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What We Miss When We Talk About OCD

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I think we miss something when we talk about OCD. All we seem to talk about is the counting side or cleanliness side, but there are other sides.

I struggle with OCD, but I am not a very neat person, and sometimes I forget to wash my hands, but I still have OCD.

My struggle with OCD is more internal. I see images in my head all the time that I can’t make go away and that I obsess over, then do something odd in an effort to make it go away.

I see myself hurting people. I see myself doing inappropriate things. I see myself going off on someone. I see a scratch and worry I have a staph infection. My head feels funny, so I must have a brain tumor. And I can’t make it stop, so I cut, or I scratch, or I bounce, or I crack all three joints in my fingers, or I count my steps between cracks trying to keep them the same, or so on to make it go away. Sometimes I avoid the person involved so I don’t accidentally do that, and when you have OCD, that can turn into a lot of people, so you can’t be around anyone. I am even obsessing right now that someone is going to read this and tell me I am wrong, I don’t have OCD, I am just dramatic or pathetic. But I have been diagnosed by two different doctors, so I know I have OCD, but I still obsess.

When someone says they have OCD, don’t contradict them by saying they have a messy room or dirty hands — their experience may be different. Not everyone who has OCD is Monk. Try to remember that next time you want to say, “I’m so OCD.”

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If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: November 5, 2017
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