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5 Ways to Love Someone With OCD

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You may not know this about me, but I struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).  I want to be loved. I need to be loved. I know sometimes it is hard to love me, but I need to be loved.

Here’s what I want those who love me to know:

1. Understand routine is important to me.

In my head, I have already planned and mapped out how many minutes of sleep I can get based on what time I go to sleep (not to bed). I have also figured out what time, by the second, I need to leave my house in order to get to school/work and how fast I need to drive to beat traffic. I complete my hygiene and put on my clothes in a specific order. Otherwise, I’ll walk out of the house headed to work in house shoes or leave the door unlocked or the garage open. Sometimes, just giving me a few minutes to complete my routine means the world to me and makes me feel loved.

2. Understand my brain processes millions of thoughts a minute.

About 20 percent of these thoughts actually make it out of my mouth. The other thoughts are running too fast or I get anxious to say them. This happens because I don’t think you want to listen to them or that I’m not making sense, which is why I may talk fast and in run-on sentences! Sometimes, just repeating back to me what I said is helpful. This let’s me know someone is listening and that I am making sense, even if the actual words I am saying make no sense. Realizing someone is right there, present with me in that moment, makes me feel loved.

3. Understand that change sometimes gives me panic attacks.

You probably don’t realize this because I plan for change way in advance so I can anticipate every possible outcome and plan accordingly. It is not that I do not want or like change. It just sometimes completely throws my routine, one I had mastered and perfected, off. Now, I have to create another one. Please, explain to me why the change is happening. Please, give me an opportunity to ask questions about the change. Please, do not take it any of this personal. My concern with change is more that I will make a mistake or let someone down. I need an opportunity to “reprogram” and create a new routine. Having someone listen and empathize with me through this process makes me feel loved.

4. Understand I am always absorbing information and knowledge.

This is not to be a know it all, but I have to be prepared for everything and have an answer for something if I am asked a question. If I seem boastful because I know something, then it is usually not because I want to look better than someone. It is more of a personal success of a challenge I created for myself. Please, allow me an opportunity to share my perspective and insight with you. It does not matter to me if you apply what I am offering or even agree with it. Having someone acknowledge the work I have accomplished in acquiring all of this knowledge makes me feel loved.

5. Understand sometimes it is hard to be me.

A person’s individual struggle with OCD is similar to others, but they are not all alike. It is sometimes exhilarating and thrilling to be able to get the questions right during trivia, a board game or to be considered a walking dictionary or encyclopedia. It is also frustrating when it takes me extra time to complete a task than it does other people. Another frustration are places like yard sales, where things are not lined up or in symmetrical order is hard for me to take. You don’t realize how hard it is not to go somewhere and fix a painting that is hanging crooked on a wall. For me, not fixing the crooked painting is progress! Expressions of love, giving me a hug, leaving me a note, sending me a text message or just sitting down with me are ways that help me not obsess so much and it is an eternal reminder I am loved.

Of course, this is only a small percentage of the ways to love someone with OCD, but you have a starting point.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: November 17, 2016
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