OCD symptoms, known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, make up an anxiety disorder but it is not an illness. No-one is born with it.
No-one can catch it. That is good news because if it is not an illness, you weren’t born with it, and you can’t catch it, then it can be cured.
Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death
Although you can’t catch it, you should be aware that others around you (for example, impressionable young children) may pick up on the insecurities and might develop similar anxieties and symptoms.
So if you believe you are a sufferer, it is in your interests and those around you to address it and seek help.
To all outward appearances, Clive is a jaunty, self-confident young man, good at mixing and meeting with new people and very efficient at his job.
He works away from home. When he leaves his lodgings in the morning he calls his wife.
He seeks reassurance that he has
unplugged the kettle, switched off the oven, switched off the hob,
unplugged every electrical appliance in the apartment and double-locked
the front door.
Sometimes that just isn’t enough and he has to go back and check.
None of the
things that Clive does appears in itself to be unreasonable.
What has happened though is that the importance of each of them has become exaggerated in his mind.
He isn’t content with a quick glance around the apartment before he leaves, finally locking the door.
Unwanted thoughts afterwards come into his mind and keep nagging him to check that he has really done all those things he thought he had.
No-one could be cleaner than Clive. He showers every morning. Sometimes more than once in the day. He often takes a bath as well. But he gets very worried about infecting other people with his germs.
If Clive is going through a particularly stressful period at work or at home, it gets worse.
He becomes more anxious about all those things in the apartment that he should have done, becomes even more concerned about infecting others with his germs, and he starts to remove toilet rolls each time he uses them and replace them with new ones.
What happens to Clive is what happens to all of us. Thousands of thoughts go through our minds every day, many of which are intrusive.
Most people most of the time discard
irrelevant intrusive thoughts and get on with what is important.
But in Clive’s mind some of them have an exaggerated importance. He makes pictures of what can go wrong, and you can be sure that they are big pictures, they are vivid and he plays them over and over again.
Once he sees these pictures and they have become of too great an importance in his mind, Clive feels the compulsion to take some sort of action to prevent the harm that he is imagining.
Hence, he gets rid of toilet rolls he has used because he fears he has left germs on them that will be caught by others.
When he fears he may have left the front
door unlocked, he has to go back and check (even though he may be some
considerable distance away) in case someone breaks in and steals
Clive also insists
that all his food is well-cooked. Of course, it is important that foods
like pork are well cooked and it is sensible to take proper
But when you get to the stage that you have to check all food carefully in case there is blood in it and you fear you, or your children, may catch a disease and die, the fear has become unreasonable; it has turned into an obsession.
There is a collection of things that bothers Clive: unpleasant thoughts come into his mind and he has difficulty getting rid of them and he therefore has difficulty controlling his own thoughts.
He washes and cleans obsessively; he checks things more often than necessary; he repeatedly checks doors, windows and locks; he repeatedly checks gas and water taps and light switches after turning them off.
Clive is generally excessively concerned
about cleanliness; he gets upset if others change the way he has
arranged his things; after he has done things, he has persistent doubts
in his mind about whether he really did them; he often checks things
again in case they might cause a fire.
is Clive. Some people have other fears that make up their OCD symptoms
such as: believing there are good and bad numbers; the need to repeat
certain words and phrases in their own minds in order to wipe out bad
They avoid throwing things away because they fear they might need them later; they go back to places because they fear they might have harmed someone.
they have to do things over and over again until it feels right; they
find it difficult to touch waste or dirty things; after doing something
carefully they still have the impression that they have not finished it.
They feel they have to repeat certain numbers; they need things to be arranged in a particular order; they feel the need to pray to cancel out bad thoughts or feelings.
They feel compelled to follow a certain order when they dress, undress and wash; they have thoughts of having hurt someone without knowing it; they collect things they don’t need.
These are examples. They don’t cover every person’s obsessions which may be infinite in their variety.
So in order to keep these things at bay, the OCD sufferer invents little rituals (like excessive washing, unplugging everything in the house etc) which they feel will keep them safe. But they inevitably find that it gets worse.
The anxiety increases, so do the OCD symptoms and the rituals become more intense. They constantly seek reassurance and they drive their friends and family members potty with their constant rituals.
If you find that you (or a family member or friend) are, like Clive, exhibiting OCD symptoms and engaging in a number of habits and compulsions like this which are significantly affecting your life, then it is important to acknowledge it and seek help.
NLP and hypnosis can help you if you suffer with this problem. Read about OCD Treatment and other articles that could assist you and, if you need one to one help contact an NLP practitioner or hypnotherapist:
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