Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD
What if OCD?
OCD, is an obsessive disorder that can take control over a person’s life. OCD consists of routines / rituals and intrusive thoughts and feelings. OCD can have a dramatic effect on the person’s self-esteem and confidence and interfere with their everyday activities and relationships.
What causes OCD? Well the answer is no one really knows however, there are certain factors that may affect a person.
They are as follows:
Hereditary, there may be a history of OCD within the family, not to get this mixed up with learned behaviour.
Life experiences, traumatic events may play a factor for example, near death experience, sexual assault etc.
Changes in the brain activity and not enough serotonin can cause a change in behaviour.
Effects of OCD
OCD, can have an adverse effect on the person in terms of not wanting to go out, taking time to carry out their rituals, struggle with change or being spontaneous. In turn, the person may become isolated, lose touch with friends and family as they don’t want anyone to see their behaviour and may feel embarrassment or shame. If they are in a relationship OCD, can have an affect and put a strain on their relationship. This may leave the person with OCD feeling anxiety and stress and as for their partner, they may become frustrated as they may not fully understand that OCD is a disorder.
If you have traits of OCD or are worried that you may have symptom of OCD, it is important to seek support via your GP and this may include any diagnosis. Your GP may give you medication and suggest CBT that can help you to manage intrusive thoughts, challenge negative thoughts and learn how to manage your OCD to minimise the effect it has on your every day life. If you have a partner it is also important to educate them and help them to understand how they can support you (this does not mean enabling them).
What may help
So what can you do if you have OCD? I guess if we brake down OCD in terms of symptoms, negative thoughts and feelings and or lack of serotonin in the brain. You may say that these symptoms are similar to stress and anxiety e.g. negative thoughts and feelings, stress and anxiety cause the brain to produce too much what I call “negative hormones” e.g. cortisol and adrenalin. Although sometimes Adrenalin can help us when we need energy to get us out of harms way in terms of ‘fight or flight’.
So, things like meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, CBT experiment sheets, worksheets on negative thoughts or intrusive thoughts. Also, exploring when your OCD started, what was going on in your life, was there an event that has triggered your OCD? Exploring life experiences may help you make sense of your OCD which in turn may help you to understand and learn how to manage it so that the effects are minimised and have less effect on your life.
Getting the right help is important and being open to support, you can only make change if this is truly what you want. This for some is a big step, as this will mean being open and telling the people around them that they have OCD. Sometimes, people who have OCD may try to keep it a secret as they don’t want family and friends to find out. This may be due to embarrassment or feeling a failure.
OCD can have a negative impact on self-esteem and confidence. If you decide to have counselling therapy, your counsellor will support you in building self-esteem and confidence, learning ways of managing your OCD and challenge negative or intrusive thoughts.
Remember, OCD is a disorder so don’t be too hard on yourself, there may be factors that have contributed to you having OCD.
My message to you
Be kind, don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t impose high expectations on yourself. Seek help, learn to live and minimise the effects of your OCD and do activities that enhance your self-esteem and confidence and produce those ‘happy hormones’.
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