Okay, so I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD.
In fact, I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety or depression either.
Would is surprise you that anybody who is currently diagnosed with a mental health problem, at some point in the past, HADN’T been diagnosed with a mental health problem?
I’ve read so many places how it’s “wrong” to self-diagnose, but the truth is that the NHS system in England doesn’t really accommodate psychological diagnosis’ very well. To get onto a psychologist’s waiting lists can take months by itself, and then there’s the time on the waiting list, and then the time before a diagnosis… It’s a process.
And to first even approach a doctor, either oneself, somebody close to you or somebody who comes across you in the emergency room after swallowing a bottle of pills, will refer you to a doctor, to begin this process.
The people close to me are too go-with-the-flow to really care if I go to the doctor or not to resolve my problems. And, my problems aren’t severe enough to land me into the emergency room.
So, once things started getting bad, I did my research and came to my own conclusions, and thus referred myself.
WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT THAT?
And yes, I’m in the process of, well, waiting for my doctor to ring me up to say that I’ve been referred to a psychologist which, y’know, it’s been probably 2 months of waiting so far.
In the mean time I’m not exactly going to just sit around doing nothing about my problems, hence the research, hence the conclusions. It’s much easier to help yourself when you have a good idea of what’s wrong.
So, there’s my little disclaimer for all the people who are like “don’t claim to have something you’ve not been diagnosed with”. If you’ve even had the opportunity to get to the stage of diagnosis then that’s bloody lucky. I’ve been trying to get to that point for a really long time.
I have some OCD TENDENCIES.
What I mean by that is that I’m not really convinced that I’d get diagnosed with OCD, because there are a lot of things that luckily do not affect my daily life that do affect OCD sufferer’s.
For example, my mind has never really associated not doing an action with meaning that someone I care about will die or something.
I’m not super particular about where things are in my room (unless I’ve done a good tidy up, but before that point, I don’t care too much if things aren’t absolutely perfect.)
My problems are with repetitive phrases, repeating actions to an extent, etc.
So again, here are some of my “triggers” for my OCD tendencies.
1.) When I fill up my water bottle. You see, I’m quite particular about my water intake – I MUST achieve 4 full bottles of my BRITA water bottle (600ml) from midnight of the day before until midnight of the day after. So, whenever I’m to fill my bottle of water, it has to be done perfectly. I run the water until it’s so cold that it hurts to the touch, and then there are phrases I repeat in my head until my brain is satisfied enough to move on onto a different activity. The water bottle is ALWAYS overflowing by this point! For some reason that I don’t quite fully understand, considering I know he isn’t flawless by any means – if my partner fills my bottle up for me, I simply trust that he’s done it right, and don’t worry about it at all.
2.) When I shower and do anything like shampoo my hair, condition my hair, wash my body, rinse my body, exfoliate my face, tone my face… Actually, any single beauty step you can think of. Whenever I do these things, the same thing happens as above. I repeat phrases in my head, for example “too much because ___, too little because _____, too much because ____ too little because ____, …” I know that probably doesn’t make sense but it’s basically my silly brains way of making sure I’ve completed the task properly. Even with the water thing, I didn’t repeat the phrases because they are so abstract that I’d be embarrassed to, but it’s basically my brain trying make sure that I’ve found the sweet spot and have completed the task perfectly…
3.) When I weigh myself. I like to maintain a weight of exactly 127.8 lbs, and if I don’t weigh that much (especially if I weigh MORE than that amount, as I tend to be over my ideal weight versus under), I will stress out and really try to get myself back to my ideal weight. Even if i’m just 0.2 lbs over, I’ll stop eating or something and weigh myself every 5 minutes until it’s back to my ideal weight.
4.) When moving on to any task different to the one I’m currently one, I have to repeat phrases again until my mind is satisfied enough for me to move on. In fact, when I make any decision at all, about anything. Whether I’ve chosen the right amount of presents for Christmas, whether the present itself is right, when choosing option modules for Uni, when deciding if it’s time to close my Instagram tab or…. Ugh. It’s really difficult to explain accurately.
This is something very closely linked to my anxiety, and I really do suffer from it. It’s the think that makes me so anxious about making decisions, the thing that often makes me take an hour to just shampoo my hair. Sometimes my brain simply will not let me move on from a task because it will deem that I haven’t done it perfectly enough.
You know what, I don’t even think I’m a perfectionist in the traditional sense. I don’t study much, the quality of my Uni work isn’t the best, my flat is far from immaculate etc. Like, I’m not ACTIVELY a perfectionist – it’s just certain actions, my brain won’t let me move on from unless I achieve them perfectly, which can take such a long time that by time I move on I have a headache, feel physically sick, tired, upset etc.
What helps me with all of the above, besides the weight thing, is me asking my partner to help me. When I ask him to fill my bottle for me I know he often thinks I’m just being lazy, but it’s because it is genuinely a MUCH bigger task for me to do than for him, and it truly helps when he just does it for me. Sometimes when I’m really struggling to get ready in the morning and I have to be somewhere at a certain time, he’ll wash my hair for me and again, I generally just trust that he’s done it right. The same for making decisions and moving onto different tasks – I’ll often just ask him if I’ve done enough to move on, if I’ve done it right enough, if he’s certain etc etc, and will move on much quicker after he has told me it’s the right thing to do versus me trying to come to that conclusion myself.
Basically, taking decisions out of the hands of someone who suffers with these sorts of tendencies is probably the best way to help (although, not taking full control – if someone were to choose an outfit for me to wear and there were very specific reasons why I couldn’t wear those items in my mind, I’d be VERY upset if they insisted I wear that outfit, if that makes sense? It has to be in ways that the sufferer actually agrees would be helpful!)