ill when suffering through them.
Religious OCD is when people with OCD have thoughts and/or compulsions about how they have offended God. I went through a phase of compulsively “apologizing”, to God and basically everyone else. Obviously, every religion believes in being good to others, right? So, I developed a fear of “offending people”, and obviously if you “offend” someone, the right thing to do is to apologize to them. I started obsessing over “offending people”, usually from making a disgusting look on my face, saying something in an “annoying tone” etc. It got to a point where I had horrible twitches on my face 24/7 to prevent myself from making offensive looks at people. I couldn’t even walk straight sometimes. I even started apologizing to strangers. People started to call my mentally sick, my grades plummeted, I lost all my friends, and I was a shame to my family.
This one’s a bit more common. You constantly get thoughts about ways you can harm your loved ones. For me, I constantly got thoughts of ending the life of my parents. What’s even worse, I even got thoughts about the “benefits” I would get from harming my mom and dad. ABSURD benefits that don’t even make sense. For example, if I harmed my parents, I would go to jail. If I went to jail, then I would become a happier person, because once I got out, I would become more grateful for what I have in life. WHAT?! I constantly had these thoughts, and boy I can tell you it was not fun. I’d practically go to sleep at night thinking “What if I get out of bed and harm my parents?”
This came to my religious prayers and cleansing rituals. I would come home from school around 3:00 P.M. and do the rituals until 8:00 P.M. I remember crying and wailing on the floor because I could just never finish it. It practically took over my life, and when we went to religious events, I remember being such an embarrassment to my family.
There are many other manifestations of OCD that I’ve suffered, but these are the main ones that have severely debilitated my life. This is how I have overcome them.
Therapy- ERP and CBT therapy have been very effective for me. Find a therapist who is goal orientated, who can help you set up a daily schedule to conquer your OCD.
Once you place less importance on your fears the OCD lessens. For example, when I use to have Harm OCD thoughts, I obviously would freak out because I would never want to harm my parents. Then, I started to think to myself “If I harmed my parents, what is the worst that can happen?” (to my OCD soaked head, I wouldn’t actually think like that). Don’t battle logically within your OCD head; that’s going to make everything worse. OCD makes you think everything is logical, when in reality it isn’t.
Find something that you are passionate about, like a hobby- Once you find a hobby, or something that takes a lot of concentration, you don’t have time to think of OCD thoughts.