(Originally written for heruni.com. The website has recently shut down and re opened up as hercampus, deleting previous posts from past contributors. Here is an article that featured on the website)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an increasingly well-publicized condition. According to the OCD charity website, it affects three in every one hundred people. Usually the disorder is brought on by an excess of anxiety. Not only affecting the mental but physical state, often many people go on to not been diagnosed for long periods of time.
OCD can be a phobia of germs, people, not wanting to part with items (commonly known as hoarding), over analysis of situations and the over thinking of disturbing thoughts. Often the person will do many repetitive actions as they believe something or someone may be affected if they don’t do go through with it.
Tina, a student, recalls her personal experience of the condition. “The first time I noticed I had a problem was when I couldn’t leave the bathroom after an hour of washing my hands. I know it may sound like the obvious but I must have counted at least thirty times of washing and drying my hands. It went on for a month before I felt I could tell someone.” It’s true that many people feel guilty of having this problem or even embarrassed and often go on to feel no one will understand them. Many people suffer by themselves, hoping they can solve the problem.
The majority don’t realize how demanding the condition can become. People go on as long as a year or more without even noticing that they have it. It starts to become dangerous if it starts to affect someone’s everyday life. People have lost and quit their jobs, ended relationships, feeling there is no other option in order to cope. Tina says, “It’s hard to identify who you were before you start this. At the time I couldn’t recall when it started and how it progressed so fast. I found it incredibly hard to go to School as no one would understand what I was going through.”
The causes of the problem can be a selection of reasons but the most commonly known as a certain memory that is later triggered on in life. Not even a bad memory, just something that helps towards the growing phobia. Tina’s phobia involved one of two things: the over need of cleanliness and not wanting to part with items.
“I knew at the time what I was doing was completely wrong. I didn’t throw away any paper as I believed I had wrote something on it that was bad, I was over analyzing of situations. I couldn’t sleep at night because I had to keep checking the door to see if it was locked. It was a personal hell for me. I found it hard to talk to people as I thought they wouldn’t understand. After a while though people started noticing my hands as they were in a really bad way.”
Many famous people have even gone to discuss their battle with the terrible illness. Aviator, the movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio, depicts Howard Hughes’s battle with the disorder. Even David Beckham has commented, “I have got this obsessive compulsive disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line, or everything has to be in pairs.”
The issue is that people don’t realize that there is so much help out there for them. More and more of us are becoming infected with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it is curable to some affect. “I visited a counselor for two years, this was helpful as she identified with me the cause of the problem and how I could stop it. It was a hard time for me, I was only 12 and didn’t really know what was happening. If it wasn’t for her I don’t think I could have done it by myself. I had so much help and people need to realize don’t suffer in silence. Anyone can develop this disorder; it has nothing to do with who you are or where you come from.” Tina says.
If you have any inquiries on OCD, visit website – www.ocduk.org. If you feel you may be developing or close to anyone who could be suffering from any of these symptoms, you should contact your local Gp for more information.
*Image source – http://www.thesingingsunflower.com