A psychologist explained obsessive compulsive disorder to me as a flashlight. People with OCD focus their flashlight beam into a small, strong stream of light, rather than broad warm light. OCD is a mental illness that causes people to have distressing, intrusive, irrational thoughts, images or impulses, and to perform repetitive behavioral or mental acts aimed at reducing distress or some dreaded situation. OCD suffers often fear illness or contamination, making mistakes, or losing things. They indulge in obsessive hand washing, excessive checking, extreme hoarding, or uncontrolled organizing and arranging. Along with panic disorder, I also suffer from mild obsessive compulsive disorder. Individuals with one mental illness are more likely to suffer from another disorder. I constantly obsess over getting sick and passing germs. I guess you could say I am a legit “germaphob.” Like others with OCD, I compulsively wash my hands before eating, after touching money, in between classes, and after coming home. My OCD habits increase during times of stress and anxiety. In general, I obsess over things. OCD can cause debilitating habits, but it has also allowed me to accomplish great things. I usually obsess over something until I reach perfection. However, I have to consciously remind myself to stop obsessing and not stress over perfection. Through counseling and medication, like Paxil, I am learning to channel my OCD behaviors for good rather than destruction.
I found this great website on OCD run by a college student who suffers from the mental illness. Brittney, a college undergrad, shares her experiences on OCD, provides information on the disorder, and offers support. The following is an essay she wrote after recognizing she had OCD.
Never underestimate the power of the mind,” is a statement that I did not understand until recently. I was oblivious to the powerful truth behind this proverbial quote until one night in fifth grade. Only being in fifth grade, I never thought that one day or one moment could forever change the rest of my life. That life-altering moment came when I discovered I was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, and anxiety. Sitting on a floral couch in my best-friend’s living room, I made the connection when watching Jack Nicholson portraying a man with OCD in the movie As Good as it Gets.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic mental disorder that can lead to depression. OCD can impair one’s life on both physical and mental levels, and make a person lose their identity in the many false obsessions. I know that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I also know that this will always be an ongoing struggle. Fortunately, I have learned that this mental disorder is something that I can fight. I have learned to fight this with the help and support of my loved ones, doctors, and medication.
Waking up not feeling quite the same, I recalled the night before and what I discovered; I made the connection with OCD. From then on, a shocking depression inhibited my life. I remained isolated, confused, and in a world I could never imagine for the next five years. I learned that every ounce of joy could be drained from my heart, and only to be filled with hopelessness. Over time, when I become older, I slowly found a godsend in my life through the exhaustion and doubt. I decided to dedicate my life to becoming a psychologist for the mentally troubled youth. I wanted to change my seemingly disappointing and hindering secret to awareness and hope, which then could be passed to the OCD patient. Being affected with OCD changed me completely because I no longer take happiness and true sincere feelings for granted.