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Does this sound like OCD?

Alexxx-Returns

The Sergal that Didn't Vore
E. Sorry for the long ass post. This is kind of the short version.

I kinda feel stupid talking about any of this but it's good to get it off my chest. I kind of... just want to know if this is OCD or whether it's something else, just so i know what to call it, and so I can get a starting point on getting past it.

So I don't have any issue with microbes, generally. I don't actually normally have ANY issue, but you guys probably are aware that I get a lot of body piercings, creating new channels into the bloodstream... which is meant to be sterile, and the possibilities are completely endless of what sort of havoc my brain likes to tell me will occur if a foreign body gets into it.

I'll try and explain what bothers me the best I can.

So, one example is that when I lived in my old bedroom, this mysterious black stuff kept falling from the ceiling, onto one side of the room. I would find it on my bedside table, on my dresser, on the model parrot I made and hung up, and on my noteboard. I couldn't identify this stuff at all, might have been spider droppings, might have been literally parts of the ceiling falling off from the hammering when the house was re-thatched. The fact that I couldn't identify it made it even worse for me.

So, multiple times before, and multiple times since moving bedrooms (to a new bedroom where this doesn't happen), the bedside tables have been wiped off, so no black stuff on them. But to me, they are still dirty. If I can get away with putting as little on the back of these surfaces as I can, I will. I have deodorant cans there that I don't like to touch because then I'll get the black stuff on my hands (and then touch my new piercings and get the black stuff in my bloodstream and die).

It's basically like a game of contamination-tag. The dresser table is contaminated, then I put my make-up bag on this, and now that bag is contaminated. I pack that bag up to go sleep over at a friend's, and the pyjamas that were next to the make-up bag when I packed all the stuff up, is now contaminated. And that means I have to wash my hands off if I touch any of this stuff before I manage to give IT a wipe down.

And the noteboard, I had tacked up on the wall in my new room, and the blu-tack wasn't strong enough to keep it on the wall. It fell down, and fell in the gap between my bed and the wall, touching most of my stuffed animals that I keep on the bed. Now, they all have the black stuff on them, and I haven't been able to bring myself to touch them since.

This makes doing my job (I work at a hospital) difficult. I mean, I DO my job, but there's ALWAYS things eating away at me. When I finish working at this job, I'm throwing away all my work shoes. I don't walk into my bedroom (meant to be a safe haven from all this shit I think) with those shoes on. I've thrown out perfectly good uniforms over having like... one certain thing touch my clothing for like, a fraction of a second and thinking... I CANNOT let this uniform go in the wash with all my other clothes. What if that uniform got washed alongside one of my bras - what touched my uniform for that brief moment would get all over my bra, and into my piercings, and into my bloodstream and again, my brain loves to give me the worst case scenario for all this. So yeah, I had to cut that shirt up into rags as "insurance", so my mum wouldn't put it in for washing anyway and tell me she had thrown it out (she doesn't take any of my concerns seriously but she was really good about this, but still annoyed that i cut up a perfectly good shirt).

There are parts of the floor in my bedroom that I cannot even walk over. My friends and I were exploring an abandoned building the other weekend, and I wear pants that are really, REALLY flared at the ankle, and we walked past this stuff on the ground (that looked, now I have been looking online at pictures) like fiberglass insulation, but one of the group said sarcastically that it could have been asbestos. And then after that I was like "oh god, the legs of my pants brushed against it (might not even have but I can't risk thinking like that). That means I've brought it into my room, and the legs of these pants have touched all my other items of clothing I dump on my bed, and on my bed itself, draped on the floor (hence not being able to walk on this part of the floor, because worst case scenario is it has asbestos on it now), and so on and so forth and into my bloodstream, yada yada yada.

Most of the time, I just grit my teeth and get through whatever it is that is bothering me, and if I touch something that is dirty, I go wash my hands off and I'm fine. It really is a case of "what you don't know can't hurt you", because, in theory, EVERY surface in the world has its story to tell. And I don't wanna know them, I really don't. I touch all these surfaces and I'm fine, I haven't died yet of an infection or anything.

I never thought of it as a real problem until recently. I'm having a friend over in my new bedroom for the first time since moving in, and I really did have to warn him that there were certain things in this room that if he touched or picked up, he HAS to put them back EXACTLY where he found them. That there are surfaces I would be so much happier if he just didn't touch at all, things that I would be much happier if he didn't touch, and if he did, he would have to wash his hands off before touching any of my other stuff. He is happy to go along with everything I asked, but referred to my bedroom as a "psychosomatic minefield".

I know this can't go on how it is, but I just want to know what this is. Anyone else here have a similar sort of experience to this? Is this normal?
 

Schwimmwagen

Well-Known Member
Sounds more like paranoia and sensitivity than OCD. I suggest you talk to a doctor/psychologist about it.

I've known a couple people with OCD and they did a lot of wierd things that don't have much to do with being sensitive and picky about things. A lot of people claim they might have OCD but there's some more subtle and extreme things that those same people lack.

It's probably just you being you, or you may have some form of ASD. pls enjoy
 

DevilishlyHandsome49

The Most Handsome Devil
Yep, that's definitely OCD or germaphobe behavior. I may have a bias, since I have OCD and I'm a germaphobe but it feels kinda normal to me. Just seems like I'm being more cautious about my surroundings.

Ever since I became more knowledgeable about germs being everywhere (back in junior high), I've made sure to keep my hands clean before and after I touch anything. I carry hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go and apply after I open doors, touch shopping carts, etc. I have bottles of hand sanitizer around the house: the kitchen and my room. Whenever I'm cooking anything that involves meat and I don't have gloves, I make sure my hands are nice and clean with no kind of open cuts. If I touch meat and my finger accidentally grazes another object, I have to clean it, otherwise I feel like if I touch it again, the stuff that was from that raw meat will get on me again and I won't know. Same goes for when I wash my hands after handling meat. The faucet handle and soap bottle have to be cleaned. Everything in the kitchen has to be sanitized and I have to remember the things that I touched while I was handing that raw meat.

I could explain more instances of this kind of routine with other objects but this ^ pretty much gets the point across. My mom thinks I go overboard, but I really could care less about what she thinks on the matter. I haven't been sick in years! Before I started acting this way, I'd always get sick, every year. Now, its just the typical allergies or slight cold I suffer.

Now, until you figure out for sure what that black stuff is, continue being cautious about it. Once you find out and know the appropriate way to handle it, then you can breath a sigh of relief
 

Yago

Ambered Amaranth
If this thread is still going, I'd be happy to offer my input. (That said, I'd like to start by saying, yes, that sounds like OCD, so this is going to be a fairly lengthy post explaining exactly what that means, and what you should do about it.)

I actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it's vastly different than what most people think. Some people will rearrange things, be very cleanly, and neat--the kind of people who will make sure the strings on their sweatshirt are symmetrical in length. This sort of thing, however, is not generally OCD. A certain degree of those behaviors is normal. The difference, however, is that those with OCD cannot move on past it and forget about it. At its core, OCD is an anxiety condition. Whenever you think about such things, if you feel your heart race, or like you can't breathe, or like crying, or as though you absolutely must perform an action to ward off any potential danger, that's anxiety. That's the obsession. In response to those obsessions, rituals, such as your disposing of contaminated clothing provide temporary relief to the anxiety. That's the compulsion. Sounds simple enough. There's two tricky parts, however. First, is that compulsions can be smaller than you realize. For example, some people with OCD are what's called 'Pure O'. Outwardly, they have no compulsions. No one ever sees them do anything odd. But they may have to count numbers in their head, or think good thoughts if they say something that's somehow 'bad'. This can make it especially difficult to defeat your obsessions and compulsions, because you, and others, may not even realize how much you're doing it. The second tricky part, is that the compulsions actually make it worse. Essentially, everytime you give into one of those compulsions, it reinforces that you have a reason to be anxious. And though it provides temporary relief, it comes back worse the next time.

Here's some other symptoms that you may have had:

Collecting items, such as souvenirs, birthday or holiday cards given to you, etc. 'just in case' you might somehow need them later.

Placing particular importance upon certain numbers. (I personally have to have the radio in my car set to an interval of 5, for example.)

Particular importance upon certain colors. 'I cannot wear red, it is the color of blood and someone will get hurt.'

Magical thinking, which is is essentially where you are convinced of something like: 'Using the microwave past 8 p.m. will give my neighbor cancer.'

A need to confess things to people.

Intrusive, chronic, persistent thoughts of various categories (Important to remember that these are not really your thoughts, that is, to say, they do not mean you are a bad person. The brain is an organ like any other, and OCD is caused by chemical imbalances, and your brain thinks such things sort of like how someone with Parkinson's twitches.):

Relationships

'Do I really love that person?' 'What if they are always insulting me behind their back?'

Religious

'Do I actually believe?' 'Remember that time you committed X sin?'

Sexual/Violent

'I could assault that person.'f

Perfectionist

'I've been proof-reading this for an hour and found no mistakes, but it still just isn't good enough.'

And so on.

You do not need all of those. Or even any of those. How it manifests in each person is very different. (I myself am basically a 'Pure O' and have very few observable outward compulsions, for example.) It can also drastically change across a person's lifetime. I used to be very terrified of poisoning myself with household chemicals, though I haven't had that bother me in years.

Only you, or perhaps those who know you very well, can decide if you truly have OCD. A general guideline, however, is that if you spend more than an hour a day thinking about such things, or taking measures to ward off such anxieties, that you most likely have OCD.

The thing is, these irrational worries can cause an extreme amount of distress, and some of them can be very graphic (especially intrusive sexual / violent thoughts), to the point where you cannot even discuss them with others. I did not learn to drive until I was 18 and avoided cars, because all I could think about around them was getting hit, and my compulsion to plan out what I would do and how I would react. I never told a soul. I also used to think about stabbing my mother, who I have a very good relationship with. It caused me so much distress I had a panic attack and cried over it numerous times. Once again, until about a year ago, when I finally chose to seek therapy for my OCD, I did not tell anyone about it.

The important thing to remember is that it is a medical condition,and that you cannot help it. Furthermore, this is not 1984, and thoughts are not crimes. It is also important to recognize that /they are irrational/.

Now, as for things you can do to help treat it:

Medication. Many OCD suffers can function just fine in every day life, but have anti-anxiety medications in case they have an especially bad day and do not want to have a panic attack.

Others may take medications, I believe it's usually very similar to anti-depressants, every day to prevent symptoms.

Those, however, generally require a diagnosis, or, at least talking with your general practitioner.


There are strategies, however, you can start implementing yourself as early as today. Most of which will be told to you by a psychologist, should you visit one for a diagnosis.

Be an observer of your thoughts, not just a participant. Mentally say 'I think it is interesting that I am worrying about my shoes being contaminated.' This will give you a bit of an outside perspective, so you can bring it back down and you can realize how silly your worries often are.

Depersonalize it. Similar to the above, except instead of saying 'I am worrying.' say 'Ted is worrying'. Or 'Susie' or 'Shithead', since the thoughts are not really yours, but your brain malfunctioning, it is a very good way to remind yourself that. I have personally named my obsessions 'Yorick'.

Exposure Response Prevention. This is the hardest one. Little by little, you force yourself to face your fears. You don't have to quit giving into the urge to wash or dispose of contaminated things. It can be exceptionally strong, and that is too hard. Be realistic. Start out by saying 'I will not start washing these for five minutes.' After awhile, you'll get used to it. Then say, 'I will not wash these for 15 minutes.' Just work on slowly delaying your compulsion, and you will weaken it. You can also force yourself into situations where you will have to face it like this. For example, go sprinkle the black stuff on a pair of socks.

As for how to go and get diagnosed, if you would like:

For starters, talk to your general practitioner. Tell them about the anxiety, and some of the symptoms. This sets up a paper trail. Ask for a referral to a psychologist for therapy or diagnosis, and a psychiatrist if you want medication. Generally, I would recommend a psychologist first, as they will be able to help you gauge the severity of your OCD, then you can decide if medication is right for you. (If you have a counselor or psychiatrist or psychologist already, go ahead and voice your concerns there first, it will help you skip a step.) Then contact your insurance provider, and find out ones in your area that you are covered with. After that, call, and you will likely get put on a wait list, which will typically be 3-6 months. It could go much faster, it depends upon where you live, availability, etc.

In the meantime, though, just work on some of the strategies I suggested. I'm a philosopher, not a psychologist, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I have done a fair deal of research into the condition, and suffer from it myself. I can tell you that much of psychology is dependent upon what you share with them, and how well you follow the therapies they suggest for you. After all, they cannot read your mind, and they cannot help you if you cannot help yourself.

Anyways, that's my little-more-than-two-cents. If you have any questions, or need someone to talk to about it, I will be happy to help.
 

Alexxx-Returns

The Sergal that Didn't Vore
If this thread is still going, I'd be happy to offer my input. (That said, I'd like to start by saying, yes, that sounds like OCD, so this is going to be a fairly lengthy post explaining exactly what that means, and what you should do about it.)

I actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it's vastly different than what most people think. Some people will rearrange things, be very cleanly, and neat--the kind of people who will make sure the strings on their sweatshirt are symmetrical in length. This sort of thing, however, is not generally OCD. A certain degree of those behaviors is normal. The difference, however, is that those with OCD cannot move on past it and forget about it. At its core, OCD is an anxiety condition. Whenever you think about such things, if you feel your heart race, or like you can't breathe, or like crying, or as though you absolutely must perform an action to ward off any potential danger, that's anxiety. That's the obsession. In response to those obsessions, rituals, such as your disposing of contaminated clothing provide temporary relief to the anxiety. That's the compulsion. Sounds simple enough. There's two tricky parts, however. First, is that compulsions can be smaller than you realize. For example, some people with OCD are what's called 'Pure O'. Outwardly, they have no compulsions. No one ever sees them do anything odd. But they may have to count numbers in their head, or think good thoughts if they say something that's somehow 'bad'. This can make it especially difficult to defeat your obsessions and compulsions, because you, and others, may not even realize how much you're doing it. The second tricky part, is that the compulsions actually make it worse. Essentially, everytime you give into one of those compulsions, it reinforces that you have a reason to be anxious. And though it provides temporary relief, it comes back worse the next time.

Here's some other symptoms that you may have had:

Collecting items, such as souvenirs, birthday or holiday cards given to you, etc. 'just in case' you might somehow need them later.

Placing particular importance upon certain numbers. (I personally have to have the radio in my car set to an interval of 5, for example.)

Particular importance upon certain colors. 'I cannot wear red, it is the color of blood and someone will get hurt.'

Magical thinking, which is is essentially where you are convinced of something like: 'Using the microwave past 8 p.m. will give my neighbor cancer.'

A need to confess things to people.

Intrusive, chronic, persistent thoughts of various categories (Important to remember that these are not really your thoughts, that is, to say, they do not mean you are a bad person. The brain is an organ like any other, and OCD is caused by chemical imbalances, and your brain thinks such things sort of like how someone with Parkinson's twitches.):

Relationships

'Do I really love that person?' 'What if they are always insulting me behind their back?'

Religious

'Do I actually believe?' 'Remember that time you committed X sin?'

Sexual/Violent

'I could assault that person.'f

Perfectionist

'I've been proof-reading this for an hour and found no mistakes, but it still just isn't good enough.'

And so on.

You do not need all of those. Or even any of those. How it manifests in each person is very different. (I myself am basically a 'Pure O' and have very few observable outward compulsions, for example.) It can also drastically change across a person's lifetime. I used to be very terrified of poisoning myself with household chemicals, though I haven't had that bother me in years.

Only you, or perhaps those who know you very well, can decide if you truly have OCD. A general guideline, however, is that if you spend more than an hour a day thinking about such things, or taking measures to ward off such anxieties, that you most likely have OCD.

The thing is, these irrational worries can cause an extreme amount of distress, and some of them can be very graphic (especially intrusive sexual / violent thoughts), to the point where you cannot even discuss them with others. I did not learn to drive until I was 18 and avoided cars, because all I could think about around them was getting hit, and my compulsion to plan out what I would do and how I would react. I never told a soul. I also used to think about stabbing my mother, who I have a very good relationship with. It caused me so much distress I had a panic attack and cried over it numerous times. Once again, until about a year ago, when I finally chose to seek therapy for my OCD, I did not tell anyone about it.

The important thing to remember is that it is a medical condition,and that you cannot help it. Furthermore, this is not 1984, and thoughts are not crimes. It is also important to recognize that /they are irrational/.

Now, as for things you can do to help treat it:

Medication. Many OCD suffers can function just fine in every day life, but have anti-anxiety medications in case they have an especially bad day and do not want to have a panic attack.

Others may take medications, I believe it's usually very similar to anti-depressants, every day to prevent symptoms.

Those, however, generally require a diagnosis, or, at least talking with your general practitioner.


There are strategies, however, you can start implementing yourself as early as today. Most of which will be told to you by a psychologist, should you visit one for a diagnosis.

Be an observer of your thoughts, not just a participant. Mentally say 'I think it is interesting that I am worrying about my shoes being contaminated.' This will give you a bit of an outside perspective, so you can bring it back down and you can realize how silly your worries often are.

Depersonalize it. Similar to the above, except instead of saying 'I am worrying.' say 'Ted is worrying'. Or 'Susie' or 'Shithead', since the thoughts are not really yours, but your brain malfunctioning, it is a very good way to remind yourself that. I have personally named my obsessions 'Yorick'.

Exposure Response Prevention. This is the hardest one. Little by little, you force yourself to face your fears. You don't have to quit giving into the urge to wash or dispose of contaminated things. It can be exceptionally strong, and that is too hard. Be realistic. Start out by saying 'I will not start washing these for five minutes.' After awhile, you'll get used to it. Then say, 'I will not wash these for 15 minutes.' Just work on slowly delaying your compulsion, and you will weaken it. You can also force yourself into situations where you will have to face it like this. For example, go sprinkle the black stuff on a pair of socks.

As for how to go and get diagnosed, if you would like:

For starters, talk to your general practitioner. Tell them about the anxiety, and some of the symptoms. This sets up a paper trail. Ask for a referral to a psychologist for therapy or diagnosis, and a psychiatrist if you want medication. Generally, I would recommend a psychologist first, as they will be able to help you gauge the severity of your OCD, then you can decide if medication is right for you. (If you have a counselor or psychiatrist or psychologist already, go ahead and voice your concerns there first, it will help you skip a step.) Then contact your insurance provider, and find out ones in your area that you are covered with. After that, call, and you will likely get put on a wait list, which will typically be 3-6 months. It could go much faster, it depends upon where you live, availability, etc.

In the meantime, though, just work on some of the strategies I suggested. I'm a philosopher, not a psychologist, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I have done a fair deal of research into the condition, and suffer from it myself. I can tell you that much of psychology is dependent upon what you share with them, and how well you follow the therapies they suggest for you. After all, they cannot read your mind, and they cannot help you if you cannot help yourself.

Anyways, that's my little-more-than-two-cents. If you have any questions, or need someone to talk to about it, I will be happy to help.

Thank you for this. Thank you everyone for your input, it's been eye-opening.

I never considered it particularly bad, if it was considered OCD. I know most people have it far worse and I'm thankful that my obsessions/compulsions have so far been able to fit around every-day life. But since I wish to be a surgeon as a career, I know this can't go on. By the way: I have actually hoarded birthday cards and Christmas cards before, just because I don't want to dispose of the sentiment.

Past obsessions I've had were when I was around 13/14, every single night, I feared I would sleepwalk and put random objects in my lady-hole. Another was in a similar vein, I feared that I would sleepwalk and go and hurt my family members without having any control over it. I used to tie shoelaces over my door handle in complicated ways, take a photo of the way it looked, and then in the morning compare the photo to the actual knot to make sure it had not been disturbed overnight. If I had to go out to the bathroom, I'd of course have to repeat this. The good thing about that one was that it was easy for me to get over since I was PROVING to myself each night that I wasn't sleepwalking at all.

I love the idea of depersonalising the obsession, this could work really well for myself! My friend did come round yesterday and though he intended to work around the situation, he forgot where all the "safe" zones and "unsafe" zones were and put his feet in one place and then transferred the problem elsewhere - I'm gonna do my darndest to expose myself to the unsafe zones, bit by bit. Tonight maybe I'll watch a movie with my back to the unsafe wall. Maybe tomorrow use one of the deodorants that is on the dresser. Thanks for your input, it's fascinating to see this condition broken down.

(I should mention that the black stuff is no longer in existence at all =P Since moving bedrooms it's all been cleaned away)
 

Yago

Ambered Amaranth
Thank you for this. Thank you everyone for your input, it's been eye-opening.

I never considered it particularly bad, if it was considered OCD. I know most people have it far worse and I'm thankful that my obsessions/compulsions have so far been able to fit around every-day life. But since I wish to be a surgeon as a career, I know this can't go on. By the way: I have actually hoarded birthday cards and Christmas cards before, just because I don't want to dispose of the sentiment.

Past obsessions I've had were when I was around 13/14, every single night, I feared I would sleepwalk and put random objects in my lady-hole. Another was in a similar vein, I feared that I would sleepwalk and go and hurt my family members without having any control over it. I used to tie shoelaces over my door handle in complicated ways, take a photo of the way it looked, and then in the morning compare the photo to the actual knot to make sure it had not been disturbed overnight. If I had to go out to the bathroom, I'd of course have to repeat this. The good thing about that one was that it was easy for me to get over since I was PROVING to myself each night that I wasn't sleepwalking at all.

I love the idea of depersonalising the obsession, this could work really well for myself! My friend did come round yesterday and though he intended to work around the situation, he forgot where all the "safe" zones and "unsafe" zones were and put his feet in one place and then transferred the problem elsewhere - I'm gonna do my darndest to expose myself to the unsafe zones, bit by bit. Tonight maybe I'll watch a movie with my back to the unsafe wall. Maybe tomorrow use one of the deodorants that is on the dresser. Thanks for your input, it's fascinating to see this condition broken down.

(I should mention that the black stuff is no longer in existence at all =P Since moving bedrooms it's all been cleaned away)

Yeah, that definitely sounds like OCD, alright. It can be a real pain, and make things that shouldn't be an issue into an all out war against yourself. But with time and the right tactics, you can get it down to a minor nuisance. It has its plus sides, though. Makes you grateful for the small things. It's very empowering to be able to lock your house once before you leave instead of half a dozen.

If you ever have problems, though, a particular issue you're having a hard time fighting, the most important thing is to try your best, but remember it's ok if you can't, and that there's always friends willing to lend an ear.

If you've got any questions, feel free to find me. Visitor message, PM whatever. I'm around more than you'd expect. Happy to help. ^^


Depersonalization a good one to do, and it can be a lot of fun. You should do well with it, you seem rather well-adjusted and as though you've been making good progress on your own. Just make sure when you talk about it people know what you're going on about, or they'll think you're schizophrenic or have dissociative identity disorder if they hear you talk about a named voice in your head and avoid you like the black plague. (Which is sad, sanism is such bullshit.)
 

Alexxx-Returns

The Sergal that Didn't Vore
I'll remember that, thanks =P

Although I barely talk about this IRL as it is, it mostly affects me at home where everything is. I've been mentioning it more and more though recently as I've come to realise that I might have a problem with it.
 
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