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5 Things I Can't Do Because of My OCD

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder is widely associated with “neat freaks” or washing your hands at every available moment, but it can affect everyone differently. Here are some things I can’t do because of my OCD. Maybe this will change some opinions on how the disorder can affect people’s lives.

Five things my OCD doesn’t let me do:

1. Hold my mothers hand: I can’t hold my own mother’s hand without being afraid of the germs she may transfer into me. Out in public or in times of distress sometimes you need to hold somebody’s hand, but my OCD has taken that privilege away from me.

2. Cry: I don’t allow myself to cry because I think my tears may contain germs. After a family death or just a generally tough day I want nothing more than to just cry and let my emotions out, but instead I lay with my head back so the tears cannot roll, and even if they somehow do, nobody can wipe them away for me.

3. Use shower gel: This may be surprising for those of you who associate OCD specifically with cleanliness. Personally I am terrified of germs on my hands rather than on the rest of my body so to use shower gel to clean my body may result in those germs reaching my hands. This is not only shameful for me but disheartening as washing has become much more difficult.

4. Talk about my fears: I am terrified if I speak aloud about my fears they will materialize. There are certain words I will not say for fear of them taking effect on myself or my family. This results in me never being able to talk about my illogical thinking because I simply cannot vocalize my fears. This may not sound too distressing, but let me tell you it can keep you up at night.

5. Use my hands: Due to the intense fear of germs transferring into my hands I have developed other ways in which I go about my everyday life. You may see me using my elbows to pick up clothes from the day before or using my foot to open a door. This is not only impractical but looks particularly odd to outsiders looking as I attempt to type in my PIN number with my elbow.

So, these are fie things my OCD prevents me from doing. Although these may seem strange, I wanted to highlight the less obvious ways this disorder can affect people’s lives. If you take nothing else away from this, please, if you can, hold your loved ones’ hands and cry at sad films because you may not realize the value in these things until they’re gone.

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Thinkstock photo by m-imagephotography

Originally published: January 30, 2017
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